Danny being filmed by camera-flyer

Should You Have Your First Tandem Skydive Filmed?

Capture your day and star in your very own movie for £99!

You have just paid £250 to £300 to skydive and now you are trying to decide whether it is worth spending another £99 to have your experience recorded. It all adds up, doesn’t it!?

I am not trying to be a pushy sales person here, but from my own experience….take full advantage of the opportunity to have your jump filmed. Chances are, you will regret it afterwards if you don’t. How many times have we had something great happen and said “darn, I wish I had a camera for this!” – well, this is one of those times and you currently have the opportunity to make sure your your magical adventure is filmed. So, please, don’t miss out on that.

Skydiving is such an exhilarating experience, wouldn’t you want to capture it on video so you can relive it and share it with your friends and family whenever you want? If you choose to have your skydive filmed, you’ll be able to watch the reaction of your family & friends when you show them someone hurtling out of a perfectly good aeroplane at jaw dropping speeds (120 miles per hour), and they realise it’s you! You’ll notice the room heat up with the buzz about your skydive. It’s absolutely entertaining to see everyone react with amazement and their eyes will be glued to the screen as they watch your jump unfold.

Handycam FreefallFor many tandem students, you start your day off thinking this jump will be a once in a lifetime experience. However, your tandem instructor’s main aim is to give you an experience that is out of this world. An experience that we hope you’ll enjoy so much that you will want to book straight back in on landing. However, as with any highlight of your life – you cannot get that moment back. Sure, you can redo the event – but that first time, when your emotions are running high and your excitement radar is off the charts – that first time feeling is a once in a lifetime experience, so we always recommend you capture this moment on video with still photos. I have done 4 tandems and over 500 solo jumps, and none have been the same. Our previous thrill-seekers only ever rave about their very own skydiving movie and photographs, they never regret paying the £99 to have their first skydive captured, but quite often thrill-seekers do regret it if they don’t have their jump filmed;

Tandem Skydive Door ShotAs you sit in the open door of a perfectly working aircraft, flying 2 or 3 miles above the earth, you will feel various sensations, so much adrenaline will be pumping through your body as you prepare to jump. Between the adrenaline – emotions – excitement you are feeling, chances are your memory will become blurred and you may forget exactly how your body and mind felt at the various stages of your skydive. But if you have your skydive filmed, you will look back at your video for some time, allowing you to relive that momentous event over again.

For those of you on social media, this is also the perfect opportunity to capture the ULTIMATE profile picture that will make your friends insanely jealous.


What is included for £99 and how will my jump be filmed?

The Video & Stills package costs £99 and for that you will have your entire experience captured from the moment you are kitted up to the moment your feet are firmly back on terra-firma.

The parachute centre has a fantastic team of highly trained freefall photographers as well as highly qualified tandem instructors who are also trained to operate a wrist mounted GoPro camera during your skydive. You will either be filmed by one of the camera-flyers (the Outsidecam option) or by your Instructor wearing a camera on his wrist. This is called the Handycam option and gives you the Ultimate Selfie during freefall.

Freedom Skydiving Cameraflyer and Tandem
Freedom Skydiving Cameraflyer and Tandem

The main differences between Outsidecam and Handycam is that with the camera-flyer you will have someone else in freefall with you, capturing your skydive from different angles and you will also have your landing captured. Whereas the Handycam provides close up freefall shots, which is why we call it the Ultimate selfie. The pro to the handycam is that you will be able to see your face as your canopy deploys and your instructor will also be able to capture footage of your canopy ride. The video footage will capture your close-up reactions – visual and vocal (so, note to self: do not swear if you’re showing the footage to mum later!)

Due to several operational factors, the parachute centre cannot give you the option of whether you are filmed by the Outsidecam or by the Handycam, however both will give you a stunning memento of your skydive. You’ll receive your video via DropBox within 12-24 hours, or if you are willing to wait for a USB, within 45 minutes of your feet hitting the ground!

Tandem Skydive with Moon in backgroundWith the Outsidecam options, when it is your turn to jump, your camera-flyer will climb out of the plane and take video and stills footage as you prepare to jump from 2-3 miles up. They’ll then use their skill to track you as you freefall, capturing your descent from a range of different angles. You’ll see the landscape below and above in stunning perspective, get a birds’ eye view of your acceleration through the clouds. If you’re a little nervous they’re a great partner to give you face-to-face encouragement in the air, whilst making you the star of one of the best movies of all time!

Handycam Canopy RideIf you are given the Handycam option, your tandem instructor will be highly skilled; only those instructors who have done a minimum of 500 tandem skydives as a tandem master are permitted by the British Parachute Association to do this. The results are however amazing – the ultimate skydive selfies! Taken at altitudes of up to 15,000ft whilst freefalling at 120mph, your friends and family cannot fail to be impressed.

Whether you are filmed by your instructor or by a camera-flyer, once you are kitted up, you will have a short interview so that you can tell everyone why you are jumping out of a perfectly working aircraft. For those of you that are jumping for charity, this is a good opportunity to talk about the charity and tell everyone how much money you have raised. On landing, you will have another interview so that your sponsors can see that you have taken the plunge and so that you can tell all your friends and family exactly how amazing your skydive was. Your video will then be edited by a professional editor who will turn your experience into a beautiful visual trophy of your experience that you will be able to keep forever. You will also receive around 40 photographs.

Why You Should Skydive If You Have Acrophobia (A Fear of Heights)

Acrophobia, or an intense fear of heights is one of the most common phobia in the world; when we asked people in the street “Would you like to skydive”, approximately half of the people that we questioned, said no, and their reasoning was either, “I am scared of heights”, or “I am too old”… well, age should never be a reason to avoid anything, but let’s just focus on a fear of heights in this blog.

There is a possibility that a high percentage of those people that say they have a fear of heights don’t actually suffer from acrophobia. When most people talk about a fear of heights, what they are actually talking about is a completely different fear, which is the fear of falling (or basiphobia).

A fear of falling is natural and is typical in most humans and mammals as it is one of the bodies natural defence mechanisms. Although basiphobia and acrophobia are closely related, the fear of falling encompasses anxieties related to the sensation and possibly dangerous effects of falling, as opposed to the fear of height itself. So if you have a fear of falling rather than a fear of heights… read no further and book that skydive, because in freefall, you do not get the sensation of falling, it feels more like you are floating or flying, which is actually what you are doing, you are floating on air.

There is quite a lot of physics behind skydiving, but to put simply, once you leave the plane you have two forces acting upon you; gravity pulling you down towards the earth and friction with the air which pushes in the opposite direction from the direction you are falling (it pushes up on you and your equipment). The faster you drop the stronger air resistance becomes and you will reach terminal velocity, whereby gravity and air resistance are equal. This force pushing up against your body and equipment is what gives you the sensation of flying rather than falling. For more detailed information, please read our last blog “Does a Skydive Feel Like A Rollercoaster Ride?”, or visit Physlink.com


Right, now we have established that half of you actually suffer from basiphobia and you are looking for a phone number to book your skydive (it’s 0191-369-2468), but what about those of you that really do suffer from acrophobia? Should you skydive?


For years, many individuals have put themselves forward for acrophobia studies, to help scientists come up with a cure. According to M.J. Schumie et al. from the University of Amsterdam, phobias consist of a persistent fear of a circumscribed stimulus and a consequent avoidance of that stimulus. The most common and most successful treatment for acrophobia is therefore to break the habitual avoidance of the fear by exposing yourself to the feared stimuli. At first, the fear will increase, but after exposure to the fear for some time, the fear will gradually diminish (Bouman, Scholing & Emmelkamp, 1992). This research leads us to think that skydiving could actually help you overcome your fear of heights. It might be a terrifying thought, but could be just the tonic you need to break a habit and conquer a fear!

To encourage you even more, most often, a fear of heights has to do with the perception of objects standing or moving relative to each other. So, when you stand on a balcony and look down at objects, your brain can calculate the distance relative to you and that is why you feel an intense fear of height or a fear that you could fall. However, typically skydiving takes place at altitudes around 10,000 feet to 15,000 feet above the earth, the view of the earths surface becomes too distance for you to perceive your distance to it, and so often people that suffer from acrophobia realise that at this height the surface of the earth is too far away for acrophobia problems to arise.

So if you do suffer from acrophobia, why not take a chance, or even use this fear to raise hundreds of pounds for charity by taking part in a sponsored skydive… you will be facing a fear while doing something for a worthwhile cause, you never know, a skydive might even cure you.

 

Everything you need to know about completing a tandem skydive summed up in 3 questions.

What is a Tandem Skydive and Is it scary?

Described by many as the ultimate thrill, a tandem skydive is when you are harnessed to the front of a qualified British Parachute Association Skydiving Instructor who does all the hard work for you.You don’t have to endure hours upon hours of extensive training before hand, just a short brief by your instructor and you are ready to go. You can sit back and enjoy the thrill of freefall and the serenity of the canopy ride knowing that your instructor will be guiding you through the whole experience and landing you safely back on terra-firma. But what does it feel like and is it scary?

It is the most fantastic feeling in the world. Unless you have skydived it is difficult to really explain the emotions and feelings that will pulse through your veins as you sit in the open door of an aircraft flying 2 miles above the earth, knowing that on the count of “Ready, Set, Go” you will be plummeting towards the ground a jaw dropping speeds of around 120 miles per hour.

It has taken 15-20 minutes to reach the jump altitude, and you have had all that time to really think about what you are about to do. Why you are doing it or which loving friend put you up to the task. When the door opens and you shuffle forward, the wind feels strong in your face; it’s cool, it fills your lungs and for a brief moment it takes your breath away. At this point you will either be incredibly excited or terrified. Either way, your heart will pound so hard that you can feel it trying to escape your chest, and your palms will begin to sweat as adrenaline fills your body.

It can only be described as euphoric. And then you’re out and you experience what it feels like to fly. It is the most surreal, beautiful and awesome moment! To really see what a tandem skydive feels like, watch our video “What Does It Feel Like to Skydive?”.

Does a skydive feel like a rollercoaster ride?

In short, No!

Many first time skydivers think that a skydive will feel like a rollercoaster ride, but we can assure you that you won’t get the uncomfortable feeling of your stomach “dropping” and then ascending into your throat as you speed down the first hill on a rollercoaster.

The reason you experience this stomach dropping feeling on a rollercoaster is due to speed change and the change in force experienced on your organs as you make the descent; When you ascend up the first hill on a rollercoaster, you will be travelling at around 3 miles per hour (it’s pretty slow), but then you are over the hill and suddenly gravity takes force and you hurtle down the hill at around 40 miles per hour. This sudden change in speed and force on your organs is what causes the stomach dropping feeling.

The reason why you won’t experience this terrible sensation when skydiving is because every part of you is accelerating at the same rate, which gives you a similar feeling to weightlessness.

When you skydive, the aircraft that you jump from is already moving forward at around 100 miles per hour. As you exit the plane you will quickly transition into terminal velocity, which is a stable feeling as you are flying on air molecules and there is very little change in force on your body. However, if you were to jump from a Hot Air Balloon, you would most certainly feel the stomach dropping feeling because the Hot Air Balloon is suspended in space, so when you jump out of the balloon and gravity pulls you towards the earth, you are suddenly travelling from 0 miles per hour to 120 miles per hour, a huge force upon your body. The way your body feels when you skydive all depends on the initial speed that you are going before you take the leap. For more information, there are plenty of videos to watch on YouTube, such as this one: Here’s why you feel that sinking feeling on roller coasters”

Are there any limitations on who can skydive?

There are really only 4 things that might prevent or delay your skydive:

Age:

Generally, anyone can take part in a tandem skydive as long as they are 16 or older and are relatively fit. If aged between 16 and 18, thrill-seekers will need parental consent. There is no upper age limit, in fact, we have personally seen people as young as 92 take to the skies. And what about 101-year-old D-Day veteran skydiver, Bryson William Verdun Hayes, who broke the world record for the oldest skydive earlier this year. So please don’t tell us that you are “too old to skydive”, you’re not.

Health:

Everyone that takes part in a tandem skydive needs to be relatively fit and will need a signed medical form before they are allowed to skydive. If you are lucky enough to be fit and healthy and haven’t suffered from any medical conditions in the past, you can self-declare by signing BPA Form 115A. However, if you have suffered from a medical condition in the past, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can guide you through the best course of action. Typically, all you will need to do is take BPA Form 115B to your GP to sign and stamp before you will be allowed to skydive. But if you are still unsure, check out the British Parachute Association’s page on Student Tandem Medical FAQs.

Weight:

The upper weight limit for a tandem skydive is 16 stone for men and 15 stone for women, however your ability to take part in a tandem skydive will be on a case by case basis, and please let us know if you weigh more than 14 stone.

Weather:

We live in the UK, which means we are cursed with rather unpredictable weather on a day-today basis. The weather is the one element that brings the most frustration in the sport as it can often cause delays. The ideal day for skydiving is minimal cloud, low winds, and good visibility. Parachute Centres are regulated by the British Parachute Association who have put strict guidelines in place in terms of the weather conditions that we can jump in. This is for your safety, so if the weather is marginal, please sit back, have a cup of tea and a good chin wag with a friend while you wait for your turn to skydive. It will be worth it.

For more information on weather and delays in skydiving, please read our blog “I’m sorry, you can’t skydive today, it isn’t safe. Why you have to wait…”.

We hope this article has answered your most burning questions about tandem skydiving. However, we know that jumping out of a perfectly working aircraft brings natural feelings of fear and apprehension, so please do not hesitate to pick up the phone to speak to our experienced skydiving staff; Sara will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Just call 0191-369-2468

“I’m Sorry, You Can’t Skydive Today, It Isn’t Safe.”

Why You Have to Wait…

With safety first, sometimes you have to wait. But why? Your stomach is in a knot, you have butterflies every time you think about your forthcoming jump. It’s the morning of your jump and you’ve been up all night with mixed feelings; you’re terrified, excited, worried… Hell, you just want to get it over now! But then, just as you are packing your bag to head to the DropZone (DZ), you get a phone call to say, “I’m sorry but we have to postpone your skydive, the weather conditions aren’t suitable for today”. Trust me, DropZone operators throughout the world hate making that phone call just as much as you hated receiving it. Our top priority is to book you in for the experience of a lifetime, but that also means that the Parachute Centre has to put safety first and sometimes the glorious British weather prevents your skydive from going ahead.

The skydiving industry in the UK is the safest in the world, there are rules and regulations for every discipline in the sport to make sure that it is as safe as can possibly be (and it really is a safe sport in comparison to the likes of rugby, horse riding, etc. Just take a look at the British parachute Association statistics here). However, safety often means delays. You may have to wait 30 minutes, a few hours or even a few weeks.

 

In this short blog, we want to explain why Parachute Centre’s can’t operate like an airline with firm dates and times for your skydive.  There are so many variable factors affecting your jump, it is more akin to a space shuttle launch than a holiday flight, which is why we all need to remain flexible.

  1. Weather:  Probably the biggest reason for delays throughout the world is the weather. Conditions need to be ideal. To simplify it, we need a clear day, low wind levels, and minimum cloud cover to keep you safe. However, it is a little more complicated that that. You might turn up to the DZ on a day with clear blue skies and what feels like a slight breeze on the ground, but you are told you can’t skydive because the upper winds (the winds at the various altitudes, usually, read at 1,000 feet, 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet and 10,000 feet) are too strong. Cloud cover and rain may also prevent your skydive. To make sure we touch down exactly where we need to, we have to be able to see the landing area from the aircraft at jump altitude. So when the door opens, if the Jump Master cannot see the landing area, chances are you will go around in the aircraft again until the cloud clears or you may have to land. Finally, visibility may also cause delays. In the UK we need to have a minimum horizontal visibility of 5 km. So if it is a foggy day, you will have to wait until the sun is out and warm enough to clear the fog.
  • Schedule:  The weather might be perfect when you arrive, but due to unsuitable conditions earlier in the day the jump programme might be behind schedule; it’s likely that there will be a backlog of customers that were booked in earlier in the day and are itching to jump. Please be patient if this is the case. Go and enjoy your training and a nice cup of tea in the café while you wait for your turn.

 

  • Aircraft Operations:  Most DZs now operate Cessna  Caravans, which are large turbine aircraft that can climb to jump altitude very quickly. However, it isn’t a good idea to shut down turbine aircraft regularly. It’s inefficient and if done on a regular basis can put a lot of strain on the aircraft engine. Therefore, any DZ that operates a turbine aircraft will usually run a 3 lift cycle and then shut down the aircraft to refuel. Once the aircraft has been shut down, they will need to wait 30 minutes for it to cool down enough to start the jump ship again. So if you are next in line to jump but the aircraft is sat on the ground, chances are it’s just been refuelled and the pilot is giving the aircraft its 30 minutes of rest.

 

  • Customer bookings:  Drop Zones will often book you in as part of a group and you will receive your training together but you won’t all necessarily be on the same lift. You might be on the first, second or third lift, etc., so you might have to wait a short while once you have been trained. Drop Zones book people in in groups because they need a contingency for no-shows or for people that are travelling long distances. This way, there will always be enough people to fill the aircraft and not cause any unnecessary delays.

 

Then, of course, there is the other scenario. The one you hope for as you drive to the DZ. You might arrive and get hurried along and kitted up instantly because the plane is in the air and you are wanted on the next lift. In an ideal world, that is how we’d love everyone’s skydive to be, but there are just so many other variables affecting your jump that we can’t guarantee it. Parachute Centres can only plan for it as much as possible.

So, while there are plenty of factors to consider, your job is to relax, let the DZ operators take care of everything to keep you safe and give you the experience of a lifetime.

When you’re finally sitting on the aircraft it will be worth it; the door opens, you feel the rush of cool air filling the plane and the inside of your body cools as you gasp and the air fills your lungs. It takes your breath away for a moment… and then you’re out. Free-falling. Your heart is beating like never before as you accelerate towards the earth. Adrenaline is pulsing through your body, it’s euphoric. And then the canopy opens. Everything is calm, it’s quiet, serene and peaceful. You try to take in as much as you possibly can; the views, the drop, how your body feels at the moment… it’s tingly with excitement, the hairs on your arms are standing up and you get a lump in your throat because you have finally done it. You’ve conquered your fears or ticked an item off your bucket list.

Once your feet are firmly back on terra-firma, you just want to get back up there and do it again! You think back to all those frustrating hours spent on the ground looking up to the sky, wishing you were there and you realise it was all worth it. Every tandem instructor and camera-flyer in the world will tell you of their frustrations when they are sitting on the ground, not earning a penny, but the moment they jump with someone new, they remember too why they work in an industry that has so many factors affecting it’s schedule.