I started "skydiving" after going through military freefall school in Pau (France) in 2003 (I already had my static line rating.) Stopped logging non-working jumps after around 1000 jumps (work jumps are what counts to keep my instructional ratings current.)

Skydiving is one of the, if not the sport offering the most diverse disciplines and is a lot of fun... if you are not being stupid. Freefall couldn't be more different from what people imagine, so i thought this might be an interesting topic for people not having experienced it before (we call them whuffos in certain situations).

My Proof: https://vimeo.com/72519172 (Link to a video on my vimeo account showing actual skydiving instructional jumps - note the user name here and on vimeo.)

Ask away!

Comments: 858 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

DontLickMyAssHole290 karma

Seen any titties pop out?

bpjg2fat74 karma

Please answer... For science.

SdBlkFlg292 karma

Seen it. To be honest we helped a bit with the popping out of said titties.

ZachCool276 karma

How many deaths have you been witness to within the sport?

SdBlkFlg430 karma

Seen two people with my own eyes. Most of the accidents nowadays are botched landings under high performance canopies (those accidents would be easily evitable if people weren't so stupid sometimes - ego kills.)

countingthedays224 karma

Ego kills for sure. Hang glider pilot here and the rush that some people have to move up to high performance wings when they barely land beginner stuff is amazing.

SdBlkFlg215 karma

Right? It's mindboggling. Especially considering that the very stuff they consider to be "boring noob stuff" like flying a consistent pattern is the basic and arguably the most important skill for high performance landings and overall canopy piloting badassery. "I hope you have tons of fun going back to work on basics for 200 jumps when you already have 1000 jumps. If you survive long enough that is" :D

Hazz3r35 karma

RAPS Student Here (Looking to move onto AFF as RAPS isn't quite doing it for me in terms of feedback).

I don't know about anywhere else but up at Skydive Hibaldstow we're always taught that you don't start down-sizing to high perfomance canopies until you know how to get the most out of your current one. Only once you are a master of your canopy should you consider moving on.

SdBlkFlg41 karma

You are getting the right advise there! YOu'd be astonished what badassery can be done even with a more docile wing when you master it!

Thementalrapist22 karma

Realistically how safe is skydiving, I'm no mathematician but I feel that anytime you do something that will most likely kill you at the slightest mistake or failure has to be mathematically very dangerous.

SdBlkFlg29 karma

Let's say you don't do stupid shit and chose the type of parachute etc wisely the chances of you killing yourself are slim to none. It won't kill you at the slightest mistake. There is more margin than most people think, most people that hurt themselves bad or die made a chain of mistakes. Except people being plain stupid and reckless.

KusanagiZerg28 karma

Perceived skill is (almost) always higher than actual skill. This goes for practically all people in all fields.

no_talent_ass_clown92 karma

If you have high enough self-esteem.

Some of us are the star of our own 'Who's The Shittiest Worker' show in the mirror every morning.

patrik66753 karma

> Most of the accidents nowadays are botched landings under high performance canopies (those accidents would be easily evitable if people weren't so stupid sometimes - ego kills.)

I'm just going to repost this for any prospective swoopers with 100 jumps under their belts to see.

ChestHairs12 karma

Makes me recall the dropzone.com user Sangi.

frostbite30511 karma


SdBlkFlg36 karma

Some guy was way up ahead of his skills, and almost killed himself. Many people (very skilled people) tried to explain how to...but he basically told them to pound sand. He is sitting in a wheel chair now, lucky to have survived. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

Wrathwilde137 karma


Insomnia1305163 karma

That is not what the paralympics are.

HaakonBK52 karma

I think he means the parachute olympics and not the parallell olympics.

SdBlkFlg54 karma


SdBlkFlg68 karma

There is a number of handicapped people skydiving. So it wouldn't be that much of a stretch....

PostmortemFacefuck31 karma

how handicapped are we talking

SdBlkFlg38 karma

I know a guy missing both legs. Another guy is missing both legs and an arm. There are numerous paraplegic skydivers as well. This is Todd Love going through his course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3K2amZ7_aE

yrro131 karma

Any close shaves?

SdBlkFlg241 karma

Except a really stupid low turn under canopy which could have easily killed me and i got hurt pretty bad i had a couple of more or less close shaves. For instance some guy who excited well before me, tried to fly head down and made considerable horizontal movement in the process and then pulled his parachute below me. I fell past his parachute (around 15ft away from me) at 120mph. That got my heart to work a bit more.

whentheredredrobin52 karma

What would have happened if you'd hit his parachute?

SdBlkFlg127 karma

Depending on how I hit it...Worst case hitting it right in the middle: Knocked out, broken bones, him all smashed up. Probably wrapped up in his parachute him tangled up in lines, both falling with near terminal velocity. A full on hit will most probably lead to AT LEAST one fatality.

MatticusCrispy109 karma

Most diverse disciplines? Like what?

How hard is it to control yourself horizontally while you're falling?

How long did it take you to become an instructor?

Do you have a wingsuit?

SdBlkFlg94 karma

Most diverse disciplines: In skydiving the disciplines are so diverse that you could almost say that even mastering one of them might not be enough to even be able to pull off the basics in another discipline (depending if the person had the interest in trying before.) The official FAI disciplines are: - 4 way Formation skydiving http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2oGxV3Obkg - 8 way Formation skydiving http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE7Zu-Aertw - Artistic - freefly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynshvDVa7zo - Artistic - freestyle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBqi3twyjOc - 4 way vertical formation (http://www.youtube.com/watchv=xMcFlAMTV_o) - Canopy piloting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctDTGS-rek4 - Canopy formation (different sub-disciplines) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfwfC0HagNQ - Style / Accuracy landing

Controlling yourself horizontally is not really difficult, once you get how things work. The video in my original post shows students who have a maximum of seven jumps (which is the minimum number of jumps to be allowed to skydive on your own.) There is a difference between coach and instructor, the details being to lengthy and confusing. Minimum experience required for the aff instructional rating is 500 jumps (6h of freefall time), USPA C-License and a current coach rating. I had around 1000 jumps when i went through evaluation. I've done some wingsuiting, but it's nothing i want to do a lot. It's fun though!

MatticusCrispy26 karma

With the wingsuiting, is it because it's so sketch?

Never did the math on how much freefall time it actually takes, didn't realize it was a total of 6 hours, that's pretty cool.

Do you have a second job?

SdBlkFlg43 karma

I just prfere to fly my body rather than a wingsuit, even if I can really see the fun it is. But it would take lots of time to push the skills forward, which i rather invest in other disciplines. Total freefall time is funny, indeed. When i first calculated it i had around 12h total...I was like WTFF :) I was a PT, but stopped working in this field, since the pay in Germany was nowhere near enough compensation for the work.

MatticusCrispy21 karma

What's the worst part about your job on a day to day basis so far?

SdBlkFlg55 karma

Apart from the bad parts any job can have I can't really think of one really sticking out. You tend to encounter more ego in this sport than in most jobs I guess.

CommercialPilot26 karma

I've had dickhead egotistical instructors and coaches make me never return to their DZ again. I usually let the DZO know that they've lost a paying customer because of a particular coach or instructor.

SdBlkFlg55 karma

Good on you. I despise self proclaimed skygods with an attitude towards less experienced people. Most of the time those are insecure dickwads.

justwrath11 karma

so basically, you transpose synchronized swimming from the pool to the air, meanwhile in other sports, it's not just falling. (yes this is a dickmove oversimplification, but ya.)

SdBlkFlg15 karma

Depending on the discipline you are right. Synchronized swimming is a pretty good analogy.

findme_0696 karma

Do you get that falling feeling when you go to sleep that makes you wake up or do you just go with it and end up tugging yourself off?

SdBlkFlg142 karma

Funny. I had this feeling. Still have it sometimes. I don't think it has anything to do with skydiving. Funny part about sleep is that the way i dream has changed. When I fly etc I ALWAYS wear a parachute. Like it is engraved in my mind that I need one!

juxtaposition2183 karma

Skydiving has been my number one dream since I found out what it is. Due to health a problem I can never sky dive (ears can't handle rapid change in air pressure). Is there a safer alternative?

SdBlkFlg119 karma

Sorry to hear that. I fyou REALLY want to try it you might want to have your condition checked by a FAA board doctor, there should always be one in your city (or even more of them). Since they are more used to problems like this they might be able to assess the risk better, versus a doctor that rather says "no" since he isn't 100% sure. Anyways a definitely safe alternative would be a wind tunnel! You can do everything you would do while skydiving (well...except fast horizontal movement) and have the same feeling. YOu should be able to find a wind tunnel not too far from you. It seems really expensive in the beginning, but once you get to a certain level of proficiency you can share time and divide the cost by the number of people in the tunnel. There are lots of people that absolutely kick ass in the tunnel but never have jumped out of an airplane. It has kind of involved to being a sport on it's own. https://vimeo.com/72760181

Aruma4783 karma

What is the pay like?

SdBlkFlg151 karma

Depends on quite a few variables. You can expect between $35 and $55 per jumps depending on where, weather etc. Most of the time you get paid for each jump, so some people make a really good living while others are stuck with ramen noodles.

robotbeagle60 karma

a) If you opened your parachute as soon as you jumped off the plane, what's the farthest you might drift and land?

b) Have you ever heard of anyone hitting a bird? If yes, is it dangerous?

SdBlkFlg62 karma

a) depends on many variables like altitude, winds and the type and size of parachute you use. Military HAHO (high altitude high opening jumps) can get really far drifts under canopy. b) birds aren't to be found in altitudes you would still be in free fall! luckily!

It_s_toasted57 karma


SdBlkFlg83 karma

I used my reserve 7 times. Only once was it a bit on the sketchy side.

okayspeed43 karma

what the fuck? What if your reserve didn't work?

What's your thought process like when your first parachute doesn't work? Do you just pull the reserve w/o thinking about it? Or do you contemplate things a little?

tl;dr I'm bad at words: What's going through your head when your main doesn't work?!

SdBlkFlg23 karma

Well actually it's a weird feeling of clarity... You don't think a lot, you just go with what you learned and rehearsed a thousand times. I really realized what was going on after I landed.

TheGreatJeremy47 karma

Scariest situation you've been in?

Coolest flying maneuver you've mastered?

Where is your favorite place to jump?

SdBlkFlg57 karma

I had a couple of close shaves, one two or three of them actually being pretty close (one was pure stupidity, not even a close shape anymore but I was lucky not to get too fucked up in the process.) Coolest maneuver? Difficult to answer. I'd say the most spectacular is definitely swooping (high performance landings). In freefall i would say freefly related maneuvers (flying head down, carving etc.) Favorite place to jump is a tough one. Dubai is awesome (facilities, view etc.) But some places in southern Germany / Switzerland offer awesome view too. Many places in the US i love, too. Bigger dropzones are not always better!

TheGreatJeremy14 karma

I've seen the pictures from Dubai. It's now on my bucket list of places to jump. I'm just starting out. Spent some time in a tube and hope to do some tandem next summer.

Can you elaborate on some of the close shaves?

SdBlkFlg31 karma

Keep in mind that jumping over the palm requires a D-License (because you basically land on an island.) They have a huge dropzone in the desert though, which we used for fun jumps after mondial. I have to honestly say that jumping over an ocean of sand was visually maybe even more impressing! I had wraps doing canopy relative work (basically a canopy collision), someone pulling well below me while i passed his canopy in free fall and a stupid low turn which i got a way lucky with. Those are pretty much the closer ones i had.

TheGreatJeremy14 karma

Thanks for the replies! Cool AMA. I'm very unfamiliar with license classes so I'm assuming a D-License is one of the higher-rated ones that allow you to jump over/near water and/or islands?

I'd love to jump over the Palm Islands or the World Islands (correct name?) or anywhere near the Burj Khalifa or Al-Arab!

SdBlkFlg15 karma

The drop zone referred to as Dubai I or "the palm" is at the foot of the smaller palm, next to Dubai marina. Licenses go from A to D. You can check all the license requirements and general info if you download the USPA SIM (skydiver information manual - the important parts are accessible online) at uspa.com

TheGreatJeremy15 karma

Wow, I've learned more in this AMA than my last 3 months on this sub.

Quick question. Does the skydiving industry regulate anything related to camera gear and how/where it can be worn while jumping? Just a little thought that popped in my head when I learned some states outlaw GoPros on the exterior of airplanes.

SdBlkFlg12 karma

USPA only has "recommendations" in regards to camera flying. BUt as my evaluator used to say "recommandations turn into rules in a court of law" :D IMHO cameras don't really make sense below 200 jumps. They add a risk in themselves (entanglement etc.) and are really a major distraction (i.e. more stuff to fiddle around with just before exit and not paying attention to important stuff in freefall). The results from beginners having a camera suck most of the time anyways (sorryyyy), so i think people would be better off dishing out a ticket plus a few bucks for someone more experienced to take pics of them if they want some to show to friends etc. You can find the part of the SIM referring to cameras here: http://www.uspa.org/SIM/Read/Section6/tabid/169/Default.aspx#983

sarsat27 karma

What is the worst case of someone freaking out you've seen? (assuming you have helped out in recreational jumping)

SdBlkFlg31 karma

You mean like a tandem passenger freaking out?

sarsat22 karma

Yes. Exactly.

SdBlkFlg61 karma

Most people are pretty calm when the door opens (kinda like the rabbit facing the snake...) Doesn't happen often that people refuse to jump, I've seen it happen once. Seen puking, fainting etc. more commonly (but after landing). This video pretty much shows the worst case (she jumped after all) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIyxHL2Og3Y

Edward199027 karma

Hey! I've been thinking about getting my skydiving license here in Australia, since I loved it when I tried it for the first time.

I just wanted to ask how convenient / expensive is it to have skydiving as a weekend hobby? As in, could you say, I'm gonna go for a couple of jumps this weekend, or do you have to plan weeks in advance or something?

SdBlkFlg28 karma

It depends. Starting out can be pretty pricey (buying gear after your license etc). Once you have absorbed that it get's a bit cheaper, depending on where you jump a ticket to altitude is on average $25. You have to consider yearly gear check and reserve repack etc. It could be considered pricey, yes. But I know a lot of students and people that don't have the highest paying job that enjoy skydiving.

Swtcherrypie21 karma

Has anyone ever asked to skydive naked? Is that even allowable?

SdBlkFlg51 karma

It happens more often than one might think. Naked tandem often is free of charge, depending on your looks and if the tandem instructor gives it to you for free....

johnbentley19 karma

What's a "Pin Check"? How many Pin Checks should every skydiver do, or have done to them, on every skydive?

SdBlkFlg30 karma

The pin is a small metal pin which keeps your main container closed (the part of your rig which contains your main parachute). It get's pulled out by the pilot chute (the smaller parachute you pull out of a pouch to initiate opening). Pin check means checking if someone's pin is well lodged in a small loop, so you don't risk premature deployment, which could lead to a very nasty malfunction or get you entangled with the aircraft should that happen on climb-out. A pin could get pushed out of his place by sitting closely together in the plane, or just plain simply a sloppy pack job.

SdBlkFlg20 karma

btw. Here's a pretty good explanation of how parachute deployment works: http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/skydiving4.htm

stefmalawi1 karma

A parachute container (or rig) uses several closing pins to secure the main and reserve parachutes, yet make it easy to open when intended.

A pin check isn't so much a specific checking of those pins IMO, rather just something you would do as a general check of the equipment. More specifically you would check that your AAD is on and set correctly, your altimeter is at zero before take off, etc.

SdBlkFlg1 karma

Well. If you check a student or someone really inexpirenced you tend to check everything. But jumping with other experienced people i do not tend to check their aad two minutes before exit.

hollowsp19 karma

Can you explain to me how can you start with the sport? Is it a must to try tandem before starting AFF course or there isn't a specific rule?

SdBlkFlg28 karma

Tandem is not a must (I did my first tandem ride when i had around 1800 jumps). Although I think it might be a good idea, maybe lessening the sensual overflow you will experience during the first jump anyways. To start skydiving you have to go through AFF (Accelerated freefall training), it's not the only way but the most widely used and fastest. It's about 1.5 days of classroom stuff and seven jumps (you will get accompanied by two instructors then by only one instructor). After that you are cleared for self supervised skydiving (basically a student jumping on his own), working towards your A License (which requires a minimum of 25 jumps). This can be done pretty fast, if you want. I've seen people do it in a week. Normally is a bit more though.

Perma_Fucked18 karma

Not sure if you're still answering here.

I went through the beginnings of AFF a couple of years ago and had two of the best minutes of my life followed by pretty much the worst AFF experience ever.

Decided to pay for a buddy and myself to go skydiving for his wedding gift. Chose a DZ near us in New England and signed us up for AFF. I had always wanted to skydive and figured AFF would give me the option of continuing and getting licensed. Ground training went well but weather prevented us from getting our first jump in for a couple of days.

Fast forward a week and the weather is clear, we show up and get ready for our jump. Now would be a good time to mention that I'm a pretty big dude, 6'2", about 220lb at the time (100Kg, 188cm). They weighed me, seemed a bit concerned and went off to chat among themselves for a few minutes. They pulled a pack out from a different rack and gave it to me. I asked if I should be concerned about my weight and was told that this was a larger canopy that they don't normally use but not to worry as it would be slower / safer for someone my size and the reserve had been repacked within the past 12 months. I'm not feeling great about the amount of dust on the pack but put my faith in my instructors. We finish gearing up, test the helmet radios, go through a ton more checklists / review and head to the Super Otter.

Flight is uneventful and filled with lots of review of the FF task list. We get to altitude (14,000ft) and people start their exits. My team is last in line. The team in front of us was a tandem and the girl started freaking out and having a panic attack. After about 60 seconds she finally agreed to go and we were up. My exit was textbook and I was flying.

We're in freefall and it was incredible. My instructors were holding on to me and guiding me while I was going through my task list (alt check, practice touch, CoA, etc). Everything seemed to be going perfectly on my way to my expected deployment at 6000ft, all thumbs up from my instructors.

The last CoA I remember was at 8500ft... My world goes black and I see sparks, feels like I been in a car wreck. My sight comes back and I realize I'm under canopy and my back / legs are screaming. Look up, full canopy, no tangles, struggle to reach for my toggles but my arms are barely working for some reason. Just enough strength in my fingers to get two fingers into the right toggle and three into the left. All I hear on the radio is static. Look around, no one in sight but I can see the DZ. Look at my altimeter and I'm at 7500 ft. All of this took about 2 seconds but felt like 2 minutes. I can steer the canopy and burn off about 6000 feet in a left hand turn per my training and head towards the DZ for landing under zero radio guidance alone. As I approach I'm watching 10 or so instructors running down the runway flapping thier arms like birds telling me to flare. Landing was rough as I couldn't get my legs to point down instead of in front of me and my flare was weak because I only had a few fingers in my toggles. I tumbled but it wasn't bad, landed right on the bulls-eye.

I'm sitting on the ground in a daze as the pain starts radiating for a minute while the instructors rush me, remove my gear and asking if I'm OK. They eventually help me up, walk me over to their bar and all buy me beers while we chat about what happened.

Here's what went wrong based on what my chat with them and my own observations during and later after doing a bit of research.

  1. I was borderline too heavy for their normal AFF packs so someone decided it would be best to put me in a rarely used pack that had a larger canopy. I later found out that it had been last packed a long time ago by a packer that had since moved away.

  2. The instructor decided to pull my cord for me at just under 8000ft with no warning whatsoever. He told me that he was concerned with our late exit due to the tandem delay and wanted to make sure I had enough altitude to safely fly back to the DZ.

  3. I had (according to the instructors already on the ground) the fastest / roughest canopy opening they've ever seen. My freefall instructors said that when my pilot was deployed, I shot up like a rocket ship. They guessed that either the rubber bands on my pack had worn and deteriorated or it was a shoddy pack job. The canopy inflated almost instantaneously and it's size meant I experienced "severe deceleration".

  4. My pack was not well fitted to my body. The leg straps were in my groin and when my canopy opened, almost all of the force was in my inner thighs.

  5. The opening was so rough that severed the radio audio cable that went to my helmet.

I ended up with massively bruised groin/ thighs and two herniated disks which still bother me today. One instructor admitted to me after a few beers that she saw my rough opening and after realizing that I wasn't responding to ground radio instruction, figured I was unconscious and didn't think I was going to make it back to the DZ. While the series of events was unfathomably unlucky, I realize that it could / should have been much worse and I was lucky to not have been more seriously injured and alive.

So, my questions are...

  1. How often have you seen any of the above happening to someone going through AFF?

  2. I feel that what happened to me was due to a combination of bad luck and poor decision making on my instructors part. Do you agree? Is there anything you as an instructor would have done differently?

  3. Even though I feel like I was pretty close to having a near-death experience, I still can't forget the wonderful experience that was freefall and would consider doing it again if I could drop some weight and my back seemed healthy. Would you suggest I jump again given what I experienced? How can I ensure that I find a reputable DZ that will ensure my safety?

  4. What do you do when you come across a "bigger student"? Is there an upper-end weight limit for skydiving where it becomes more dangerous or just too challenging? Most of the pros I've met seem to be skinny as a rail and at most, 160lbs.

Thanks in advance!

(Edit) Anyone that reads my experience, please don't let it deter you from trying. I'm sure that 99.999% of people doing their first AFF jump have no issues whatsoever. Even with the injuries, it was still one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

SdBlkFlg6 karma

I'll try to answer as much as possible! I can't comment on the gear you jumped, since I would really have to see it myself. But I think it is safe to assume that the reserve was packed according to pack cycles etc. The slammer on opening...well that can be many variables. To be honest, sometimes it just happens. Most of the times it is a sloppy pack job, but it is more common on older parachutes (design and maybe older fabric - doesn't mean not airworthy though.) The fit of the rig itself on the student can sometimes be a bit of a problem with either big or tiny people, true. They can often be adjusted but only to a certain extent. I'm sorry you had this experience. Bigger students are more a concern in regards to fall rate. There is a point where a small and light instructor might have problems flying with you, shouldn't be a HUGE problem for an experienced instructor. We try to pair students and instructors according to weight, as far as possible. But it is easier to have a fast one than being heavy and trying to outfloat a tiny girl :D You could check dropzone.com. Lots of info on dropzone and I am sure you can get good recommendations!

hollowsp6 karma

Thanks for the answer it's very helpful. I hope i have the opportunity to try it in the near future :)

SdBlkFlg7 karma

I f you are unsure about if it's the right thing for you most schools offer bundle of the ground instruction and the first jump (you only get charged for this) and you can decide afterwards if you want to do the whole course!

scheide_14 karma

One of my flight instructors use to fly skydivers, he said if somebody didn't want to jump but were on the strut, they have to go. He would extend his hand as if to offer help, and shake them off quickly and easily when they let one hand go. Sounds dangerous.

SdBlkFlg18 karma

I think he must have flown smaller jump a/c, along the lines of a C206 or so from what you told. Well, if the student climbed out and is standing on the step, holding on to the strut it is probably easier/safer for him to jump (especially on a static line or instructor assisted deployment) than to climb back in. The story he told you rather seems dangerous for the pilot and possibly the aircraft in case the student would hold him in a death grip.... nothing i would do as a pilot in a smaller plane. Normally there would still be an instructor present on student jumps, so I won't comment on the 1:1 veracity of this story.

snoopychick811 karma

a few years back I watched a video about a promotion for a Mount Everest Skydive. It looked phenomenal until I looked into the details and turns out it costs something like 30k pounds uk. The video is pretty awesome. I am terrified of heights but really want to go sky-diving. Of course I would have to do the tandem as I would probably pass out or freak out so much that I wouldn't know what to do.

SdBlkFlg6 karma

They are skydiving there as we speak!

kalestia10 karma

How and what does it feel like having the wind on your face?

What do you suggest preparing before trying it?

I have severe fear of height, what will be the best advice if I were to try this before I die?

SdBlkFlg27 karma

It's an amazing feeling. You actually don't have the feeling of falling, rather being suspended high up in the sky with a huge hair dryer blowing from beneath. It has nothing to do with rollercoaster rides etc. If you want to do a tandem or even go for AFF you don't really need to prepare yourself (except being in a "normal" physical shape.) Even many handicaps don't play a role, i know a lot of people missing limbs and jumping a lot. A vet went through training this year, he was missing both legs and an arm. Most of the time fear of hight doesn't really get triggered (it's too high), but you'd have to decide on your own (how do you feel in a "normal" airplane). If you can stay calm to an extend of not endangering yourself in an airplane you should be gtg!

Skeeders9 karma

Do you become 'immune' to that butterflies in the stomach feeling while in free fall?

Crushnaut11 karma

This was something that surprised me when I went skydiving. You don't feel that feeling AT ALL. It was explained to me that you get that feeling from seeing the movement of the world around you. When you are at 10,000 feet and are in free fall the world appears static. Thus you do not get that feeling. That was my experience in a tandem jump from 12,000 feet.

SdBlkFlg20 karma

The butterfly feeling you experience for instance in a roller coaster comes from the wagon accelerating faster than you (inertia). Jumping from a plane makes everything accelerate at the same speed...

mahade8 karma

Just wanted to say thanks, you guys are amazing and I admire what you do! I did my AFF 2 years ago and I can't wait for spring to hit the Netherlands so I can jump again without freezing my face off.

Also, I want to jump at DZ's other than my home base (Teuge, NL) but I'm not sure about the quality of materials in, say, New Zealand and other countries. I don't own a parachute of my own and I must admit that I have no clue about these things...

Is it generally safe to jump all around the world? What should I look for in rental parachutes to make sure they're safe?

SdBlkFlg7 karma

GENERALLY safe. I wouldn't worry about using gear in the US, Australia, Europe etc. If the gear has been maintained as per requirements and doesn't look too bad overall it should be gtg.

HoTranBrasky8 karma

I did a tandem skydive with an instructor and after the parachute deployed I got sick and threw up everything I've ever eaten. Is that common?

SdBlkFlg6 karma

I wouldn't say it happens OFTEN. But it happens from time to time!

wye7347 karma

Why is it considered a sport?

SdBlkFlg15 karma

You should try it... It has evolved into something way more difficult than just falling out of an airplane and deploying your parachute. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=362efUYZ1WU

akaxaka6 karma

Is it bad for your back? Knees?

Brain? ;)

SdBlkFlg10 karma

Not at all. I can't answer the brain part for myself, to be honest. ;)

SoldMySoulToReddit6 karma

How easy is it to control yourself in freefall? Have you ever used a wingsuit and how much easier does it make it feel, does it feel like you have wings?

SdBlkFlg13 karma

It feels more like "flying" and freefall time is noticeably longer. Flying a wingsuit makes everything more difficult, maybe even a bit sketchy.

JungleLegs5 karma

Why? Ive always wanted to try this.

SdBlkFlg4 karma

Well. You are kind of limited in your movement (think of emergency procedures.) Also the bigger surface makes you experience potential asymmetrical body positions way more drastically (think flat spin etc.) This can be mitigated by using the right beginner suit and good instruction.

zca43 karma

Best way to get an affordable parachute? I did my first AFF jump but haven't been back to finish because of money and college. I'd like some advice on that for in the future when I do return.

SdBlkFlg4 karma

You should always check with your instructors concerning gear (size and type of canopy etc.) Used gear will be the way to go. When your instructor gave you some advice at what to look for you can always come back with used gear you saw at dropzone.com classifieds. Also ask your local rigger for used gear!

damnedsurfer2 karma

How dangerous is swooping? It looks amazing but I'd probably manage to fuck it up!

SdBlkFlg5 karma

Swooping has become one of the most fun part of the sport for me! I'd say it is the most dangerous discipline though. If you "learn" it by trial and error you WILL fuck up. It is inevitable. Also inevitable is the fact that you will fuck up one day. How serious this fuck up is depends on how good the foundation of your canopy piloting is. So take it slowly and with rock solid instruction. Don't skip lessons. Swooping begins when you are flying a pattern as a student with 20 jumps. No swooping without a solid pattern in any wind condition. So you don't have to drag water while learning to be a badass canopy pilot.

misterob1 karma

After doing such an adrenaline-fuelled, exciting sport so often, do you struggle to find day to day life very exciting anymore? As someone interested in getting their license I'm worried I'll become hooked and constantly need more and more adrenalin to get my thrills..

SdBlkFlg1 karma

You won't need "more and more" adrenaline. Actually I got to appreciate "normal" life more and feel more "balanced". But that might be just me. Actually the "rush" wears off after some time and you get to experience the beauty behind the apparent rush of freefalling. But you are right...anyways... the more the merrier!

HeadOfSlytherin1 karma

Do you think when you eventually die, it will be from a skydiving accident?

SdBlkFlg1 karma

Actually I think the chances for me to die skydiving are slim to none, going by statistics!

saysunpopularthings1 karma

Let's say you pack your parachute on a commercial airline and the plane experiences a malfunction and has to make an emergency landing. Do you pop the emergency exit and skydive out? What if you're located in front of the jets?

SdBlkFlg1 karma

I don't think it would be a viable option, considering the airspeed of a commercial flight. Also altitude might be a negative factor (oxygen, temperature). Also if the plane is not flying "straight" so to speak it would further reduce your chances of even getting out. So I guess your chances are almost zero... but if it's your last chance you might at least be occupied until impact. ;)

uscmissinglink1 karma

Do you have any tricks to avoid complacency? Doing anything for 10 years seems like it will get a bit routine. Have you ever had a day where you mailed it in and got lucky?

SdBlkFlg2 karma

I got lucky 4 years ago. People that get complacent WILL get hurt. If you are really immersed in the sport you see enough stupidity and pain to remind you to keep your guard up!

fakeplasticmax1 karma

So. What are the risks of a parachute malfunction? Do you still get 'scared' in any way right before a jump?

SdBlkFlg4 karma

There are many different types of malfunctions. Some of them can happen quite often (line twist i.e.) and i would rather consider them a nuisance, since you don't necessarily have to cut away your main and go for reserve. Malfunctions, cutting away and going for reserve is not such a big deal as it might first seem. Sometimes, yes. When I am doing something that involves certain risk. You get more aware of risks over the years, so you tend to become more cautious. I think the difference is you learn to deal with your fears rather than losing them all together (which would rather be a bad thing.)

fakeplasticmax1 karma

Thanks for answering! Has anything bad ever happened to any fellow jumpers you know? How does that change the way you look at your job?

SdBlkFlg4 karma

I had a friend who died in the french alps doing wingsuit proximity flying. Technically speaking it was a BASE jump, but things like that tend to make you reconsider certain choices you make or might make in the future. It's important to share your close calls or potential close calls, even if they make you look stupid since you made a mistake. It might help someone make the right call being in the same situation down the road.

CrissTehNinja1 karma

Has anyone ever freaked out so much and attacked you?

SdBlkFlg1 karma

Nope. I don't think that people that would have such a great fear of skydiving would show up for a tandem!

senor_huehue1 karma

Its been a life dream of mine to skydive with a wheelchair. I don't mean necessarily landing with myself still in the chair, but at least going through freefall in the wheelchair or at least some form of chair of some sort. I am currently working through my A license. Would dropzones allow this at all?

SdBlkFlg3 karma

Are you actually handicapped or is this just an idea you had? There would be ways to pull this off, but definitely not at every DZ and only depending on certain other factors.

reidcm1 karma

I have about seventy jumps total under my belt, but I never completed my A-license. My dropzone allowed me to jump solo without a license. I enjoyed skydiving, but I recognized that the other people I jumped with didn't just enjoy it - they loved it. Long story short, I haven't jumped since June. I would still like to occassionally jump a few times a month after going back, doing my check dives, and completing my A-license. What's your opinion on the occassional once or twice a month jumpers? Some of the books I've read and instructors I've talked to advise against it due to safety concerns from not being in the air enough.

SdBlkFlg2 karma

Well. They have a point. Currency is definitely a big factor in terms of safety. BUT. Let's say you don't jump a lot. You could mitigate the risks by being better informed than most people, do wiser choices concerning your gear, do wiser choices when it comes to weather you jump in and type of jumps you participate in. In short: don't be an idiot and you might even be safer than your average skydiver that jumps more than you. If I was you I would definitely do my A. Even if you should stop skydiving afterwards it will still suck not at least having finished the A when it was so close!