Be knowledgeable and prepared before your first sky dive
When people begin considering skydiving for the first time, usually many thoughts are racing through their head all at once. One of those biggest and most prominent thoughts and feelings is none other than fear. It’s understandable – there should be an element of fear when it comes to jumping out of a moving plane.
As experienced skydivers, even we are a little suspicious of people who head out for their first jump saying they have no fear at all about what they are about to do. Also as experienced skydivers, we can also tell you that most of those people end up feeling the fear once they get 12,000 feet above the ground and start looking back down towards it. Like we said, it’s only natural.
As natural as it might be to be scared though, we’d like to do our part to help all you would-be skydivers get over that fear. We of course recommend skydiving very highly to just about everyone, and we think it would be a shame if you didn’t get to go as a result of (often unfounded) fear. So, we put together a list of some of the best tactics we’ve discovered over the years to keep your fear from conquering you before you even get up in the plane.
Know the facts – Skydiving seems inherently dangerous, doesn’t it? Being all the way up there in that plane, that will eventually make a safe landing, and you’re thinking about jumping out of it. Yea, we know, that seems pretty dangerous.
In reality though, skydiving is one of the safest sports you could participate in. Sure, it has the potential to be extremely dangerous, but so does driving a car. In fact, the potential danger of driving a car (or even just riding in one) is a lot higher than jumping out of a plane. One of the sayings in the skydiving community, is that skydiving is less dangerous than walking across a Wal-Mart parking lot. Think about that on your next trip to Wal-Mart, it’s a lot more hardcore than you once thought.
In reality, about 60 people die per year due to skydiving accidents. That might seem like a lot, but with hundreds of thousands of jumps per year, it is really just a drop in the bucket. Almost all jumps go off without a hitch, since the safety features of all the equipment are so advanced and all equipment is inspected thoroughly before each jump. Of those 60 people per year, most of them are professionals who got a little too daring – not first-timers. Some experienced professionals will jump on days where the weather makes it unsafe, or tempt fate by waiting way too long to pull their chutes. These aren’t issues that will arise for any first time jumper.
Talk to some people who have gone skydiving before – Think you don’t know anyone who’s been skydiving before? You might be surprised. Try posting up on one of your social media accounts that you’re planning to go skydiving and ask if anyone has ever done it before. Chances are, at least a few of your friends will have tried it, sometimes the people you least expect.
If none of your friends have tried it, then head out to drop zone closest to you and talk to the people who have just come down. Ask them what they thought of their first experience. It is very rare for a person to go skydiving their first time and not have rave reports about the experience once they hit the ground. It’s that much fun.
It sounds crazy, but most of those first-timers will probably admit to being incredibly scared before they jumped, but will also admit to all that fear simply vanishing the second they exited the aircraft. It’s just too exhilarating of an experience to let that fear back in.
Once you talk to a few people who have done it before, and loved it, the whole experience will start to seem a whole lot less scary to you.
Go indoor skydiving first – This is sort of a new phenomenon, but is a great way to let you experience the feeling of skydiving, without all the perceived risk. You’re probably thinking though, “How can I go skydiving indoors? Wouldn’t you need a really tall building?”
Indoor skydiving is technically not indoor skydiving, although the facilities are sometimes located indoors. A better way to describe indoor skydiving is a wind tunnel. It’s a fairly tall (around two or three stories) and cylindrical structure that has a high powered fan at the bottom of it. Once you enter, they will turn on the fan, which is strong enough to cause a full-grown adult to levitate in the air inside the wind tunnel. Once you are levitating, the wind rushes past you and you get to feel what skydiving is like, although any skydiving enthusiast will say there’s no comparison to the real thing.
That’s the greatest part though, because once you try the wind tunnel, you will likely be hungry for a bit more adrenaline, which can only be attained by the real thing. You’ll know what the free fall feels like, and you’ll need more. You’ll know that the wind resistance doesn’t hurt and you’ll understand that skydiving accidents are rare, and you’ll gain your confidence back quickly.
Just don’t take the easy way out and figure you’ve gotten the whole experience by entering the wind tunnel, and that you don’t need to try the real version. While a wind tunnel can definitely be a lot of fun, it should be used to prepare you for the skydiving experience, not to replace it.
While we always say, if you have a crippling fear of heights or if you’re about to have a panic attack just thinking about skydiving, it might not be for you. At the same time, those fears can be overcome easily, and skydiving is such a fun and exhilarating activity that it would be a shame for you to deprive yourself from it, due to something as curable as your own fear. Everyone has their own tactics for coming to terms with their fear before making their first jump – we’d love to hear yours too!