Most first-time tandem skydivers have some pretty established ideas about what skydiving feels like. They’re basing this on prior experience, which is totally understandable. Literally, everyone has stood on the edge of a high place–like a building, or a bridge. Almost everyone who shows up for a skydive has been on a roller coaster, for one thing. Many of these folks have been for a bungee jump. Necessarily, the collective experiences represented therein have a tendency to inform someone’s imagination when they picture themselves jumping out of an airplane.
The funny thing is that they’re pretty much totally wrong.
If you’re curious to get a sneak preview of what it feels like to jump out of a plane, we’ll have to break those assumptions down piece-by-piece. Here’s the real deal.
There’s a particular feeling that floods the body when you’ve rattled your way up to the top of the first big hill on a rollercoaster. When you feel the little tug when the first car goes over, your stomach does a little jump–because you know that big, weightless drop is inevitable.
In the descent from the door of an airplane, that weightless feeling never comes. In its place, you’ll have a cushion of air supporting your body from the moment you exit. It’s surprisingly relaxing.
The stomach-meets-throat feeling is directly related to that sense of weightless falling. If it weren’t for the air cushion, you’d kick around in the void, trying to get a purchase, and there would be nothing there for you.
On a skydive, however, you can relax into the relative wind that pushes against you. The relative wind smoothes out your descent and gives you and your tandem instructor something to use to get (and feel) stable and secure. No oh-no, powerless feels here.
If you were on that roller coaster we were talking about before–or at the exit point of a bungee jump, or on the edge of a building–you would have depth to contend with. You’d be able to see the shadows of the objects and terrain around and below you; you’d hear the sounds coming up from down there, and your brain would automatically triangulate how far you are from the ground, giving you warnings in the form of the chemical signals of fear.
From the door of an aircraft, that doesn’t happen. Instead, the world looks like a flat map. It doesn’t trigger acrophobia–fear of heights–because the brain can’t calculate the height. Ground rush doesn’t kick in. In fact, it’s so mild that we skydivers must wear precision instruments to track our altitude on every jump!
Again on account of that magical relative wind, the fact that you’re hurtling through the sky isn’t going to register. From the moment you and your tandem instructor exit the plane, your downward speed will taper smoothly up to about 120 miles per hour–not like coming off the line in a race car, getting thrown back into the seat. When it’s time and your instructor deploys the parachute, your deceleration will be much gentler than the juddering, lurching clunk of a stopping roller coaster. The landing itself, under a big, docile parachute, is also super-sweet.
“Sweet,” in fact, about sums it up. You’ll be so amazed by the sensations of a skydive that you won’t be sore about being wrong about it. You’ll be delighted!
What does skydiving feel like? You gotta give it a try and you’ll see what we mean. Book your Georgia skydiving adventure online today!