Published: April 26, 2019
8 Skydiving Facts You Didn't Know About
If you're new to skydiving, there are probably more than a few things about our fair sport that would surprise you. Ready for a few cool facts? Let's tackle a few favorites.
1. A little device deploys our parachutes in the event we can't do it ourselves.
The "automatic activation device" that almost every sport skydiver in the world carries in her equipment is a little bit of magic indeed. In the extraordinarily rare eventuality that something goes very seriously wrong and a jumper can't manually deploy her parachute, this little device senses that something's wrong and deploys the reserve parachute. Amazing, right? Check out CYPRES, the world's leading manufacturer of automatic activation devices for skydiving.
2. There are plenty of different types of parachutes.
Parachutes are like cars with a spectrum from sports cars to a jalopy. The kind of parachute a jumper chooses depends on the performance that a particular skydiver is seeking. You can get a big, slow, easygoing one or a small, zippy little monster, depending on your skills and your proclivities.
Check out our previous article all about the parachute, from opening to landing.
3. Our altimeters do more than just tell us the altitude.
It used to be that every skydiver wore a very simple wrist altimeter that told the altitude in much the same way that a watch tells time: with a simple round dial that ticked down the feet. These days, our equipment is significantly snazzier. Not only does it use sensors to log our jumps, but some of these devices also come complete with GPS tracking and emergency features. Dekunu is a top skydiving altimeter on the market weaving together awareness and information for every jump.
4. Becoming a Tandem Skydiving Instructor is serious business.
Did you know that in order to so much as beginning the training course to become a skydiving tandem instructor, you need to be able to prove that you've spent several years in the sport and logged more than five hundred skydives? Yep. And that's just to start the rigorous training program toward a license. Believe you me: the tandem skydiving instructor who gets you down to earth is a true badass.
5. Skydiving is an actual hobby.
Licensed skydivers routinely come to a dropzone on the weekend and jump together. The general sensibility of the thing is not unlike going to the golf course and playing a round with your buddies -- but a round that starts miles up in the air and ends in high-fives on the ground.
6. You must prove that you've made at least 200 jumps before you can make a wingsuit jump.
If that sounds crazy, you should see the increased risk from the spinning malfunctions that underskilled skydivers get into once they add that variable to the mix.
7. Skydiving is competitive.
And we don't just mean casually. In any given summer season, national and international skydiving competitions take place all over the planet. This year, the US Nationals are going to take place at Skydive Paraclete. We'll be there -- come join us and cheer on your local team!
8. Skydiving has multiple disciplines.
It's not just about falling. There are at least a dozen ways to make a skydive -- each of which taking a different flying configuration, team size, jumpsuit, parachute, etc. This stuff has been engineered to the point where freefall disciplines can be calculated down to fractions of a second and landing accuracy to millimeters. It's wild.