Do you think skydiving is a super-scary activity, enjoyed by people who have partied a little too hard and are trying to avoid the 9 to 5? (Admit it, you kind of thought that). Well, we’ve got a surprise for you… It’s not like that at all! (in most cases, anyway)
We know most people have preconceived notions of what to expect of their first-ever tandem skydive – and most often, what you expect and what you will actually experience are misaligned. So here are five things you don’t expect from your first skydiving experience:
If you’ve watched any of the skydiving movies from the 90s to present day (think Drop Zone, Cutaway or Point Break), you may be left with the impression that the skydiving community is filled with people who have a limited vocabulary that rarely expands beyond “rad”, “awesome”, or “gnarly” (do people still say gnarly?). In other words – a bunch of burnouts who decided to never grow up.
If that’s what you expect (or were hoping for), we’ve got some unfortunate news for you … That’s not what you’ll find at your local dropzone. Skydivers and our community at large are generally well-educated and responsible folks. They view skydiving as an enjoyable hobby – not unlike golf (albeit way more exciting) or scuba diving. Also, you’ll find the skydiving community to be a generous and happy people, simply trying to get the most out of their lives.
Note: This is not what your modern-day skydiving class is like!
You will discover that the skydiving community is filled with people who exude positive energy and who love sharing the sport of skydiving with newbies! You will be made to feel welcome and part of our group, much more than you expected.
Many of our guests have preconceived notions about skydiving based on what Hollywood presents. It should come as no surprise however that what you see on the big screen isn’t how things are in reality. The technology behind skydiving will blow you away… it’s amazing! In the early days of skydiving, a huge percentage of skydiving-related fatalities were almost always due to the equipment. Today, that’s seldom the case (most often it’s pilot error) as the tech behind skydiving has come a long way starting with the parachute.
Many non-skydivers think the parachute is round and doesn’t allow for great maneuverability and control. What they don’t realize is that those are the parachutes of old. Modern canopies (how they are called now) are rectangular in shape – which means we’re essentially flying wings that allow for excellent accuracy and control. While on the topic of parachutes, many ask if we have a backup parachute and the answer is yes – it’s called a reserve parachute. [How Parachutes Work – From Opening to Landing].
Perhaps the coolest tech in use today is the Automatic Activation Device (AAD). The AAD is a marvelous little computer that measures altitude and speed. If the device recognizes that the skydiver has crossed the parachute deployment altitude, it is designed – when activated – to automatically release the reserve parachute. As a first time jumper, one of the scariest scenarios would be if your tandem instructor were to go unconscious in freefall (super unlikely)… but thanks to the AAD, the parachute will deploy no matter what. Pretty cool, huh?
This may come as a surprise – but skydiving isn’t scary. Just look at all the photos on our Facebook or Instagram page. You won’t see people in freefall completely freaking out. Instead, you see them smiling and having an incredible time.
The reason? You don’t actually feel like you’re plummeting. Freefall feels more like you’re floating with control and stability. The part that will have you feeling more than a little nervous is when the door opens and you’re about to exit. The good news is we don’t spend lots of time sightseeing! We know you’re going to be anxious, so we don’t delay and get to the best part.
The key takeaway: FREE FALL FEELS GOOD!!!!
Once you’ve exited the plane, there are a few things you definitely won’t expect. The first is just how loud it is in freefall. Interestingly, skydivers who jump often don’t notice it too much – but for the first-timer, that wind noise can feel super loud. Here’s where it gets really good – the contrasting silence when the parachute opens!
Once under canopy, there is nothing but silence. It’s beautiful! The contrast from the high-volume freefall to the serenity of seeing the world from thousands of feet above is magical. Few people expect this to be the case and it’s a welcome surprise!
One of the most unexpected things about skydiving is the euphoria you feel after the jump. Skydiving produces a wave of feel-good natural chemicals in your brain – adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine… and they make you feel AWESOME!
Unsurprisingly, many people say that skydiving is like therapy. You get to live in the moment and aren’t thinking about the things that stress you out in freefall. Plus, you feel truly incredible after you land – it’s empowerment, accomplishment, and happiness all wrapped into one event!
Just watch Antuan’s reaction after he landed from a skydive with our friends at Skydive Carolina a few years ago:
Want to feel this way too? You can! Just book a tandem skydive with WNY Skydiving today, and we’ll show all that skydiving has to offer. We can’t wait to meet you.