Skydiving FAQs

Answers To Your Top Skydiving Questions

Is there a risk of COVID-19 exposure during a tandem skydive?

Skydiving is a contact sport  and a tandem skydive requires you to be attached to another human. Of course this close contact heightens the risk of exposure to COVID-19! By skydiving and being at WNYSkydiving, you assume the risk of COVID-19 infection. WNYSkydiving has taken precautions to mitigate risk of infection but makes no guarantees or representations regarding safety from COVID-19. No amount of care or caution can assure protection from COVID-19 during this pandemic. If an individual cannot accept that risk, they MUST NOT skydive at or be present at WNYSkydiving.

What if I have COVID-19 exposure or symptoms?

Upon check-in at WNYSkydiving, all students will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire asking if you have tested positive to COVID-19, been exposed to someone that has tested positive, shown symptoms of COVID-19, or had a fever exceeding 100.4F in the last 14 days. If you answer YES to any of these symptoms, you will NOT be able to jump that day. Please do NOT come to WNYSkydiving if you will be answering YES to any of these questions. Instead, please call to reschedule your skydive at no additional charge to you. Please note you won’t be eligible to reschedule for at least 14 days following exposure.

 

According to the CDC People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Are masks required at WNYSkydiving due to COVID-19?

Yes! According to the CDC the virus is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. During a tandem skydive, without a mask, respiratory droplets produced by the student land directly in the face (mouth, eyes, nose) of the tandem instructor. WNYSkydiving will provide a new mask for each student to wear on their jump and then take home or be disposed of after use.

 

Our airplanes are great for skydiving…not so much for social distancing. The plane isn’t big enough for us to be 6 feet apart while we’re inside on our ride to altitude. This makes social distancing impossible. Therefore in the aircraft everyone jumping must wear a mask.

 

Masks are also required to be worn at any time that 6ft social distancing guidelines cannot be maintained. Students, instructors, and licensed skydivers will be required to wear masks while in the aircraft. Tandem Students will be required to have a mask on from the time they are geared up until gear is removed post-jump.

How will skydiving gear be sanitized to protect against COVID-19?

We prefer our skydiving harnesses and airplanes NOT to break while we’re in the air. Products that have been shown by the CDC to be effective against COVID-19 have NOT been adequately tested on skydiving equipment or 1960s aircraft. Chemical sanitizers and disinfectants are great at killing viruses but they can also cause equipment to fail while we’re using it. Skydiving is extreme enough without increasing the risk of equipment failure at 120mph.

 

Due to the risk of degradation of life saving equipment leading to catastrophic failure of such equipment, WNYSkydiving will NOT be disinfecting or sanitizing, among other equipment, the following items: Parachute harness and container systems, tandem skydiving harnesses, aircraft interior walls/floors, aircraft seatbelts, altimeters. It is the responsibility of each jumper (student or staff) to wash or sanitize their hands prior to and after touching these items/surfaces to minimize risk of contamination of these items and surfaces. Anyone that will be in contact with this equipment including students, instructors, staff, and licensed skydivers must understand and agree that these items are NOT going to be sanitized or disinfected. It is the responsibility of each individual to wash or sanitize before and after contact with any of this equipment.

What is Tandem Skydiving?

Tandem skydiving is a training method of skydiving where a student skydives with an experienced instructor. The student is a part of the skydive, and is expected to perform what they have learned in the tandem class.

What is Accelerated Free Fall?

Accelerated Free Fall is a method of training skydiving students to become licensed skydivers. An instructor jumps with a student during an AFF jump, but is not attached like in Tandem Skydiving. Tandem levels 1 and 2 are required for Accelerated Free Fall at WNYSkydiving.

How does it feel to free fall?

Really good!!! This is an individual feeling that can only be described (or not – talk to other students that day who have jumped, and they may tell you the feeling can’t be described!) after skydiving.

Where will we land the parachute?

All skydivers plan to land back at the dropzone they have taken off from. This includes all students.

Are there an age requirement for skydiving?

At our dropzone, all skydiving students must be at least 18 years old. On the upper end though, there are no real limits. So take Grandma skydiving!

Do you jump when it is cold?

Do you ski in winter? We skydive! We just put on some extra layers of clothing for added comfort!

What is your refund policy?

We do not give refunds. If you are unable to skydive due to weather or other factors we cannot control, we will reschedule you for another day at your convenience. If you have extraordinary circumstances which prevent you from jumping on your scheduled date, we will make accommodation at our discretion.

When do I arrive?

Please arrive at the time you have scheduled for your jump. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, please do NOT enter the facility more than 5 minutes prior to your scheduled class time. If you happen to arrive earlier, please remain in your car until your scheduled class time. You will watch a video at that time, followed by paperwork and training. This initial process takes about an hour.

When do I actually jump?

Jumps are on a first come, first served basis. If you schedule your jump for the morning, you should plan on spending half the day at the dropzone. If you have an afternoon jump scheduled, please don’t plan anything else for your day.

How long does it take?

Skydiving is a several hour process. Paperwork and training take about an hour. We can take two tandems per aircraft (we have two planes) on weekends. After the parachute systems are jumped, they need to be repacked. Turnaround time for a tandem skydive (get in the plane, jump, land, repack) is about an hour. Between the completion of your training class and the time you actually jump enjoy watching the skydiving activities. Plan to be at the airport at least half the day.

Can I bring friends to watch?

Normally yes! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 students will NOT be allowed to bring spectators at this time. You’ll have to convince them to actually jump with you if they want to watch! They can also share the experience watching your video and seeing your photos afterwards.

Can I bring my dog or cat?

Animals and noisy aircrafts don’t mix well. Please leave your pets at home.

Can I bring my children?

At this time, due to COVID-19 restrictions, spectators will not be allowed to accompany tandem students to WNYSkydiving.

Can I bring a camera on my skydive?

No. If you would like a video of your skydive (highly recommended!!!) we can provide that for you. Strapping your GoPro onto you could snag the lines of the parachute – this would cause a very bad day.

Can I smoke on the dropzone?

Smoking is not permitted at WNYSkydiving facilities during business hours (We’re sick of cleaning up people’s butts!!!)

Can I drink alcohol or beer at the dropzone?

Please do not drink alcohol (any kind) on the dropzone field until after operations are finished for the day. If you drink alcohol before your jump, we cannot jump with you. Skydiving HAS to be done sober!

What do I need to wear?

Sneakers and comfortable clothes for the day are strongly suggested. Shorts and a T-shirt usually work on a hot summer day for guys, yoga clothes work well for women. Read our What to Wear Skydiving article for more info.

 

WNYSkydiving during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be issuing jumpsuits to tandem students. If the weather is cooler (below 70 degrees) on the day of your jump, students should wear a thermal layer under their outer layer of clothing. If it’s below 60 degrees, students may want to bring tight fitting gloves (think batting gloves or other athletic gloves) to wear on their jump. While this is normally provided for students, unfortunately we are unable to supply these gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When is WNYSkydiving open?

The 2020 season begins June 1st! Please see our hours of operation tab. If you have questions about our hours, please call us at (716) 597-7393.

Is Skydiving Dangerous?

Of course it’s dangerous. You get out of a plane two miles above the earth. Gravity does work. In fact, it rules supreme! The only thing between a skydiver and “deceleration trauma” is a chunk of nylon about the size of your living room. Which part of being dangerous was unclear?

Is It Safe?

Ahhh…a much better question.

WNYSkydiving owns the latest student, solo, and tandem gear. All of the equipment used at WNYSkydiving is serviced and maintained by FAA certified technicians of the highest ratings. The parachutes are packed by professionals, the reserves packed and repacked, even if unused every 180 days. Although an inherently dangerous sport, just as driving a car to work is an inherently dangerous activity (you did know that, right?), we take every precaution to assure your safety while on our dropzone. Do you drive with bad brakes and bald tires?

For more information about skydiving safety, check this out! At WNYSkydiving, we take precautions before, during, and after your skydive.

For information about COVID-19 policies and procedures, see the COVID-19 FAQs.

Are customers expected to tip their Instructors?

Tipping is not required – but of course, it is always appreciated if you feel your instructor did a great job.

Do you jump in all weather?

No, we do not jump when it is raining, completely clouded over, extremely windy, or extremely cold (less than 25F on the ground) but we still can do your training. That way you can be ready to jump right away if you have to come back another day. Weather can cause unexpected delays, so please be patient. We are trying to get you in the air as quickly and safely as possible.

We’ve written an article about how weather can affect your skydive, but if you have any doubt about the weather, please call us on the day of your jump.

Can I breathe in freefall?

Yes. There is plenty of air to breathe up thru 15,000’. Here are a few tips though that can help you ensure you are getting enough air up there.

Are the landings hard?

Normally, landings with a parachute have less impact than jumping off a chair. If you’re curious to learn more, read our article about the Perfect Parachute Landing Fall.

How experienced are your instructors?

All of our instructors are rated by the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Our current instructional staff has an average of almost 7,000 jumps each, making our skydiving center the most experienced in the area.

Is there a weight limit?

Yes, we can safely take someone up to 230 lbs for a tandem. For those over 210 lbs, it is important they are physically fit.

Where can I go to get more information on skydiving?

You are more than welcome to call us at (716) 597-7393 and our staff will be happy to answer any question about skydiving. Another good source for information about skydiving is the United States Parachute Association and you can contact them at www.uspa.org

Who are these people skipping the line?

We realize no one likes to see others skipping the line – least when you’re waiting to go up in an airplane for the tandem skydiving adventure of a lifetime! There are however some logistical reasons behind this dynamic, involving prep time, weather and the ability of licensed jumpers to just go. We wrote a blog post to help explain.

Have Additional Questions?

We'd Be Happy to Answer Them!

Call Us Today!

Follow WNY Online

Get news and updates in your inbox!