Whether skydiving has been a lifelong dream, or if it’s an experience that you’re feeling anxiously excited about, all beginners have the same question on their minds – what does skydiving feel like? Some are curious about the nerves, others are more concerned with whether it hurts or causes them to feel unwell. We have put together a round-up of the most common emotions and physical sensations that are experienced during skydiving.
Before The Jump…?
During the training that takes place on the ground, you are bound to feel a little nervous and will be wanting to concentrate as much as possible on the safety information that you’ve been given. Most beginners will start with a tandem skydive, so you can feel reassured that your instructor who will be harnessed to you will take care of all the safety aspects. These include deploying the parachute at the right moment and landing softly.
Once you’re in the plane on the way up there, your nerves may be feeling particularly strong. Many beginners are surprised by the length of the plane ride, as it can be as long as twenty or thirty minutes. If there are people in front of you in the queue to jump, you may hear them screaming with excitement as they exit the plane, but the screams will quickly disappear as they drop far beneath the aircraft. When it is your turn to shuffle forward on your knees to the door of the plane, you will most likely experience an overload of senses as the adrenaline kicks in.
What Does Skydiving Feel Like In Freefall?
As soon as you exit the plane, you will quickly accelerate for around twelve seconds. Those first few seconds can be likened to the feeling you experience in mid-air when you’re trampolining. When you reach terminal velocity, then you simply feel like you’re moving downwards on a cushion of air. If you can imagine what it is like to stick your hand out of the window of a moving car, then you would experience pressure of the wind on your hand. If the car speeds up, then the pressure increases. The same feeling applies to your whole body at a much stronger force when skydiving.
What About the Noise?
Many people describe the incredible noise that they hear when in freefall. This is simply the noise of the air around you. You will not be able to conduct a conversation, but if there is a camera pointed at you, then it is probable that some audio may be picked up if you are screaming loudly enough. It is also likely that your ears will pop due to the high altitude.
What’s The Temperature Like?
As you exit the plane, you will be greeted by a rush of fresh air. Most people are more concerned with the freefall experience or enjoying the view to worry about the temperature. However, some will come away with slightly cold fingers and toes at the end of a jump. It can get a little chillier in the winter months, so it is wise to wrap up warm on your skydive. A hat, a pair of gloves and a hoodie on top of your jumpsuit would be sensible clothing choices.
What Does Skydiving Feel Like In Terms Of Breathing?
Some beginners do find it hard to breathe during freefall but this is usually because of an emotional response to skydiving rather than a physical one. Skydiving in itself should not affect the respiratory cycle of a person. However, some beginners do find that they hold their breath when they leave the aircraft and forget to exhale again which can cause them to panic. A handy tip for beginners to try if they’re having breathing difficulties is to scream as loud as they can. This forces the person to exhale whilst screaming which will then automatically result in inhaling a new breath in.
What About When the Parachute is Opened?
If you are in a tandem skydive, then the instructor will be in charge of deploying the parachute which will slow everything right down. Some people feel a little disorientated or dizzy when they are initially under the canopy and others feel like they’ve had the wind knocked out of them. This is due to the force of slowing down.
You will probably notice the incredible view beneath you. Be sure to take it in as it’s a truly spectacular sight.
If you generally suffer from motion sickness when travelling, then it is wise to inform your instructor about this condition beforehand. The G-force which is involved if the instructor spirals the canopy or makes aggressive turns can make some people feel particularly queasy. However, if you have explained your symptoms beforehand then the instructor will be able to make gentler turns which should be kinder to your stomach.
Reaching The Ground
If you are in a tandem skydive, then the instructor will have plenty of experience under their belt and be able to land you softly and safely. Those skydivers who are landing by themselves for the first time will have been thoroughly taught about the importance of canopy skills. They need to be aware of the direction of the wind in relation to the drop-zone and be aware of any other canopies beneath them so as not to collide with fellow skydivers.
Once you have landed safely, you will probably be filled with a feeling of relief to reach the ground in one piece. It may take you a while to get up!
The adrenaline rush that you’ve experienced is quite exhausting on the body, particularly during freefall. You might feel a little disorientated and weak at the knees after all that excitement. The best thing to do is to have a light snack and something to drink which should help you feel a lot stronger.
Many beginners come away from their skydiving experience feeling completely exhilarated and wanting to go back up there again and again. So why not? You only live once after all.
If you have any questions about what skydiving feels like, or anything else to do with beginner skydiving, then feel free to comment below. Or perhaps you’re an experienced skydiver who can help explain what skydiving feels like to those looking to do their first jump? What did skydiving feel like for you?