How high will I jump?

You’ll be jumping from 12,500 feet. Which is 2.5miles up in the sky. Some of the DZs we recommend go a little higher. Occasionally there may be a need to exit the plane from a little lower but you’ll always get at least 10,000 feet.

Can I have my jumps filmed?

Yes. Prices vary from drop zone to drop zone.

In what weather won’t I be able to jump?

Wind. 20knots tandem (23mph). Student wind limit is 15knots (18mph)
Cloud. We need to be able to see the ground when we leave the plane. GPS pretty much makes this rule redundant but there is the possibility that there could be an aircraft strayed into our airspace below us.
Rain. Parachutes are pretty big. A student parachute can be 280 square feet. A tandem parachute can be 380 square feet. If our life saving equipment gets wet, we need to dry it before it is packed or it could go mouldy and rot. Drying a 300 square foot canopy requires a significant amount of space and time. Also, rain always comes from a cloud. See above.

What will my deposit cover?

Your £99 deposit is non-refundable but valid for two years. There is a generous two year* validity period on your deposits unless or until you have nominated your preferred location. We want you to skydive. We’re not here to screw you over like some experience websites I’m sure you could name. Once nominated your deposit is subject to the rules of that dropzone.

Nottingham Airfield – valid forever

Salisbury Airfield – valid for 12 months

Peterborough Airfield – valid for 12 months

* We wanted to provide an infinite validity period, we’re not here to be cynical, but our accountant is uncomfortable with us holding “other people’s money”.

Are there any height restrictions?

No maximum height restrictions. Some dropzones operate a minimum height restr

Are there any weight restrictions?

Skydiving adheres to the laws of gravity. And physics is a bitch. There’s no hiding from it in skydiving. Free fall speed depends mostly on two variables. Weight and surface area. The heavier a person (or tandem pair) is, the faster they’ll fall. The larger the surface area the slower they’ll fall.

Tall skinny people fall slower than short fat people. People who are flexible and assume good positions in free fall will also fall faster than those who don’t arch.

Before you can skydive you will need to fill in a medical form. If you have any of the criteria listed, you’ll need a medical signed by your GP. Some will do it for free. Some will charge you £25. It’s a pain but it’s always nice to have a regular ‘check up and service’.

AFF form here.
Tandem form here and also this advice for your medical professional should you feel you need it.

Will I die?

It is possible, but very unlikely if you follow the training given to you correctly.

We don’t like to talk about skydiving being safe or dangerous. Instead we talk about risk and consequence. Skydiving is very low risk. However the consequences are very high. The public confuse the two. Skydivers minimise the risk as much as we can whenever we can.

Can I breathe in free fall?

Yes. I’m constantly amazed by people who claim not to be able to breathe. If you’re having difficulty, look at the horizon and scream or shout. When you run out of air the body’s natural instincts will kick in and you’ll breathe in a fresh lungful of air and kick off the breathing process. Repeat if required.

How long will I be in the sky for?

The plane ride up will take about 15mins
The free fall will take about 45 seconds.
The canopy (parachute) ride will take about four minutes.
The hit of adrenaline will last until your next jump.
The memories will last forever.

What’s it like?

It’s an experience that is hard to describe. Many experienced skydivers will reply with it’s the closest to flying you’ll get. Freedom.

Some experienced skydivers claim that only skydivers know why the birds sing so much.

What should I wear?

Layers for seasonality.
Gloves in winter.
Not a collar.
Trainers with laces*. For obvious reasons.
If you have shoes that secure well to your feet using a method that isn’t laces, then that’s cool too. Landing with a shoe missing. Is. Not. Cool.

Are there any silly questions?

Yup. But only one. The only silly question is the one you don’t ask. It may be incredibly minor but if you don’t ask it, it’ll be all you can think about before jumping out and it will affect your performance and enjoyment detrimentally.

BASE jumping

Yes, my sport is seeing a boom of people taking up the sport having seen something on YouTube. There has been an influx of people into skydiving as a stepping stone to BASE and then wingsuit BASE. Expect to be skydiving for a couple of years before you reach a level that someone will consider teaching you BASE. Expect to be BASE jumping for a couple of years before taking up wingsuit BASE.

Are there any books I can read that will make my AFF course easier?

Yes, there’s a couple.
The BPA Starter Mag is a good place to start.

Are there any medical requirements?

Yes, if you’re over 40 you’ll need a medical signed by your doctor. If you’re over 55 you won’t be able to learn to skydive on your own but you will still be able to make a tandem skydive.

Is skydiving seasonal?

We can’t jump when it is too windy or too cloudy. Those weather conditions happen more often in winter but not everyday. Definitely more jumps happen in the summer but some dropzones, eg Langar are open 364 days of the year, only closing on Xmas day.

Is it cold?

There is no such thing as cold, there is only inappropriately dressed. The temperature at altitude will be cooler than on the ground. Also there is the wind chill. We suggest you wear layers that do not restrict your movement that are suitable for the season you are jumping in.

Is equipement hire included in the price?

Yes. Regularly checked, well.maintained and well packed life saving equipment is included in the price.

Do you go up when the parachute opens?

Nope. Gravity is a constant. It may look like we go up when our parachute opens but the video camera is attached to another skydiver and they continue to fall at the same rate whilst the person in the frame decelerates quicky. It’s an optical illusion.

Is it expensive?

Not as much as you would think. You need appropriate clothing. You need appropriate life saving equipment. You need appropriately qualified instructors who have their own appropriate clothing, their own life saving equipment and many hundreds of jumps in their logbook, probably thousands. You need a large airfield to land in. You need a ground control and a Chief Instructor to look after you. You need a plane. Reliable, well maintained and suitable for skydiving. You need fuel. And you need a pilot suitably trained and qualified, with their own appropriate clothing and many hubdreds of hours of flying in their logbook, probably thousands.

You need a system to ensure that all instructors are qualified to a certain standard. You need liability insurance. And you need authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Wow, how is skydiving so cheap?

Exactly. Now you’re getting it. We love our sport. No-one’s in it to be rich.

Are there any complementary sports that I can do to make my AFF course easier?

Yoga, Trampolining are the two that spring to mind. The more flexible you are the better a skydiver you will be. I was a terribly inflexible student. I took up yoga immediately after my AFF course and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Are there any complementary sports that I can do to make my AFF course easier?

Yoga, Trampolining are the two that spring to mind. The more flexible you are the better a skydiver you will be. I was a terribly inflexible student. I took up yoga immediately after my AFF course and I’ve been doing it ever since.

What’s a beer fine?

Aha! You’re already being absorbed into skydiver culture. A skydiver is ‘fined’ beer after doing something for the first time or a significant event. Eg first jump, licence qualification, 100jumps or first malfunction etc.

How often will a parachute not work?

Very rarely. Skydivers in the UK choose to use their reserve parachute once in every 860 jumps. This could be for a myriad of reasons. The student and tandem ratio is significantly less. Reserve parachutes are designed and packed differently to main parachutes to ensure they are more reliable. A main parachute is designed to be used ten times a day and is designed to be packed in about 10-15mins. A reserve parachute is designed to do one thing only. Open. And open fast. The principles are the same but there are small differences. The reserve packing method takes about an hour.

Can I bring spectators?

Yup. There’s a cafe at every DZ. Bring as many as you like. If they want to do anjump there may be space last minute.

Can I bring a pet onto the dropzone?

Airfields in the UK run a strict no dogs (or pets) rule. They are a noisy place and dogs can be easily spooked into the oath of an aircraft or parachutist on landing. Pets will have to be left in your car.

Can I smoke?

Yup. Loads of space outside but please keep that lit flame away from the life-saving equipment.

Can I drink alcohol?

Nope. No booze until you’ve finished jumping for the day. Then you can crack open the bubbly. Some DZs have separate bars to their operations so will serve spectators alcohol but most DZs just won’t open the bar until the last plane is in the air

Are there any medical requirements?

Yes, if you’re over 40 you’ll need a medical signed by your doctor. If you’re over 55 you won’t be able to learn to skydive on your own but you will still be able to make a tandem skydive.

What’s your cancellation policy?

If the weather is unsuitable on the day you have booked, you and the dropzone can make the decision to postpone for another date. Should you be unable to attend the dropzone due to personal reasons you will need to have a conversation with them. Of course, the earlier you know the better.

Does wind tunnel time help?

I and many other instructors recommend 2x 10min sessions. In fact, I know one very renowned instructor who refuses to take anyone unless they agree to fly 20mins.

In a small, but sizeable, minority only doing 5 or 10mins can cause a deterioration in performance in the sky. If the student is symmetrical and relaxed, everything will go great. However the tunnel is noisy, nerves can play a part and often students are not totally aware of what their limbs are doing, especially the feet. Dancers, yogis, gymnasts, martial artists and trampolinists make for natural skydivers. Footballers and rugby players don’t often find it so natural We just used to lumping the ball up the field and running! 🙂

The tunnel, is also harder to fly in than the sky. It will exaggerate any asymmetry. A short session is often enough to identify an issue but not to remedy it.

Why do you recommend two sessions in the tunnel?

– The first 10 or 15min session is to learn the basics.
– The gap between sessions will allow all the new learning to sink in, all that knowledge to be understood and some unconscious learning to take place. The mind and the body are wonderful things. The gap also allows for some homework, if required.
– The second 10 or 15min session is consolidation. A large part of skydiving is mental and *knowing* that you didn’t just fluke the first session can reduce stress a great deal when it comes to jumping. It’s also a whole load of fun.

The gap between the sessions can be a week or two. Or it can be an hour or two. Depending on how you learn and how far you have to drive.

How do I choose wether to fly 10 or 15 minutes sessions?

You’d choose whether to have 10 or 15min sessions depending on three factors.

1) How switched on a student is mentally (how quickly they learn something new),

2) How physically co-ordinated they are (eg history of dance etc) and

3) How athletic they are, especially their core muscles.

Tunnel is expensive though. And then I have to pay for an instructor on top?

Regarding prices, don’t forget to add the coach’s fee on top too. It might seem like we earn a lot if you just glance at the headlines (eg £150ph) but we never fly that time straight through. There is always a rotation element to the tunnel. eg you’d fly 2mins in, and then step out for 2mins. So a 15min session will take up 30mins in the tunnel. Add to that the time required before and after for brief and debrief and it all becomes more realistic.

My prices, including the tunnel time, brief, debrief and support outside of the tunnel before and after.
10mins flying time is £110
15mins flying time is £160
30mins flying time is £320
60mins flying time is £640

I love my job, helping non-skydivers to fly. I’d be delighted to teach you how to fly.

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