Skydiving Positions 101

If you’ve been watching skydiving videos on the internet for a while, you may be super-intrigued by the large range of skydiving techniques those videos demonstrate — first and foremost, the plethora of skydiving positions these high-flying athletes use to navigate the skies. As it’ll be quite a while before you’ve spent enough time in the sky (or the indoor skydiving wind tunnel) to master most of these contortions, let’s start by addressing the foundation of these skydiving positions: the venerable arch.

Skydiving Positions 101: Body Awareness

Each person making a skydive has a vital role to play in the safety of the skydive, whether you’re sharing a parachute or you have your own. When you learn to skydive, whether you’re going for your very first tandem skydive or literally leaping into your solo skydiving training progression, you’ll engage with the three major pieces of the training: exiting the aircraft, arching in freefall and managing your legs on landing. The first two — exiting the aircraft stable and maintaining that stability in freefall — center on the art of the arch.

It will quickly become evident that body awareness is the seat of safety when you’re skydiving, and most of that body awareness centers on that all-important arch. That’s why you can expect your instructor will make a considerable effort to work with you on yours.

skydiving positions

Skydiving Positions 102: Training the Arch

Creating a “banana” shape with the body — so that the air in freefall smoothly moves over a more-or-less stable, curved surface — is what creates the foundation of stability in the belly-to-earth position that you learn first when you learn to skydive. Tandem pairs make this shape, as do solo skydiving students and practitioners of the Relative Work discipline.

When instability in freefall rears its ugly head, it’s returning to a good, even arch that most reliably solves the problem.

learn to skydive aff accelerated freefall

Skydiving Positions 103: Training the Other Skydiving Positions

As you well know by now, skydiving is certainly not about simply falling belly-to-earth. Once a solo skydiver has nailed a great arch position, that skydiving position readily serves as the foundation to develop all the others. From head-down flying to zippy angle flying to sit-flying to stand-flying to wingsuiting and flips, the body- and airflow-awareness that we learn when we’re training that arch position informs absolutely everything else we do.

Also: No matter what configuration we’re flying in, everyone is taught to make this shape when we get ready to deploy our parachutes. Because it’s the most stable position and moves at one of the slowest and most controllable speeds, a gentle arch is by far the safest and most comfortable position from which to deploy a parachute.

So, dear reader: Are you ready to show us your very best banana impression? We’re hungry to see it! Come down to Skydive California near the Bay Area and demonstrate your most a-peel-ing freefall stability. Let’s monkey around!

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Skydiving Exits

Oh, the skydiving exit. For some, the thought of jumping from the plane evokes great excitement, and for others, it induces knee-shaking anxiety and door fear . Regardless of the stance, you may take right now, the skydiving exit is what allows you to escape the confines of the plane to take an air bath in the freedom of the wild blue yonder. We love this part of the jump so much, o ne of our favorite skydiving sayings is “if you want to fly, get out of the plane!”

Ready to make the leap? We’ll prepare you with some insider tips on skydiving exits.

skydiving exits

What is the skydiving exit?

Of all the skydiving techniques, one of the most critical that tandem instructors must master is the skydiving exit. It seems simple enough: go from the inside of the plane to the outside of the plane. So, in essence, this is very well true. However, on a tandem skydive, to ensure the safety of both instructor and passenger, the perfect skydiving exit takes a bit of finesse.

How to make a skydiving exit?

How will you and your instructor exit the aircraft? Some tandem skydiving students want every last second filled with action. If you’re one of the aforementioned adrenaline junkies, you might be wondering can you dive, backflip, or barrel roll out of the door? What kind of fun skydiving exits can you do?

Backflip and Barrell Roll

If you’re doing a tandem skydive and wondering if you can backflip or barrel roll out of the plane, the short answer is no. In order to deploy the drogue in a safe, stable manner, tandem jumpers need to exit presented to the relative wind (the airflow which comes from the front of the aircraft and the direction the plane is moving towards). However, it’s still possible to have a safe skydiving exit that is also a fun skydiving exit! Below are three common tandem skydiving exits.

  • Poised Skydiving Exit: When exiting from a turbine aircraft with a side door, the tandem pair will face out of the side door, turned slightly toward the front of the aircraft, or toward the tail of the aircraft. On a poised exit, the pair will rotate up to face the front of the aircraft as they come through the door. With this kind of exit, you get a really neat view of the aircraft you just left flying away above you!
  • Diving Skydiving Exit: On a diving exit, the tandem pair will present themselves to the relative wind with their right side high and turn slightly toward the tail of the aircraft. Because the pair is presented to the wind head low, it will feel more like a “dive” when they exit. The best way to describe the feeling of this skydiving exit is it is kind of like sliding down a water slide head first!
  • Gainer Skydiving Exit: The ability to do a gainer skydiving exit will depend upon the instructor and the equipment being used. On a gainer exit, the tandem pair rotates toward the tail of the aircraft they come through the door and complete half of a backward rotation to end up presented to the relative wind in a diving position.

skydiving exit order

Picking the Right Skydiving Exit

All of the above skydiving exits are fun, but the exit is just a small part of the excitement of your skydive! Ultimately, your instructor will choose the exit that is best based on safety considerations and the circumstances of your particular jump.

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Before you even board the aircraft, your instructor will go over which skydiving exit you will do. When it’s your turn to exit, you and your instructor will make your way to the door of the aircraft. Do exactly as you practiced. If you play your part, the skydiving exit should go off without a hitch!

Fun Skydiving Exits

If you’re really interested in giving those backflips and barrel rolls a try on exit, you should consider getting your skydiving license. Once licensed, there are a whole host of other fun skydiving exits you can try. Just to scratch the surface, here are a few:

  • Tube Exit: If you’re looking to spin right round like a record, the tube exit is the way to go. On a tube exit, you and your other licensed skydiving buddies make a “wheel” in the sky by each holding on to the ankles of the person in front of you.
  • Wingsuit Rodeo: The wingsuit rodeo skydiving exit requires both jumpers involved to be extremely experienced, competent flyers. So, please note, this exit is not for novice flyers, but it’s just too fun not to mention. On a wingsuit rodeo, a jumper in a wingsuit and a jumper without a wingsuit exit the aircraft together. The person without the wingsuit straddles the back of the wingsuiter like they are holding on to a rodeo bull for the ride of a lifetime! Can you say yeehaw!?
  • Train: On a train exit, a line of skydivers stand in the door of the aircraft. AS they exit, each person hooks their feet in the armpits of the person in front of them and chug-a-lug through the sky!

What do you say? Let’s fly! Contact us to book your skydive at Skydive Monroe today.

What is Skydiving?

What is Skydiving?

How is skydiving any different from those neat paragliding folks launching themselves from the tops of cliffs? What about the stiff-winged flyers speeding down steep slopes? Or the lads and ladies who make a playground of jumping from buildings, antennas, bridges, or cliffs? Are they skydivers?

Well, no, not exactly. With so many ways to explore the great blue yonder, it can be tough to know exactly what the differences are. In reality, there is an entire wild, wondrous world of aerosports out there, and it can be a tricky realm to navigate. Lucky for you, we are happy to be your guide!

While these gravity sports all make use of aerodynamics, they aren’t skydiving. Really, skydiving is just one member of an entire family of extreme adventure sports that take advantage of flight! Allow us to break it down and introduce you to the crew.

What is skydiving?

Within the Skydiving Information Manual produced by the United States Parachute Association, skydiving is defined as “the descent of a person to the surface from an aircraft in flight when he or she uses or intends to use a parachute during all or part of that descent.”

how does skydiving work

How does skydiving work?

Skydiving is pretty formulaic and consists of a few key parts: plane ride, freefall, canopy flight, and landing.

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On each skydive, participants first board an aircraft. Typically, tandem skydives are conducted from planes, but skydives can also be made from helicopters and, even, hot air balloons! After boarding the aircraft, participants will take a ride to a designated altitude. Here at Skydive Cincinnati, that altitude is nearly two miles above the earth! When it is time, jumpers exit the aircraft and experience freefall, reaching speeds around 120 mph. Though, in different orientations of body flight, the speed of freefall can reach over 200 mph! At the appropriate altitude, a skydiver will deploy their parachute and enjoy flying the canopy to the ground, often aiming for a specific landing zone.

Please note, all skydivers are required to utilize a “two-parachute system” during skydives. The two parachutes (a main and a reserve) are neatly folded into a skydiving rig (the backpack looking container which holds the folded parachutes). Those completing a tandem skydive are fitted with a harness which is securely attached to a licensed skydiving instructor. In a tandem skydive, it is the instructor who wears the skydiving container containing the two parachutes.

what is skydiving

B.A.S.E Jumping

First and foremost, B.A.S.E jumping is an aerosport where individuals wearing a one-parachute safety system jump from static objects. In fact, the acronym B.A.S.E is composed of the most common objects used for this type of jumping: Building, Antenna, Span (bridge), and Earth (cliffs and other rock formations). Because jumpers are not descending from an aircraft in flight, B.A.S.E jumping is not considered skydiving.


While both B.A.S.E jumping and skydiving utilize the deployment of a parachute from a closed container, paragliding does not. Rather, in paragliding, the “wing” is already exposed. This means paragliding pilots launch themselves to flight rather than jumping to flight. At the launch site, the paragliding pilot catches the wind, until s/he is lifted into the air. Because of the amount of lift generated by paragliding wings, the amount of time a paragliding pilot can spend in the air is much greater than the amount of time spent in the air on a skydive.

Speed Flying

Speed flying, as the name implies, is a pretty zippy way to experience flight. In general, many people consider speed flying to be paragliding’s hot shot cousin. Speed flying uses a high-performance wing, often much smaller than those used for paragliding. While the basic piloting mechanics used in paragliding and speed flying are the same, the experience is vastly different. Speed flying wings may launch in a fashion very similar to paragliders, but there isn’t much lift or glide to them, rather the specialized design of speed wings causes them to steeply descend, perfect for carving down the sides of mountains and ravines. It is highly recommended that potential speed flying pilots have ample paragliding experience before participating in this extreme sport.

Ready to try skydiving for yourself?

As you can tell, the sky is filled with all kinds of pilots and air junkies! Wondering if skydiving is the right fit for you? Contact us today and come experience it for yourself at Skydive Cincinnati!




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