Skydiving For Dummies: What You Need to Know

Skydiving For Dummies: What You Need to Know

Published: April 24, 2017

You don't have to be an "A" student to get an A license--so much is clear. Even so, there are baseline bits of information that you need to have, even if they're the only lonely fish swimming around the immense bowl of your skull. So: Without further ado, warm up the engine in your thinking machine and get ready for some input.

Uh--what's a USPA Group Member? People are all, like, serious about it.

Boy howdy, it is serious. It stands for Uppity Skydiver Panic Attack. You're a member of an Uppity Skydiver Panic Attack group when somebody suggests that the original Point Break is the greatest movie of all time and a whole hangar full of people immediately list the film's problems as quickly and loudly as they can.

Okay, okay. We kid. The USPA has nothing to do with uppity skydivers and even less to do with panic attacks. "USPA" is an acronym that stands for the United States Parachute Association. The USPA is the governing body which guides and oversees the sport of skydiving. It issues licenses for sport skydivers, administers our third-party insurance and--very importantly--sets the gold standards for skydiving safety, training and equipment to which all USPA group member dropzones must adhere. They move mountains to keep the sport growing safely and to promote jumper education from each student's jump #1 to jump #100,001.

If you're looking for a place to skydive, make sure your search begins and ends with USPA group members, as those high standards are the essential underpinnings of a fun, safe jump.

I'm A Sophomore In High School. I Can Jump, Right?

Well: If you're an 18-year-old sophomore and can prove it with a valid government photo ID, we offer your parents our condolences but will happily welcome you as a tandem skydiving student. You must be of legal age to jump at Skydive Finger Lakes--in the U.S., that means 18. (If you come out to see us on your 18th birthday, you may rest assured that you won't be the first that couldn't hardly wait. A skydive is a heck of a lot better than birthday cake.)

Can Skydiving Make Me Lose These Extra Pounds?

Skydiving is a sport. It's true! And y'know what? Skydiving just might help you shake off that ballast, but not because it's the Cabbage Soup Diet of the skies. It might help you lose weight because you're so focused on the goal of getting down to the maximum allowable weight to make a tandem jump.

It's super-important to understand that the weight limit isn't an aesthetic thing. Far from it! You see: Parachuting equipment, like every other flying machine in the sky, can only be operated within a very specific weight range, or it's in danger of failing. Risking equipment failure on a skydive is something we are absolutely unwilling to do (and you're probably not too into the idea, either, if we're being honest.) So: go for that goal weight and celebrate it with us in the sky!

A Skydive Is Gonna Be Fine After All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Lunch, Right? Because I Am Hun-gry.

Unless you want to see it later? No. Eat healthfully and moderately--no fasting, and no bingeing--on the day of your skydive. We suggest that you bring fruit to snack on in case there's a wait.

Do I, Like, Seriously Have To Wear That Jumpsuit? It's So, Like, Ghostbusters. And I Can, Like, Totally Jump In These, Like, Heels, Can't I?

If you want to run around the dropzone asking people who they're gonna call and whether they are or not afraid of no ghost, please feel free. The fact stands, however, that those jumpsuits we offer you are a great idea. Firstly, they protect your clothes from getting dirty on the plane or upon landing; secondly, they provide a nice layer of insulation against the chillier temperatures up at altitude. Anyway--we think they make you look a little more pro, and that can't be a bad thing.

As to the heels: nuh uh nope. On a skydive, you should wear shoes you can jog in if you wanted to--and make sure they lace firmly up. The sky loves to grab loose shoes!

You Know We're Kidding--Right?

We know you're a smart cookie. You read this far, didn't you? And you're already looking for a reputable dropzone with a sterling track record, a gorgeous view and top-notch staff, or you wouldn't be reading this website at all.

We can't wait to meet you, you Clever McSmartypants, you!