How Scary is Skydiving? (Not As Scary As You Might Think)

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How Scary is Skydiving? (Not As Scary As You Might Think)

Published: August 9, 2016

When we tell first-time skydivers that skydiving is way more fun than it is scary, they sometimes look at us like we've grown another arm and started speaking Dothraki. While we could always use another hand and we quite like dragons, the fact remains: we're telling the actual, factual truth. Is skydiving scary, sure! But, it's a lot less scary than you think it is. Here's why.

1. The Actual Skydive Is A Lot Less Scary Than The Run-up.

Plenty of new skydivers have trouble sleeping the night before and spend their time in the waiting area in a cold sweat. Believe us when we say that everyone is scared to skydive the first time.

That said: the anticipation of freefall is much scarier than the jump itself. Over the course of many years we've been taking new jumpers for their first freefall experience, the vast majority insist that the scariest couple of seconds were the moments in the door. Once they were out and freefallin', they tend to heartily agree the experience was one of pure joy.

2. Tandem Skydiving Is Safer Than It's Ever Been.

The modern sport of skydiving has an excellent safety record, and those numbers just keep getting better. In the U.S., the United States Parachute Association recorded just 24 fatal sport skydiving accidents out of roughly 3.2 million jumps made in 2014. That's 0.0075 fatalities per 1,000 skydives--the lowest rate in the sport's history. And tandem? Even better.

Tandem skydiving boasts an even stronger safety record, with 0.003 student fatalities per 1,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. For perspective: that's safer than driving to work, walking around in a lightning storm or hanging out with cattle, which are, like, terrifying dread beasts from the pit.

3. It Doesn't Feel Like You're Falling.

Afraid that your stomach is going to drop to your feet like it does on the world's puckeriest roller coaster? If you actually like that feeling, hats off to you--but you're going to be out of luck looking for it on a skydive. Even though you'll be moving downward at 120mph, the pressure of relative wind in freefall makes it feel for all the world like you're riding a cushion of air, not falling.

Interestingly, also absent is any sense of speed. 120mph on a highway feels screamingly brisk, but 120mph in freefall subtracts relative motion, so it's all remarkably peaceful. You won't even get to bite your nails at the ground rush, as the ride in under the parachute is surprisingly gentle.

4. Your Grandma Can Do It (and lots of grandmas do--regularly--by themselves!)

Ninety-year-olds make tandem skydives all the time--and they often remark that they wish they'd started skydiving long before. Stop the presses, though, because that's not the most interesting part. The most interesting part, in this author's humble opinion, is the membership of hundreds of sport skydivers in SOS (Skydivers Over Sixty), JOS (Jumpers Over Seventy), the JOES (Jumpers Over Eighty Society) and even the JONS (the Jumpers Over NINETY Society). Okay--the JONS isn't that big a group, but the combined membership of the others is enough to populate an über-rad retirement community the size of a city, if you got them all together at the same time.

5. Tandem Skydiving Is One Of The Most Empowering Experiences You'll Ever Have.

Let's put it this way: Once you've leapt out of an aircraft cruising thousands and thousands of feet over our beautiful Carolina coast, what can't you do?

Don't you want to feel that rush of endorphin-driven confidence? We'd love to show you just how good it feels! C'mon and fly with us. For skydiving Myrtle Beach and Oak Island, our team can't wait to take you on the adventure of a lifetime!