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Published: March 28, 2017
Have you ever considered skydiving but felt held back by a fear? Perhaps it's a general fear of skydiving itself. Maybe you're afraid of heights or of flying and that's what holds you back.
Whatever your fear, be assured that you're not alone. Did you know that many people who skydive just once and those who skydive thousands of times have experienced similar fears? Even the most seasoned jumper still gets butterflies in their stomachs from time to time - it's all part of the experience!
But a fear of skydiving needn't hold you back. It's one of the most incredible experiences you'll ever have. We're here to help you get over your fear of skydiving and take the leap - both mentally and physically! Here's how to get over a fear of skydiving.
Understand the risks from the get-go
We're not going to sugar coat this; skydiving is a risky sport. You're jumping from an airplane and that means there are inherent risks to your safety, and we won't pretend there aren't.
One of the best ways to overcome your fear of skydiving is to understand those risks - and how we mitigate them - from the start.
From the moment you come to sign on for your skydive with us, you'll be asked to sign forms which reiterate the inherent risks of our sport and which ask you to sign to acknowledge this and state you will not sue in the event of an accident. This isn't a joke; it's not outside of the boundaries of possibility that you could be injured, or worse, during your jump.
What we can tell you, however, is that, as a center and as a sporting community globally, we take all the steps we can to mitigate this risk. And the risk mitigation steps we take are improving all the time too, as technology progresses and our equipment matures.
For example, we all now jump with something called an AAD, or automatic activation device. This means that in the unlikely event we are unable to safely deploy our own parachutes, the device will recognize our speed and altitude and deploy our parachute for us.
We also jump with two parachutes - a main and a reserve - which means, should the main fail to deploy correctly (something that happens in around 1 in 1000 jumps on average), we have a second parachute to get us safely to the ground.
There are plenty more processes and technologies we use to lessen the risks associated with skydiving as much as we can. If you have a fear of jumping and want to find out more, please feel free to get in touch.
Know what to expect on your skydive
While your skydiving experience is unique to you, the actual journey we take the process we go through in taking someone for a tandem skydive is always the same - it's part of our risk mitigation process.
This means you can get a very clear idea of what's going to happen before you even arrive at the skydiving center. Here, in brief, is what you can expect on your jump:
Arrival at the drop zone and sign on with reception; here, you'll be asked to fill in all relevant forms and to sign to state you understand what you are doing and the associated risks.
Briefing from our experienced instructors; you'll spend around 20 minutes learning all you need to know to keep you as safe as possible on your skydive and to ensure you have an enjoyable experience, including the body position to adopt to exit the airplane and in freefall, and how to lift your legs for landing.
Wait; depending on the time you arrive, your place in line, weather conditions and how busy the skydiving center is, you may find yourself waiting for up to a few hours before your jump. Use this time to watch other skydivers coming in to land their parachutes and to relax before your jump.
Boarding the aircraft; this isn't like your usual commercial flight. Skydiving aircraft are much smaller and you'll likely find yourself sat on a bench amongst other tandem skydivers and experienced jumpers. The atmosphere is happy and jovial, with people high fiving, shaking hands and getting ready for their jumps.
Exiting the aircraft; at this point, you'll be attached to your instructor, who will guide you to the door. You'll sit on the edge of the doorframe and, if you have opted to have your jump filmed, you'll have the chance to wave and smile at your camera person too!
Freefall; this is where you're the most free on your jump. Attached to your instructor, you're falling toward the earth in a way that feels far less like falling, far more like floating on air! The wind rushes by you and you'll feel the adrenaline pumping through your body.
Parachute ride; after around 60 seconds in freefall, your instructor will deploy the parachute. Everything gets quiet and slows down. You'll be able to relax and take in the views around you. You can also speak to your instructor now (who can't hear you in freefall, but can now).
Landing; the final part of your skydiving is the parachute landing. If you've come with friends and family, they'll be able to watch your approach to the landing area and you'll be able to wave to them. On the landing itself, you'll be asked to raise your legs nice and high to keep them out of the way, allowing your instructor to slow the parachute's descent and bring you in for a gentle landing, usually in a seated position.
Learn about the equipment
Skydiving equipment can look very strange when you don't know what you're looking at. All the handles and metal work and strings all over the place can be quite daunting if you're already a bit nervous about your jump.
During your brief, you'll learn about the important parts of the equipment and how your instructor will use them. It's worth noting that there is no part of the equipment designed for you to use - your instructor will be in charge of everything during your jump, so all you have to think about is your own body position.
One of the things you'll learn about our equipment is that we always jump with two parachutes - a 'main' and a 'reserve'. This means that in the event the first parachute fails to deploy correctly, we have another in reserve which we can quickly and easily deploy for a safe journey back to the ground.
We also jump with an 'automatic activation device' (AAD) which ensures our parachute is automatically opened for us in the unlikely event we are for any reason unable to do so by a safe altitude.
Skydiving equipment has evolved greatly since the early days and today's skydiver has the most advanced technologies in place to mitigate as much risk as possible. We also have very clear processes which enable us to care for our equipment and ensure it's always in top condition. Our equipment is all tested and regulated.
You'll learn lots more about the equipment and be able to see it all in front of you when you come for your jump.
Look at the stats
Unfortunately, sometimes our opinions and thoughts about skydiving can be skewed by negative reports, particularly if the press gets hold of a story relating to skydiving safety.
It's a truth of our sport that sometimes people do get injured, or worse, as we discussed earlier in this post. But the way that is reported can sometimes be inaccurate or sensationalized.
The thing is journalists don't really understand skydiving. Unless they approach the skydiving center or the USPA for more information, there's always a chance they'll get things wrong or present them unfairly. If you'd like to find about more about skydiving safety statistics, visit the USPA (United States Parachute Association) website.
Come and give it a try!
Of course, the best way to get over a fear of skydiving is to give it a try!
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