✦ Whether it’s your first time, you’re an experienced adrenaline-junkie or skydive on a regular basis, skydiving definitely gets the heart pumping.
Parachuting or skydiving can be performed as a recreational activity or a competitive sport and is also widely considered an extreme sport due to the risks involved.
Imagine the feeling of free-falling from incredible heights before the parachute opens and you float your way back down to earth. The rush you’ll experience as you travel up to 200km/hr free falling for 60 seconds will be a feeling you remember for years to come.
If it’s your first time, you may be feeling a little nervous and scared but that’s completely normal. Once your parachute opens and you enjoy the 5-7 minute float to the ground, your fears will drift away as you take in the view from above.
What Should You Know Before Going Skydiving?
Whether you’ve never skydived before or you consider yourself a pro, there are a few important things you need to remember including that there are certain weight restrictions and guidelines in place.
The maximum weight for a skydiver is 110kg. There are also age restrictions for skydiving - the minimum age is 14, however if you are looking for something for those under that age, you can indoor skydive from three years upwards.
It’s also important to note what you should wear on the day. It is recommended to wear comfortable and loose clothing (taking into account the weather on the day) as well as wearing sensible closed shoes. These need to be secure to save them flying off during the dive. It’s a good idea to leave any valuables on the ground so they don’t fall off during the jump!
Is It Safe to Skydive?
How safe is skydiving? Skydiving isn't without risk, but is much safer than you might think. According to statistics by the United States Parachute Association, in 2018 there were a total of 13 skydiving-related fatalities out of approximately 3.3 million jumps!
Why Do People Skydive?
People choose to skydive for many different reasons. Skydiving is visually stunning. Flying in formation with friends, the plane disappearing above you, the thrill of the parachute ride, the smile that just stepping out of a plane puts across your face – all are reasons to skydive.
What Are the Benefits of Skydiving?
The good chemicals we create such as adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine are driven to action by skydiving which can have both immediate and lasting effects. The various internal chemistry stimulated by freefall can help with things like sleep and digestion, but also aid depression and improve general mental health.
The most prominent effect of skydiving on the brain is the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is most closely tied to feelings of pleasure and the brain's reward system. After a skydive, the flood of this 'feel good' neurotransmitter can produce feelings of euphoria.
Are Skydivers Crazy?
Most people would agree, skydiving isn’t something you do everyday. But while skydiving is an extreme sport and it does get your adrenaline pumping, it's not a crazy thing to do.
Skydivers aren't crazy! They are sensible, calculated people who know exactly what they're doing and do it with total precision.
Why Do People Crave To Skydive?
There's an endless amount of reasons as to why someone would choose to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Is it mostly for the freedom or for the thrill? Is it to find a sense of belonging with a small community filled with people like them? Or can it be used as a form of therapy, to clear the mind and create positive emotions? There are so many reasons why people want to skydive!
Why people skydive often depends on how frequently people skydive. Most first time tandem skydivers are looking for a once in a lifetime experience and choose to make their skydive for the thrill of it. They want to cross an item off of that proverbial bucket list.
Experienced skydivers, people who participate in this sport and make hundreds of skydives a year, have found a way to turn this sport into a lifestyle. They tend to seek out this crazy sport of skydiving because of the community, confidence and therapy it provides. It’ fun!
History of Skydiving (Parachuting)
After Louis-Sébastien Lenormand demonstrated a rigid-frame parachute for the first time in 1783, the first high-altitude parachute jump in history was made by André-Jacques Garnerin, the inventor of the frameless parachute, on 22 October, 1797.
Garnerin tested his contraption by leaping from a hydrogen balloon 980 metres above Paris. Garnerin's parachute bore little resemblance to today's parachutes, as it was not packed into any sort of container and didn’t eature a ripcord.
The first intentional free-fall jump with a ripcord-operated deployment was not made until over a century later by Leslie Irvin in 1919. While Georgia Broadwick made an earlier free-fall in 1914 when her static line became entangled with her jump aircraft's tail assembly, her free-fall descent was not planned. Broadwick cut her static line and deployed her parachute manually, only as a means of freeing herself from the aircraft to which she had become entangled.
The military developed parachuting as a way to save aircrew from emergencies aboard balloons and aircraft in flight, and later, as a way of delivering soldiers to the battlefield.
Competitions date back to the 1930s, and it became an international sport in 1952.
In World War II, thousands of combatants across the globe experienced exiting an aircraft and parachuting to the ground, either as a paratrooper dropped into combat or as flight crew escaping a crippled aircraft. Some servicemen discovered that it was enjoyable, and after the war ended kept jumping.
The National Parachute Jumpers and Riggers was born in 1947. This group would later become the Parachute Club of America and finally its current iteration: the USPA (United States Parachute Association). Parachuting as a sport had begun to go global.
In the 1970s, sports skydiving became very popular thanks to a quick-release system of the main parachute based on the three rings or rings, designed by engineer Bill Booth, that allowed anyone to use it - the ‘High Performance’ canopy.
In 2021 a supersonic parachute was deployed to land a payload on Mars.
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