What Does Skydiving Feel Like?
One of the most common questions asked by customers at Skydive New England is, “What does skydiving feel like?”. Well, it’s very difficult to capture in words exactly what it feels like to skydive for the first time. Many first-time tandem skydivers find themselves surprised when they land from their jump. The preconceived notions of skydiving often don’t live up to what it actually feels like to skydive.
You experience not only new physical sensations but also an influx of intense emotions. Skydiving can be compared to a musical piece in which the melody slowly crescendos, peaks, then gradually softens. During the airplane ride, the intensity slowly builds as you climb to 14,000 ft. The 20-minute airplane ride is a reality check for many people, you sit with your thoughts and ask yourself, “Am I really going to leave this airplane and jump out into the sky?!” The peak occurs when you reach altitude, move to the airplane door, leap out into the open sky and start freefalling. The parachute ride back down to the ground is quite soothing. This is when you really get to appreciate the beauty of the world from a birds-eye view.
Does skydiving feel like falling?
Not at all! Pretty surprising, right? Most people imagine a falling sensation when they think about skydiving. Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re falling and suddenly jerk awake with fright, your heart racing? It’s definitely not fun to wake up in such a discombobulating way. Luckily, skydiving doesn’t feel anything like that. It feels more like flying than falling. It’s very windy, loud, and intense. Your adrenaline is pumping and your senses come alive. Skydiving is quite breathtaking and gives you a refreshing, incredible perspective on the world.
Does skydiving feel like a roller coaster ride?
Some might describe skydiving as a roller coaster of emotions- in a good way. But as far as physical sensations go, skydiving is as far from a roller coaster ride as it can get. Many first-time tandem jumpers expect the stomach drop sensation you get when you reach the crest of a roller coaster ride and begin plummeting down the tracks.
There is actually no stomach drop when you jump out of the airplane and enter the freefall portion of your skydive. Why not? Well, on a roller coaster ride you reach the highest point of the tracks and pause before shooting back down. When skydiving, however, there is no pause. You are exiting a moving airplane, so your body is already in motion before you jump out.
So, What does it Feel Like to Go Skydiving?
Skydiving ultimately feels like flying. As a whole, it’s very freeing and incredible, though each portion of your skydive is accompanied by different sensations. The airplane ride up to 14,000 ft is what many consider to be the hardest part. This is when people begin second-guessing themselves. You’re staring adventure straight in the eye, and you become increasingly aware of the reality of your decision. Although it can be a bit scary, it’s tremendously satisfying.
Cold air rushes into the airplane when the door opens. Watching someone jump out is astonishing. They’re in the doorway one second and then, poof! They’re gone in the blink of an eye. You and your instructor move towards the door and you see the ground thousands of feet below. You may be surprised to discover that there is no ground rush sensation when you exit the airplane so people who are afraid of heights or climbing on ladders do not feel the same sensations at the door of the airplane. All of a sudden, you’re just plummeting toward the ground at 120 mph, and you’re completely living in the moment. The sensations are indescribable. It’s very windy, very intense, and extremely liberating.
When your parachute opens, your brain was just getting used to the feeling of freefall and it’s over before you’re ready for it to be. Flying under canopy is quite soothing and the perfect way to relax after the intensity of the freefall. It is much quieter and you can speak freely with your tandem instructor. This is when you get to soak in the sights and appreciate the beauty of the world from a new perspective. One of the interesting things you’ll notice about the parachute ride is the temperature change, especially if you skydive in the summer. The air grows warmer as you glide softly toward the ground and eventually come to land.
The landing is pretty important too! Although it marks the end of your skydive, this is when you really get to process what just happened. When you finally touch the ground after your extraordinary journey, you feel like a million bucks. Pure bliss.
Why Do People Like The Feeling Of Skydiving?
Skydiving gives people such remarkable feelings of empowerment and accomplishment. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be Superman, soaring freely over Metropolis? Well, skydiving can easily be compared to flying in that way. The feelings you get when you skydive are very freeing. You feel like all of your potential has been unlocked, that you can now overcome anything. Many people walk away after their skydive feeling like a new person, more free and open to facing the challenges of the world. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. After you skydive you feel like you can do anything. Book your reservation at Skydive New England today to see for yourself!
What Does Skydiving Feel Like?
Everybody who hasn’t jumped out of a perfectly good airplane wonders the same thing: what does it feel like to skydive? There are both physical and emotional answers to this question.
It’s such an unfamiliar concept, falling through the air at 120+ mph. Most people who have jumped say things like “the feeling is indescribable” or “unlike anything else” when talking about the sensation of freefall. Not exactly helpful. So, how is a first-time skydiver to know what to expect? Chicagoland Skydiving Center challenged some of its first-time skydivers to describe the experience. We got a lot of replies, and you can check out all the answers submitted on our Facebook page.
In our opinion, the best people to ask are the ones who just experienced freefall for the first time. But, in nearly 50 years of skydiving in Chicago, we’ve heard it all – and we settled on the clearest answers we could. There are two ways to explain how skydiving feels that satisfy most people.
PHYSICAL – What your body feels when you skydive
Your senses come alive when you make a skydive. Some mention “sensory overload” after their first jump, and it’s because you are experiencing so many things at once, it’s hard to separate one from the other.
You see the world from an unfamiliar point of view. You’ve viewed from above from airplanes or on maps apps, but the detail (and beauty) you notice with only air between you and the Earth is like the most vivid picture or movie you’ve ever seen.
You smell fresh air. You know that crisp, clean smell you notice from a cool gust of a wind, or standing on top of a mountain? It’s that. You are several miles from familiar scents. In freefall, it’s just pure fresh air.
You hear the loud rush of wind. It’s similar to static from blowing into a microphone, or the loud sound in your head the moment you splash into water. It is not harsh or painful, but it is too loud to carry on conversation. But once the parachute opens, it’s quiet. The kind of quiet that can only be noticed after chaos. The peaceful kind.
You feel temperature change and pressure on your skin. Even on a hot day, it will be noticeably cooler at jump altitude. It’s like opening the refrigerator door on a hot day, and having that wave of cool rush over you. The wind resistance from your freefall speed feels like pressure. Not painful, but instead like you are being supported but can also move your arms and legs. Next time you’re riding in a car on the highway, stick your hand out the window, thumb facing forward – then turn your hand with your palm facing forward – feel the difference in pressure. That’s what we’re talking about.
EMOTIONAL – WHAT YOUR MIND FEELS WHEN YOU SKYDIVE
Most people describe skydiving with emotions. Simply because with all the sensory information they are trying to process, it’s easier to revert to an emotional response. Freedom. Bliss. Focus. Confidence. You’ll hear a lot of answers like this because it’s a powerful experience. For most, a fear has been conquered or a lifelong wish has been granted. That’s big!
Some people even relate the feeling to sex. Yes, really. And for many people it is a very real comparison. We have seen more than a few tandem students experience an “air-gasm” after the parachute opens. There’s no shame in that response, it’s probably not your instructor’s first time.
WHAT IT DOES NOT FEEL LIKE
Many people believe skydiving will feel like things they dislike – which is why they ask before they go. The most common fear is “the stomach drop” sensation found on roller coasters or fast spins. Guess what – there is no stomach drop in skydiving! Honestly.
That feeling that most people hate comes from the sudden change in speed you experience on a roller coaster. Ever heard of G-forces? Your body is moving at a high speed, and making quick changes in direction. But guess what, humans are mostly liquid. Tilt a water bottle back and forth – see how the liquid responds? Well, that’s what’s going on at a smaller scale in your body, and when your insides take slightly longer to catch up to your outsides – you get that feeling.
When you go skydiving, you are starting from a moving airplane. Typically, you are traveling 100+ mph, it just doesn’t feel like it because you’re protected inside the cabin and there isn’t much close around you to provide a visual reference for your speed. When you jump out, you are gradually building up a little more speed, only about 20mph over the course of 10-15 seconds. That’s actually a pretty long time, and your body doesn’t experience enough force to trigger the anxiety response to it in your brain.
Now, if you like that feeling, tell your instructor. While flying the parachute, they can certainly make some fast spinning turns to get you moving. But if you’re prone to motion sickness, or just don’t like that G-force feeling, simply say so. There are perfectly calm ways to fly a parachute to the ground, too.
One of the greatest things about skydiving is that the experience is very personal. Everyone has a reason for making their first jump – a fear to overcome, something they want to forget, or the love of adventure. What ever your reason may be, if there’s a part of you that wants to skydive, then do it! The only way to know how it feels to you, is to experience it yourself.
Becky Johns is a marketing professional in the outdoor industry. She is an experienced skydiver, AFF Instructor, and has made over 1,000 jumps since she got her license at CSC in 2011.
What Does it Feel Like to Skydive?
Time and time again, we are asked by non-skydivers “what does it feel like to skydive?” Now, to be fair to both parties involved, it makes perfect sense for someone who has never made a jump to want to know what it is about the feel of skydiving that keeps people coming back time and time again. But, if your friends and family who have made a jump can’t quite articulate an answer, cut them some slack. They can’t answer because skydiving is an experience unlike anything else. It’s nearly as hard to describe as it is to forget. Even professionals like us struggle a bit trying to convey what it feels like to skydive, but we’re going to try our best.
We have found for particularly tricky descriptions it’s easiest to begin by explaining what it is not. So, that’s where we will start.
Skydiving doesn’t feel like:
Quite a few people tell us they could never skydive because they hate roller coasters. While many assume that roller coasters and skydiving must go hand in hand, other than causing a little bit of an adrenaline rush, a roller coaster feels nothing like a skydive.
Because you are riding in a plane with a horizontal speed around 100 mph, as you exit the aircraft, in the transition to your vertical terminal velocity of 120 mph, your body doesn’t experience rapid acceleration or deceleration. In freefall, the force exerted on your body is close to 1 g and doesn’t stray much from that, so you don’t feel any force being exerted on you (i.e. that dreaded stomach drop).
If you imagine skydiving must feel like plummeting toward the earth in an endless head over heels fall—we have good news for you! It’s not. During freefall, you don’t really feel the fall. You feel suspended on air instead of rapidly descending (which, in the spirit of honesty, you definitely are).
Within seconds of exiting the aircraft, your body will reach terminal velocity. When this equilibrium of sorts is achieved, where the resistance of the air is equal to the force of gravity on your body, instead of incredibly wobbly you feel pretty stable. Until you reach the appropriate altitude to deploy the parachute, you’ll feel supported by the cushion of air pressing against your body.
Being on a scaffolding or other high place
Tons of people hate heights. In fact, acrophobia (the fear of heights) affects about 5 percent of the population. Naturally, you’d think making a skydive from 14,000 feet would certainly look high and definitely give you that dizzying feel that the top of a ladder or top floor of a building does, right?
This is why so many skydivers who have a fear of heights are able to skydive just fine!
The vantage point from the aircraft is unlike anything else. Because there are no static objects relative to you, your brain lacks the information it needs to triangulate your position. Aside from that, the ground no longer appears as you’re used to seeing it. The aerial view of the earth appears more like a patchwork quilt, and honestly, it’s pretty neat to see the world that way.
Okay, so what does skydiving (kinda) feel like?
Skydiving Feels Like Walking on Sunshine!
Seems silly, but just you wait. Skydiving leaves you feeling ahhhmazing. Here’s the science behind it: during and after a skydive, your body produces a powerful chemical cocktail: Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin. This thrilling trio settles your nerves, heightens your awareness and mental clarity, and doses you with euphoric feelings of happiness. After you land from a skydive, you feel like you can take on the world!
Speaking of the world—a skydive also feels like
IT feels like a well-deserved vacation from the hum drum of the day to day
Leave the stress of the hustle behind for a little peace of mind. Sure, taking the leap from 14,000’, freefalling at 120mph, and a 5-minute parachute ride, might not sound like the most relaxing time, but tons of people report the sky to be their “happy place.”
For most of us, skydiving is the best way we know to take it easy. The world around us is a hectic place. On a skydive, there aren’t a million things to focus on or different directions to be pulled in—there is just this one moment that has your undevoted attention. It’s a quick lesson in mindfulness and a great way to practice being present.