Answers To Common Questions About Skydiving

Answers To Frequently-Asked Questions


  • Must present a photo ID (such as your driver’s license).
  • Minimum age to jump – 18 years old.
  • Maximum weight – 250 pounds.
  • Absolutely no alcohol consumption (or other drug) before jumping.  (Feel free to have a drink or 2 after jumping, though – in the designated area!)

What if I’m afraid of heights?

A surprising number of people who say they are afraid of heights jump, and some are experienced skydivers.  They have a blast anyway.

The reason is that acrophobia (the fear of heights) has a lot to do with seeing things move in relation to other things.  In skydiving you are so far from the ground that everything looks static and unmoving – like a beautiful picture post card.

…It’s not like climbing a ladder or a cliff (which makes me nervous) where you can see the ground and everything on it moving as you move.

You know yourself better than anyone and what you can handle.  But just the fact you’re reading this means you’re different than most people when it comes to heights!

Should I have an empty stomach for this?

If you are the type who gets a queasy stomach easily, you may want to avoid a heavy meal before coming.  If you often get motion sick, surprisingly skydiving does not have that effect!  The reason is because motion sickness involves seeing motion in relation to something else… In skydiving, there is no relative motion; people who claim they get motion sick do not get sick jumping!

What height (“altitude”) will we jump from?

Most jumps are made from 13,000 feet above the ground.

I found another place with cheaper prices. Why pay more here?

Quality costs more. If people knew what they were sacrificing for cheaper prices at other drop zones, they would gladly pay more here.

How long does the skydive last?

The freefall time depends on your exit altitude. From 9,000 feet you’ll freefall for about 30 seconds, from 13,000 feet about 60 seconds and from 18,000 feet it’s about 90 seconds.

…The parachute will be deployed at around 5,000 ft., so you’ll have another 4 to 5 minutes before you land.

How long does the airplane ride take?

Not long – only about 10 – 15 minutes to get to 13,000 feet.

How fast do I free fall?

Freefall averages 120 miles per hour or 200ft per second.

Can I breath in freefall?

Yes, however in their excitement, some people ‘forget’ to breathe.  But nobody has ever had a real problem.

What does it feel like?

Laying on a firm cushion of air; there is no weightless feeling whatsoever.

Does it hurt when the parachute opens?

Not at all.  It’s a smooth deceleration that takes you from vertical free fall to horizontal gliding flight.  It still amazes me after 35 years of jumping.

What if the parachute doesn’t open?

By FAA regulation (and common sense) every skydiving rig must be equipped with both a main and a reserve parachute. Basically, if one doesn’t work, you have another one.  All reserve parachutes are inspected and repacked every 180 days by a FAA-certified parachute rigger whether they’ve been used or not.

Student main parachutes are packed by a rigger or are packed under direct supervision of a certified rigger.

As a tandem skydiving student, you are with a trained professional who knows how to handle a malfunction and deploy the reserve canopy if it’s necessary.

…This is one of the advantages to tandem jumps; you leave the handling of the jump – to include any potential emergencies – to the professionals.  All you have to do is enjoy the ride and the view!

As a solo student, you are taught how to deploy your own main canopy and how to handle any problems that may arise. That’s why the solo skydiving course (known as the “AFF course”) is so in-depth and takes up to 8 hours to complete before making your first jump.

Okay, what if both main and reserve fail?

When I started skydiving back in 1978, the gear was not nearly as advanced as it is today. And there were no AADs (Automatic Activation Devices) or audible altitude warning devices either.  So I heard a couple stories of dual parachute failures ‘back in the old days.’  Nowadays, however, this is unheard of.

I don’t know if anyone has ever done a bona fide study on the chances of both parachutes failing.  But I bet the odds are so remote that you’d be much more likely to be taken out in an automobile mishap!

What if I can’t or don’t pull my ripcord for some reason?

All of our student skydiving rigs at SkyDance SkyDiving are equipped with the latest model AADs – “Automatic Activation Devices.” They are computer-controlled devices that will automatically deploy your reserve parachute if you are still free falling below a certain altitude.

Are the landings hard?

Not at all.  It’s usually about like stepping off a foot stool.

Can I have my jump videoed and photographed?

Yes, in fact we have professional free fall videographers who specialize in recording jumps. Not only are they equipped with high-end still and video cameras that they wear on special helmets, but they have video-editing equipment.

If you order a video for your jump, you will leave the drop zone with a professionally-edited to music, high-def DVD of your jump, to include high-res still photographs.  Included will be ground video before you board the plane and video of your landing as well.

Does the price of video/photos cover everyone in the group?

No.  Video will need to be purchased for each person who wants it, because everyone cannot jump out together at the same time.

The videographer may, however, be able to get some nice pictures and video of you and all your friends on the ground before the jump.

Can I bring my own camera while skydiving?

No. The cameras used in skydiving are bolted to specially designed camera helmets. Holding onto a camera during free fall just really isn’t an option.

Can we all go in the same plane?

We will try, as much as possible, to keep your group together. However, groups more than 3 might be split.  This isn’t a big deal, however, because you can’t all jump out at the same time anyway.  (The parachutes would be opening too close together.)

What should I wear?

Comfortable clothing (blue jeans or shorts) and athletic shoes. We will provide a jumpsuit for you to wear.  Avoid high platform shoes, hiking boots, and open toes shoes such as sandals.

What if it rains, what happens then?

If we are not able to jump because of weather, we can reschedule your jump for another day of your choosing.

Do you have gift certificates?

Yes. Gift certificates available upon request.

Do I need a reservation?

Reservations are strongly recommended in order for us to provide you with the best customer service.  Walk-ons will be accepted on a space available basis.

How long will this take?

Plan on staying most of the day, especially on the weekends.  (Bring a picnic lunch!)  But if time is an issue, schedule your jump as early as possible.

Drop zones – similar to restaurants – tend to be busier later in the day.

How experienced are your instructors?

All SkyDance SkyDiving instructors are USPA-rated, most of whom have over 2,000 skydives experience.  Some of us have made well over 10,000 skydives.  In fact, SkyDance has some of the most experienced instructors on the planet.

You are in good hands.

Should I tip my Instructor?

The short answer is yes – but only if you want to.  Our main goal is for you to have a safe, fun skydive and we would never make you feel obligated to tip us.  But tipping is a good way to show appreciation for your instructor, who works hard to make sure you have as fun and safe a jump as possible.

(Btw, the instructors get only a small fraction of the money you pay for your skydive, because most has to go for a drop zone’s biggest expenses – the airplanes and maintenance on them, aviation fuel, updated skydiving gear, facilities, etc.)

How do I get my skydiving license?

SkyDance SkyDiving has a great program to train you in all aspects of sport parachuting. Lessons on freefall safety, emergency procedures, canopy control, and much more are taught in bite-sized chunks.

…This way you won’t be overwhelmed and it stays fun.

Our 25 jump program is a comprehensive training package that will take you to your US Parachute Association “A” license so you can skydive with your friends anywhere in the United States or in the world.

Where can I get more information on skydiving?

You are more than welcome to call us at (530) 753-2651 and our staff will be happy to answer any question about skydiving. Another good source for information about skydiving is the United States Parachute Association and you can contact them at www.uspa.org.