Skydiving is one of the most amazing experiences we are lucky enough to have access to. Falling very fast from super high using only the power of gravity speaks to us on some kind of elemental level, but it also sets off some alarm bells in our tree-climbing, branch-clinging monkey brains. While these assumptions, that are sometimes created by television and movies for the sake of entertainment – or even possibly just from thinking about it beforehand – it is worth knowing that many things people feel are potentially worrying facts of skydiving are not true. However you come about acquiring them, here below are some of the things that cause anxiety for people before they go skydiving – and reasons why you should not worry about them.
It is normal to think that jumping out of an airplane then accelerating downwards until you hit terminal velocity might cause sensations similar to that of a rollercoaster, but it does not! Riding a fairground attraction or rollercoaster involves forces applied to your body that quickly change – sometimes making you heavier than you usually are, sometimes lighter. Up and down and round and round – which is what jiggles the contents of your stomach about. When you skydive the forces applied to your body are smooth and constant. Yes you go fast, yes it is awesome, no it does not fling you around like other ‘extreme’ things that are often marketed inaccurately as being similar.
As above – skydiving does not cause the kind of physical effects on your body that make you want to throw up. Any result other than an enormous smile is extremely rare. In fact, skydiving has the opposite effect on how your brain works – it is the very epitome of living in the moment. Skydiving is an amazing sensory experience that fills up your whole being while it is happening. Even if you had some iffy leftover tacos for breakfast and determinedly marched yourself to the dropzone feeling not quite 100% you would very likely forget all about it when you arrive.
When you jump you do not fall straight down off the side of the plane – your momentum carries you forward in the same direction of travel as the aircraft. The effect of falling at speed creates a cushion of wind relative to our bodies – indeed called ‘relative wind’ that supports your position quite comfortably. Think of sticking your hand out of the window of a car while traveling at speed – this is the best way to understand the forces involved before you go to jump. Your senses don’t even communicate to you that you are falling – you are simply flying about, lying on this supportive cushion of air, using it for stability and control.
‘Ground rush’ is a term used for an optical effect that happens when you fall towards the ground at speed. Think again about when you are driving along in a car. The objects that you pass on the side of the road gather speed and zip by as you pass them, but the mountains in the distance only creep closer very slowly. When you skydive the same thing happens but vertically. The ground below you is the same as those mountains in the distance – slowly getting closer if you stare at them, but not near quickly enough to be concerned about. If there were road signs in the sky you would indeed zoom past them at 120mph, but there are none. Just you up there, playing in an infinity of space. Far down below there comes a point where you would indeed experience ground rush, but this is significantly lower than the opening altitude of your parachute. Your equipment even has a device in it that opens you parachute automatically.
Everyone feels nervous about going skydiving for the first time. It is the right way to feel. Our monkey-in-a-tree impulses mean we are naturally scared of falling off stuff. However, each step of the process you go through on the dropzone will serve to reassure you of the excellent choices you have made to bring you here. From turning up at our facility at Skydive Orange, seeing people land with huge smiles on their faces, meeting your instructors, getting briefed and geared up. Every step of the way will have you feeling better and better about what you will experience jumping from 13,500 feet.
The nerves will still be with you on the way to altitude, but mixed in with the excitement of what is to come. The best part is when you go. The whole experience of skydiving is unique in its awesomeness – the freefall, the parachute flight and the sense of achievement afterward – but the very first second that you jump out of the plane your brain suddenly understands everything all at once. It is easy. It is the best thing ever. All the skydiving anxiety and fear you had are completely gone. Ready? Contact us today!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.