How Scary is Skydiving?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Is skydiving scary? No. Skydiving isn’t scary at all. You may find this hard to believe, but skydiving is one of the most awe-inspiring life experiences in the world. What makes the experience scary is everything leading up to the moment of exiting the aircraft. There is nothing normal about moving towards the open door of an airplane at 10,000 feet. Ironically, once you exit the plane, it’s pure bliss – your fear is left in the airplane. The key is getting yourself to the door!

How To Get Out The Door of the Aircraft

Our bodies are built with a survival instinct known as ‘fight or flight ‘and it kicks in the moment the door of the aircraft opens and the rush of cold air hits you in the face. Everything within your being is saying “NO WAY.” Your job is to overcome the fear and anxiety that your body desperately wants you to feel and move towards the door anyway. Here are a few tips to help you overcome your fear and move towards the door of the airplane. 

Own The Moment with Visualization

Our imaginations are vivid, so use them to your advantage by visualizing the experience beforehand. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the aircraft with the door opening. It’s loud, the cabin is cool and you begin moving towards the open door. Just thinking about this may increase your heart rate and make you feel fear of what’s to come. Rather than turn away from the thought, own it. Be deliberate, slow things down, embrace your fear, understand you’re safe, and then take some deep breaths – in through your nose filling up your stomach and then slowly release your breath through your nose. BREATHE. Slowly. BREATHE AGAIN. 

Breathing is key to slowing things down and allowing you to work through the fear. This exercise before your skydive will serve you well in the real situation.

Skydiving is euphoric and exhilarating, and maybe just a bit scary...at first

MY FIRST SKYDIVE

I made my first skydive 45 years and 16,000 jumps ago. I still vividly remember every detail: the training, gear up, boarding the airplane, the climb to altitude…. the glossy eyes of my fellow first-timers as they stared at me. When the time came to actually jump, my knees were weak, my legs felt like rubber, getting to the door is a blur. I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life, my first exit from the airplane. I will never forget that instant transition from “senseless-scared-out-of-my-mind” into that alternate reality of a new lifetime. That step out of the airplane transcended me into a different future. My first skydive defined me.

Skydiving is not for everybody. If you are reading this, however, you have what it takes. If you feel the hunger for adventure, the need to step out of the box and out of your comfort zone, if you want to experience a different dimension of life, then skydiving is for you.

– Bo Babovic

Center Your Mind

As you are breathing, focus your attention to your breath. Nothing else. Deep breaths in and release. Your muscles will be tensed. Acknowledge the tension and breathe and try to release that tension. This will help slow down your mind and put you in a calmer state – essentially being present in the “now.”  If you’ve never done a yoga class or meditation, this may sound like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but these techniques are used by world class athletes in competition as well as extreme athletes about to pull a major stunt. The key is to quiet the mind and push out the “noise.” This is best done through visualization before you get to the moment.

But What If I’m Scared of Heights?

Being scared of heights doesn’t disqualify you from making a skydive. You may be surprised to learn that many active skydivers are also scared of heights. It’s hard to explain but looking out on the horizon from 10,000 feet is a different sensation than peering over the edge of a steep cliff. For many people, skydiving actually helps them overcome their fear of heights. In 2018, we had a guest named Michael Eiting who was petrified of heights. If that sounds like you, you may enjoy his story here. 

Also in April of 2021, we met Tim who was SUPER SCARED, but as you can see, he came back again for a second jump and the difference between his first jump and his second jump was an amazing transformation. 

Why The Skydive Isn’t Scary

Simply put, the actual skydive (the free fall) doesn’t feel scary because you don’t feel out of control. Unlike a rollercoaster where you’re being rocked and jostled, the free fall is smooth. There aren’t sensations of plummeting to earth uncontrollably and you don’t get ground rush. The sensation of the skydive feels stable as if you were laying on a bed. Though you’ll be falling at 120mph, you’ll have no concept of speed (unless you go racing by a cloud). Without any sensation of being out of control, you’ll quickly realize relax and enjoy the experience

During a skydive you don’t feel: 

  • Out of control
  • Ground rush
  • Sensations of falling or plummeting
  • Fear
  • Unable to breathe

Interestingly, many people find that skydiving is like a form of therapy as it’s one of the few experiences in life where you are truly living completely in the moment. The feelings of happiness and empowerment after a skydive are off the charts! 

We hope we’ve given you a thorough answer about how scary is skydiving? Do feel ready? If so, let’s make the dream a reality. 

A lady smiles while in free fall during a tandem skydive at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Milwaukee, WI

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