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Published: March 19, 2021
Though we've been told time and time again that patience is a virtue, playing the waiting game is easier said than done! It's not necessarily anyone's fault: we live in a society that favors instant gratification, and in many respects (think instant messaging, on-demand viewing, and lightning-fast internet connections) our world has been fashioned around an infatuation with the expeditious.
It is due to the bias "faster is always better" that being forced to wait any length of time deemed excessive comes across as a personal slight, indicative of inefficiency or suggestive of a lapse in attentive customer service.
However, to set some fair expectations for how long skydiving will take, we have to tell you the truth. In the skydiving industry, waiting is the norm. Are you familiar with the saying that good things take time? Well, this tends to be true, especially, when it comes to skydiving. If you want to enjoy a smooth experience, a rushed process simply won't cut it.
The process to get you checked-in, waivered, properly trained, and up in the air will usually take a few hours. Whether these few hours will err toward the two to three hour side or the the four to five hour side is dependent on the interplay of a variety of factors: the weather, your arrival time, and the number of people in the queue ahead of you.
Another element that will factor into the time it takes to finish the skydiving experience is the number of members in your skydiving group: the larger the group, the greater the amount of time it will take to get everyone in the air.
When there are significant delays during your skydiving day, the weather is often to blame. Skydiving aircraft must operate under visual flight rules (VFR). To put it more simply, the pilot must be able to see where the aircraft is going. It also means that there are strict weather requirements for safe skydiving. Weather variables that can cause skydiving delays are ground fog, a cloud layer at a low altitude, and/or unsafe wind conditions. Because of safety restrictions, conditions for skydiving must be optimal. We simply won't risk the wellbeing of our customers or our staff to skydive in unsafe weather.
The skydiving process is broken down into a few different steps. These are the estimated times associated with each part of the process.
Because of additional COVID-19 protocols, the check-in process will take 30-40 minutes. During check-in, we conduct temperature checks on each participant and require that our guests answer a COVID-19 questionnaire. At the time of check-in, we also collect payment, set up video services, and review paperwork. As a way to expedite the check-in process, we do require guests to fill out their waiver before arriving at our facilities.
Before your skydive, you will be required to watch a short training video. In this video, we will explain how to enter and exit the aircraft as well as the proper body position for freefall and landing. Your tandem training class takes about 20 minutes to complete.
When it is your turn to skydive, you will be introduced to your USPA rated tandem skydiving instructor. S/he will provide you with the gear that you need and help you to put on and adjust your skydiving harness. Once you are geared up, the instructor will go over final instructions and answer any skydiving related questions you may have at that time. This part of the skydiving process takes 20 minutes.
Boarding the aircraft and preparing for flight will only take about 5 minutes. Once you are securely seated and the plane takes off, it will take 20-25 minutes for the aircraft to reach jump altitude.
After exiting, you will experience an 120mph freefall for 30-45 seconds. At the appropriate altitude, your instructor will deploy the parachute. Once the parachute is deployed, you will have the chance to slow down and enjoy an amazing canopy flight to take in all the sights for around 4-5 minutes.
As the day goes on, small delays among any part of the skydiving process really begin to add up. For the best chance for an expedited skydiving experience, schedule for the earliest time slot of the day.
Having time to slow down and "smell the roses" isn't a bad thing. If you come prepared with water, snacks, a good book, or some other entertainment for you and your group, you'll bypass boredom entirely! Take it from us, relaxing at the dropzone with the crew isn't the worst way to spend a day!
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