Planning for a Skydive but can’t gather the courage to do it? Remember, Skydiving Isn’t Scary!
It has been almost 3 hours now since I’ve landed (Safely back on earth) after my first ever skydive. A 1-minute of freefall from over 4000m height and I fairly remember how crazy and wild I behaved as I touched the ground. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing and yelling and hugging my tandem instructor Steffen. The energy in me was boundless. And I think that’s the thing with all adventure activities. Once you win over your fear and come out of it alive, you feel as if you’ve conquered your weaker self.
I mean I remember how scared I felt before the dive. I did over a dozen stories on my Instagram page telling people that I’ve been feeling so scared that I’m considering to back-out. Reacting to the stories, many people shared reassurance with one of them sharing the most useful set of words “Skydiving is not a rollercoaster ride” and now that I’ve done it and know how it feels, I can evaluate how apt her words were.
Is Skydiving Scary?
For someone like me who has never experienced any thrill ride since the previous 12-years because he had a scary episode in an adventure park at the age of 15, skydiving was a big deal. To further clarify the gravity of the situation, I am one of those people who feel a bit of uneasiness in their stomach every time there’s a sudden downhill jump on a highway. In a nutshell, sudden falls make me go nervous!
But the thing with skydiving is that it’s not as scary as it sounds. If there are millions of successful skydivers and thousands of skydiving companies in the world, it’s for a reason! It may be your very first free-fall experience, but there are hundreds and thousands of people who have done it before, including people like me.
The only part about skydiving that’s scary is the journey from your home to the moment you’ve actually jumped from the aircraft. Or worse, watching people landing back on earth before you’ve actually done it yourself.
Skydiving Isn’t A Rollercoaster Ride
Psychologically speaking, jumping from an aircraft some 4kms above earth is a scary idea and our inner fight mechanism makes us respond to it (the danger) by making us feel scared. I mean moving towards the open door of an aircraft is indeed scary, and there’s no doubt about it.
But the reality is that as soon as you leave the aircraft, you are no longer scared. It’s kind of ironic, but that’s the truth. And why is that? Well, the answer lies in physics. As soon as you leave the aircraft, you enter a state known as terminal velocity which doesn’t make you feel like you’re falling (very different to how you feel when bungee jumping) and it happens because of the kind of posture you have while sky-diving (almost like riding on air molecules rather than struggling against them). And this terminal velocity allows for the complete enjoyment of the experience because you feel in control as opposed to wildly falling to earth.
So, is skydiving scary? No, it is not. Is walking towards the open door of an aircraft scary? Yes. Very much.
My Experience: Where Did I Do It?
I’d always wanted to skydive since I tried paragliding in Selangor, Malaysia. Paragliding was kind of an experience that made me feel awestruck as a kid does the first time he experiences something new. And since then, I always wondered how amazing it would be to skydive from much higher above. So this time, as I planned a week-long trip around the Bavaria region in Germany, I decided to spare a day for skydiving, and skydiving alone.
Jumped On: 30 June 2018 @ 2:30pm
Jumped With: Fallschirmsport Airtime
Location: Günzburg in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany (about 2 hours train ride from Munich, towards Stuttgart)
Altitude: 4,000 m
Freefall: 60 seconds
Cost: Eur 209 for the tandem jump and Eur 115 for videography and photos
As I checked-in at the reception, I was given a waiver form which basically asked me to sign my life away and waive the Tandem of any liability in the event of a mishap (injury or death). But it was kind of expected. Once done, my tandem instructor Steffen gave me one on one instructions on what was needed to be done before and during the flight. It basically included four things: 1) not feeling scared and smiling for the camera, 2) jumping together and taking the banana posture right after the jump, 3) the posture to attain while landing.
After the instruction and meeting the video guy (who provided me with the precious memories of the entire experience), I was helped to suit-up and be ready for the big moment.
It felt like an eternity sitting in the aircraft and about to jump for the first time. The moment the aircraft took the flight and until it hit the 4,000m height mark (the height we were supposed to jump from) every second felt like a lifetime. I remember being the only first tandem jumper in the entire lot. Everyone else was much experienced and seemed worry-less.
As the time to jump approached, I chicken-walked to the door of the aircraft and stared down. What a rush! I’m not sure, but maybe we counted to three or just sort of fell out of the aircraft. The first few seconds were a total blackout and I don’t remember anything about it either. But as I caught hold of me and started freefalling face-down, I realised that I completely forgot what form I was supposed to take during freefall, but Steffen forced me into the correct position. (watching this happen on the video was pretty hilarious, I look sheepishly scared coming out of the aircraft!)
The entire freefall felt more like flying straight across the sky instead of falling at about 150kmph. 60 seconds later, Steffen launched the parachute and I found myself peacefully floating towards the drop zone. I hear Steffen’s voice in my ear as he unfastened the harness and asked if I’m alright. Nodding unceasingly with all the life in me, I spat a weak Yes. Steffen then asked me if I wanted some spins on Parachute, and I said Hell yeah! Then he spun our parachute 3-4 times to left and right and it was fun.
Wow, the entire experience was nothing like I had imagined.
It was the best moment of my life which I couldn’t express in words — all I can say is that Skydiving is intoxicating more than any drug on this planet, it’s enough to mess with your head!
And here’s a quick video of the entire experience from my Youtube Channel:
Also Read: My First Bungy Jumping Experience