Skydiving in the UK | TOAD Outdoor Activities

Skydiving

ALSO KNOWN AS:
  • Parachuting |
  • Freestyle parachuting |
  • Tandem skydiving |
  • AFF course |

Skydiving

Skydiving is a high-octane sport that involves jumping out of a small airplane, followed by an exhilarating freefall and a relaxing parachute to the ground.

Dives can be undertaken solo, which requires training, or tandem, where the jumper is attached to a trained professional. Most beginners, or anyone only looking to do one jump, opt for tandem based on ease and cost.

The skydiver dons a jumpsuit and is buckled into the parachute before boarding the plane. The plane then flies to the jump altitude, which is typically between 10,000 and 16,000 feet, depending on how long the required freefall is.

When the plane is lined up properly with the landing site, the skydivers jump out of the plane. From 10,000 feet the skydiver is in freefall for around 30 seconds before the chute is opened. At 2,500 feet, the skydiver throws out a pilot chute, which deploys the main parachute.

Despite ‘falling’ thousands of feet through the air, this activity is actually incredibly safe and requires very little training when done as a tandem jump. All parachutes have a backup chute, brakes, and the instructors are extremely well-trained – to the point that they can land within a few metres of any chosen spot.

Skydivers can also undertake group jumps – these are the ones you might see in YouTube videos or TV adverts, where divers fall in circles or various other formations.

Skydivers can also jump from helicopters and hot air balloons. Looking for something a little different? Check out the full activities list here or find a location near you to skydive [HYPERLINK].

Pros

  • Quickest way to earth
  • Exhilarating

Cons

  • Long training relative to time in the air
  • Weather dependent

Training & Qualifications

Each student has to do basic training before jumping solo. This involves roughly 6-9 hours of ground-based training which covers the equipment, correct body position, landings, canopy control and parachute emergency drills.

Tandem: Allowing a novice to experience the thrill of freefall, a tandem jump involves a 20-minute instruction session followed by a jump from up to 15,000ft whilst harnessed to an experienced instructor.

Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) Course: The most direct route to sole freefall which can be completed in as little as 3 days, students receive a minimum of 6 hours ground-based instruction followed by 8 controlled jumps with specific objectives. Students complete the early levels accompanied by one or more instructor who aids with coaching during and after the jumps. Level 8 is a solo jump.

Gear

The gear consists of a main parachute, a reserve, a pack and harness, a jumpsuit, altimeter and helmet. Most newly-qualified jumpers purchase 2nd hand entry level gear to gain experience before progressing to more advanced equipment.

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