What Makes a Good Skydiving Instructor?

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What Makes a Good Skydiving Instructor?

Published: August 7, 2017

Our instructors at Skydive Coastal Carolinas get great reviews! We're stoked about that, but we're not at all surprised; after all, we handpick the very best skydiving instructors in the industry to join us here as team members. Choosing gold-star skydiving instructors seems like a no-brainer for us, because the person who guides you on the journey of your very first freefall experience can easily make or break the jump. After so many years of introducing new jumpers to the sky, we can spot a good instructor a mile away (which we do every half-hour or so, on a good-weather day, with our binoculars). Here's what we're looking for.

A Good Instructor Is Clean.

You're laughing, right? Well. Staying clean and fresh, especially when you're doing this challenging job on a hot summer's day, can really test a skydiving tandem instructor's mettle. Being clean-cut helps to facilitate those between-jumps cold-water splashes in the washroom. A clean, tidy, good-smelling jumpsuit is key. (A good instructor will often roll with a backup, just in case it's needed.)

A Good Instructor Is Well-spoken.

Skydiving equipment and procedure is complicated stuff, and a big part of the tandem instructor's job is to explain it in a thorough, engaging way to her students. She must be eminently knowledgeable about the equipment, taking her time in answering any and all questions, as she prepares her student to do what needs to be done during each stage of the jump. A great skydiving instructor does all of this with an unsinkable sense of positivity and absolutely no sense of clock-watching rush.

tandem skydiving instructor with student

A Good Instructor Is Calm And Collected.

The best skydiving instructors are regular Buddhas. There's a sense of Zen that pours from them, even when the situation gets stressful, and especially when they're surrounding a freaky-outy tandem skydiving student with a bubble of serenity. A great instructor recognizes that skydiving is a mental, emotional challenge for each student and that they have a core responsibility to smooth the way. That no-rush feeling comes into play here in a serious way; a great instructor moves the student through the process like they're dancing through honey.

A Good Instructor Gets Each And Every Student Down To The Ground Safely.

This, of course, is the most important part of a tandem instructor's job: To execute the jump safely. That's what the training and certifications focus on.

There are, of course, dropzones that employ instructors who are either too new to be proven or known to be unsafe, and that's a frustrating shame for the sport. There are also lots of tandem instructors around who do have solid experience and certifications and can do the technical part of the job just fine, but they're lacking seriously in the bedside manner department.

skydiving instructor landing with student

A good instructor is the kind that flies and lands safely and then sticks around for the afterglow...handing each student their signed certificate, explaining the next steps, throwing handshakes and high-fives and hugs. A good instructor loves this stuff.

A good instructor does safety with compassion and with style, and that's the only kind we employ at Skydive Coastal Carolinas.