Skydiving is a growing sport - unlike Base Jumping or Bungee Jumping, in skydiving you jump out of a aeroplane (or helicopter, or hot air balloon) and enjoy a time of free fall before you use your parachute to slow down your rate of descent to earth. A typical jump involves exiting an aircraft from an altitude of 3,000 to 15,000 feet. If jumping from a lower altitude, the parachute is deployed immediately whilst at higher altitudes you can enjoy a full minute of free fall before activating the parachute.
You can skydive at any age from 16 years onwards - although once you are over 50 years you need a doctor's certificate before particpating. The oldest skydiver recorded is Frank Moody who made a Tandem Skydive at 101 years old!
Skydiving has had some great publicity recently with Felix Baumgartner achieving the highest parachute jump in history and the fastest free fall by breaking the speed of sound on October 14 2012.
Andalucia is a great place to Skydive, not only is the weather favourable for jumping all year round but we are fortunate enough to have the only Skydive centre in Europe that jumps from 15,000 ft. This means that you have a full minute of free fall before having to pull the parachute and enjoy a 4-5min descent to earth.
Free fall is a deceptive word - you don't feel like you are 'falling' as the weight of the air below you gives the sensation of being supported.
Depending on how much time you have at your disposal, how much money you want to spend and how strong your nerves are, you have two main options for what method of skydiving you'll use for your first jump: tandem, and accelerated freefall (AFF).
Tandem jumps are a very popular way to make your first jump. In fact many professional skydivers started their careers by receving a Tandem Jump for their birthday (most centres offer gift certificates).With a Tandem Jump you can experience all the thrills of skydiving without the stress of learning to do it on your own. Most dropzones (a drop zone or DZ is the area above and around a location where a skydiver expects to land)offer tandem skydives - as one-time fun jumps, or as part of a hybrid training method sometimes called "tandem progression."
The one-time fun jumponly requires about 30 minutes of ground preparation whilst Tandem Progression is completed after a fairly standard First Jump Course (FJC) which can last up to four hours or more. By definition, Tandem Jumping consists of an experienced jumper (tandem masterortandem instructor) and the passenger. The tandem master rides on the back and wears an extra-large parachute capable of carrying weights of up to 225 kilos. The passenger, or student, wears a specially designed harness that attaches in four points to the front of the tandem master. A tandem freefall generally lasts between 45 and 60 seconds, followed by a 4-5 minute parachute ride to the ground.
Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)
Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) is a 7 level program started in 1982 as an "accelerated" learning process compared to the traditional static line. Ground training is a bit longer (up to 2 days) because the student will be experiencing a 50 second free fall on their first jump. After ground training the student exits the aircraftwith two instructors who keep hold of the student from the moment they leave the aircraft. After graduating from Level 7, and once the student has logged 25 jumps, they are ready for their A license.
Skydiving is a great way to raise money for charity. Normal charity events like fun runs or long hikes are not quite so dramatic as throwing yourself out of a plane at 15,000 ft! Hence their increasing popularity. Most centres hold a number of organised charity events throughout the year but there is nothing to stop you doing your own - simply decide to book a Tandem Jump and get people to sponsor you! Skydive Spain even havea downloadable sponsor form on their website to make things easy. Most centres are happy to help you organise your Charity Jump.
Aside from the world championships - held at a different location every year - most drop zones offer a whole program of events throughout the year - Boogies (a gathering of skydivers focused on fun rather than competition, often on long holiday weekends), Festivals, Rating Courses, Record Attempts, Seminars, Special Weekends and Training Camps.
Skydiving is a pure adrenalin rush - you only have to visit a drop zone to realise this. The buzz of excitement is tangible. Skydivers are a happy bunch of people, friendly, lots of fun and living life to the full!