First Skydive - Tandem Skydive Or Solo Skydive?

October 28, 2019

Tandem Skydiving Versus Solo Skydiving

Great, you have made the decision to try skydiving for the first time! There are lots of skydiving centers to choose from as well as several training methods available for your first skydive. We are here to help you decide what is the best method for making your first skydive. The two most popular methods of making your first skydive are tandem skydiving and accelerated free fall (solo skydiving).

Read on to learn the differences between these types of skydives and why you may choose one versus the other.

What Is A Tandem Skydive? 

Tandem Skydiving in CT

A tandem skydive is perfect for first time jumpers because you are attached to a skydiving professional throughout the entire experience. The required training is minimal and normally lasts about 20 minutes. The customer is attached to the instructor in a harness and remains attached to the instructor the whole time. This is especially comforting during freefall and landing the parachute.  

When doing a tandem skydive you can enjoy the skydiving experience without the extensive training required to do it solo. Having an experienced skydiver attached to you is always a reassuring feeling for a nervous first time tandem jumper.

Skydiving Safety

Tandem skydiving landing in CT

Tandem skydiving is the safest way that you can make your first skydive because you are attached to a skilled, professional instructor. In 2018, the USPA (United States Parachute Association) recorded 13 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.3 million jumpers, the lowest number in the sport's history! That's one fatality per 253,669 jumps. Tandem skydiving has an even better safety record, with one student fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. 

According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee, than dying from a tandem skydive. In fact, the most dangerous part of skydiving is driving to the drop zone! 

Why Choose Tandem Skydiving

Top reasons why people choose to do a tandem skydive: 

  • Simplicity: You only need a 20 minute briefing as opposed to a full day's training 
  • Safety: Not being responsible for your own safety takes a lot of weight off your shoulders and lets you fully enjoy the experience. The instructor will be in charge of deploying the parachute and landing the parachute.
  • Cost: At Skydive Danielson you can do a tandem skydive for only $235. If you only intend to make one skydive in your life, this can be the most cost effective way of doing so! Obtaining a skydive license to jump solo is a 25 jump program that costs around $3000.

Here are some frequently asked questions about tandem skydiving.

Q: What type of training does a tandem instructor have?

Landing after a tandem skydive

A: Skydivers must meet certain criteria to attend become tandem instructors.

Requirements For Tandem Instructors

  • 18 or older
  • 500+ skydives
  • Minimum of 3 years in the sport
  • D license (highest license issued through the USPA)
  • Attend a tandem licensing course through the USPA
  • FAA Class 3 medical (same requirement that Private Pilots must get)

Q: Is tandem skydiving good for first timers?

A: Tandem skydiving is the safest way to make your first skydive. After a 20 minute orientation session a customer is ready to skydive! Tandem skydives are perfect for people who are looking to make only one skydive.  

Q: Can I go solo my first time? 

  • At Skydive Danielson we require all customers to make their first two skydives as tandem skydives. Our policy is based on safety statistics that tandem skydiving is the safest way to make your first skydive. Our goal is to give our customers the safest opportunity to skydive.
  • If customers want to obtain their skydiving license we do still recommend that a ''for fun'' tandem is completed first. However customers are able to skip the ''for fun'' tandem skydive and start their first jump as a training skydive. A training tandem skydive is Step #1 in our Learn To Skydive program.

What Is Accelerated Free Fall (AFF - solo skydiving)? 

Learn to skydive in CT, MA or RI

Accelerated Freefall is for customers who want to learn how to skydive and obtain their skydiving license. At Skydive Danielson you can learn to jump solo by joining our Learn To Skydive program. This program consists of: training tandems, a first jump course, a parachute packing course, solo jumps with instructors holding your harness and solo jumps without the aide of instructors at all! 

Here are some frequently asked questions about learning to skydive.

Q: What will I learn on my first two training tandems?

A: You will learn basic skills that will help build a safe foundation before solo skydiving.

Training Tandem Learning Objectives 

  • Hand signals used for communication in free fall
  • How to deploy the parachute
  • The requirements a parachute must meet to use it for landing
  • Locate the airport and fly home
  • Execute a landing pattern that lands you in the designated parachute landing zone

Q: What if I have done a tandem skydive for fun? Can I skip the training tandems?

Solo skydiving in CT, MA and RI

A: Even if you have already done tandems 'for fun' you will still be required to complete the two training tandems at our facility. It is important to learn the basic skill set to become a safe skydiver before solo skydiving. Trust us on this one, you will appreciate this knowledge as you board the airplane for your first solo skydive!

 Q: How many jumps are in the AFF training program?

A: There are 25 jumps required to get your basic skydiving "A License" issued through the United States Parachute Association. Some students require more if they are unable to complete the objectives in the 25 jumps required. 

Q: How long does it take to get my skydiving license?

Learn to skydive

A: Time commitment and weather conditions play a huge role in how long it takes to get a skydiving license. Student skydivers have tighter restrictions in regards to clouds and winds. These restrictions are the biggest factor in getting your skydiving license. The amount of time a student has available also matters greatly. Some students have achieved their license in as little as one month, while other students have taken one or two seasons before completing their license. 

Obtaining a skydiving license is definitely all about the journey and not about the final destination. It's ok to sit back and smell the roses as you get acclimated to the culture of skydiving. You will learn lots of hands on information that you can only learn by spending time at the skydiving center.

Q: Can I jump solo for my first time at Skydive Danielson?

A: Sorry, but no! Skydive Danielson believes in delivering our customers with the safest experience possible. This requires that each customer complete tandem skydives before moving onto solo skydiving. Before your first solo skydive you will have completed two training tandems and attended a 4-6 hour first jump course. We also offer an optional 20 minute wind tunnel session at SkyVenture NH. These are the building blocks to help you skydive solo as safely as possible.

How To Choose Between Tandem Skydiving and Solo Skydiving

Student earning their license to skydive at Skydive Danielson

If you are looking to make one skydive to cross an item off your bucket list then you will want to choose tandem skydiving. This is the safest method available to make your first skydive. You are not responsible for your safety and it is a carefree way to experience skydiving.

If you are looking to earn a skydiving license and pick up skydiving as your new hobby then you have two choices at Skydive Danielson.

Choice One: ''For Fun'' Tandem Skydive

  • Instructor recommended
  • Little training required
  • Carefree way to enjoy your first skydive
  • Get acclimated to everything that skydiving entails before being required to train
  • Prepare yourself to learn more on your next training jump

Choice Two: Training Tandem

Some customers choose to skip the ''for fun'' tandem and make their first skydive as a training tandem. We only recommend this for people who do not get overwhelmed easily and are able to think clearly in extreme environments. People who have a background in aviation or sports involving wind (sky surfing, flying planes, paragliding, etc) tend to have better results. It is always recommended by our instructors that students complete a 'for fun' tandem first as it will always help you learn better once you start training for your skydiving license.

Regardless of the method you choose, rest assured that you will enjoy your first skydiving experience. Skydiving is a life changing experience for many, many people. Blue skies!