Tandem Skydive 101

Getting Ready for Your Jump

If you've never been skydiving before, you've probably got a large number of questions as you prepare for your thrilling day.

  1. What is skydiving like?

    It’s very difficult to describe the sensation of the whole experience when you skydive for the first time. In truth, you will likely go through a whole range of emotions and end up with such a feeling of exhilaration that you’ll find it difficult to put into your own words.

  2. Do I need to be in good shape to skydive

    You will get a lot more enjoyment from your experience if you are in reasonably good shape. Keep in mind the maximum weight to do a tandem is 230 lbs (104.3kg). You must also be able to raise your feet in front of you
    for landing, walk and jump without assistance.

    Remember no alcohol the night before and stay hydrated throughout your experience. If you’re in any doubt, then it’s a good idea to contact your medical professional.

    For our accessibility Tandem, please call the office.

  3. What should I wear to skydive?

    The basic attire for your tandem should be lace-up athletic shoes, shorts or long pants, t-shirt (long or short sleeve). If it’s chilly outside, it will be much colder at altitude, so you may want to wear pants and a sweatshirt or light jacket. We do have jumpsuits available upon request.

  4. How old do I have to be?

    Skydiving is restricted to those who are 18 years of age or older and will be verified by your state issued ID.

  5. How many people can be in my group?

    This is an adventure that is best experienced with family and friends. Much will depend on the size of your entourage, but we certainly encourage this type of group experience.

    It may be necessary to spread certain large groups over a number of different flights, but as many as 11 tandem pairs can jump at the same time from one plane. While human friends are most certainly welcome, your pets will have to hear about your experience when you get home.

  6. Will Weather affect my jump?

    Your tandem jump will take place only if the weather conditions are suitable for skydiving. If the weather that day is marginal you are certainly welcome to call the drop zone prior to leaving your home to check weather conditions.

    When arriving for your jump, plan on spending at least ½ a day with us. Reservations are for you to get all of the necessary paperwork done when you first get here we can then sequence you for your jump. Two things we can’t control are weather and aircraft issues.

The Tandem Experience

Manifesting

Check-In

The first thing we need you to do upon arrival is filling out our waiver. Even our waiver system is state-of-the-art, you will step up to a tablet and answer and few questions, taking no more than 5-10 minutes.

Identification

The next part of the check-in process is checking your ID. Please bring some form of government issued picture ID. We need this to verify your identity, and to enable us to finish the check-in process

Business

Finally, we ask you which video package you would like to take with you after your experience with us. This is a great way to remember your moment in the air and share it with your family and friends. Once you have chosen your package, you settle your account and head out to training.

Training and Safety

Why It’s Needed

We take safety seriously. All of our instructors are USPA certified, highly experienced, pro skydivers, who are only going to take you up when you are confident with your equipment, the process, and all safety steps. Training is a must so everyone can have a safe, fun, and unforgettable experience.

How long should I expect to be in training?

Your average wait time can vary, so please allow at least 2 hours for this once in a lifetime experience. Our process includes signing a waiver, checking-in, 5-10 minute training session and catching your ride up to altitude. Wait time can vary due to weather, airspace and aircraft accommodation.

Safety Checks Done

Your instructor will do a complete safety inspection of your parachute and harness, pre-flight. They will fit your harness and adjust for both safety and comfort. You’ll also have the chance to ask questions and go over what you learned in your training class so you’re clear and comfortable during the entire process.

Can My Friends Sit Through the Class With Me?

Only students who are jumping are permitted to attend the tandem skydive training. While it isn’t possible for your friends or family members to sit through your training class with you, we do have a picnic area with tables where they can wait to watch you jump. Just keep in mind, no alcohol is allowed for safety reasons

What to Do While Waiting

Expect to wait before your jump. We assign groups into aircraft loads, so unless you go on the first load after your training, you’ll have time before you go into the air. This is a great time to stay hydrated and to have a light meal – often jumpers who report feeling sick in the air jumped on an empty stomach.

Getting Gear and Staging

Up to the Jump

You’ve now reached the moment of truth. You’ve gone through all the training, filled out all the paperwork and been kitted out with your gear. Don’t be surprised if the harness feels a little unusual or tight, as these are specifically designed for this job, and you’ll soon get used to it. It’s time to follow your instructor and head for the plane!

Boarding The Plane and Takeoff

You will remember from your training that there is a specific technique involved in getting into the plane, so remember what to do and climb on board carefully, alongside any other skydivers and their instructors who may be joining you.

Once everybody is ready, the pilot will maneuver the plane along a short taxiway to the beginning of the runway and start to roll out. In no time at all, you’ll be in the air and climbing steadily above the beautiful Southern Californian countryside.

To The Jump Run

Take time to look all around you and savour the occasion. Out of the window you will have unparalleled views over the Pacific Ocean, the mountains that surround San Diego, and Mexico to your south.

Keep an eye on your altimeter as well, as you climb. You will know that you are at cruising altitude when it reaches 13,000 feet. This part of the flight should take about 15 minutes to complete, before you get to your optimal jump height.

Jump Staging

As your journey continues, your skydiving instructor will go over everything again and tell you what you need to do and what you should expect from your skydive. This will be the time when the instructor will attach himself directly to your harness, in preparation for the jump.

To The Door

When it’s approaching time for you both to begin the skydive, you will need to maneuver towards the door. This may feel a little awkward, as you are both harnessed together pretty tightly, of course. Don’t worry though, you’re about to experience something truly out of this world!

Free Fall, Fly Around and Soft Landing

If this is your first time, you will likely have a curious mix of apprehension, excitement, incredulity and awe. Standing, tethered to your instructor at an open doorway of the plane, barely able to hear the last-minute words of encouragement given to you by your flying partner. Can it really be happening?

JUMP!

Once the instructor is ready and you have reached the ideal location, you may notice him bending forward to have a look out of the plane several times. This is usual, as he is double and triple-checking the conditions and the drop zone. Then, when all is set, you will assume the position described to you in the training session and wait for the big moment.

Free Fall!!

The next thing you experience will provide you with a lifetime of memories, all rolled into one explosive, exhilarating and mind-blowing feeling as you exit the plane and enter the world of freefall. You will suddenly be travelling at over 120 miles an hour through the skies and rewriting your personal textbook about sensory overload.

If you’re able to look up, you’ll see the plane start to disappear from sight as it continues its journey and you fall away. This image will be something that you can use to really understand the sensation of falling and flying through the air in this way.

Almost as soon as you exit the plane a special ‘chute known as a “drogue” will be activated, which helps to contain the speed of descent to normal levels. This is the first section of your ride and freefall usually lasts for up to a minute. Many people say that this part of the adventure goes by so quickly, so remember to savour every split-second of it.

Chute Open

All too soon, at around 5,500 feet, it will be time to deploy the main parachute. Of course, you needn’t worry about any of this, as your skydiving instructor is taking care of all the details behind your back. He will give you a quick alert that it’s about to happen and then you’ll notice a very sudden and intense movement that arrests the fall and feels like you’re lifting up for a second or two. This is, of course, a sensation you haven’t come across before, but now you will feel as if you are gently floating like a leaf, rather than plummeting through the air.

Fly Around

You’ll also find that things have become very quiet suddenly and you’ll be able to carry out a conversation with your instructor fairly easily. He may remind you of some of your training again and how you should think about positioning yourself as you approach the ground. But for now, enjoy your five or six-minute ride under the parachute canopy through the skies. See if you can spot some of the famous San Diego landmarks like Coronado Island and follow the mountain range north towards Los Angeles.

After Jump Experience

Have you caught your breath yet? Many people will take a couple of minutes just to try and take in what they’ve just done and put it into some kind of perspective. You’ve just joined an elite club of people who have experienced a tandem jump and you’re going to remember it for the rest of your life.

Getting Out Of Gear

The first thing that you need to do now is to extract yourself from the harness and return it and the goggles to the waiting assistant. If some friends or family have come to watch your jump, then you’ll be able to meet back up with them and share in their excitement of what they’ve just watched. No doubt many of them will be keen to ask you “what did it feel like?” Some of them may even want to try it themselves soon.

Pictures and Videos

As you head back to the office you will start to wonder how you can get some mementos of your fabulous day. After all, when your intense memories of the moment start to fade, you will need something to rekindle the experience, as well as something to give you bragging rights among your friends.

We suggest you get hold of a copy of our professionally made video that details your jump from the plane and from the ground. We also offer you a selection of photographs taken throughout your experience, that augment and complement the moving image.

Merchandise

You may also want to buy the T-shirt, so that you can show off to your friends. And why not, you have just executed a perfect tandem jump right out of the clear California skies!

All of these items are available at the gift shop for you to purchase before you leave. But in the meantime, bask in the glow of a safe and successful jump and enjoy the final moments of your experience at Skydive San Diego.