An introduction to skydiving
The sport of skydiving in a nutshell
Before you jump right in to skydiving, there are a few things you should first know. As a result, here’s our basic introduction to skydiving and who it is suitable for.
Skydiving is a term used to describe the sport of freefalling through the air and involves the time spent in the air freefalling from an aircraft prior to opening a parachute.
Typically skydives are carried out from around 4,000m (or 12,500ft) offering 40 to 50 seconds of freefall time. Longer freefall times can be achieved by exiting an aircraft at altitudes much higher than 4,000m, but such jumps require pressurized oxygen within the aircraft as well as bottled oxygen for very high skydives.
During a skydive, total freedom and control of the air can be enjoyed as well as many complex and spectacular maneuvers including flat turns, somersaults and formation skydiving.
Skydiving can be enjoyed either as an individual - doing solo jumps - or as part of a team carrying out formation skydiving. Generally the term ‘skydive’ refers to the time spent in freefall from exiting an aircraft to deploying a parachute but skydiving does include some disciplines such as accuracy landings and canopy formation flying which concentrate on the time spent once a canopy has been deployed.
The thrill of skydiving on the mind and body
When it comes to an introduction to skydiving, there's no way we can't mention the incredible amount of adrenaline assoicated with the sport! What draws many people to try skydiving for the first time is the thrill of simply falling through the air and this same thrill is still experienced by even the most experienced skydivers. You simply can’t beat that feeling of excitement as you get ready to exit a plane, followed by the thrill of falling through the sky...
Once you have done a few jumps, the other biggest buzz for skydivers is the total feeling of freedom you experience, as well as learning to have total control over your body in order to perform complex maneuvers mid-air — whether you are skydiving solo or as part of a team.
Who can get involved in skydiving?
Skydiving is a sport open to anyone over the age of 16 (participants under 18 will require a signed letter from a parent or guardian). If you are over 40 most dropzones will require your doctor to sign a medical certificate. However, regardless of your age it is good advice to consult your doctor to make sure you are fit to jump. The maximum age for many dropzones is 60 and skydiving is usually limited to individuals under 16st or 100kg in weight.
Tandem skydiving has made the sport accessible to disabled participants and enables those with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of skydiving.
Feeling inspired by this quick introduction to skydiving. Whether it's skydiving or any other adrenaline sports event, take a look at our charity adrenaline sport listings to find an event to give you your thrills.