Think you’ve got what it takes to leap out of a plane? Ready to take the plunge, feel the wind in your face and scream like a banshee? Then try a skydiving experience on for size.
You’ll reach dizzying heights before being strapped to a seasoned pro, launched out of a plane and left to the mercy of gravity. There’s only one way to go – and that’s down! The freefall is what it’s all about, and in those few seconds of silent (or shrieking) ascent you’ll feel your adrenalin race and your heart soar. But be warned – one jump is just never enough, and you’re bound to fall head over heels for this insanely fun extreme sport.
Let’s face it, there are few reasons to jump out of a plane. But when you’re kitted out with a parachute and strapped to a seasoned pro, launching yourself into the abyss never felt so good. Take a giant leap of faith and feel the wind beneath your wings as you experience the incredible elation of freefall. It’s certainly not your average day out, and you’ll feel like you cheated the grim reaper himself. It’s fun, it’s ludicrous and it’s guaranteed to give you one helluva kick.
Start the day by undergoing a pre-flight briefing. Then you’ll get kitted out in a jumpsuit which you will wear over your clothes, and fitted with a tandem parachute harness along with helmet and goggles.
Next it’s time to take a short flight to the desired location (usually around 25 minutes) and at the point when the plane is positioned over the drop zone, you’ll get securely strapped to your tandem skydiving instructor before leaping out of the plane! You’ll freefall for around 7,000ft at speeds of around 120mph, which takes approximately 30 seconds, then your instructor will deploy the parachute so you can float gently back to the landing zone. How’s that for thrills?
Due to the extreme nature of this experience there are strict guidelines as to who can take part. All participants should be reasonably fit and healthy (you’ll normally be required to provide a medical declaration beforehand) and any participants over the age of 39 will usually be asked for a signed doctor’s certificate. The maximum weight limit varies by venue but is generally no more than 15 or 16 stone. The minimum age limit is usually 16 (under 18s will need a signed letter of consent from a parent or guardian). Any participants that have suffered or continue to suffer from medical complaints such as back or joint problems, or illnesses such as liver or kidney disease, will also need consent from a doctor. Participants will not normally be allowed to take part if they suffer from medical problems such as epilepsy, blackouts, high blood pressure, mental illness, diabetes or if they have had any serious head injuries.
A great idea:Enjoy a tandem skydiving experience from 10,000 feet with around 30 seconds of freefall. You'll also get a souvenir DVD so you can relive the experience at home.
Fancy trying skydiving but in a safe environment instead of hurtling towards the ground from a plane? Try indoor skydiving instead where you can simulate skydiving mere metres off the ground.
In this indoor skydiving adventure, experience the mind-blowing feeling of freefall by floating in a 120mph wind tunnel, usually reserved for testing F1 aerodynamics! Once your body has been lifted into the air, your instructor will help you to perform body flying techniques during your freefall in a safe and fun environment. What’s more, kids as young as 5 can take part, so it’s a great day out for the family whatever the weather’s doing. Feel the wind beneath your wings, your adrenalin race and your heart soar in this superb skydiving experience that’s perfect for thrill-seekers everywhere.
This is the perfect way to try skydiving in a safe and fun environment, in which you won’t be required to leap out of a plane. On the day you’ll meet your instructor who will explain the concept of indoor skydiving, how the 120 mph wall of air works, and provide a full safety briefing. Then it’s time to get kitted out in all the gear – flight suit, goggles, helmet, protective pads and ear plugs – and enter the wind tunnel with your instructor. You’ll practice ‘freefalling’ and learn various body flying techniques.
You might also get to watch your instructor performing acrobatics in the wind tunnel afterwards. In most sessions you will also get a souvenir DVD recording of your experience to take home too.
A great idea:Enjoy two one-minute flights in a vertical wind tunnel and experience first-hand the immense force of 120MPH winds.
Geronimo! - What You Need To Know
- WHEN: Events take place throughout the year. Skydiving is weather-dependant while indoor skydiving is not.
- WHERE: Skydiving locations are at airfields dotted around the UK. Indoor skydiving normally takes place in Basingstoke, Manchester, and Milton Keynes.
- WHO: Anyone not content with having both feet on the ground will love skydiving or indoor skydiving. It's an adrenaline-filled activity so it is one for the thrill-seekers. It's also physically demanding so you'll need to be reasonably fit too.
- OCCASIONS: For a thrilling birthday or Christmas present that's a bit different to the norm, opt for skydiving.
- PRICES: Expect to pay around £50 a head for an entry-level indoor skydiving experience. The more you pay, the more 'flights' you typically get. As for the real thing, skydiving starts from £150 per person. Top-of-the-range Accelerated Freefall Skydiving (AFF) courses cost up to around £1,500 per person. (correct at the time of writing)
- QUESTIONS: Need help? Ask questions here and I'll try to help as best I can
- TRIED THIS?: Would you recommend it? Share your thoughts here
My indoor skydiving review
When Royal Caribbean International launched its Quantum class cruise ships, the world gasped as for the first time, indoor skydiving simulators had been installed, as part of a partnership with Ripcord by iFly. Suddenly, this experience normally restricted to specialist activity days was opened to the masses - free of charge.
The high-tech ships also boast a wide range of things to do (including dodgems, and an aerial viewing pod that dangles above the water). The opportunity to go indoor skydiving both excited me and filled me with dread. As someone who prefers my fun on solid ground (or at least the ship's deck), I wasn't sure what to expect.
I donned fetching blue overalls, removed anything that could be ripped from me by the wind, and put on my safety hat, goggles, and earplugs.
In a group of around ten people, we each took turns. Our instructor did his best to relax us with his dry humour in the initial safety briefing and between flights.
My turn came far too quickly and the reality of skydiving hit me - as did the force of the 120 mile-per-hour winds. It was breathtaking in every sense of the word. I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't sure what to make of the experience. I survived without making a complete fool of myself, and at least I gave it a go unlike some who wimped out at the last minute.
Personally, I found it more hard work than fun. It takes a lot to relax in 120 mile-per-hour winds, but you need to relax to enjoy the experience. I had two 60-second flights and by the end of the second attempt, I had just about cracked it. But I wasn't keen to relive the experience.For me, the highlight was watching the instructors show off their talents, with years of practise under their belts.
It was great to be able to try indoor skydiving once in my lifetime, but I'll keep my feet on solid ground next time. The beauty of this particular experience is it's included in the cost of a Royal Caribbean holiday, assuming, of course, you sail on a Quantum class ship. These ships are perfect for multigenerational holidays and with fun things to do like bumper cars, sightseeing in an aerial viewing pod, swimming, shopping, a surfing simulator, Broadway-style theatre shows, and, indeed, skydiving, there's something for everyone onboard. If you fancy trying skydiving during your cruise, take a look at Royal Caribbean International's Quantum class ships. They are Quantum of the Seas°, Anthem of the Seas°, and Ovation of the Seas°.
Disclosure: Royal Caribbean International supplied a two-night sailing from Southampton with an indoor skydiving experience. My opinions are my own.
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