Skydiving is definitely an extreme sport that is on most people’s bucket list. And why not? Not only is the sport exhilarating, it is one of the closest things to flying.
There are plenty of companies around the US that offer tandem skydiving for first-timers or amateurs. The instructors and jumpers are all certified and licensed by the US Parachute Association (USPA).
Most companies encourage making a reservation online so you don’t wait too long. But ,on the day of the jump, expect to spend around 4-5 hours total at the site. This includes preparation, wait time, and the actual jump.
To be qualified to jump, you must be at least 18 years old (in the US, 16 years old if you do it in Spain). You must also be below 200 pounds. Some companies can accommodate people who are up to 240-250 pounds, but not all of them. Make sure to call and inquire first.
Before jumping, forms are filled out and weighing is done. A short orientation is also given to all jumpers. This is to ensure you know what to expect during the jump and what is expected of you as a tandem student jumper. When everything is ready, you get suited up.
To record this momentous occasion, companies also offer photo and video services. Your professional skydiving buddy wears a camera on his wrist to take your pictures and videos. Most states charge USD 99 for photos and videos each, but a discounted package of USD 127 on average for both is also available. It is a lot cheaper in Virginia and in Spain, at USD 85 and USD 85 for both, respectively.
The plane ride takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the right altitude. At 14,000 feet (10,000 feet for Long Island, New York, 13,500 feet for Virginia), you get the ride of life as you freefall for about 60 seconds (30-45 seconds if at 10,000 feet). Then you parachute for about 3 to 5 minutes to the ground.
Most of the time, rates are lower for online and weekday bookings and cash payments versus walk-in and weekend bookings and credit payments. You get discounts if you arrive as a group or are from the military. You also get a discount if you book your next jump with the same company. If you are a licensed professional with your gear and just need a ride, you only pay around USD 30 per jump.
For first-timers and amateurs, expect to spend a minimum of USD 210 for a jump. It can go up to USD 300. Some companies add a surcharge if you weigh more than 200 pounds or if you want to jump from a higher altitude (14,500 feet is the highest allowed height for amateurs). There are also miscellaneous fees like booking fees and reservation fees to be paid. In total, for a memorable skydiving experience, be ready to cough up USD 365 to USD 455.
Think you are ready for it? Go ahead and book your first jump now!