Published: April 24, 2019
What Skydiving Feels Like
Bad news! If you've never made a skydive but you think you can probably imagine the skydiving experience from references you've collected so far in your life, you're wrong. Cobbling together a tandem skydiving experience description from things like rollercoaster rides, bungee jumping, going off the high dive at the pool -- it's almost wacky how off you'll be. As it turns out, the only way to really know what it's like to make a skydive is to make a skydive -- but here's the information you're missing, so you can frame it a little better in your head.
1. Does skydiving feel like a rollercoaster? Naw, brah.
Put yourself back in your middle school shoes and rattle up to the top of the first hill in your favorite rollercoaster. Do you remember a little yank when that first car went over the top, then your stomach doing a little jump because you knew from experience that the screamy, weightless drop was inevitable and you were about to be pinned to the harness for the rest of the ride? If you use that as your basis of comparison, you probably think you'll spend your entire skydive kicking around in the void, fighting in vain to find a way to right yourself, as helpless as you were on that roller coaster back in the day.
Nothing could be further from the truth. During any given skydive, we actually relax into the wind that pushes against us as we fall. It becomes what feels for all the world like a big cushion of air that slows and smoothes out our descent. You'll feel the air cushioning you from the moment you exit to the moment the parachute opens, providing a platform of stability and security that you and your tandem instructor will enjoy. The result? No feeling of powerlessness, ever!
2. There's no sense of falling.
In the words to describe skydiving, "falling" is very conspicuously absent. Weird? It shouldn't be. The sensation of weightlessness is behind the "falling" feeling -- the feeling that your stomach is rising into your throat -- and, since you don't feel weightless when you're making a skydive, your stomach stays put in, well, your stomach.
There's another way that we feel falling: Visual depth. Skydivers don't experience visual depth until the very end of the skydive, so the falling feeling is not even a thing. Instead, the world looks like a big, flat map underneath. Because it has no visual depth, that view doesn't trigger acrophobia. In fact, our experience of falling is so mild that skydivers have to wear precision instruments (including beeping ones!) to track our altitude on every single jump.
3. There's no crazy sensation of speed.
Within just a few amazing moments of freefall, you and your instructor will achieve terminal velocity -- the fastest speed you'll go. That means that the resistance from those air molecules we talked about earlier will cap your downward speed at a speedy-sounding 120mph. Is it weird to know that you aren't going to feel like you would doing 120 miles per hour on the open road? In a skydiving experience, there are no stationary references around you, so your brain can't calculate the body's speed. As it turns out, the only way you'll notice your vroomy velocity is if you pass a cloud. (That'll illustrate your speed quite nicely!)
With all that information shared, it remains that the simplest way to describe what a skydive feels like is to use a descriptive word that comes up all the time at Skydive Newport: Awesome! Make your reservation today and we'll show you exactly what skydiving feels like: your favorite thing ever.
The views out the windows are breathtaking, and the tandem instructors very amusing and friendly during the cozy ride.
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