No other activity can provide the feeling of true personal flight like skydiving. It also brings out a full range of reactions from the people who try it for the first time. Most people jump, regardless of their doubts. Pre-flight jitters do manage to take over a few, who cancel the jump altogether and ride the plane back down. For even fewer people, fear is a non-factor. This does not mean, however, that one should ignore the fact that ‘diving’ in the word skydiving is applied more loosely than it appears.
Strictly for Professionals
Freefall feels amazing. Discounting fear, queasiness, and a tandem skydiver strap that may be a bit too tight, it is an experience like no other. But, people who are new to the activity should refrain from going full superhero and diving head-first. You do become faster, but turning into a speeding bullet not only gives you less airtime, it also opens up further negative possibilities.
Take for instance a 4-kilometre jump, one where you are without a tandem skydiver. You need to activate your parachute once your altimeter hits a little below a kilometre and a half. This equates to about 52 seconds of free fall, where you can enjoy the view at a stable terminal velocity. Diving headfirst may interfere with you monitoring the altimeter, and high speeds can complicate your efforts to pull the ripcord in time. Be sure to reserve the “I am going to catch up to you in mid-air” position until you are confident in your skydiving skills and your equipment. This means hundreds of successful jumps. Even Felix Baumgartner took note of the dangers associated with excessive skydiving speed; and that man broke the sound barrier.
So how do you skydive properly? Mimic the plane you just hurtled from. The box position allows you to assume a neutral freefall state. Manoeuvring is easiest when the body is conformed to a natural curve. The head should be up, with arms raised higher than the body, and legs slightly extended into the wind at a 45-degree angle.
All other freefall stances can be assumed from the box position. Perth skydiving professionals from skydivegeronimo.com.au note that all turns and movements are accessible from this neutral position. Skydivers can even change their fall rate by modifying the curve their bodies make. Leaning your head forward and raising your legs while maintaining the box position is the safest, closest way to truly sky ‘dive’.
People should remember that a faster skydive does not necessarily make for a better skydiving experience, especially for people new to the activity. Having more time to soak in the view from the skies is equally essential to the experience as having more time to activate the life-saving parachute itself.