First Commercial Skydiving Center in the United States
Published: June 20, 2018
You might be surprised to learn that, when it comes to choosing a method to make your very first skydive, you have choices. Actual choices! Skydiving is a choose-your-own-adventure kinda sport, after all, and the options we present first-time jumpers reflect the sport's inherent spirit of self-direction.
That said: Choices, by nature, can be a little confusing. We're here to lay out your options so you can make a well-informed decision.
If you're like many people, you've had skydive on your bucket list for as long as you can remember. It probably sits right up there at the top (somewhere around "ride an elephant through the jungle" and "throw an opening pitch at Wrigley Field.") You know how incredible it'll be, but you're also pretty sure that once will be enough.
If that's you, that's cool! Tandem skydiving is probably just the ticket. Since you'll be paired up with (and firmly connected to) a professional tandem instructor for the entire process, a tandem skydiving experience can usually be pulled off in a half-day. You'll sit for a short briefing to learn about the body position you'll need to adopt and the equipment your instructor will be using. Mostly, you'll get to soak up the dropzone experience and enjoy yourself.
Remember: If you end up falling for freefall, your first-time tandem landing doesn't have to be the end of the story! You can do what lots of twitterpated tandem students do and sign right up for an AFF course. Which leads us to...
2. You can skydive with your own parachute (but accompanied by two professionals) - called AFF Skydiving.
If you don't want to, you don't have to jump with a tandem instructor for your first skydive. You can choose option #2, which is to make your first skydive wearing your very own parachute! Since this jump is technically jump number one of the "AFF" (accelerated freefall) licensing program, most students who choose this method intend on completing the program and becoming solo skydivers...but you don't have to commit to that if you don't want to. If it appeals to you, you can just tuck that feather in your cap and move on to your next adventure.
As a first-time jumper in our AFF program, you'll start by sitting for a full day of ground school. You'll learn about the equipment we use to skydive; about the art of the aircraft exit; about bodyflight in freefall; about parachute control. You'll gain confidence by learning how to handle any malfunction that might arise. When it's time to put that knowledge into practice, you'll make that first skydive with two instructors by your side. They'll hold on to you in freefall, helping you get (and stay) oriented until it's time for you to deploy your own parachute and make that triumphant landing.
With that first solo jump behind you, you just might get inspired to complete your skydiving certification. It's an investment of time and money to do so, but there are huge benefits: mainly, that once you earn your license, you can jump with your new freefallin' friends at any dropzone (skydiving center) in the US! (Hop tip: Jumptown offers a unique AFF camp, where you can complete your course in just four challenging days!)
This isn't a choice in the sense that it's a checkbox. It's a choice in that it's an effort you can choose to make when you commit to making your first skydive -- whether you're keen to team up on a tandem or go solo.
A well-prepared first-time skydiver arrives having prioritized getting good rest the night before. A well-prepared first-time skydiver arrives at the dropzone having eaten a moderate, healthful meal, having hydrated, and having limbered up. A well-prepared first time skydiver wears close-fitting athletic clothing with a selection of layers to add and subtract to suit the conditions. A well-prepared first-time skydiver brings healthful snacks, water and sufficient reading material, toys and games to make any weather-waiting fun and beneficial. Most of all, a well-prepared first-time skydiver arrives with an open beginner's mind and a thirsty curiosity for what wonders might lie beyond that door.
Are you ready to choose the adventure that suits you best? We're excited to join you on your quest! Make your reservation today for your first skydive at Jumptown.