Where Do I Land After Jumping Out Of An Airplane On My First Skydive?

April 10, 2024

Where Will I Land My Parachute 

Technically speaking, the most important part of a skydiving experience is the landing. Sure, the other parts might be more fun, but a parachute landing is the point in the skydive that really matters. When you go skydiving, landing properly is what can make or break the jump (and, let's be frank, some bones too). A tandem skydive landing is even more crucial than a regular skydive landing because there are two people involved in the process. 

So, where do you land on a skydive? Other than the obvious joke – the ground, har har. The skydive landing area is a designated spot at the Danielson Airport where jumpers can land their parachutes. And every dropzone has its own designated landing area with very specific rules about how to enter the airspace. 

Techniques for skydiving, how to land, and where to land are all important things to understand before getting in (and out) of the airplane. So read on to learn more! 

Understanding the Basics Of Skydiving Landings

It might seem like parachutes are subject to the wind’s whims from the moment they open until they touchdown on the ground. And while wind certainly plays a factor in how and where a parachute flies, it’s much more complicated than it used to be in the early days of skydiving. 

Today’s parachute acts as a rigid wing that generates lift and, as such, can fly forward at speeds of around 20 mph. These Ram air parachutes, as they’re called, are also highly steerable and capable of extremely accurate landings (with practice, of course). This means that skydivers can control their descent and plan to land in a specific spot the second they deploy their parachute. They can steer left and right with extreme precision, and can even adjust how quickly they are descending, to a degree. But, to land where they want with accuracy, they do need to understand the wind at multiple altitudes. 

Wind causes drift even with a parachute’s ability to fly forward, left, and right. And the higher the wind, the more drift the skydiver needs to calculate for. For instance, if the wind at opening altitude is blowing at 20 mph, and the parachute flies forward at 20 mph, the parachute will move approximately 0 mph when flying into the wind. At higher wind speeds, the parachute may even be blown backward. Skydivers plan for the wind before they even get into the airplane because good preparation results in a good landing. 

There’s a bit of math involved in this process that new skydivers learn as part of their student program, but you get the … drift. 

Who Will Be Landing The Parachute?

That all probably sounds a bit complicated for a first-time skydiver. Heck, it’s even complicated for some experienced jumpers. That’s why there’s a very hands-on approach to teaching people how to land. Each level of experience has its guidelines for who lands the parachute:

First-Time Tandem Skydivers

These skydivers will be attached to their instructor and will be flying very big, very slow parachutes. The instructor does most, if not all, of the flying, but there is a second set of steering toggles for the passenger to get involved! Landings are made by sliding in on their bums to avoid having a four-legged race gone awry. 

Student Skydivers

A skydiver obtaining their A-license will be flying very big and very slow parachutes, as well, though size-appropriate for one person. Students often wear a radio on their first few jumps so that their instructor can give them tips and advice as they navigate to the ground. 

Licensed Skydivers

These skydivers have anywhere from 25 skydives up to 10,000+ skydives. They have learned how to skydive and can do it by themselves without an instructor. Sometimes their parachutes are big and slow or sometimes they are small and fast – at this point, it's all about personal preference. 

Common question: Can my family and friends watch me land? Absolutely! We have a designated area with picnic tables and chairs for spectators to watch and cheer from. Just make sure to prepare your family and friends that skydiving is a weather-related activity and delays are possible. Little kids sometimes have a hard time when we are experiencing delays!

Training And Practice: The Key To Perfect Landings

Landing is the most difficult part for a lot of new skydivers to learn. The high-stakes nature of landing results in a lot more second-guessing and nervousness. Luckily, there’s a lot of training and practice that focuses on the skills necessary to successfully land a parachute. The two main topics are:

What is the landing position for skydiving? Tandem skydiving students must lift their legs at the hips, straight up and out, so the instructor can navigate the landing for both parties. For solo skydivers, the best position for landing a parachute is arms and toggles all the way up, feet and knees together, legs slightly bent. This ensures the parachute will achieve a full flare, and it sets the skydiver up to absorb any shock from touching down. It’s even easy to execute a roll, or parachute landing fall, if necessary.

 

How do people know where to land when skydiving? The short answer: planning! Wind speed and maps help skydivers plan how to fly their parachutes to land accurately. Airplanes also use GPS to ensure that skydivers are exiting over the correct spot. Additionally, skydivers use their altimeters to judge where they need to be at certain altitudes so that they can make it back to the landing area before they get too low in the sky. 

 

 Sticking the landing takes time. But, luckily, there are plenty of techniques and pieces of technology to make it a little bit easier. 

 

Advanced Landing Techniques

For some experienced skydivers, the landing is their favorite part! The skill, precision, and speed so close to the ground bring them an adrenaline rush that is unmatched by any other part of the jump. There are even professional competitions that center solely around this advanced landing discipline, known in the sport as high-performance landings, or “swooping.” 

Swoopers, as they are often called, make a series of turns with their parachute to pick up speed and set themselves up to skim across the ground for long distances. These jumpers push their bodies and equipment to the limits to offer a dazzling display of ultimate skill and chutzpah. 

They can reach speeds of almost 100 mph as they dangle their toes in the grass or pond water! The current record for farthest distance traveled on a high-performance landing is 201.57 meters – that’s the equivalent of almost two football fields! 

Where do you land on skydiving? If it’s an enthusiastic YES, book your jump today! Blue skies.