Top 6 Skydiving Tips for Beginners

Skydive Arizona, April 17, 2016, Eloy AZ

1.  Have a parachute

or be attached to someone who does.initial leap(7147)

2. Wear pants and long-sleeve T

Although the aircraft is warm enough inside at 13,000 feet while you’re getting ready to jump, once you hit the prop wash outside, it’s like strolling out your front door in January and unexpectedly finding yourself in a Lake Erie blizzard. Fortunately, it’s only a few seconds of buns-chilling cold but enough to drive other thoughts from your mind.

3. Crotch check

Make sure your, ahem, crotch area is not bound up too tightly. It’s not bad, but after a few minutes it can get a bit, ahem uncomfy. I can’t speak for the ladies, but presumably you also have crotches that would enjoy some breathing room.

4. Don’t eat breakfast

Fortunately, I have a pretty strong stomach and having done loops and aileron rolls in a T-34 trainer I think I handle sudden drops pretty well, but I’ve also nearly gotten sick 25 yards from shore in a fishing dinghy so I’ve learned “respect your stomach.”

5. Shut up

More politely, try to keep your mouth closed and breathe. I found myself with the worst case of temporary drmid-air freefall(7228)-fy mouth when I landed. It was no problem once I actually swallowed but you kinda forget those things in mid-plumment. Plus, your in-plummet photos look better with your trap mostly shut.

6. Go for Seconds

Although the first-time experience is pretty adrenalin-inducing, you may mentally check out in the excitement and forget to have fun.  Once you have the gist of the initial leap out the fuselage doorway, the feel of prop wash, and the sensation of the chute opening out of the way, you can take time to be mindful and actually perform some basic maneuvers and enjoy the scenery.

from above(7179z)
Thanks to my friend Sandra for tip suggestions.

14 comments on “Top 6 Skydiving Tips for Beginners

  1. This was enlightening. I never thought about the prop wash but that would be a big Duh! I used to want to skydive but now I’m ogling parasailing. Longer orgasm.

    • jveeds says:

      The prop wash is really only a few seconds. Don’t let that discourage you…unless you’re craving a longer prop wash experience.

      • I actually adore prop wash. I had a fantastic helicopter experience once, but it was warm:

        I’m not discouraged, just discerning. Paragliding, -sailing, etc. yields a longer ride with more controlled exploration. It may not be the rush of a 100 mph wind straight up my nostrils but I’m at a place where I’d rather explore the hills from different eagle angles than hurl straight at them like a meteorite. I channel my adrenaline junkie tendencies through a finer sieve now.

      • jveeds says:

        Actually, I agree. I’m keen to try some paragliding, or at least parasailing. That seems like a less concentrated but more bird-like approximation. I’m not an adrenaline junkie (e.g., no bungie jumping) but I love the idea of controlled floating.

      • He’s not an adrenaline junkie but he jumps out of perfectly good airplanes. Alrighty, then.

      • jveeds says:

        I seem to get more of a rush out of being arrested in Saudi Arabia for taking pictures or purposely running out of gas on a rural road in northwest Ohio farm country…just to see what it feels like (running out of gas, not being detained). I used to jump off perfectly good cliffs and zig zag through trees when I was a regular skiier. I gather they all wear helmets nowadays. Where’s the fun in that?

      • That’s nothing, we used to hang upside down from steel playground equipment over concrete in first grade. One kid fell on his head; he got stitches and came right back to school. Today, that school would be in litigation.

      • jveeds says:

        Ah, the old schoolyard “that’s nothing” game, eh? Oh yeah, well, that’s nothing…my 1st grade co-conspirator Billy Krimmel and I used to love climbing trees around the neighborhood. And our favorite was what we called the “Swinging Wire Tree.” Our mothers used to hear us talking about how fun it was until one day, one of them said, “Wait…where exactly is this ‘wire’ tree?” We took them to the empty lot where we proudly showed them the Electric Company pole we’d use to climb to get to the attractive array of electrical wires that worked their way through the tree limbs. End of fun.

      • Billy Krimmel sounds like the name of a Disney children’s movie villain. Just sayin’.

        And…Oh, yeah? Well, that’s nothing…one time when I was running my own landscaping company, I was rolling some metal edging through a Builder’s Square parking lot on one of those open trolleys. I hit a bump in the asphalt and the metal bounced up at one end and sliced through all four layers of skin on my upper thigh. I wrapped duct tape around it, delivered the edging, THEN went to the ER.

        Turns out the subcutaneous fat in your legs really does look like yellowish cottage cheese.

      • jveeds says:

        Oh yeah, well that’s nothing. When I was hanging out with the aforementioned Billy the K, we used to go around to the new houses being built in our neighborhood and write our initials in the wet cement. When some construction worker busted us, my mother said something like “Jesus Mary and Joseph…did you have to write your name!” But that only started me on the road to crime. During one of these forays I actually fell down an unfinished chimney flue extending down into the basement of the house. Being only 5 or 6, I couldn’t climb out. I’m still not sure how I got out other than I seem to recall my mother involved. I might have been foray’ing on my own, or maybe Billy the K ran home to get help.

  2. Oh, yeah? Well, that’s nothing. One time in my 20s I visited somebody’s house who took in dangerous, rehabbed dogs. She normally didn’t let them near guests but one giant Shepherd-Lab mix was so taken with me, he sat on my feet and leaned against me for hours so I would have to keep petting him as I sat in a chair. When it was time to go, she walked him on his leash to the door to say goodbye to me. None of us saw her husband come up behind the dog and effectively box the nervous pooch in at the doorjamb. When I leaned down to pet him one last time, he leapt up, sunk his teeth in my face, and shook my skull. One canine each went into my eye socket, under that eye, into my jaw, and into my lip. I poured blood like a shower all the way to my truck and then bled all over that, too. Everyone in the emergency waiting room stared at the flap of skin hanging down from my cheek. The attending physician was so proud of his stitch work, he brought in his students to the treatment room to see it. I climbed Missouri Mountain (14,074′) the next day, the stitches got infected, and I had to have them ripped out one by one without anesthetic. I learned later that the dog was a known offender with a history of biting children and adults. To this day, the scars are virtually invisible under natural laugh lines and wrinkles and I’m still leery of dogs.

    • jveeds says:

      Well, I have to admit, that’s something. Of course it doesn’t take any talent to get bitten by a dog. But it takes chutzpah to reach under a hot gas-powered lawnmower and grab the muffler. I was working as the harbor master (a pretty bogus title but I was happy to have the job on summer vacation) at the Presque Isle Yacht Club in Erie, PA (a pretty bogus yacht club but they were happy to have someone gas up the boats and help the actual yachtsmen tie down during a storm) and one of my jobs was to mow the small patch of grass outside the picnic area. For reasons I really can’t fathom (note the nautical term) I was trying to dislodge something underneath the mower and after carefully turning it off, reached under and grabbed something without really looking at what it might be. For a few seconds I just felt a bit of a tingling sensation…and then my entire hand was searing. Fortunately, there was a hospital across the street. I’m not sure what I told people at the time…mahybe that I was saving a stray chipmunk or bunny rabbit.

      • Oh, yeah? Well, that’s nothing. I have 2 1/2 kidneys. They tried to kill me year after year with high fevers, severe pain, and illnesses until I had major surgery to reconstruct them. At age 11.

        But if you want to make it a contest of who’s more stupid, I bow to the winner.

      • jveeds says:

        I bow to the super-kidney kid (SKK)

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