Skydiving guest from Morgantown, West Virginia in freefall

3 Phases of Skydiving: Freefall, Parachute and Landing

Monday, May 11, 2020

Welcome to the world of skydiving. You will experience nothing like this extraordinary activity and if you’re reading this, we anticipate you’re preparing to make your first skydive. One of the most frequently asked questions we get is, what does skydiving feel like? What does the parachute opening feel like? And how do you steer the parachute to land? Well, grab some tea or coffee and join us on a journey. We’ll take you on a word roller coaster the best we can to answer all these questions of these skydiving details. 

3 Phases of Skydiving: Freefall, Parachute and Landing | Skydive Orange

WHAT DOES SKYDIVING FEEL LIKE

Depending on who you ask, you may get hundreds of different answers. However, the most common answer on what skydiving feels like is: you just have to try it for yourself! And that’s true. There’s nothing quite like skydiving in our day-to-day lives. However, let’s try to explain…

Imagine, walking into a place where you feel the wind in your hair as you arrive and everyone is wide-eyed, smiling, wearing colorful suits, and talking with exaggerated excitement. You are new, but feel so welcomed. 

Then, you are trained, suited up and board the aircraft with your instructor. You leave the limits of the two-dimensional world and are skybound. The hum of the aircraft engines is soothing and you get lost in your thoughts gazing out of the plane. Then you are hooked up to your instructor. 

Your heart begins to beat faster, palms sweat, and you fight your nerves: this is crazy, no, this is going to be awesome! Then you climb towards the open door. Everything in your mind tells you that it’s safe in the plane and you should ride down. But you fight those thoughts and before you know it you’re engulfed in the wind as it wraps a cool breeze around you. 

There’s a moment of fear, then you open your eyes and realize you are flying. It doesn’t even seem like you are falling! You can see the miniature landscape below and you feel free. So. Free!

That – is sort of what skydiving feels like. 

TRANSITION FROM FREEFALL TO PARACHUTE

After a few thousand feet of pure bliss and wonderment, the next phase of skydiving is initiated: time to pull the parachute. A mini white parachute was already mushroomed over you to slow your freefall descent, then at the designated altitude, your instructor will deploy the main parachute. 

A ball of fabric is released from a bag and all of a sudden you transition from falling belly to earth to upright hanging from the harness. The parachute design helps slow the opening and the harness comfortable enough to withstand the transition, making the freefall to parachute feel more abrupt than a jerk or whiplash.  

Then you are wondrously suspended over the earth, just floating with the clouds and the birds. It’s quieter than freefall but still a rush of wind caresses your face as you and your instructor spiral down towards the earth. 

That – is sort of what the transition from freefall to parachute feels like. 

HOW TO STEER THE PARACHUTE TO LAND

The parachute design is magnificently simple. The steering toggles are released in which the instructor clasps after the parachute inflated. When the right toggle is pulled, the parachute is cupped, creating drag and causing it to turn in that direction. And the same with the other side. 

You and the skydiving instructor make effortless turns in each direction to lose altitude and get closer to earth. Then you enter a landing pattern, very similar to a commercial plane lining up to land into the wind on a runway. The final turns are made and the instructor pulls both toggles down to slow the descent for the final touch down – most likely a butt slide landing. 

And it is glorious! And the other skydiving detail? You’ll feel elated, confident, and jazzed. For you have just jumped from an airplane and discovered for yourself what it feels like to skydive! 

Are you ready to take the leap and discover what skydiving feels like for you? Contact us and we’ll be happy to welcome you to Skydive Orange! And we’d love to hear your stories!

Chris Posillico Skydive Orange AFF Student

Chris Posillico

I always felt secure in my actions because I knew that I was well prepared by my instructors and coaches.

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

Tandem Skydiving Student Skydive Orange

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