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Without any first hand experience there is no way to know exactly what skydiving is like. TV and movies make it look exciting but frequently tell lies – often great big porky pies – for the sake of drama about what really happens when you put on that parachute for the first time. General anxiety about learning to skydive forms up into a few common areas, so let us here try to dispel them for you…
I will be jumping alone.
You will not be jumping alone. When you learn to skydive via AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) training, it means you will have two highly trained instructors jumping with you. For the first one they hold you on either side the whole way down, and then on subsequent descents let you go a little bit at a time. During these initial skydives you will need a little help in this way as you figure out where the stability is, but they are not doing anything for you unless you need it. Once your parachute opens, our instructors will be in direct contact with you via radio if – and only if – you need it. You get all the training to fly and land by yourself.
I will feel sick or dizzy.
Unlike other ‘extreme experiences’ which are sometimes incorrectly lumped into the same headspace as skydiving – such as rollercoasters and giant elastic band person flingers and whatnot – jumping out of an aeroplane does not involve the kind of motion that induces dizziness or the sensation of the floor dropping away beneath you. Yep, you go fast – but it is a pure and comfortable speed that feels like nothing else.
I will not be able to breathe.
You can breathe just fine. The air is thin up there and possibly a little chilly. Sensory overload is a real thing, and while you might forget that first breath right out of the door as your brain processes the awesomeness, you can breathe exactly as you do going about your business on the ground – without thinking about it at all. It is pretty common to feel that your brain will not be able to function properly up there at terminal velocity, but it is a very pleasant surprise to feel the nerves get left behind in the plane as you relax and savour every second of the free fall acceleration.
If I am new I will not get to do the whole thing like everyone else.
Not true! The accelerated freefall course was developed precisely as a way for people to learn to skydive and experience the thrill of falling at terminal velocity from the highest allowable altitude from the very first jump. Right from jump number one you will be going to 14,000 ft with everyone else and and experience almost a minute of freefall.
It is really difficult.
Learning to skydive is a challenging thing to do but it is not difficult. The training methods we use are very well established and have been refined over the years to become super efficient at getting you up in the air and flying on your own much quicker than you think. Taken as a whole course there is quite a bit to absorb, both physically and mentally – but these things are spaced out into a programme that allows you not only to feel comfortable with the pace of learning, but also able to savour the experience and not be overwhelmed anywhere along the way.
Can I be extra ready?
For your first jump you are “extra ready”. The method we use to train you for your first skydive at Ramblers is our AFF “Accelerated Free Fall” method. AFF training gives you everything you need to make your first jump, plus some. You will be leaving the aircraft in tandem with your Instructor who will be with you from exiting the aircraft to landing the parachute. Skydiving is scary until you have done it and the desire to feel super extra ready is completely understandable. There is no substitute for actually jumping out of an aeroplane. Doing it for the first time in tandem with your instructor will not only give you an idea of how to control your body in freefall but it will also take the “scary” out and you will be more relaxed when the time comes to jump on your own.
These are generally the most common things people have rolling around in their heads before setting off on their skydiving journey – so hopefully you are now a little clearer. Earning a skydiving license in an immensely rewarding adventure that can very much change your life, and here at Skydive Ramblers we have everything you need to step on the path.
As a SCUBA Instructor, I'm watchful for safety and professionalism in other extreme sports and the staff, buildings, equipment, plane and even other customers at Ramblers all gave me a feeling of safety and comfort in addition to being genuinely welcoming as newcomer to their sport. If you haven't been and have been wanting to skydive - this is a GREAT place to start your newest addiction. : )
Mary Alice Miller