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What Is Tandem Skydiving? Everything You Need to Know


Wisconsin Skydiving Center Posted by: Wisconsin Skydiving Center 8 months ago

Let’s start with a fact that might (or might not) be a total surprise: Tandem skydiving is not just for the “naturally adventurous.” 

Making a tandem skydive – a version of our sport that allows participants to experience freefall while securely harnessed to an experienced instructor – can be an immensely meaningful event. This is true whether that person goes on to get licensed and skydive another thousand times, or whether they choose to mark it as a sacred, one-time event in their personal history books.

No matter what your proclivity, we’ll guide you through the process of tandem skydiving, from the basics and preparation, to the safety measures and the heart-pounding, consciousness-expanding experience itself. 

Welcome to our world!

Tandem skydiver giving thumbs up and instructor blowing a kiss at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Milwaukee

Introduction: The Basics of Tandem Skydiving

What is tandem skydiving? It’s the most popular way for newcomers to take the plunge into the world of skydiving. Over 500,000 tandem jumps happen each year in the US, making it a thrilling adventure accessible to almost anyone. 

What sets tandem skydiving apart from other forms of skydiving is that you’re not alone in this adrenaline-pumping journey. Instead, you spend your first time skydiving experience securely fastened to a certified skydiving professional who handles all the technical details and acts as your guide.

Preparing for Your First Tandem Jump

Before you embark on the path towards your very first skydive, there are a few key things you should know. These will help you prepare your mind, your body and your perspective (which is just about to be shifted for the better, mark our words).

Tandem skydiving harnesses strap around your chest, legs & hips at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

Pre-jump preparation and what to bring:

Skydiving, for beginners, is a wild and undiscovered country. It has to be—that’s where the empowerment is! 

The beauty of tandem skydiving is that it helps you navigate that jungle by the power of its simplicity. It’s tried-and-true. You don’t need weeks of training; in fact, just an hour of instruction on the ground is usually enough to get you locked and loaded for your jump. Dress comfortably, in snug-fitting, light layers and closed-toe shoes. Bring water, snacks, and an open mind!

Required paperwork and waivers:

You should expect to fill out some paperwork and waivers before you jump. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the risks involved and the measures in place for your safety and that of your tandem instructor.

Gear up – fitting equipment and understanding safety checks: 

Your (very) experienced tandem instructor will help you gear up with a specially designed harness that securely connects you to the front of them. These harnesses are adjustable, with multiple straps, to ensure a snug and comfortable fit. Before takeoff, your instructor will perform thorough safety checks on this harness and on all the other skydiving gear to ensure that everything is shipshape.

The Tandem Skydiving Experience

When you’re all geared up and ready to go, it’ll be time to head for the plane. Here’s what to expect:

Boarding the aircraft and ascent to altitude:

You’ll board the aircraft with your instructor. As you make the brisk ascent to your exit altitude, you can expect to be filled with a mix of excitement and anticipation. 

You’ve probably been under the impression that freefall is when the magic happens, but we’re going to let you in on a secret: the time in the plane, on the way up, when you’re sitting with your thoughts, is the juice of the skydive. It’s the moment of greatest challenge, and the moment of greatest growth

Also, it’s gorgeous

The folks who jump with us constantly report that the horizon-to-horizon view of Wisconsin from the windows of the plane are breathtaking, and we absolutely agree. Our “office” is the best.

Freefall – the sensation of skydiving:

Finally, the door opens. As you exit the aircraft, you’ll probably be surprised—not by the feeling of falling, as you might have expected, but by the sensation of weightlessness and peace. You understand deep in your bones that anything is possible when you can step from the open door of an airplane, and that realization is the most important gift this sport has to give.

Parachute descent and safe landing:

After the adrenaline-pumping freefall, your instructor will deploy your shared parachute. Over the next few minutes, you’ll glide together back to earth. Most people report a rising sense of accomplishment as you approach the earth once more. They’re glowing with it by the time they land!

What is tandem skydiving? A first time skydiver preparing to jump out of a plane at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

How Safe is Skydiving Tandem?

Safety is paramount in the world of skydiving. Let’s take a look together at an overview of what skydiving tandem safety looks like in practice.

The importance of qualified instructors and training:

Our excellent instructors are a crucial part of our excellent safety record. Our tandem instructors are required to meet a host of strict qualifications, including a minimum number of jumps, years of experience, and medical clearance. You can be assured that they’ve got your back. Literally!

Modern equipment and tools used in tandem skydiving:

Skydiving gear has come a long way in terms of safety and reliability. Tandem rigs are equipped with redundant safety systems, ensuring your safety throughout the jump. This includes an advanced device that is able to deploy the reserve parachute at an appropriate altitude in the event of an emergency.

Safety protocols and measures before and during the jump:

Before takeoff, your instructor will run through a checklist, ensuring that everything is in order. During the jump, they’ll maintain strict safety protocols to ensure a smooth and secure experience.

What is tandem skydiving? at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

Frequently Asked Questions about Tandem Skydiving

Now let’s address some common questions you might have about tandem skydiving in general.

Tandem skydiving weight limit information:

At Wisconsin Skydiving Center, our maximum weight limit is 260 lbs. However, guests weighing more than 200 lbs should be aware of our weight-related fees and restrictions. 

Weight-related fees and restrictions raise the tandem skydiving cost for heavier participants, but they are by no means a money-making proposition. They exist explicitly for the purpose of aviation safety and are by no means intended to be discriminatory or exclusive.

Age requirements for tandem skydiving:

As for age: a tandem skydiving student must be at least 18 years old at the time of their jump. (Don’t forget your valid, government-issued photo ID!) This is true of most skydiving dropzones in the US. There is no upper limit.

These are the words we love to hear: “That’s the best thing I’ve ever done!

Health considerations and restrictions:

While skydiving is a physically demanding activity, it’s usually suitable for people in generally good health. If you have specific medical conditions or concerns, it’s essential to consult with your doctor and to give us a call before booking your jump.

Weather-related factors and cancellations:

Weather plays a crucial role in skydiving. If conditions are unfavorable (for example, wind, rain, or low visibility) your jump may be postponed or rescheduled for safety reasons.

It’s Time To Take the Leap!

If you’re ready to embrace the adventure and make memories that will last a lifetime, we’re ready for you at Wisconsin Skydiving Center! Don’t just dream about it, do it! Take the leap and experience the thrill of a lifetime!