The Complete Guide to the Skydiving Process

Friday, May 31, 2024

We’ve all seen pictures and videos of daredevils flying through the air with nothing but a parachute, but how is skydiving done step by step? Knowing the skydiving process before making a jump yourself can help calm some of the anxiety around taking the leap. 

There are actually obvious skydiving steps that make up each and every skydive. Read on to answer two frequently asked questions: “What are the stages of skydiving?” and “How long is the skydiving process?”

Step 1: Book Your Skydive

The obvious first step to making a skydive is booking a jump. Pick a date that works for you, check out your local dropzone (pro tip: read reviews before you decide), and make your reservation!
One question that’s important to consider: How long does a skydive take from start to finish? We usually say to plan to spend about half a day with us to allow for any weather or unforeseen delays, so make sure you have enough time on the date you book! 

Step 2: Prepare For Your Jump

Once you’ve booked your jump, you may be wondering: How do I prepare for my first skydive? It can feel like an overwhelming prospect, but there are actually some pretty straightforward ways to get ready for your jump:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a well-balanced meal 
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wear comfy, athletic clothing and sneakers
  • Visualize the jump going well
  • Practice deep breathing
  • No drugs or alcohol 

Pro tip, self-care is the way to go on the day of your jump! 

Skydive Monroe USPA member dropzoneStep 3: On-Site Training

Rest assured that you won’t be going it alone on your first skydive. Once you check in at manifest, you’ll be paired with a highly experienced tandem instructor who will make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared for every part of your skydive. 
Your instructor will give you all the training you need to successfully participate in your tandem skydive, and they’ll happily answer any questions you might have. They’ve gone through intense training to get to this moment – they love sharing their knowledge and passion with you!

Step 4: Gear Up

This is when things start to get real. Before boarding the plane, your instructor will gear you up in a meticulously maintained tandem harness. The harness is equipped with four metal hooks that will keep you securely attached to your tandem instructor during the jump. 

Tandem skydiving harnesses are designed to fit a wide range of bodies, so hold still and be patient while your instructor expertly adjusts all of the straps to custom-fit your harness to you! 

Step 5: The Ride Up

Taking off in the airplane is the moment of truth. If you weren’t feeling it before, you certainly are now! As the ground falls away, your brain screams, “THIS IS HAPPENING!” 

Skydiving planes are a little bit different than normal passenger aircraft. The door and seats have been altered to accommodate the needs of skydivers, and you’ll find yourself crawling around and sitting in positions you might not be used to. And be ready to get up close and personal! You’ll be shoulder to shoulder with other people taking the leap too. 

Step 6: Exit & Freefall

first skydive jumpAnd now, the main event! Once the door opens, the skydive begins. A rush of cool air will precede the adrenaline rush you’re about to experience in the sky. Here’s where your deep breathing exercises will come in handy. 
It starts with you leaning out the door, overlooking the sky and ground from thousands of feet up. And suddenly … you’re flying! Exit and freefall are moments of extreme bliss and freedom that nothing else can compare to. The wide expanse of sky, the adrenaline, and the extreme focus combine to make for a truly magical experience. 

Pro tip: Capture this memorable moment on video so you can relive it for years to come!

Step 7: Parachute Deployment

After the rush comes the sweet embrace of nylon. You’ll feel the subtle jerk of the parachute deploying followed by a calm, quiet glide over the landscape below. It’ll feel like you’re hanging in the sky above the most beautiful views imaginable (because you are!). You can use this time to take in the sights or chat with your instructor. 
But don’t let this reprieve fool you. If you’re still looking for excitement, let your instructor know and they can steer the parachute in a series of turns and spirals that will get your heart racing all over again!

Step 8: The Landing

The skydiving landing is probably the saddest part of the jump, only because it means it’s over. But this is when you sit back, listen up, and follow your instructor’s prompts while they do all the work. 
They’ll go over what you must do during landing before your jump and during the parachute ride, so you’ll be well prepared for what will happen. The gist is this: you’ll raise your legs straight out in front of you and the two of you will slide in on your butts as the instructor slows the parachute down to a near stop.

Step 9: Post-Jump Euphoria

You did it! Bask in the glory of what you just accomplished. You overcame fears, managed your anxiety, jumped into the unknown, and now you’re walking on Cloud 9! Congratulations, you’ll be forever changed by your experience in the sky. Welcome to the family! 

That’s it! Ten steps to an epic adventure! Ready to jump into the best day ever? Book your tandem skydive today! And if one jump isn’t enough, come back and work toward your skydiving license! Blue skies!