A friend of mine recently completed a sponsored tandem skydive for charity and he has gone on about nothing else since and his sudden love of jumping out of aeroplanes intrigued me, so I decided to find out a bit more about it. Here is my short guide to the different types of skydiving options open to newbies like myself.
If it is your first time skydiving then a tandem dive might be best to ease you into it. Tandem dives are good for beginners who want to build up their confidence, as you are attached to a qualified tandem instructor who controls the descent of the skydive so you can just enjoy the thrill of the ride. Instruction is also relatively short, usually about half an hour, so if you want to get into sky diving quickly and easily this could be the best choice for you.
Find the thought of jumping head first out of aeroplane at 14,000 feet a bit daunting? Indoor skydiving is the only way to get the sensation of sky diving without stepping foot in an aeroplane. Indoor skydiving takes place in a vertical wind tunnel which will lift you a few metres off the ground and give you the feeling of free falling at 120mph. There is some short pre-flight training but this is mainly so you don’t crash into the walls and so you get the most out of the experience. Indoor skydiving is perfect for beginners who want to build up their confidence and can be enjoyed by people of almost any age.
Static Line Parachuting
Static line parachuting or RAPS (Ram Air Parachute System) is the traditional way of learning to fly a modern rectangular parachute. The parachute automatically opens when you leave the aeroplane and you have radio contact with an instructor on the ground to guide you through the process. This type of jump requires that you have around 6 hours of pre-flight training and typically there are age restrictions for this type of jump.
Accelerated Free Fall
Accelerated free fall or AFF is a fast track skydiving course that will take you from a beginner to a Category 8 qualified skydiver. There will be a lot of pre-flight training and you usually do a dive with two instructors who will aid you through your jumps. You will be taught how to dive from the aircraft, fly your body in a stable position, open your own parachute and fly it safely to the ground and once you have completed the course you will be qualified to skydive by yourself.