What is Tandem Skydiving - Your First Skydive Explained

July 27, 2017


What Is a Tandem Skydive?

Skydiving: noun: sky-diving

Definition: the sport of jumping out of an airplane and performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during freefall before landing by parachute.

Tandem skydiving is when a first time passenger is harnessed to a licensed, USPA tandem instructor. No experience is needed for people who want to try first time tandem skydiving. Read our step-by-step process for going on your first skydive!

Step 1 - Harness Up & Training

  • Harness: Adjusted to passengers body shape/size
  • Instructor reviews free fall body position - 'arch' and 'lift legs' for landing

Tandem skydiving training and harness

Step 2 - Airplane Ride

  • Look out the window - relax, smile and enjoy the view!
  • 10-30 minutes depending on aircraft/exit altitude 

Some locations skydive from 10,000 ft while other locations skydive from 14,000 ft. Learn more about Exit Altitude.

Step 3 - Exit

  • Instructor double checks harness to ensure it is hooked up properly and secure
  • Airplane door is opened by skydivers
  • Passenger and instructor walk towards door and exit!

Tandem skydive exit airplane

Step 4 - Freefall

  • Free fall lasts 20-60 seconds depending on exit altitude
  • Free fall reaches speeds upwards of 120-140 mph
  • Feels more like floating than falling - no stomach drop sensation

Skydiving in ct

Step 5 - Parachute Ride 

  • Deployed at 5,500 ft by instructor
  • Lasts 5-7 minutes depending on weight of passenger/instructor/size of parachute
  • Passengers can fly the parachute with the aid of their instructor

Tandem Skydiving

Step 6 - Landing

  • Instructor will fly a landing pattern just like an aircraft would use for landing on a runway with a predetermined downwind, base and final approach calculated based on the given wind direction and speed
  • Passenger will be instructed to lift legs so that both can slide in on the ground
  • A slide in landing is the safest way to avoid injury to ankles/legs

Where Can I Skydive? 

There are over 200 skydiving centers located in the United States. There are two main websites that list the skydiving facilities in the US:

Skydiving Center Database

Is Skydiving For Everyone?

A tandem skydive is something that most people can do and requires no prior experience. If you can jump off of a picnic table and land on your feet without any trouble then you are most likely physically capable. of skydiving.

Skydiving center's have restrictions based on age and weight for tandem skydive passengers. Weight restrictions are in place to with customer/instructor safety and to meet requirements made by tandem harness manufacturing companies.

Skydive landing in CT 

Minimum Requirements

More Info

Looking for more information? Skydiver's subscribe to 2 monthly publications that are available for the public to read. Both magazines offer a glimpse into the world of skydiving and have articles reviewing safety protocol, new inventions and events happening at different skydiving center's throughout the country.