Do You Have to Tandem Skydive Your First Time?

Skydiving is a thrill that many people want to experience. Falling through the air above the clouds, feeling free as a bird, nothing quite beats that sensory overload. But do you have to skydive tandem the first time?

It’s a question that gets asked a lot; some don’t want to be attached to another person; they’d rather be in control of certain aspects of the jump – like when they exit the plane, for instance. Let’s delve a little deeper into the question to find out if you can skydive solo on your very first jump.

Can I skydive alone my first time?

Instructors Helping Learner To Skydive

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The usual way a first-time skydive works is that you’ll pre-book a tandem dive; this is mainly because it’s the cheapest and quickest option to get you up and out of a plane.

There are a number of benefits to taking a tandem skydive over a solo first-time dive:

  • You only need a quick 30-minute safety brief compared to a full day of training.
  • There’s less for you to do so that you can enjoy the experience more; you don’t have to worry about pulling the parachute, holding the correct position in the air, landing, etc.
  • Then there’s the cost; if you only ever intend to jump once, or maybe a handful of times in your life, a tandem is the most cost-effective way to do it.

But what if you don’t want to jump tandem? Well, yes, you can skydive on your own the very first time.

To jump solo on your first skydive, you’ll have to be signed up to an AFF – Accelerated Freefall skydiving course. Unfortunately, signing up for a full course like this can cost a few thousand bucks.

You will, however, be with two instructors holding you throughout freefall. This is purely for your safety so you can keep the correct position; they’ll also be talking to you all the way down, giving you further instruction.

Only once you’ve completed 25 instructor accompanied jumps and they’re happy with your progress, will you be deemed as ready to apply and be eligible for your USPA ‘A’ license.

How many times do you have to tandem skydive before you can solo?

Skydivers starting freefall

After jumping skydivers enter freefall

Many people think you have to have logged a certain number of tandem skydives before you’re allowed to skydive without being strapped to someone else.

This isn’t true; you can go straight to a solo skydive (with instructors holding onto you) by signing up for an Accelerated Freefall course or AFF for short.

How much does it cost to skydive alone?

Solo Skydiver

Pexels

As we’ve already mentioned, if you just wanted to skydive without being in tandem, you’d need to sign up for an AAF course, prices can include the whole course, or you can pay in stages.

Now it does vary from state to state, but a ballpark figure is around $350 – $450 for the first jump course, which is usually classed as Category A, moving on to Category B with two instructors, the price is $200 – $300 per jump.

To complete the whole course, 25 skydives, you’d be looking at around $4,500 to $5,500. Then there are a few smaller fees on top of that to cover the cost of your USPA fee and membership.

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Comparing that to a tandem skydive which is normally $250 – $300, it will cost you roughly $100 – $150 by signing up for the Accelerated Freefall course. But you’ll also not have to go through the 4-6 hours of ground training beforehand, nor worry about pulling your chute and landing on your own.

It depends on what you want to get out of your skydiving experience; a tandem jump will allow you to enjoy it a lot more and be far less scary. On the other hand, a solo jump will require you to do a lot more work as well as costing you 20-30% more than a tandem.

Do You Have to Tandem Skydive Your First Time?

Skydiving is a thrill that many people want to experience. Falling through the air above the clouds, feeling free as a bird, nothing quite beats that sensory overload. But do you have to skydive tandem the first time?

It’s a question that gets asked a lot; some don’t want to be attached to another person; they’d rather be in control of certain aspects of the jump – like when they exit the plane, for instance. Let’s delve a little deeper into the question to find out if you can skydive solo on your very first jump.

Can I skydive alone my first time?

Instructors Helping Learner To Skydive

Pexels

The usual way a first-time skydive works is that you’ll pre-book a tandem dive; this is mainly because it’s the cheapest and quickest option to get you up and out of a plane.

There are a number of benefits to taking a tandem skydive over a solo first-time dive:

  • You only need a quick 30-minute safety brief compared to a full day of training.
  • There’s less for you to do so that you can enjoy the experience more; you don’t have to worry about pulling the parachute, holding the correct position in the air, landing, etc.
  • Then there’s the cost; if you only ever intend to jump once, or maybe a handful of times in your life, a tandem is the most cost-effective way to do it.

But what if you don’t want to jump tandem? Well, yes, you can skydive on your own the very first time.

To jump solo on your first skydive, you’ll have to be signed up to an AFF – Accelerated Freefall skydiving course. Unfortunately, signing up for a full course like this can cost a few thousand bucks.

You will, however, be with two instructors holding you throughout freefall. This is purely for your safety so you can keep the correct position; they’ll also be talking to you all the way down, giving you further instruction.

Only once you’ve completed 25 instructor accompanied jumps and they’re happy with your progress, will you be deemed as ready to apply and be eligible for your USPA ‘A’ license.

How many times do you have to tandem skydive before you can solo?

Skydivers starting freefall

After jumping skydivers enter freefall

Many people think you have to have logged a certain number of tandem skydives before you’re allowed to skydive without being strapped to someone else.

This isn’t true; you can go straight to a solo skydive (with instructors holding onto you) by signing up for an Accelerated Freefall course or AFF for short.

How much does it cost to skydive alone?

Solo Skydiver

Pexels

As we’ve already mentioned, if you just wanted to skydive without being in tandem, you’d need to sign up for an AAF course, prices can include the whole course, or you can pay in stages.

Now it does vary from state to state, but a ballpark figure is around $350 – $450 for the first jump course, which is usually classed as Category A, moving on to Category B with two instructors, the price is $200 – $300 per jump.

To complete the whole course, 25 skydives, you’d be looking at around $4,500 to $5,500. Then there are a few smaller fees on top of that to cover the cost of your USPA fee and membership.

Comparing that to a tandem skydive which is normally $250 – $300, it will cost you roughly $100 – $150 by signing up for the Accelerated Freefall course. But you’ll also not have to go through the 4-6 hours of ground training beforehand, nor worry about pulling your chute and landing on your own.

It depends on what you want to get out of your skydiving experience; a tandem jump will allow you to enjoy it a lot more and be far less scary. On the other hand, a solo jump will require you to do a lot more work as well as costing you 20-30% more than a tandem.

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12 Things You Need to Know If Skydiving Is on Your Bucket List

Nervous to take the plunge? Our expert tips will guide you through the entire skydive, from scheduling the jump to the adrenaline rush after you land.

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Skydiving is actually a sport

Skydiving is an activity that’s almost synonymous with bucket lists. But before you enter the wonderful world of skydiving, understand that jumping out of a perfectly good airplane doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. “People think that with skydiving, you just go do one jump,” says Nancy Koreen, director of sport promotion at the United States Parachute Association. “They don’t realize that it’s a whole sport that people do every week as a hobby and a lifestyle.” The number of annual skydives in America has been growing steadily since 2007, with an estimated 4.2 million jumps last year alone. Advanced jumpers can even compete in all sorts of skydiving competitions. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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Here’s the basic skydiving lingo you should know

Drop zone: The skydiving center where you’ll make your jump. It may look like nothing more than a large grassy field with a random airplane hangar, but all USPA-affiliated drop zones are legit (there are 238 in America to choose from). Jumpsuit: The less-than-stylish full body suit you may wear over your clothes while skydiving. Jumpsuits can help control how fast you’re falling and protect you from the wind in colder months. If you jump in the summer, you may not need to wear one. Liability release: The form you sign before you jump that outlines potential risks and safety concerns. More on that later. Freefall: The best part of your jump, falling through the sky before your canopy opens. Canopy: A fancier name for your parachute.

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Anyone can skydive

Are you a human being over 18 years old? Ta-da! You’re qualified to go skydiving. There are a few exceptions (pregnant women and people with heart problems should stay on the ground, and drop zones have certain weight restrictions), but your age, height, occupation, or any other demographic factor won’t hold you back. “There are ways to take people who are paralyzed, disabled, even who have lost limbs, just with special precautions and adjustments to the equipment,” Koreen says. Basically, you don’t have much of an excuse not to try skydiving.

iStock/Ryhor-Bruyeu

You can jump wearing a parachute or without one

Okay, it’s not quite as extreme as that. Beginners can choose from two types of skydiving: accelerated freefall (AFF) or tandem freefall. In an AFF jump, you open the parachute by yourself and land by yourself. But before you even put on the parachute, you need to complete a ground course that can last several hours. While you’re in the air, two instructors hold onto your harness to give instructions and help with stability before you deploy. Most first-timers choose tandem, where you’re strapped to an instructor who opens the parachute and lands for both of you. There’s no extensive coursework or physical prep beforehand. All you have to do is enjoy the view. So technically, you really are jumping without wearing a parachute. You’re just attached to someone who is.

iStock/Paolo-Cipriani

Your chances of getting hurt are ridiculously low

Horror stories of parachutes not opening are what keep most people from even considering skydiving, but they rarely know the stats behind those numbers. Out of the 4.2 million jumps in 2015, 21 were fatalities. That’s 0.005 fatalities per 1,000 jumps, and the rate of tandem fatalities is even lower. “Every skydiver has two parachutes,” Koreen explains. “If the first one malfunctions, there’s a backup, and skydivers go through a lot of training to learn how to handle emergency procedures. Ninety-nine percent of skydiving accidents are human error, where the skydiver does something wrong. It’s not necessarily an equipment failure.” Plus, tandem instructors go through extensive training and certification programs to give you the best—and safest—ride of your life. “It is in such a controlled environment with such close supervision,” she says. “Your chances of getting hurt or killed are way higher driving to the drop zone than they are jumping out of a plane.” These tips can help you conquer your fear of flying.

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It’s a bit of an investment

Prices vary between drop zones, but tandem skydives tend to run from $200-$275, according to USPA, and AFF jumps are around $300, plus additional costs for photo and video packages. Some drop zones offer cheaper rates on weekdays and early morning jumps, for college students or military personnel, and for groups. The bigger the group, the bigger the discount. Always schedule jumps in advance, too. It costs less than paying full price the day of, and you’re guaranteed a spot on the plane.

iStock/Gajus

You’ll get cozy on the plane ride up

After watching an informational video and signing waivers, you’ll meet your tandem instructor, put on your harness, and board the aircraft version of a clown car. On the ride up, your instructor will put goggles on you and strap your harness to his. It may feel little too close for comfort—you’re sitting in someone else’s lap—but at least you know there’s no way you two could be separated on the way down.

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The most nerve-wracking part of skydiving? The anticipation

You’re falling out of a moving airplane. That’s not natural. That’s pretty terrifying. And you probably won’t be able to stop thinking about that during the 15 minutes it takes your plane to reach the proper altitude (typically between 10,000 and 13,000 feet from the ground). It might actually be concerning if you weren’t at least a little nervous. The scariest part is definitely the few seconds you spend sitting on the edge of the airplane. Thankfully, it doesn’t last longer than a few seconds. Here’s how to outsmart your nerves and hide your body’s most embarrassing nervous reactions.

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The freefall isn’t like a roller coaster

I am no adrenaline junkie. I can’t cross a street without whipping my head back and forth looking for oncoming cars, even when the walk sign is on. But freefalling through the air is one of the most peaceful experiences I’ll ever have. There’s no stomach drop like on a roller coaster. Honestly, it just feels like a bunch of cold wind hitting your face while the ground slowly gets bigger beneath you. The speed at which you fall can vary anywhere between 100 and 200 miles per hour. Koreen says it all depends on your weight and size, what you’re wearing, and how you’re positioned in the air.

iStock/vuk8691

Make the most of your time in the air

Freefalls are only about 45 to 60 seconds long, and then your canopy opens. You are allowed to ask for a longer freefall beforehand, if you’re up for it. The entire jump—from the time you exit the plane to the moment you’ve reached the ground—only lasts about five minutes, so take in your surroundings as you coast to the ground. Some instructors will ask if you want a few tricks during the canopy flight, like spinning around or moving side to side. Say yes. You can always ask to stop if the sensations are too intense.

iStock/SergBob

The minute you land, you’ll want to go skydiving again

You never fully recover from the rush of adrenaline and ecstasy that skydiving brings because it always leaves you wanting more. You’ll probably annoy, shock, and even scare people by talking about it so much. You may even include it as an interest on your resume. But skydiving can also stir up a life-changing confidence in many jumpers. “For a lot of people, it makes them feel like other traumas or problems in their life are small,” Koreen says. “It gives people confidence like, ‘If I can jump out of a plane, I can handle this relationship problem or this job problem’ or other challenges in their lives.” Here’s how to boost your confidence, according to science.

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If you’re hooked, consider getting a license

Nearly 33,000 people in the US have at least one USPA skydiving license, so they can jump at any drop zone by themselves whenever they like. Sound intriguing? The program for an A license (the first of four licenses) consists of 25 AFF jumps, each covering a different skill and technique. It’s yet another way to become part of the diverse and tight-knit community of skydivers—and cross another item off your bucket list.

Source https://skydivingplanet.com/do-you-have-to-tandem-skydive-your-first-time/

Source https://skydivingplanet.com/do-you-have-to-tandem-skydive-your-first-time/#:~:text=Many%20people%20think%20you%20have%20to%20have%20logged,an%20Accelerated%20Freefall%20course%20or%20AFF%20for%20short.

Source https://www.rd.com/list/skydiving-facts/

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