Published: August 29, 2017
Skydiving may seem pretty intuitive. You launch from a plane, free fall for 60 seconds, pull a parachute, land on the ground and experience a massive adrenaline rush.
But there's so much more to the sport than you can possibly imagine! Skydiving takes a lot of skill that expands far beyond what one might think of when they see videos of skydivers playing around in the sky. It's not as easy as it looks, but it is as fun as it looks.
We guarantee there are a few tidbits here that will surprise you. And we challenge you to book a first jump with us so you can experience some of this for yourself.
It's Mentally Stimulating
Believe it or not, it's not all about the adrenaline rush. In fact, the more experienced a skydiver is, the less likely they are to experience much of a rush at all.
But one thing that never dissipates, no matter how many jumps, is the cleanse it gives your mind. Skydiving is an activity that requires you to live completely in the moment. Many skydivers view it as a form of meditation because it forces them to focus completely on a single task.
In that moment of freefall, all of the regular stresses of life disappear and you're overcome with a sense of clarity. The adrenaline and endorphins that are released make you feel happier and the act of successfully pulling off a skydive increases your confidence.
It Doesn't Feel Like Falling
When skydiving, you won't feel like you're falling. Seriously. Many people think that skydiving is the act of falling from a plane and landing on the ground. To those people, it must sound like the Tower of Terror free fall ride at Disney World on an excruciating nonstop loop.
But skydiving doesn't give you that uncomfortable vertigo feeling. It actually feels more like you're floating, or even flying once you learn how to use your body as a wing.
While you may lose your stomach for a second, you accelerate to terminal velocity within a few seconds. Once you hit that speed, skydiving feels much more like an industrial-sized fan is blowing wind up at your belly than anything close to falling.
Since you're focused so completely on the moment, time seems to slow down to a halt.
It May Bite You
If skydiving were a bug, we'd say all experienced skydivers have been "bit" and are now living out their lives battling the symptoms. For many people, skydiving is such an out-of-this-world experience that it keeps us coming back for more. This is why many tandem instructors -- the ones who skydive for a living -- have thousands of jumps. It's why hundreds of people sign up for the Student Training Program each year after completing their first tandem jump.
Skydiving is an activity that may lead to addiction. It's the best kind of addiction though because it not only introduces you to a new activity, but it offers mental health benefits that will help you to lead happier and more confident lives.
Once you're bit, you won't want to quit.
It Will Give You New Respect For Trust
Much of skydiving is about trust. You're trusting the pilot to get you up to altitude safely. You're trusting your instructor to conduct the skydive safely. You're trusting the plane and the gear you're wearing.
All of these factors might scare you, but you're skydiving anyway and you TRUST that you'll be OK. This is the foundation that keeps our sport running.
All of us skydivers have an unbelievable amount of not only trust, but respect, for our gear. We also trust that our friends we're flying with are going to be responsible and we trust ourselves to know we can handle a problem should one arise.
This trust and respect also carry over into our normal lives. Having trust that things are meant to happen the way they're meant to happen and respect for the process and the journey are some of the most beneficial lessons you can take away from a skydive.
It's Not That Extreme
We realize that most people view skydiving as an extreme sport. It's dangerous, sure, we won't deny that.
In 2016, the United States Parachute Association recorded 21 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.2 million jumps. For tandem skydiving, that equates to one student fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee.
Skydiving equipment has also evolved dramatically, helping skydivers to fly more safely. Did you know that most skydiving rigs have an automatic activation device? In the unlikely case a skydiver passes out, their parachute will automatically deploy for them at a certain altitude!
You can still tell your friends that you did something totally extreme though -- we won't tell.
I cannot recommend Finger Lakes Skydivers enough. They did such a good job that I will definitely do this again and I will be returning to Finger Lakes Skydivers to do it.
» Jeremy C.