Developing your skydiving skills can make the experience more exciting and rewarding, and learning how to skydive is a fairly simple and straightforward process. If you book skydiving with DZONE, for example, you’ll be paired with an instructor who will train you in the process and complete the jump at your side! In what follows, we cover the basics of how to skydive so you can get a better sense of what to expect when you arrive for your first jump.
First things first: Read and choose to execute a DZONE Release, Waiver of liability, and Indemnity Agreement. If you have any questions about these documents, we encourage you to talk things over with an attorney. Safety is our top priority, and we expect you to have a full understanding of the terms before you sign the necessary forms.
Next, let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page. Skydiving can take many forms, so the question, “What is skydiving?” can have many different answers. In general, however, skydiving is a sport that involves jumping out of an airplane, performing mid-air maneuvers, deploying a parachute, and gliding to solid ground.
If you’re searching for skydiving near Boise or Bozeman, you’ll find that all locations offer tandem skydiving—an instructor-assisted skydiving experience that ensures a safe, fun jump with minimal required training.
Skydiving 101: Making the Jump
Here’s how tandem skydiving works from start to finish:
- Arrive at the jump site and get fitted for your harness. You and your instructor will be attached to one another, connected to a parachute designed to support two people.
- An instructor will show you the basics of freefalling and landing. In the air, you’ll want to keep your belly button pointed toward the ground, your back arched, your chin up, your face directed outward, and your legs bent at the knees—this position is known as “The Arch” or “Belly Flying,” depending on who you ask. You’ll also learn the correct landing approach—legs up!
- Ride in the airplane up to altitude. Skydiving may take place at a range of different heights, but our locations in Boise, Bozeman, and Coeur d’Alene drop skydivers at 13,000, 14,000, and 12,500 feet, respectively. You’ll just want to relax and enjoy the ride—which usually lasts less than 30 minutes.
- You can rely on your instructor to double-check the harness and ensure that all the equipment is working properly. When it’s time to leave the plane, you’ll keep your hands on your harness and your legs curled backward onto the instructor’s butt.
- Remember what you practiced in training? Assume the arch position for the freefall, which should last between 30 and 60 seconds and feels more like floating than falling. Be careful not to grab or pull the instructor, or anything attached to the instructor’s body.
- At the proper moment, your instructor will deploy the parachute. Your parachute ride—AKA canopy time—will last between five and nine minutes. Your instructor will pilot the parachute, but you can assist if so desired.
- The instructor will determine the proper landing approach, calculated on the basis of wind speed, direction, and location.
- When the ride is over, you’ll execute a sliding landing with your instructor. With your legs up in the correct landing position—up and out—you and your instructor will slide to a full stop.
Although we work hard to ensure that every part of your jump goes according to plan, skydiving carries inherent risks and there are no guarantees. In select circumstances, the jump plan may be adjusted in order to limit these risks.
If you enjoy your tandem jumping experience and want to take things to the next level, check out our jump school. We’ll show you everything you need to know to get your license and start jumping on your own.
Is Skydiving a Sport?
You’ve got the basics of skydiving—but is that all there is to it? Hardly. Once you’ve nailed the ins and outs of jumping, freefalling, and landing, there’s a ton that you can do with the time you spend up in the air. So, is skydiving a sport? Sky surfing, a special type of skydiving, was part of the X Games for a while—so we’d say the answer is yes! And in fact, there are actually quite a few different skydiving sports that experienced jumpers can play. Here are just a few:
- Sky Surfing: The skydiver wears a unique board and performs surfing/snowboarding-style tricks during the freefall.
- Formation Skydiving: A team of skydivers works together to construct shapes and perform unique feats in flight.
- Freestyle Skydiving: One jumper performs a kind of dance routine in flight.
Experienced divers who want to test their skills can check out any or all of the following competitions:
- The USPA National Parachuting and Skydiving Championships
- FAI World Freefall and Accuracy Landing Championships
- National Collegiate Parachuting Championships
- And many others!
Reading about how to skydive is one thing—experiencing the jump is another! If you’re ready to get first-hand experience with skydiving equipment and best practices, don’t wait to book your appointment! While you’re here, you can get an even better sense of how skydiving works by watching videos of experienced jumpers who were once just like you!