Published: December 20, 2016
The Truth About Skydivers
Jumping out of an airplane ... it's a crazy thing to do, right? Imagine yourself, flying along in a perfectly functional airplane, ascending above the clouds. You reach 10,000 feet in altitude and the next thing, the door's opening and you're jumping out. It's certainly not an everyday occurrence for most people!
But while skydiving is an extreme sport and it does get your adrenaline pumping, we argue that it's not a crazy thing to do. Skydivers aren't crazy! In fact, they're sensible, calculated people who know exactly what they're doing and do it with precision. Here's the truth about skydivers...
Skydivers Have 'Normal' Jobs, Just Like Everyone Else...
With the exception of our talented team of instructors who work in skydiving, the majority of skydivers have regular 9-5 jobs just like anyone else.
In fact, the USPA (United States Parachute Association), which governs the sport of skydiving in the US, has released data on their membership by profession. The most common jobs held by skydivers are, according to the data:
As you can see, pretty normal professions! In fact, the prevalence of military and precision jobs is a testament to the almost military approach we take to our training and the precision with which we plan each jump and operate our equipment.
We Jump, We Train, We Improve
It's a common misconception that skydiving is "just falling". In reality, it's a sport like any other, with multiple disciplines, training plans and formal qualifications to be obtained along the way.
As a hobby skydiver, you can learn how to do all sorts of things in the sky. Belly flying, also known as RW (relative work) or FS (formation skydiving) is all about falling in a belly to earth position and controlling your movements using changes in that position. Many people compete in 4 way and 8 way FS, which basically means building shapes in the sky with a team, and the world record currently stands at hundreds of skydivers building one huge shape together.
Then there's freeflying (or FF); the discipline built around flying in any orientation except belly to earth, such as head down, in a standing position or in a seated position. You fall much faster this way typically and again, there are competitions as well as formal qualifications along the way.
There are loads more ways to learn and progress in skydiving and all of them come with a set of formal guidelines and tests to take in order to achieve qualification. It's not just falling at all; skydiving is a complex sport that takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of commitment to do well.
We Take Calculated Risks And Negate Them As Far As Possible
Another common misconception about our sport is that we're all frivolous risk takers. We're jumping out of perfectly good airplanes after all, so we must have little regard for our own safety and that of those around us.
The fact of skydiving is that it has developed over many years to be a sport which is governed by regulation, guided by best practice and improved by technological advances that go well beyond the first parachute roughly drawn up by Leonardo Di Vinci!
Today's skydivers are so well trained, to almost military precision, that we're equipped for almost anything. We plan every part of our jumps. We plan everything we don't plan too, meaning we're prepared for all eventualities, even if they don't conform to our preferred scenario.
Every one of us jumps with the full training needed to deal with most situations and the skills to avoid things going wrong as far as possible. On top of that, we use two parachutes each (one as a backup), use automatic activation devices (AADs) that deploy our parachutes in the event we don't, and have clear plans in place for our freefall time too.
Want to know the best way to learn the truth about skydivers? Join us at the dropzone! Book a skydive near Myrtle Beach with Skydive Coastal Carolinas and we'll show you what our skydiving community is all about!