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Published: November 27, 2017
We love a good surprise. Don't you? If you're just as fond of a toe-curling "aha" moment, we have just the stuff you'll love: fun skydiving facts that will dazzle your friends at dinner parties. Without further ado, let's (sky) dive right in!
Surprise #1: A skydive and a water dive have a lot in common.
If you've ever gone for an undersea adventure, you might be surprised at how much common ground you'll find between the big blue ocean and the wild blue yonder. Both, after all, hinge on the act of putting your human body into an environment outside its design capacity.
For both sports, you'll work with an instructor in a classroom first. Then, once you've learned about the equipment, the procedures and the safety failsafes, you'll put your gear and head out to a conveyance of some kind--a boat or a plane, depending on the medium--to make that first titillating foray. Leaving the vehicle is a thrill and a half, and then you get to experience an alternate universe that has been within your reach since before you even thought to marvel at it from afar...a true click-your-heels-together-three-times moment.
Many first-time skydivers and water divers alike choose to get their advanced certifications, extending that sense of adventure for many years. The differences between a sky dive and a water dive are so proportionally minor that a huge number of athletes do both! Cool, no?
Surprise #2: It's not really "falling."
The feeling of skydiving is actually a heck of a lot closer to flying than falling. We use our body surfaces to harness the power of aerodynamics, moving around the sky with control and precision. We can fly forwards, backwards and sideways. We can slow down and speed up our rate of descent. We can do flips and barrel rolls and layouts. We can get together up there in enormous groups. We can fly sitting down, standing up, standing on one leg--and some very flexible people can even fly in the full splits.
The art of zooming around the sky in these configurations is called "bodyflight." As you might imagine, the fancy stuff takes many years and many jumps to learn. It is, however, possible--and incredibly satisfying to practice.
Surprise #3: If you're unconscious, your parachute can deploy itself.
First-time skydivers often express hyperventilating concern that, for some occult reason, the parachute won't open and they'll plummet to their end. First time tandem students are especially eager to know what happens when parachutes don't open. We can't really tell them--because we aren't really sure. Since the invention of the modern Automatic Activation Device ("AAD") by a German skydiver named Helmut Cloth in the early 1990's, it has pretty much not happened.
Helmut's invention uses a highly calibrated pressure-sensing device to determine if a skydiver is still falling at freefall speed after a certain (very low) altitude. If that's the case, Helmut's device simply deploys the reserve parachute. In modern times, pretty much every skydiving rig in the air is equipped with one of these devices...and certainly every tandem container at every reputable dropzone in the world.
As you might imagine, there are hundreds of stories of skydivers who were knocked unconscious by a friend's leg in freefall--or passed out for health reasons--or got distracted and simply forgot where they were--and ended up safely on the ground afterward.
Want more interesting skydiving facts? We have these--and answers to your top questions--waiting for you in our FAQ. If you're hungry for even more, get in touch with a member of our team. Whatever you do, don't be a stranger! We can't wait to show you the sky in person.
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