Skydiving is where you jump out of a plane and after a bit of falling free, open your parachute and float in a controlled way back to the ground.
Skills – Strength: 4, Balance: 4, Flexibility: 3, Agility: 3, Coordination: 6
Time needed: 2 hours, Cost to try: £250
Skydiving and parachuting is the art of hurling yourself from a height and safely floating to the ground using a canopy to slow your descent. The initial freefall before the parachute opens is quite exhilarating. Some people get a rush from the more extreme sport of basejumping, where you jump from a high cliff with a parachute and open the parachute at the latest possible moment. Although this is a serious adrenalin rush, there are significant risks of not only hitting the cliffs, but also misjudging when to open the parachute.
Freefall is the part of a parachute jump where you are doing the actual skydiving bit. This is where you are falling to earth under the influence of gravity, with only the air resistance to slow you down. The fastest rate that you can fall is called your terminal velocity.
You normally wear an altimeter which tells you how high you are above the ground. It will indicate the height when you should open your parachute.
Static Line Skydiving
Skydiving typically involves jumping out of an aircraft from a height of 4000 metres. If you are going to have a freefall experience, then you will be in control of when to pull the ripcord which will open your parachute. For beginners and those who have been given a skydiving gift, you will normally have a static line parachute jump. For a static line parachute jump, the ripcord of your parachute is attached to a line in the airplane. When you exit the aircraft, your parachute will automatically open for you.
A charity parachute jump is a fantastic way of raising huge amounts of money for charity. There are plenty of places who organise charity skydiving. They will help you with how to raise the money, and how to promote your charity parachute jump. Often, you will get a free parachute jump if you raise the minimum amount of money they specify.
If you don’t feel confident enough to go skydiving on your own, or if you are unable to operate a parachute yourself, then you can have tandem parachute jumps. Tandem skydiving involves being securely harnessed to an experienced skydiver and then skydiving together. This is normally done by being strapped together in the aircraft. You both move to the edge of the door with you sitting infront of your skydiving instructor. You will then both jump out of the airplane.
Your tandem skydiving experience will be fantastic. You get all of the thrill whilst your skydiving instructor does all of the work of controlling the tandem skydiving jump.
The tandem skydiving landing is very easy. Your skydiving instructor will flare the parachute just before you land, which effectively stalls it in the air. This means that you can land standing up.
If you know someone who is a bit of a daredevil, then why not buy them a skydiving gift. A skydiving gift voucher will give them the skydiving experience they will never forget. They will get it photographed and videoed so they can relive the thrill of their skydiving gift in the comfort of your home.
Any parachute jump will need insurance. When you book your skydiving lesson or skydiving gift, the price will usually include the insurance. It is best to check with the skydiving school though.
Skydiving Schools and Skydiving Lessons
There are plenty of skydiving schools around the country where you can get skydiving lessons. The drop zones are listed by the country’s skydiving associations.
There are some restrictions to going skydiving. You will have to be over 16 years of age and weigh less than 15 stone or 95 kg. There are also several medical restrictions. Talk to the skydiving school for details.
Rita’s Skydiving Experience
You should never let age define what you can or can’t achieve. Rita is a fantastic woman who at the age of 76 organised a charity tandem skydiving jump.
“When I was 40 years old, I was challenged by my 2 young nephews to do a parachute jump. I took up the challenge.
Now that I am 76 years (young)and partially disabled (difficulty in walking), I needed something to stimulate me to get up out of the armchair and do something worthwhile.
I then happened to read about this 80 year old, partially sighted lady, who had done a tandem sky dive parachute jump, and she thought it was wonderful. Also she had raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. I rang Guide Dogs Office and they fixed everything for me with the London Parachute School.
All I had to do was turn up on the day, and agree to raise at least £300. This I did and had a wonderful and exciting day…..everyone was so kind and helpful.
I put a sponsorship form in the local Butchers, and he gave me ideas on how to raise a good amount of money. He suggested I sit on my motobility scooter outside his shop on the following Saturday morning, along with Guide Dogs if I could conjure some up. I had a lady who did puppy walking, another who kept a retired Guide Dog and another who had a working dog.Two local papers took pictures and did articles. The fun had started even before the Sky Dive began. I eventually sent £1237 to Guide Dogs .A great feeling.
At the event most people there were doing Tandem Skydives for charity, and many had never done anything like it before. No training was needed, just a few instructions on Do’s and Don’ts. The instructor “did all the work”, and all I had to do was “go along for the ride” . I thoroughly enjoyed it, just as the 80 year old had done who was my inspiration.
Up in the aircraft (strapped to the instructor) to 10,000 ft…..exit the aircraft and Sky Dive to 5,000ft. He opens the parachute and we glide down to the ground safely all too soon it’s all done. Fantastic!”
So, take up the challenge and enjoy the thrill of skydiving.