Published: July 22, 2020
Hello fellow adventurer! If you've landed on this page then it's likely you're doing some research about skydiving for the first time and you're feeling a little anxious about it. Let us be the first page on the internet that levels with you about fear and skydiving - it's normal to feel nervous and skydiving is scary because exiting a "perfectly good plane" is not exactly a normal activity. So, if you're feeling a wee bit nervous about the idea, take a deep breath because you're in good company -- this page gets a lot of site visits! ?? We've got good news though: skydiving is one of the best experiences life has to offer and honestly, it's not as scary as you may think.
So, let's dig into the details about skydiving anxiety and the scariest parts of the skydiving experience.
How Scary is Skydiving?
Truthfully, skydiving isn't scary at all; everything that leads up to making a skydive is the actual scary part. Have you ever seen anyone in free fall with a scowl on their face? The pictures below are indicative of how everyone feels when jumping. The experience is far more exhilarating than it is scary.
Fear often arises from the risk involved with skydiving - you could die doing this (we said we'd level with you) but the risk of driving through dense traffic or being struck by lightning is greater - everything we do has a level of risk. The biggest fear associated with skydiving arises from how our bodies react when faced with the challenge of leaving the safety of an airplane. Our bodies have a built-in fight or flight response which will be fighting with your brain as you gingerly move towards the open door of the aircraft. Your body will be pumping blood through your veins and heart to the point your ears will be ringing with the sound of your rapidly accelerating pulse! You'll feel scared, but the moment you leave the plane, something magical happens - the fear leaves you entirely! With every descending foot, your psychology switches from fear to exhilaration. You're not plummeting to the earth - YOU'RE FLYING!
At no point do you feel the 120mph skydiving speed you read about - that's all marketing! Feelings of stability, empowerment, happiness, perspective, and a full minute of freedom from anything that burdens you -- that's what skydiving feels like!!! IT'S NOT SCARY AT ALL!!! In fact, it's addictive and it is why people who are completely risk-averse become skydivers every week at dropzones all over the world. Skydiving is the physical feeling of freedom... and it feels amazing!
How To Overcome Your Fear of Skydiving
If you know skydiving is something you really want to do, but you feel truly afraid, then the best thing you can do is to visit a dropzone and observe with no intention or commitment to skydive.
Similar to watching a marathon in person, it's likely you feel inspired to participate yourself. Seeing people who don't fit the marathon-running stereotype is encouraging as it makes you realize that if they can do it, so can you. What you once thought was impossible suddenly seems possible. The same is true when you visit a dropzone. Seeing people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s landing in exhilaration and walking in from the landing area with a huge smile will give you the energy to work past your fear because you'll want to feel the exact way they're feeling.
The next best thing to help overcome your fear of skydiving is to talk with those that have done it before. You'll gain confidence as they share how enriching the experience is versus traumatizing. You'll also be surprised how many people have skydived who are fearful of heights or who have a full-on condition known as acrophobia (a paralyzing fear of heights!).
Lastly, another great way to overcome your skydiving anxiety is to speak with the staff at the dropzone. Dropzones always welcome spectators (at least in the pre-COVID world, so you may need to call ahead), so speaking with the administrative staff and "sky" staff will help boost your confidence as you realize that these full-time skydivers are great people who plan to take good care of you. It's important to be upfront about your anxiety as they'll usually go out of their way to make sure you're comfortable and guide you through every aspect of the experience!
Addressing the Skydiving Questions That Scare You
There's a lot of misinformation about skydiving that definitely makes people anxious, so let's clear up those details that are causing those unnecessary cold sweats.
The "Rollercoaster Drop" - You know that sensation when the rollercoaster begins to accelerate down the first hill while your heart simultaneously enters your throat? That really doesn't happen on a skydive, so you don't have to worry about that.
- Not Being Able To Breathe in FreeFall - You can breathe in free fall. Sometimes, that first step will take your breath away, but you can still breathe.
- ?Having a "Backup Chute" - We can confirm your query; there is indeed a backup parachute known as a reserve. There's also a computer built into a parachute system known as an automatic activation device (AAD) that will automatically deploy the reserve parachute should there be no main parachute deployment. It's a pretty cool device that's seldom used, but you know, it's nice to have!
Will You Be Nauseated or Even Be Sick? - It is possible to get sick and this is usually caused by not eating or being hydrated. It's important to eat a normal meal before skydiving. Guests who generally suffer from motion sickness often take an over the counter medication to help ease back feelings of sickness.
Will I Wet My Pants? - Queue the Depends jokes (we hear these a lot), but it's very unlikely you'll have an accidental "whoopsie" during a skydive.
What If I Completely Freak Out When It's Time To Jump? This is possible, but we very rarely see this occur. Usually, with ground training, most guests know what to expect. Should you freak out, rest assured that no one is going to force you to make a skydive when it's time to jump. Should you feel uncomfortable, guests can request to ride the plane down.
Did we miss anything? If we did, check out our skydiving FAQ page or feel free to contact us - we'd love to chat with you about the entire skydiving experience. It's natural to feel scared, but you can do this and we'd love to walk you through the process!