If you’re thinking about making your first ever skydive, we’ve got a few pro-tips that you won’t generally find in the FAQs section of our website. What you’ll find here is what the insiders know, but not often published – think of this as the secret menu at In-and-Out (for our west coast readers) or the secret menu at Chick-fil-A (yep, it exists!).
Unless the forecast calls for super cold temps, you’ll want to grab the earliest booking time possible for three reasons: wait times, weather and delays. Here’s the breakdown:
a). Consistently Good Weather. If there is a time of day that’s best for skydiving, it’s early in the morning. The heat of summer tends to bring on afternoon thunderstorms and with it the heat which can get a bit toasty when you’re wearing your snazzy jumpsuit. It’s cooler in the mornings and the chances of thunderstorms are far less. Early morning jumps are also beneficial during the spring and fall seasons as winds tend to pick up when the day warms.
b). Delays. If you nab the earliest time slot of the day, it means you get to go first after a weather delay (usually caused by fog). Once the weather clears after the delay, you’re first in line to jump.
c). Wait Times. Wait times are minimal at the beginning of the day because Manifest (the office in charge of coordinating licensed jumpers and tandem jumpers on the plane) has a wide-open aircraft and there are no other tandem groups ahead of yours. The first booking time literally goes through training and gears up! Later booking times will generally be on the dropzone for a few hours.
Skydive Carolina offers tiered pricing based on demand. The lowest demand occurs during the week which means you can jump for a lower price and the dropzone is less crowded. If a weekday is simply not an option, try to schedule for Sunday. Sunday’s are generally less busy than Saturday’s which means wait times will be less and the vibe is more relaxed.
If you’re a group leader, save yourself the hassle of trying to herd your group together to make a skydive. The rule of thumb is 50%. If 10 of your friends say they’ll go skydiving with you, that means you’ll end up with four or five people.
Also, as group leader, don’t make the mistake of fronting money for members of your group especially as tandem skydiving bookings are non-refundable. Our booking system has a group feature that makes life easy! When the group leader makes her reservation, she will be issued a group number (it will be in the confirmation e-mail). Share the group number with everyone in the party and they can add themselves to the group with their own credit card and it keeps you out of acting like a bounty hunter trying to get repaid!
We’re not just telling you this because we make more money. The truth is your first skydive is TEN THOUSAND TIMES better than you thought it would be and you’ll wish you had it documented. Seriously. Firstly, your jump goes by very fast (120-mph to be exact) and the photos and video will show you things that you didn’t even know were happening on the skydive. PLUS, having a photo of you leaving an airplane is something you’ll want to look back on and say, “See kids, I was cool once.”
Also, there’s a secret about the video in skydiving. Many dropzones offer a handcam package while others like Skydive Carolina offer a package where a separate videographer (camera flyer) captures your video and photos from an outside perspective. Fewer dropzones offer the outside package anymore because it’s more efficient (fewer slots are taken on the plane) if the tandem instructor films the experience. The feeling among many skydivers (and certainly, us) is the outside package is a better product than handcam videos.
If you’re one of those people who thinks arriving on time is the equivalent of arriving late, that’s not the case in skydiving. There isn’t any real advantage of arriving earlier than your appointed time as you’ll just wait longer. Plan to arrive on time so you can complete your paperwork and go through training with your group. You’ll have time to get the lay of the land and watch other people skydive. If driving in from Charlotte or Columbia, allow for about a one hour drive.
Here’s a tip that you won’t find on any other website, but it’s a solid tip to take to heart. Go to the bathroom before you get into your jumpsuit and then get harnessed up. Often the pre-jump jitters hit you after you’re all geared up and it’s not uncommon for nature to come calling. It’s a hassle to get out of your gear and then have your instructor refit your harness. Even if you don’t think you need to use the restroom, try to before you’re called to meet with your instructor and prep for the jump.
After you land, purchase the deal you’re offered (a tandem skydive for $119). This discount is as good as it gets and you’re only able to purchase it on the day you jump. We get many people who call a week later requesting to purchase it and find themselves out of luck. Spring for it… it’s worth it and allows you a full year to return and jump.
Our guests seldom feel nauseated from free fall, but it can happen while flying under parachute (usually caused by lots of turns). If you generally get motion sickness, be sure to tell your instructor so he can be a bit more gentle on the descent.
While we’re on the topic of sickness, most people get nauseated when they don’t eat before the skydive. Please eat a normal meal (not a Denny’s Grand Slam) before you arrive for your skydive. Also, stay hydrated!
Some people get nervous at the thought of making a skydive and as a result, have a drink to calm the nerves. Please don’t do this. If any of the Skydive Carolina staff suspect you’ve been drinking, you will not be permitted to skydive even if you’re not intoxicated.
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