Skydiving in the UK
Whether you’re there for vacation…
… or you live there, if you want to try skydiving in the UK, there are a lot of great opportunities. Just like when going skydiving in the United States, you should always feel completely confident when skydiving in the UK, because the operators there have great safety records and are always looking out for their customer’s best interest.
That being said, we certainly aren’t suggesting just waltzing up to any old skydiving operator and jumping without doing your research first. While just about all of the operators in the UK are safe, it’s your life and it would be foolish of you to jump without first looking into the safety of things.
Given that skydiving is a surprisingly safe sport and the standards for safety in the UK are so high though, you should feel perfectly comfortable with just about any operator (after checking them out on your own). They will all make sure to be inspecting each piece of gear to be used thoroughly, so you’ll always be jumping with safe equipment.
Another thing adding to the safety of your jump, is the fact that you’ll be jumping with a jumpmaster. While it is possible to do an Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) on your first jump, meaning you get longer training and then jump solo, while attached to a jumpmaster by a rope, that is rare. Most people jumping for their first time will jump with a jumpmaster literally strapped to their back, controlling everything for them on the way down, so nothing can go wrong.
Best times of year to go skydiving in the UK
One of the most important factors of a successful jump is suitable weather. If you’re a UK resident or have spent a considerable amount of time in the UK, you’ll know that the weather is very rarely suitable for anything. This means that it won’t always be possible to go skydiving in the UK, whereas the weather is almost always suitable in a place like California.
While an overcast day might not stop you from jumping, heavy rains and wind will. Heavy rains and wind are also pretty common in the UK, so if you’re planning to go skydiving, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the weather leading up to your jump. If wind speeds reach more than 23 mph, then you won’t be allowed to jump, it simply isn’t safe enough.
Another thing to keep in mind is temperature. It’s pretty cold already 12,000 feet above the ground, even when it’s warm out otherwise. When it’s cold on the ground though, you can bet that it’s a whole lot colder all that way up in the sky. While there’s nothing stopping you from skydiving when it’s cold outside, you will probably enjoy it a whole lot more when it’s warmer out, especially if this is your first time skydiving.
Even though the weather in the UK is pretty unpredictable, we would have to suggest the summer time as the best time to go skydiving. Not only will it be warmer and more comfortable for you, but you’ll have a better chance of the type of good weather that will actually allow you up in the plane in the first place.
Preparing for your first jump
Most beginner skydivers are surprised to find out that they can show up at a drop zone in the morning and be in free fall by the afternoon. While common sense tells most people that there should be a much longer training period before they are allowed to jump out of a plane, that’s actually not completely true.
When you show up, first you’ll confirm whether or not the weather on that day is suitable to let you jump. Once it’s confirmed suitable, you’ll start your training session. Depending on the facility you frequent, this might be taught by an instructor, or you may have to watch a video. Either way, this will go over the basics of skydiving, what to do, what not to do and all other important information that you’ll want to know before you head up there.
You’ll also put on your gear at this point, so you can get an idea of how it all fits, and how to put it on. Keep in mind, the gear will NOT be comfortable, so just get it as comfortable as you can and don’t spend too much time trying to make it perfect.
Even though you’ll hope it never happens, you’ll also learn what to do in case of an emergency in the air. Your jumpmaster will be fully capable of handling any situation that arises, but just in case he is to pass out or become unable to help, you should know what to do in an emergency situation. While this is extremely unlikely to ever happen, you should be prepared and in the know about what to do, just in case something like that does happen.
After this short training session (couple of hours) is over, then you’ll be already to get in the plane, go up to 12,000 feet and make your first skydive a reality.
What type of clothes to wear
There isn’t much in the way of stuff you have to bring, just remember a couple things. Dress warm and dress comfortable. Even if it’s warm out on the ground, it will be pretty cold up there in the air. Jumping without warm clothes will be uncomfortable as the wind whips against your skin. You’ll enjoy yourself a whole lot more if you dress warm to protect yourself from the elements.
Comfortable, loose fitting clothing is also important, because your skydiving gear is going to be uncomfortable. There’s really no way to make your skydiving gear more comfortable, except to counterbalance the gear with comfortable clothes. There’s nothing worse than being in uncomfortable skydiving gear while also realizing that your jeans are way too tight.
You’ll also want to make sure you wear closed-toed shoes that can be tightened. Sandals, flip-flops and open-toed shoes are a huge no-no. They can fly off when you’re in the air, injuring other jumpers or the people below you. While you may be permitted to jump without warm or comfortable clothes (people do skydive naked, you know), there will be no way you will be allowed to jump in open-toed shoes.
Where to go skydiving in the UK
There are many capable operators in the UK, so the best thing to do is to start calling around to the operators who are closest to you, and select the one who sounds like the best match. Here are a few of the top operators for various regions of the UK:
North London Skydiving
Hibaldstow Airfield, Hibaldstow
(near Brigg), North Lincolnshire, DN20 9NN
+44 (0) 113 250 5600
Skydive UK LTD
Those are just a few of the many, many operators in the UK who can help you accomplish your first jump. We recommend finding the one who’s closest to you and asking a few questions about their safety record, prices and availability. You’ll probably find there are a lot more operators in your area than you ever imagined before.