To be able to dive amongst the clouds and experience the thrill of free fall, you need to learn to skydive. Skydiving is probably the most popular extreme sport there is and is constantly growing in popularity between people of all age.
Despite the rumors and terrifying skydiving myths, this activity is also one of the safest and most enjoyable. In order to learn how to skydive you need to get through various steps and follow proper procedures.
The first thing you should do is to learn as much as you can about this sport before you actually go and try it out in practice. This will give you the basic idea about various procedures and expectations and also prepare you mentally for the things that will lie ahead of you.
Of course, no amount of theoretical inquiry can replace the actual feeling of free fall, but knowing few things about the parachute, materials used, emergency procedures, etc., will come handy when you will come in contact with the sport outdoors for the first time.
The second step to take to learn to skydive is to find a suitable skydiving company with qualified instructors. Your best searching tool is the internet or your local business magazine or yellow pages. If you reside in the US, you may also consider calling United States Parachute Association who should be able to recommend various skydiving companies in your area.
Once you find a company you feel most comfortable dealing with, you should decide upon which type of training do you wish to undergo. You are best off to ask your company what are the differences between various training options and which one do they recommend based on your preferences or limitations.
a) Great way to begin with your training and learn how to skydive is to try it out in a tandem jump. This is a jumping method where one individual is strapped under another person who has a parachute. In your situation, you would be strapped to an instructor who would entirely operate with the equipment, leaving you free to enjoying the experience.
Tandem jump is not only a good way to get to know the sport better before you continue with your training, but also provides the choice to change your mind if you dislike it.
Begin with your training and learn how to skydive.
b) You can begin by taking static line (S/L) lessons before actual high-altitude-out-of-an-airplane free fall jumps take place. During the static line lessons, you will train seriously for up to six hours and take jumps from an altitude of 3000 feet. The line that is attached to an airplane takes care of the parachute deployment, which eliminates the risk of a student not opening his/hers chute on time. Static line lessons offer no more than 2 to 3 seconds of free fall so not much is happening yet.
Once you complete the S/L lessons you will be required to jump and pull the chute immediately upon exiting the airplane. You will then progressively take longer free falls from progressively higher altitudes. After you are done with 25 free falls you are cleared off student status and will receive your A license.
c) The last way to learn to skydive is to undergo accelerated free fall program (AFF). The AFF requires more ground training, but will give you the opportunity to make a 50 second free fall on your very first jump. You will jump from an aircraft from the altitude of 10.000 – 12.000 feet together with two instructors who will teach you basic maneuvers.
Later in the learning process, you will be jumping with only one instructor who will teach you more advanced techniques and maneuvers. After you are done learning with the instructors you will need to take 25 free fall jumps on your own and with coaches to help you improve your skills.
While you learn how to skydive and undertake theoretical and practical training it is important to ask as many questions as they come up in your mind. Remember that when it comes to skydiving, no question is too stupid to ask, since unanswered stupid questions usually result in unwanted consequences.