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How to set up your first skydive

Scenic flights may offer incredible views of the world, but skydiving from a plane is an experience like no other

Published 19 Sept 2018, 09:00 BST, Updated 15 Jul 2021, 10:51 BST
Skydiving in Kenya.

Skydiving in Kenya.

Photograph by Getty

For many adrenalin junkies, a tandem skydive is high on the list of must-do experiences. There's nothing like the exhilarating free fall followed by the peace and tranquillity of floating beneath a canopy, and with less than 30 minutes training required, it's easier than you might think for a novice. Done it before? Keen to dive solo? Book an Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) course and, in four to five days, you could be leaping out at 12,000 feet on your own.

Where to try it

Honiton, Devon: Skydive Buzz operates three of the fastest jump planes in Europe and offers a jump zone near Honiton. The British Parachute Association-approved centre charges £279 for the 15,000ft tandem skydive or £179 for the 7,000ft dive.

Grand Canyon, Arizona: Enjoy the iconic site from a plane — and then jump out of it two miles above ground. Bon Voyage offers this as part of a three-night Vegas break at five-star MGM Hotel priced from £1,095 per person, including return flights and skydive.

Diani, Kenya: Run by ex-Parachute Regiment veteran Gary Lincoln-Hope, this centre is one of the few places in the world where you can jump over both sea and land. Tandem dives from US$350 (£270) and AFF courses from US$2,600 (£2,000).

7 steps to making the jump

1. Swot up

A 30-minute safety briefing with an experienced instructor.

2. Gear up

Get fitted with a jumpsuit, headgear, goggles, gloves and harness.

3. Take off

Board the aircraft and be securely harnessed to your instructor. Fly up to your chosen altitude.

4. Jump

Edge toward the door and launch into the sky after the green light to go.

5. Free fall

Up to 60 seconds of freefall at speeds of approximately 120mph.

6. Enjoy the view

The canopy opens, your speed decreases, and you float to earth enjoying the scenery below.

7. Touch down

Help your instructor steer the parachute and land gently.

Did you know?

The world record for the oldest tandem skydiver in the world was set by Verdun Hayes, who jumped
at 101 years and 38 days old.

Published in the the October 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) 

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