Do you think that everyone falls at the same speed when they’re skydiving? Or maybe you’re speculating that you may actually go up when the parachute opens? Both FALSE! We’re here to lay out the skydiving facts and debunk the myths, so when you’re ready to take the biggest leap of your life (it’s that epic!), you’ll know exactly what’s comin’!
Myth: Skydiving Is Extremely Dangerous
Let’s address this one first – the big kahuna of skydiving myths! Skydiving is too often pegged as extremely dangerous. Yes, it is an extreme sport, and yes, there is risk involved. But, extremely dangerous is a bit of a stretch.
Truth is, you’re more likely to die from a lightning strike than a skydive – especially a tandem skydive where you’re secured to a highly-skilled professional. The risk of skydiving is minimized by numerous rules, regulations, protocols, and procedures. Skydiving is only fun if you live to tell the tale, which is why we don’t mess around. At Skydive New England, safety comes first – always.
Myth: You Can’t Breathe During Freefall
Do people sometimes get super duper excited and forget to breathe during freefall? Yes. But you are 100% able to take big, deep breaths as you soar the skies. There’s plenty of air up there and it’s self-serve!
Tip: if you feel yourself getting a bit tense, yell something (no one can hear you, anyway)! This will force you to take a big, deep breath in. Screaming “WOOOO” or maybe an expletive (we won’t judge!) will also make for a sick exit shot!
Myth: Everyone Falls At The Same Speed (Fall Rate)
Imagine you drop a feather and a brick from the same height, which will get to the ground first? Obviously the brick. But then, how do skydivers of all different shapes and sizes fall together and make those super sick formations? Well, now imagine you take a baggy suit (think full-body parachute pants from the ’80s) and put it on the brick, then add a weight belt to the feather…now they have a better chance of getting to the ground at the same time.
Myth: The Skydiver Goes Up When The Parachute Opens
When the parachute snatches open and inflates, it simply slows the rate of descent, it does not actually take the jumper(s) upward. The reason it always looks like this in videos is that the videographer is still in freefall!
Think about it this way, the videographer and the tandem pair are both falling about 120 mph (woo hoo!), then the tandem pair deploys and slows to about 30 mph … but the videographer is still zoomin’ at 120 until they deploy and slow down as well. The video captured in the few seconds in between are drastically different, thus making it look like the one who deploys first is going up!
Myth: All Skydivers Are Crazy
Pssh. Skydivers are some of the most genuine and interesting people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting!
We’re school teachers and college students, police officers and pharmacists, and what ties us together is our love for the sky and love of good people. And while we crave a good dose of adrenaline just as much as the next human, that’s not what it’s all about for us.
Skydiving offers the unique gift of new beginnings. Crazy as it may sound, skydiving will drastically improve your life, whether you jump once or thousands of times. The biggest thing people notice about their first skydive is not the rush or thrill, it’s the new perspective they gain from being physically above their earth-bound problems. We aren’t crazy, we just seek a nirvana level of happiness!
Myth: Skydiving Is (Only) For The Boys
Yes, men skydive, but there are super inspiring and prominent female figures in the sport! Women only make up about 15% of our number, but they most definitely make their positive mark.
There are certain skill courses, like canopy piloting, that are geared towards women and how their brains best process information. There’s also a recognized group called Sisters In Skydiving (SIS) that hosts events and essentially encourages veteran female jumpers to mentor the newcomers in the sport.
We’re a big family; brotherhood and sisterhood are of paramount importance to the skyfam!
Myth: It Takes FOREVER To Skydive Solo
Learning to skydive has never been more accessible! We won’t say the journey is easy; it takes a serious commitment of time, dedication to learning and understanding, and a true desire to excel at something, but it is possible to become a licensed skydiver fairly quickly.
Succinctly put, after one tandem, you’ll take a First Jump Course (FJC), then complete the Accelerated Freefall course (AFF). After passing AFF, you’ll go on to coach-evaluated jumps to check off the USPA (United States Parachute Association) requirements for the first of four skydiving licenses, the A-license. Simple enough, right!?