There is nothing like the feeling of traveling towards earth at speeds of up to 200Km/h from a height that only pilots and Everest summiteers usually get to experience.
History of SkyDiving
The first parachute jump predates the invention of the airplane. In 1797, Andre-Jacques Garnerin tested his parachute by jumping from a hydrogen balloon 980m above Paris. The first freefall parachute jump was made over 100 years later by Leslie Irvin in 1919. Early 20th century advances in parachute technology were down to the military. They worked on improving the technology to help save airmen from in-flight emergencies and later as troop delivery method.
Now almost 100 years after the first freefall jump, parachuting/skydiving is a recreational activity for many and a competitive sport.
Usually, the first concern of anyone new to Skydiving is safety. The USPA (United States Parachute Association) reports that the likelihood of fatality while Skydiving is 0.0065%. The speed at which you fall to earth is staggering, on average 200Km/h, an impossible speed to achieve outwith a vehicle. One of the highest speed ever reached during a traditional Skydive was 601.26Km/h by Henrik Raimer in the 2016 world championships hosted in Chicago, Illinois.
The feeling when you are falling to earth at these speeds is like nothing else you can imagine. You’ll be nervous on the way up and excited for a literal leap into the unknown, once the pilot gives you the thumbs up adrenaline takes over and before you know it you are out of the plane and hurtling towards earth. Once you are out it can only be described as feeling like you are flying, the ground is still too far away to be relevant to your descent, and you do not need your parachute yet. The adrenaline and the view of the world from such an open and high vantage point is truly breathtaking, the only way to experience this for yourself is to book a skydive now!
The most popular way to Skydive is doing via specialists in experience days in tandem with a fully qualified Skydiver. This means that you are physically strapped to your Skydiving partner via a harness, and he will control the exit from the plane and parachute; all you have to do is to enjoy the ride. Many companies, now exist year round all over the world, offer skydiving experiences. You can simply purchase a tandem jump, and with only a few hours of training, you would be at 15,000ft hurtling towards earth. You can also become a fully qualified Skydiver yourself and jump solo, to do this you will need to complete multiple tests and accreditations.
What next for Skydiving?
What could possibly be more extreme than jumping from a plane at around 15,000ft? I am glad you asked!
Go higher! Felix Baumgartner achieved the world record for the highest Skydive in 2012. He jumped from 128,000ft/39,000m (24 miles) high. He also broke the sound barrier on this jump achieving a speed of over 1100Km/h, something no other Skydiver had ever done.
BASE Jumping and WingSuit flying are another two new activities that have come from the Skydiving community. These two are often combined, the jumper will base jump from a static location and then use their wingsuit to control the descent and glide to their desired landing spot. The wingsuit deploys like the wings of a bat when the jumper opens their legs and arms, allowing them to control their flight much easier than a traditional freefall parachute jump.