You’re above 10,000 feet in the air when the plane finally stops climbing. Wind is whipping past your face as you shuffle towards the door of the aircraft. It’s taken you 20 minutes to ascend, but you’ll be free-falling for a mere 45 seconds on your way down. With your heart beating in your ears, the instructor tells you that it’s time. Together, you jump into the sky. In that moment, you experience what it’s like to fly…
A tandem skydive is the ultimate way to challenge yourself and get that feel-good rush in 2017. Plus if you’re raising money for charity at the same time, you’ll have double the good feeling! We’ve put together a few helpful tips you need to know to get ready for your jump, so that all you need to worry about it having a good time.
What is a tandem skydive?
Described by many as the ultimate thrill, tandem skydiving is a form of parachuting where a qualified skydive instructor is connected to you during the freefall jump. You’ll be attached to the instructor in four places using a harness, with your back facing their front – as if you’re wearing a backpack.
You’re guided through your entire tandem skydive by a qualified British Parachuting Association instructor, who will take the lead on everything from exiting the plane to landing you safely on the ground. Preparation for a tandem skydive takes around 15-20 minutes and you can enjoy your jump without the responsibility of operating the parachute functions. Because of this, tandem skydiving is very popular for first-time sky divers.
“I think it's the unknown. I don’t think you can experience anything else quite like it, because there is simply nothing that comes close to jumping out of an aircraft with nothing, but a rucksack, attached to you. You’ve got to try it to experience it, you simply can’t describe it.”Lee Harrison, Fundraising Partnerships at GoRaise
Is a skydive dependent on the weather?
Tandem skydiving is a weather dependent activity, so be prepared to wait around on the day of your jump if the conditions aren’t great. Remember that patience really is a virtue and the centre staff cannot book the weather in advance for you (as much as they would like to!). The ideal skydiving weather is a clear day, with minimum cloud cover and relatively low wind levels.
How much will a skydive cost me?
The cost of a tandem skydive varies across the UK, depending on whether you choose to jump on a weekday or at the weekend. You can choose to book through an agent who can help you find a British Parachute Association centre across the country or book directly with the parachute centre in your region.
|Skydiving centre||Cost||Payment details|
|UK Parachuting||Between £185 and £230 depending on the day you jump||Deposit of £50 to secure your booking and the rest is payable on the day of your jump.|
|Click and Jump||Between £245 and £270 depending on your dropzone||You pay the cost of your jump on the day that you arrive. It’s possible to pay in instalments.|
You may wish to contact the booking agent or centre first if you wish to tandem skydive in aid of your chosen charity. Centres can provide discounted rates for those participants raising much-needed funds and they will also be able to help you liaise with the charity you’re fundraising for.
Can anyone do a skydive?
Generally, most people are allowed to skydive given that you are in a fit and healthy condition. Your ability to take part in a jump will be based on your previous medical history and it will be judged on a case-by-case basis by your individual parachute centre. If you have a medical condition, let the jump centre know as early as possible (preferably at the time of booking) so that they can guide you on the best course of action.
There is an upper weight limit in place for tandem skydiving, however this limit varies between centres. It’s typically around 12 stone for a female and 15 stone for a male, but do check with your specific skydiving centre first before booking. You can also find weight restriction information by visiting the British Parachute Association website.
“I believe it’s one of the most extreme, yet one of the safest, challenges you can enjoy in the UK today.”Lee Harrison, Fundraising Partnerships at GoRaise
Are there any age limits for tandem skydiving?
You need to be over 16 years old to complete a tandem skydive. If you are aged between 16 and 18 then you’ll need a parent or legal guardian to sign a permission form. You can find this form on the British Parachute Association website.
There’s no set-in-stone upper age limit for tandem skydiving. In fact, people as old as 95 have been known to skydive!
Where should I book my skydive?
All skydiving centres are approved by the British Parachute Association, so they will all follow the same courses and use instructors that have been approved to the same standard. You can see a full list of approved centres on the British Parachute Association website.
It makes the most sense to book your skydive at a centre close to where you live. We recommend booking through an agency like Click and Jump, where you can find and book a skydive in a dropzone near you.
What are the best ways to prepare myself for a skydive?
Chances are, if you’re thinking about booking or have already booked a skydive then you’re feeling pretty excited right now! Hold on to that feeling and whenever the anticipation is making you anxious, just remember why you wanted to skydive in the first place. Maybe it’s a challenge you’ve always wanted to tick off your bucket list or perhaps you’re raising money for your favourite charity. Whatever the reason; keep it in mind when the nerves kick in.
“The best mental preparation is to look forward to your jump and be ready to enjoy it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience something completely outside of your normal sphere.”Lee Harrison, Fundraising Partnerships at GoRaise
Read through all of the information that your skydiving centre send to you. You’ll feel more prepared for the jump if you have an idea of what’s going to happen on the day. It’s totally normal to feel nervous on the day of your skydive, but knowing that you’ve got the basics sorted (like wearing the right clothes and turning up at the correct time) will avoid any unnecessary stress and worry.
There’s also a heap of YouTube videos that you can watch about what it’s like to go skydiving. These will give you a first-hand idea of what to expect, from the viewpoint of people who’ve experienced a tandem jump for themselves.
How can I remember the experience afterwards?
Believe us, it won’t be something you forget in a hurry! However, if you want photos of your tandem skydive as well as the memory, then most skydiving centres can organise for a professional photographer to dive alongside you and capture your screams. This comes at an additional cost. On average, you could expect to pay £100 for photos and videos of your jump; but if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, then it’s worth every penny.
How can I raise as much money as possible for my chosen charity?
As soon as you’ve booked your jump, get in touch with your chosen charity and let them know you’ll be supporting them. They might be able to send you some merchandise (like stickers and t-shirts), as well as some information about the charity which you can give to potential donors.
Set up an online giving page and send the link round to friends and family asking them to donate. You can promote your giving page on social media too.
“The further in advance you can book your skydive, the more you’re going to raise.”Lee Harrison, Fundraising Partnerships at GoRaise
There are so many events and ideas you can try to fundraise for your charity. In fact, we’ve listed over 50 fundraising ideas here. If you try out even a couple of our suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to beating your fundraising total.
Have you thought about skydiving with your friends? The more of you there are jumping, the more money you’ll raise. A lot of centres offer discounts for group bookings, so you’ll save money on the cost of your jump as well.
One of the easiest ways to top up your total is by shopping online using GoRaise. Whenever you or your friends shop online, you can start with GoRaise and a percentage of your purchase will be donated back to your cause. It doesn’t cost you a penny – the donation is made by the retailer. If you’ve set up an online giving page, GoRaise can send all of your donations straight there.
Last but not least… enjoy yourself and good luck! If you’ve got any other questions about skydiving, ask them in the comments below.
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