Have you ever dreamt about jumping out of an airplane and flying through the air like they do in all of those James Bond movies? Well if you have, keep reading as we are going to tell you how you can have a fantastic holiday, and also come away with an internationally recognised licence that will allow you to skydive on your own anywhere in the world.
First of all skydiving isn’t for the faint-hearted. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with nothing more than what amounts to a nylon bed sheet attached with strings to guide you safely to the ground can be a terrifying thought. If though you are an adrenalin junkie and the thought of jumping from a plane at 12,000 feet and hurtling to the ground at 120 miles per hour for a minute before deploying your parachute and making a perfectly controlled landing sounds like fun, then skydiving can be just the right sport for you.
Learn to Skydive
Usually the first jump people are doing would be a tandem parachute jump which is where the person that has never jumped before is attached to a qualified instructor. While this is a good way to see if you are going to like skydiving, it is spending money that you could be using to put towards getting your own licence. Most people enrol in a club nearby where they live and after the initial on the ground training where you learn all the technicalities of the sport do their first jump accompanied by an instructor. A camera man will jump with you to film your body position so that you can learn from your mistakes back in the classroom. The trouble with this approach is that it can take a very long time to get your licence, as in between jumps you tend to forget what you have been taught.
Full Time Training while on Holidays
While a skydiving holiday might seem expensive upfront, it works out much cheaper than the lessons. Typically a novice can obtain the licence in a week, sometimes less depending on conditions.
Your course will begin with six hours of ground school where you will be taught everything you need to know like exiting the aircraft, positioning your body during the free-fall, deploying the parachute, steering and of course the crucial correct landing.
You will also be taught about what to do in an emergency situation, and how the parachute has an emergency opener built in. Should you for some reason fail to pull the rip cord it will open automatically by a barometric pressure trigger.
Your First Drop
Now you are all ready for that first jump. But before entering the aircraft you will go through all the safety procedures with your guide and tutor to make sure that the parachute is fitted correctly. As the plane takes off the noise is deafening and communication is only possible by hand signals. As the plane rapidly climbs to the jumping altitude of 12,000 feet you can feel the temperature start to drop. Once the plane is at jump height the pilot throttles back to a speed of around 90mph and it becomes very quiet until the door is opened and the wind comes rushing in, as you move towards the doorway. Now with your hands on either side of the door your instructor gives you the thumbs up and you jump out where the initial feeling can only be described as if you have been sucked up into a vacuum cleaner. When you exit the aircraft you do not fall downwards, but sideways as you are traveling at the same speed as the plane you were flying in.
The first thing you do is assume the body position that you have been trained to do with legs bent at the knees and your arms out at your sides as you try to maintain a stable balance. It is hard to measure the time as you hurtle towards the ground at 120 miles per hour, in fact it feels more like the ground is coming up to meet you. Both of your instructors are at your side seconds after you have left the plane to make sure you can maintain stability, and then before you know it 50 seconds have gone by, and your instructor is signalling for you to pull the rip cord, and with an incredible jolt the canopy is open and you are steering your chute to the landing zone. Once on the ground you gather up your chute saying to yourself “I cannot believe I just did that! It was incredible.”
Now it is time for the debriefing where you get to watch the video of your free-fall while your instructor points out what you did correct, and what you need to improve on. The next two jumps are again with two instructors as you continue to practice stability while making turns in the air, and forward flight. You will also be made to go into an uncontrolled spinning free-fall in order to see if you can get your stability back the way you have been trained to do. From now on you are going to jump with just one instructor until he feels you are ready to jump solo, which for most people is after around fifteen jumps, but no one will rush you into it until you feel ready and up to the task. After completing a minimum of twenty five jumps you sit the exam for your skydiver’s licence which gives you the ability to skydive anywhere in the world.
If all that sounds like a lot of fun to you, you might have just found the right activity to spice up your next holiday. But where to do all this? You can learn to sky dive basically everywhere, but if there is a place where every jump you are to do will provide spectacular views on a breathtaking scenery it has to be New Zealand. The biggest and one of the best sky diving operators is NZONE. With bases on both islands you are even able to see the whole of New Zealand while doing the course. A good place to start is the action sports capital of the world – Queenstown on the South Island.
Interested? Then pack your bags for a holiday to tell your grand children of with the only thing to leave at home is your fear of heights!