You’ve probably met someone who’s gone skydiving before, or maybe you’ve even thought of making the leap yourself. When people talk about their first jump, they are usually referring to their first tandem skydive. Even professional skydivers who know how to skydive most likely started their journey with a tandem.
Tandem skydiving is the most popular way to take that inaugural step into the sky, and the accessible nature of the tandem skydive experience may leave you wondering, what is tandem skydiving exactly? It’s a good question, and we’ve got answers from multiple angles for you. Let’s get into it!
The easiest way to answer this is to look at the tandem skydive definition. Simply put, tandem skydiving is a type of skydiving where the student is connected directly to the instructor throughout the entirety of the skydive.
That’s all fine and well, but you’re probably thinking, “I’ve never gone skydiving before - what does even that look like?!” In a tandem skydive, the instructor wears the parachute on their back and the student wears a harness that is equipped with a hook on each shoulder and a hook on each hip. The student is securely connected to the front of the instructor, facing away from them, and the two move as one unit during freefall, under parachute, and through landing.
Tandem Instructors have done a lot of work to get to where they are, and ours are some of the best! The minimum requirements to become a tandem instructor, as mandated by the USPA, include:
- Logging at least 500 jumps
- Earning a USPA D license
- Accruing a minimum of 3 years experience in the sport
- Possessing a current FAA Class III Flight Medical Certificate
- Completing the USPA tandem instructor rating certification program
In addition to these requirements, our instructors are friendly, approachable, and passionate about what they do. The first rule of skydiving is to have fun! Your instructor is also able to bring a camera on the jump to capture the whole process on video! (Pro Tip: Get the video!)
Because jumping out of an airplane for the first time brings with it many brand-new skills and sensations, you’ll go through plenty of training before you are ready to jump. Even though you’ll be strapped to an experienced instructor, we want to make sure you feel competent and prepared! Your instructor will teach you everything you need to know about riding up in the plane, your skydiving altitude, your body position during freefall and landing, and what to expect during the jump. This is a great time to ask any questions you might have - your instructor is there to teach you everything you need and want to know!
The gear that is used for tandem skydiving is specially made by industry-leading manufacturers to accommodate the unique needs of two people skydiving together.
For starters, the parachute system that your instructor wears is much bigger than one that a solo jumper would take on a regular skydive. Both the main and reserve parachute are up to three times the size of those made for solo skydivers (that’s a lot of nylon!). Even the emergency backup mechanisms are set to react at higher altitudes, allowing for more time to deal with any issues that arise during the jump. The front of the rig that your instructor wears is also equipped with metal rings that can carry thousands of pounds - these rings are situated in the perfect spot to connect to the hooks on the harness that you will be wearing.
Beyond the harness and parachute pairing, you will also be equipped with goggles, a jumpsuit, and possibly even an altimeter, to match your instructor!
One really important aspect of your first skydive is managing the stress. Let’s face it - skydiving is unnatural! But that’s also why it’s so much fun.
The best thing you can do to stay calm during your skydive is to control your breathing. It’s also a great idea to know what to expect before you even show up for your jump. This can help you be prepared for what you are about to do, and it will also help settle some of the nerves you may be having about the unknown aspects of the experience.
Another way to make the experience more fun is to bring your friends! Being around people you know in a new situation can help with the fear, and who doesn’t want to share an amazing experience with fun people?!
Your first jump doesn’t have to be your last, and for many people, it isn’t! A lot of the people you’ll meet at the dropzone, including your instructor, were once in your shoes. After you make your first tandem, the sky’s the limit (pun intended). You can keep coming back for more tandems as many times as you want, or you can even go on to get your skydiving license right here with us. Once you leave that plane for the first time, you’ll realize there’s no shortage of possibilities!
Excited to start your skydiving journey? Come jump with us!