What Happens If You Vomit While Skydiving?

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Without knowing first what is actually involved, one could easily assume that some or all of the steps involved with jumping out of an airplane for the first time might include sensations of nausea. While throwing up the contents of your stomach before, during, or after skydiving are all possible, it is really quite rare. For those of you who are concerned about regurgitation, here we will break down the important parts of the skydiving process and the effects they have on your body and brain.

Girl smiling after a tandem skydive at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

Nerves Before You Jump

If you have never done it before, skydiving can be an anxiety-inducing prospect. Being a bundle of nerves about something looming in the near future can cause sick feelings and perhaps have you running to the bathroom – but you should not worry. While skydiving is indeed an intense and exhilarating thing to do, it is not the pursuit of crazy people. Over the decades since skydiving started happening for fun, there’s been an emphasis on safety and we have become very good at flying through the sky. Our staff is highly trained and experienced, and modern parachuting gear is built using advanced science and technology. Relax – you are in the best hands and are going to love it.

Riding In The Skydiving Plane

The aircraft used for skydiving are relatively small and during the ride up to altitude, you all sit on the floor facing backward. This might sound like a good recipe for motion sickness, but you will find it to be much more agreeable than you might think. We jump in favorable conditions, avoiding air with anything more than light bumps – so your flight up to the top will be fairly smooth. The best way to avoid a headache or dizziness from motion is to look out of the window at a fixed point far in the distance – exactly like when on a boat. Also, looking out at the amazing view is one of the extra awesome parts of doing a skydive. You are not in the aircraft for long, but definitely have enough time to enjoy the scenery as the excitement builds. 

The cost of skydiving is worth it - Couple smiling in a plane as they prepare to jump out for AFF training at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

What is the likelihood of throwing up in freefall?

People generally believe that skydiving will set off their fear of heights, but when you jump you will be surprised at how far height is from your mind. After you exit the aircraft, there is only the rush of the wind and the sensation of floating about in the sky. Vertigo is often triggered by the feeling that you can fall off something like a cliff or a tall building – but when you are in freefall this is not the case. How can you fall off by accident when you have already jumped on purpose? 

You might have expected a sensation of falling when you jump, somewhat similar to riding a rollercoaster – but when exiting the plane there is only the smooth and comfortable transfer of your forward momentum, gradually ‘down the hill’ into vertical freefall over the first ten seconds.

It's all euphoria when the parachute opens ...

Modern parachutes are very efficient flying machines – they open smoothly and are precisely controllable for flight and landing. These wings are fully capable of performing g-force-inducing turns and spirals, but are also designed with comfort in mind, and can Mary-Poppins you back to the landing area with the utmost dignity and zero drama.

Tandem skydiver smiling with excitement as she finishes her skydive at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

A positive experience begins with breakfast!

Skydiving is an active thing to do so you need energy. Eating a good breakfast and drinking plenty of water is the way to set yourself up properly as, conversely, not doing these things is what might end up making you feel nauseous. Dehydration is the most common contributor to the onset of altitude sickness, so showing up with an empty stomach might actually increase the likelihood of spewing up and having to have an awkward chat with your tandem instructor when you land. Yes, in freefall, your “cookies” first go into your face, and then upwards into theirs. Yuck. 

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

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