Pain is a complicated thing. On one hand, it is a deep primal “warning sign.” Pain tells us to take our hand off the stove and can help us identify when we’ve been injured. The other side of pain is a natural byproduct of growth, think literal growing pains or the mantra “no pain, no gain” used in gyms across the nation. In many sports, pain is a given. So, what about skydiving? Does skydiving hurt?
Despite its extreme nature, tandem skydiving is not an incredibly physically demanding activity. Because of its accessibility, individuals in relatively good condition of all ages (over 18) can experience the joy of flight through tandem skydiving with a licensed skydiving instructor.
Essentially, your skydiving experience can be broken down into a few key parts: the ride to altitude, the freefall, the canopy ride, and the landing.
The Ride To Altitude: Depending on the aircraft used, the ride to altitude can feel a little cramped. Lucky for you, if you’re doing a tandem skydive with Skydive Carolina, that is unlikely to be an issue. We fly roomie turbine aircraft. Our typical lineup includes a De Havilland Twin Otter that seats 22 and a Cessna Supervan 208 that seats 15.
Freefall: Without a doubt, the 120 mph freefall is the most thrilling part of the skydive for a first-timer. While many expect to experience a stomach sinking feeling as they exit the aircraft, this simply isn’t the case. Because the turbine skydiving aircraft is moving forward at an average speed of around 85-90 kts, you don’t experience a drastic acceleration as you reach terminal velocity. More than anything, freefall feels much more like floating than falling.
Canopy Ride: Typically, because of the staged deployment process, the parachute opening does not hurt. You may feel a slight jolt, but usually, it’s nothing more than the sensation you might get if you quickly hit the breaks in your automobile.
The rest of the canopy ride on your tandem skydive is a little like a pick your own adventure storybook. You can request for your tandem instructor to make the ride as gentle or as zippy as you’d like.
Landing: The priority of every skydive is to return safely to the ground below. When it comes time to land, your instructor will take over. Be sure to listen very carefully to the instructions they provide. Generally, they will ask you to lift your legs 90 degrees to better allow them to slide in the landing.
Although skydiving does not typically cause pain, there is a surefire way to make skydiving hurt and that is skydiving in the rain. Skydiving in the rain is not allowed, and there’s a good reason for it.
Aside from feeling like you’re being repeatedly pelted by little bits of molten lava, analogous to riding a motorcycle in the rain at 120 miles per hour, rain often causes reduced visibility meaning it is more difficult to see other skydivers and or aircraft that may be in the vicinity in freefall. Furthermore, when it comes time for the canopy flight, the added weight of the rain on the parachute can reduce its flight capabilities.
For the majority of folks, the minimal changes in pressure that accompany skydiving do not cause pain or subsequent issues. However, if you are already experiencing sinus pressure on the ground, it is not a good idea to test your luck by skydiving. Your ears may not be able to equalize the pressure, and it can cause a great deal of discomfort. In extreme cases, skydiving with blocked sinuses can result in a ruptured eardrum.
First and foremost, skydiving does require some amount of flexibility, and there are moments where you could potentially strain your back. Although, generally speaking, individuals who have a moderate level of flexibility and are in general good health do not experience back on typical skydives. While skydiving does not usually hurt your back, if you have back problems, you should contact your doctor before scheduling a skydive.
As always, if you have any questions about the skydiving experience, please feel free to give us a call.
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