In honor of summer — a pernickety season, indeed, where weather is concerned — we’ve decided to do some real-talkin’ about how much time to plan for a first-time tandem skydive. In this instant-gratification world, the reality catches a lot of people off-guard, so we’re keen to do a little bit of clarification.
In the imaginations of the uninitiated, everything runs like clockwork. You drive up just-in-time for your skydiving reservation, you sign your waivers, do your ground school, get kitted up and go. Sometimes, that’s exactly how it works! Other times, it just isn’t. That’s not our fault and it’s not yours (unless you arrived late for your reserved time). It’s just the way it is. The fact is that the nature of skydiving is somewhat unpredictable. There are a lot of variables at play that might conspire to keep you waiting around on the ground — most noticeably, the weather.
If you read reviews of skydiving dropzones around the world, you’ll notice a recurring theme: When reviews are negative, they often talk about frustrating wait times. We understand those feels completely. It’s hard to wait! It’s especially hard to wait when you’re nervous. In skydiving, unfortunately, you often don’t have a choice. Here are some helpful tips on what to know before you skydive that will you help you prepare and stay comfortable through it all.
Jumping out of planes is an incredibly unique, fun business. Honestly, we’re grateful for every single day that we get to share it with people. That uniqueness is a double-edged sword, however: a long list of unpredictable happenings pop up every day we’re on the dropzone.
The open spaces on any given jump plane (which we refer to in the biz as “slots”) are divided between several different grouped jumper types: fun jumpers; tandem students with confirmed reservations, their instructors, and video personnel; sport skydivers in training; walk-ins; etc. Over here in the office, we’re unable to accurately predict who’s going to show up, at what time, and in what numbers. And there are only ever a certain number of slots available on the plane. Often, when there are delays on good-weather days, it’s because the people scheduled for earlier in the day arrived up late for the class times before yours, bumping everybody down a little bit in the schedule.
Aside from the human element of the varaible spread, there’s the weather element, too — and it’s almost always the culprit for long wait times. When we skydive, weather is our element. It’s our medium. And so we’re absolutely at its mercy.
Weather — be it clouds that obscure our view of the landing area, too-strong winds on the ground or in the air, or cold temperatures that could contribute to an unsafe aircraft situation — will reliably keep us from jumping. Quite simply, we refuse to put our staff, tandem students and fun jumpers at risk by exposing them to unsafe conditions.
That might sound like a recipe for a frustrating day, but we have good news for you. It doesn’t have to be! If you do your homework and some basic preparation, you can make any surprise wait time much easier and more fun.
If you plan to be at the DZ for a few hours, you’ll either be pleasantly surprised or perfectly prepared. Come prepared with games; reading material; toys; friends. Bring a swimsuit and a towel to enjoy the pool. Binoculars will provide a way to check out the jumpers in the sky. Music is welcome. So are picnics!
If we could control the variables that affect skydiving, we absolutely would. Unfortunately, we can’t. In fact, there’s no skydiving dropzone in the world that can control this stuff. There’s only one thing we exert absolute control over, and that’s quality. To be specific, it’s the top-shelf quality of our equipment, our aircraft, our staff and our commitment to your first-time skydiving experience. You’ll see exactly what we mean when you visit us — so make your reservation today!