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1. Captain Kittinger recorded the highest skydive from a height of almost 102,800 feet, in 1960. Kittinger descended for almost 85,000 feet freefalling at a speed of 715 mph, before deploying his parachute. Update: In the desert surrounding Roswell, N.M., on Sunday, Baumgartner broke Kittinger’s world record for the highest and fastest free fall. UPDATE: Felix Baumgartner broke this record on 14 October, 2012. He jumped from a height of 128,100 feet or 39 km for the highest skydive – more than four miles higher than Kittinger’s jump in 1960, which was from 102,800 feet or 19.5 miles. He achieved Mach 1.24 and thus also broke the sound barrier.

2. The youngest to accomplish the feat of skydiving was a four year old. The jump was a tandem jump (skydiving while being harnessed to a trainer), and was made from an elevation of 10,000 feet.

3. On 6th of February 2004, a group of 357 skydivers joined hands and stayed in that formation for 6 seconds in Takhli, Thailand. This was their 6th attempt.

4. This record was broken on February 8, 2006 and the record for the largest freefall formation was a 400-way set in Udon Thani, Thailand by World Team. Five C-130 Hercules airplanes were used and it was held for 4.25 seconds. They had exited from an altitude of 25,000 feet 5. On 20th of May 2001, Michael Zang created a new world record by completing 500 jumps in a day. His jumps were made in intervals of less than 3 minutes and he performed these jumps from 2,100 feet.

5. On 20th of May 2001, Michael Zang created a new world record by completing 500 jumps in a day. His jumps were made in intervals of less than 3 minutes and he performed these jumps from 2,100 feet.

6. During freefall, the wind traveling past your ears is well over 100 mph. This much makes you deaf to all sounds you cannot hear a fellow skydiver. By yelling into each other’s ears, you may hear a little but you certainly can’t have a proper conversation.

7. Jonas holds the record for getting the first tattoo while freefalling at a height of 4,000m in Sweden. He got a ‘WFFT’ tattoo made while skydiving with Nordin. WFFT stands for World’s First Freefall Tattoo!

8. Approximately 3.1 million skydives occur annually. Out of this, the average number of fatalities is around 55 which is less than 1% of the jumps that take place

9. Some of the most daring skydivers include a 92 year old man sporting artificial knees, a hearing aid and weighing 105 pounds who leaped from 3,500 feet did a solo jump and a 90 years old woman who skydived from 12,000 feet to celebrate her birthday.

10. The first skydiving center in India was set up by Sports Authority of Gujarat while the first skydiving school in India, Agni Aviation is located in Bangalore.

11. The extravagant designer Adrian Ionel Haiduc, owner of the H’Art Design Ltd.jewerly company, launched his collection “Man’s on Air” with the participation of 11 parachutists who launched from a plane wearing his creations. This set the world record for the highest launch of a jewelry collection.

12. The largest all-female skydiving formation-world record was set by 181 female skydivers who joined together to set the new world record for the largest all-female skydiving formation. This was done in order to raise money in the fight against breast cancer, raising over 900-thousand dollars towards the cause.

13. 3 skydivers including 2 Brittons, Leo Dickinson and Ralph Mitchell, and an Indian Air Force officer, Ramesh Tripathi, jumped from an airplane at 20,000 ft (6.1 km) and landed by parachute at Gorak Shep, a frozen lake bed, 16,940ft. (5.1 km) above sea level, near Mount Everest-setting the world for the highest parachute jump landing.

14. Airborne warfare began in 1918. The 1st infantry was the very first to go airborne. It was the U.S military dropping a unit from a bomber in the sky onto the city of Metz. This was the brain child of Lewis H. Brereton, a young soldier on the staff of General Billy Mitchell.

15.There have been instances in which military planes have gone down in bodies of water and pilots have used their parachutes to save their lives. They have deployed their parachutes underwater and been pulled up by the parachute in addition to activating their life vests.

16.The lowest combat jump occurred July 3, 1944 at 175 feet, which was accidental due to an altimeter error. A total of two aircraft made the mistake. The lowest planned combat jump was from 250 feet in Crete.

17. The lowest mass tactical jump was 143 feet.

18.You don’t have to worry about the free fall creating that “heart attack-inducing” roller coaster drop feeling. The feeling is actually one similar to floating and the air resistance creates a degree of support. Free falling is like a human being taking flight. The air flow is constant and allows for aerial maneuvers that are a lot of fun.
Thank you Skydive LI for the fun facts!

The post Skydiving Fun Facts appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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Fifty-seven women have taken part in a synchronised skydive in Ukraine, setting a new world record.

It is the highest number of people to get into and then change formation three times during a dive – and it all happened in just 90 seconds. They beat the previous record by one.

See original post from the BBC here.

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On may 8, 2013, Alan Eustace, then the 56-year-old senior vice president of knowledge at Google, jumped from an airplane18,000 feet above the desert in Coolidge, Arizona. Anyone watching would have witnessed an odd sight: Eustace was wearing a bulky white space suit—the kind nasa astronauts wear. He looked like a free-falling Michelin Man.

Through his giant space helmet and oxygen mask, Eustace could see the ground stretched out for miles. But the view wasn’t his main concern. He hadn’t quite worked out how to control the space suit, which, unlike a typical skydiving suit, weighed about 265 pounds and was pumped full of pressurized air. Eustace, an experienced skydiver, knew how to shift his body to change direction or to stop himself from spinning—a problem that, if uncorrected, can lead to blackout, then death. But when he started to rotate—slowly at first, then faster and faster—his attempts to steady himself just made things worse. He felt like he was bouncing around inside a concrete box.

At 10,000 feet, Eustace pulled a cord to open his parachute. Nothing happened. Then he tried a backup cord. That one didn’t work either. Eustace knew better than to panic: Three safety divers had jumped with him to monitor his fall. Within seconds, one of the divers reached across Eustace and yanked open the main chute.
Continue reading the full article here. 

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To read the full/original article, visit Adventure In You.

Your heart is thumping and your mind is racing as a million and one thoughts go through your head. Your palms are sweaty, your vision tunnels, and all you can hear is the loud sound of the propellers along with that tiny voice in your head screaming holy sh*t as you creep towards the plane door. Then, in one graceful swoop, you are free falling 13,000 feet from the ground in one giant leap of faith, adrenaline, and excitement. Sounds exciting? Here are 7 reasons on why you should go skydiving at least once in your life.

The Incomparable Feeling of Excitement and Thrill

There is nothing as liberating and exciting as throwing yourself off a moving plane. NOTHING. It is definitely one of those go big or go home moments where the feeling of anticipation and waiting for the jump is building up. Just the thought of jumping makes your heart beat faster than a little school boy who is in love.

Fulfill Your Dream of Flying

I think every single one of us has one point or another dreamt of being able to fly. Well, this is your chance. As soon as you are 13,000 feet up in the air, you jump off and free fall into the clouds for about a minute. During this time, you feel pretty invincible. Like superman on steroids (if that’s even possible) and in that infinite moment, you can truly say that you are flying.

The Stunning View

Skydiving gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the scenery from a unique vantage point- from up in the sky! We’ve jumped and seen the incredible coastline in California as well as the snowcapped mountains in Switzerland and each experience has left us speechless as we gazed at the aerial landscape below us.

The Feeling of Letting Go

For me, skydiving is one of those activities where you place your life in the hands of a complete stranger (which is why we highly recommend you to do your research when choosing a school to go with) For people with control issues, experience the felling of letting go as you willfully fall into oblivion (literally). Not only is it empowering, but it also feels pretty good to just let go

The Feeling of Conquering Your Fears

There is no greater feeling than being able to overcome and conquer your fears. Scared of skydiving? Great, so is half the population but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. In fact, if you’re scared of doing it, then its even better reason for you to man up, grow some balls and face your fears. I promise you will be giving yourself so many self high-fives as you feel empowered and accomplished after.

Epic Photos as Proof of Your Madness Braveness

What better way to prove your braveness than by having an epic moment captured on camera? Be warned though that almost no one looks great when skydiving. If you happened to catch a good shot or two, thank your lucky stars as most of my skydiving shots look like I’ve had 12 cups of coffee as I burst in excitement. But that’s completely forgivable as you have just jumped out of a plane.

Bragging Rights

Earn endless bragging rights and street cred amongst your friends and family by taking the big leap. As soon as you muster up the courage to skydive, you instantly get bumped up the cool list. Your nieces and nephews will idolize you. Your future kids will secretly feel threatened and will hopefully mutter the words “challenge accepted” and your grandkids will think you are a legend.

Hopefully these reasons have convinced you to try out one of the most exhilarating activities out there. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a regular person who works in an office and likes cats, skydiving is an adventure of a lifetime that can bring some excitement and thrill into your life.

The post 7 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GO SKYDIVING AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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Original Post Here

We all know Vince has a wild side, but it turns out Linda McMahon has one too … as evidenced by this video of the former WWE exec jumping out of a plane.

The currently Administrator of the Small Business Administration marked her 70th birthday by going skydiving and documented the experience on her Twitter account.

In true WWE fashion, her first words after taking the plunge were “Oh, what a rush!”

“Whether your dream is starting a business or taking another kind of plunge, you must be willing to take a risk,” Linda tweeted along with a music video of the jump. “Find the experts who can help you make it happen!”

Of course, Linda is the wife of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.

The post WATCH: Linda McMahon Marks 70th Birthday With Skydiving Session appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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From: Skydive Cross Keys

Never stop learning!

Make a plan for yourself, set goals and keep evaluating your progression.

What kind of goals should you set? Start small.

It can be exciting to see freefly stunts, wingsuiters, and expert canopy maneuvers. These are great long-term goals, but don’t rush your progression!  Many of the accidents in our sport happen because of a rush to get into “cooler” disciplines. Don’t get caught up in this.  There is no discipline that is better than another. Don’t let anyone push you into something you don’t feel like your ready for or that you are not interested in. Everything about skydiving is cool.  You got your skydiving license; you are already cool! Start with small goals.

Stick with belly work for a while.

Do as many 2-ways and 3-ways as you can with jumpers of various skill levels.  Make a plan before you jump, execute that plan and debrief the jump afterward. Freefly is an exciting discipline, but belly can be a whole lot of fun and is an important base for all other freefall skills.

Focus on basic canopy skills.

After getting your license it can feel like you should be able to land beautifully and with perfect accuracy.  The reality is much different.  USPA’s SIM acknowledges that the A license canopy instruction is not enough to create safe and proficient canopy flyers. You are going to have a lot of embarrassing landings, and that’s okay.  But make sure you are talking about them, learning what you can do better and deliberately working on safer canopy skills. Take a beginners canopy course! It will make you a more confident, safer, and better canopy pilot and is a required step to get your B license. A total win-win.

Be a part of the community!

Your skydiving career extends far beyond your time in the air.  Most drop zones have a very special community.  Hanging out after a long day of jumping is about more than experiencing the night time shenanigans, although they are a blast. It is about creating a network of jumpers to learn from, jump with and debrief new moments with.

Ask questions!

Now that you’re part of this new fun community, don’t be afraid to ask more experienced jumpers all of your questions! Asking the same question to different skydivers is a great way to understand different styles and goals of skydiving. Collective knowledge is large part of how our sport progresses, and knowing how and where to get all the answers will make you a safer and better jumper.

Don’t take unnecessary risks!

As a student, you are instructed on what conditions you are allowed to jump in and which ones you are not.  As a licensed jumper, in many situations the decision  will be up to you.  Don’t push yourself beyond your limits.  There is a saying in skydiving: “It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the sky, than in the sky wishing you were on the ground.” Know the wind speed and direction, areas of potential turbulence, cloud clearances, and other factors involved. If any of them are close to the edge of your comfort zone, stay on the ground. Watch the loads land and talk to people jumping about the conditions in the sky to help you make your decision.

And lastly, push yourself through the doubt.

Right after the A License stage is when many skydivers quit. Losing that guiding hand of your instructor and being all on your own is a bit of a stressful step. Make an effort to join the community; make new friends, jump with new people now that you can. Just keep jumping, keep current and push yourself through this brief phase of uncertainty. You will find that this sport has so much to offer beyond just the freefall sensation: new friends, new places to jump at, new styles and disciplines to discover, new personal challenges to take on. It will change your life more than you expect, like it did for all of us. So definitely don’t give up now!

Welcome to the sport, and we will see you in the sky!

Sky’s The Limit Skydiving Center is the ultimate skydiving center located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. Upon arriving at our facility, our friendly staff will be sure to accommodate all of your needs to make sure that your experience is one of excitement, hospitality, and safety. Our staff is committed to you and your once-in-a-lifetime experience with their vast knowledge and years of training in the industry. Whether you are an experienced jumper looking for a new atmosphere, a beginning student in need of professional training, or a first time jumper looking for a thrill, let us help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for more information!

The post So You Got Your A License, What’s Next? appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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From: Chicagoland Skydiving Center

If you’re skydiving, you’re probably just looking for a quick ride in an airplane. Typically, jumpers are focused on the freefall ahead, but rarely give much thought to the person in the cockpit. At many dropzones, few jumpers even know the pilot’s name.

Some say jump pilots are the unsung heroes of skydiving. I’m not sure about that, but we certainly have to manage a lot of variables from the lonely front seat.

At Chicagoland Skydiving Center, one of our core beliefs is that the pilot should be in communication with the jumpers. Develop trust, understand the skydives being made, and create a real connection so everyone works together on every load. As the owner and manager of aircraft – as well as the pilot in command on thousands of skydiving flights – I believe that much of the responsibility falls on me to promote safety on the dropzone.

I grew up in an aviation family, so I’ve had a healthy respect for operating aircraft from a young age. My father was a career airline pilot. My brother is one now. I remember sitting on phone books to reach the pedals flying with my Dad. Now, I manage multiple aircraft and train jump pilots every season. The path I have taken in aviation will probably never make me rich, but it has given me an opportunity to do fun, challenging, extremely active piloting.

As thoughts of the pilot from the movie Fandango fill your head…think again. It takes a true professional to be a great jump pilot. So what are we doing up there?

CONTROLING THE AIRCRAFT

The majority of the general public is familiar with commercial aviation. Their flight experiences involve straight and level flight in aircraft with many autopilot features.

Flying skydivers is entirely different. Jump pilots don’t have autopilot buttons. We spend all day making many take offs and landings, every 15-20 minutes so over the course of 8-12 hours, usually with changing wind conditions.

We must also keep the plane balanced, on heading, and speed consistent with 20+ people moving around in the back, and varied amounts of weight jumping out the door every few seconds. The weight and balance changes are almost endless, depending on the fuel levels and group sizes that happen to be on board for any given load.

MANAGING AIRSPACE

CSC has a very structured approach to flight operations. It’s a high volume dropzone, often with multiple aircraft flying jumpers on the same day. It also happens to be located on a municipal airport, which means general aviation pilots can fly there in addition to our skydiving aircraft. That means every few minutes, a plane is either taking off or landing, someone is entering freefall or flying a parachute in this airspace.

Most dropzones establish flight areas they stick to. Just like cars drive on roads, there are set “lanes” we use for climbs and descents, to be sure aircraft have adequate separation from jumpers and aren’t flying too low over our neighboring homes and farms. Think of these like 3D race tracks in the sky, that take us from the runway to the spot we turn on the green light for jumpers to exit, and back down to pick up the next group.

When CSC moved from Hinckley to Rochelle in 2010, one of the big projects was collaborating with the FAA and Air Traffic Control to be sure our jump activity could safely happen alongside aircraft headed for major airports about 70 miles away. During this process, the offices agreed to create a waypoint (called JUMPN) to route traffic in Chicago O’Hare Airport’s 10C arrival route around the dropzone. This helps create ample clearance between commercial traffic and skydiving operations.

FAA officials have said that CSC is the best dropzone in Chicago as related to ATC arrival and departure routes near one of the busiest airports in the World. CSC did plenty of due diligence when relocating to Rochelle, IL. Our continued open communication and collaboration with the FAA and the multiple air traffic control agencies that oversee the skies over Chicago help to keep all of us safe as well.

COMMUNICATING WITH PASSENGERS

Keeping the skies safe for all this activity takes a lot of communication. Pilots are in constant contact with our manifest office, ground crew, other pilots in the airspace, air traffic control, and the jumpers inside their airplane. CSC talks with three different Air Traffic Conrol agencies on every flight: Rochelle Airport, Rockford ATC, and Chicago Center. As you might expect, some days there can be quite a bit of information to handle while trying to stay focused on the flight.

I hold myself, and my staff pilots to higher standards than most of the skydiving industry when it comes to communication with the jumpers. Some of our flight standards at CSC:

  • As we taxi to the runway for takeoff, we remind jumpers on board of the jumprun heading, and note if that has changed from earlier that day. We also confirm scheduled altitude passes.
  • Our pilots announce the jump run starting point, ground speed, and exit separation before we give the light to open the door.
  • Throughout jumprun (the part of the flight when the door is open and people are jumping out), we give updates every 10-15 seconds about how far away from the center of the airport they are. This is a courtesy, particularly to the tandem instructors waiting for all the experienced jumper groups to go ahead. As the end of jumprun nears, they know the exit point will allow them to fly their parachute back to the landing area.

While these items are not required or industry standard, we have seen the positive effects of more informed jumpers. We are told often from skydivers visiting from other dropzones that these announcements are one of their favorite parts of the CSC experience.

PLANNING & NAVIGATION

One of the biggest challenges is reading the winds aloft, making an educated guess about freefall and parachute drift, and planning the flight to reach the perfect altitude, the proper distance from the intended landing area. Honestly, it is an art form, and jump pilots take great pride in getting “the spot” right. We certainly hear it about when we don’t – and need to quickly take that feedback and create new flight plans.

Sometimes, there are multiple passes per load, meaning that different groups of jumpers will be getting out at different altitudes. Imagine flight planning for jumpers to exit at 5,000ft 9,000ft, and 14,000ft exit all on the same load, with different wind strengths at each layer. While GPS helps with accuracy to execute a flight plan, the pilot is still responsible for the green light, and if all 24 people are within range to get back home to the airport.

Add additional skydiving aircraft to the equation on busy days or formation loads. We really must plan the flight and fly the plan.

MAINTAINING OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY

The goal of the jump pilot is to fly the plane’s maximum operating performance, for as much of the day as possible. Fuel isn’t cheap, especially when you are running turbine aircraft. We need to keep turning loads fast, doing our part to enable manifest to have a predictable flow to the day and get as many people in the air as we can before the sun sets. The aircraft pace is the heartbeat of the dropzone, so we can’t lose momentum by wasting time.

STAYING ALERT

It’s not uncommon for a pilot to fly 30+ loads of skydivers on a busy weekend day at CSC. This is a huge sensory challenge, with almost 800,000ft of altitude change over the course of the day, while being bombarded by vibration, engine noise, temperature changes, pressure changes, and countless pieces information coming through over the radio. These factors can take a toll on the body and mind.

Sometimes, my support system in manifest has to remind me to have a snack or drink some water. And we keep several pilots on the schedule as often as we can so we can help fill in for each other for a quick bathroom break here and there.

Sky’s The Limit Skydiving Center is the ultimate skydiving center located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. Upon arriving at our facility, our friendly staff will be sure to accommodate all of your needs to make sure that your experience is one of excitement, hospitality, and safety. Our staff is committed to you and your once-in-a-lifetime experience with their vast knowledge and years of training in the industry. Whether you are an experienced jumper looking for a new atmosphere, a beginning student in need of professional training, or a first time jumper looking for a thrill, let us help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for more information!

The post CLIMBING FULL, LANDING EMPTY: THE ROLE OF JUMP PILOTS IN SKYDIVING appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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From: The Wall Street Journal

Sure, jumping out of a plane sounds terrifying. But skydiving, a once-extreme pastime, isn’t the death-defying act it used to be. Here’s why

WHEN IT COMES to skydiving, most current big-budget action movies get it all wrong. You know the scene: The hero jumps out of an airplane and starts hurtling toward the ground, struggling to reach the ripcord and deploy the parachute before it’s too late. The most glaring misrepresentation here? The threat of imminent danger.

These days, jumping out of an airplane with a parachute strapped to your back is hardly the death-defying feat it once was. The seemingly limited amount of gear required—a parachute, helmet and, if you’re smart, goggles—has advanced to the point that blithely exiting a plane and living to tell about it is almost foolproof.

While people do get injured skydiving, the jump is generally less fraught than the drive to the airport. All skydivers now carry reserve chutes in case something goes amiss with the first one (it rarely does). Even if you find yourself paralyzed with fear in midair, you’re likely not going to plunge to your death. A small gizmo called an automatic activation device, or AAD, will blast the canopy open for you when you reach a predetermined altitude.

“It’s exciting but not scary,” said Ashley Lynch, 18, before boarding the Cessna 208 Caravan from which she made her first jump at Skydive Sussex in Sussex, N.J., last Saturday. Her brother, Ed, who was also skydiving for the first time, debated whether the sport could really be considered “extreme” anymore.

In 2015, more people than ever—about 500,000—tried skydiving for the first time in the U.S., and beginners and veterans made more than 3.2 million jumps, according to the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA). The organization’s membership has grown to more than 38,000—up about 13% in the last five years.

One factor behind the pastime’s growing popularity is the relative ease of taking the leap. First-time skydivers generally opt for a tandem jump, which requires just a half-hour or so of “ground school.” You’ll be hooked, back-to-belly, to an instructor who takes care of the worrisome details: deciding when to jump, keeping stable during free fall and knowing when to pull the cord. The next level, which requires four hours of training, is an accelerated free fall, or AFF jump, during which two instructors hold on to you as you exit the plane and keep you stable during the fall, then let you go when it’s time to open the chute, letting you sail to earth on your own. After just five to 10 instructor-assisted jumps, most novice skydivers can try a supervised solo jump with no hand-holding.

The journey down is relatively brief. From about 14,500 feet, it takes between six and eight minutes from jump to landing, with the free-fall portion lasting only about a minute. After leaving the plane, you accelerate to around 110 mph and the skin on your face starts stretching and distorting as you fall about 1,000 feet every six seconds.

Admittedly, that sounds horrifying and reminiscent of scenes from “Poltergeist,” but you do get a respite. Once the chute deploys, you’ll experience an idyllic drift—like taking in the view from a high balcony on a windy day. The intensity returns, however, with the landing. As you near the ground, you (or your instructor) will steer yourself in a series of 90-degree turns at specific altitudes, until you’re pointed into the wind for a final approach.

Landing gracefully requires good timing. Control lines used to maneuver the canopy in flight and vary your speed also allow you to slow almost to a stop before you reach the ground—like the way birds flare their wings to soften their landings. Experienced jumpers can nail a landing at the speed of a casual stroll. If it’s your first time, expect to hit the ground running and stumbling.

Despite the seeming danger, fatal skydiving accidents are relatively rare. In 2014, the last year for which complete records are available, 24 people died skydiving and 729 were injured in a total of about 3.2 million jumps. The number of annual fatalities has generally hovered in the low 20s for years, according to the USPA.

Skydiving, in fact, has been pretty safe for years. While parachutists who jumped from hot-air balloons in the 18th and 19th centuries frequently died in falls, parachute technology advanced rapidly in the early 20th century, from the development of strap-on packs (that hold the folded chute on a jumper’s back) to ripcords that control deployment. These packs evolved into today’s streamlined, fast-opening “containers.” And while mechanical AADs for automatically deploying a parachute have been around since the 1950s, the latest digital versions are far more accurate and reliable. A model like the Vigil 2+, for example, continuously calculates altitude and free-fall speed to determine if you’re descending too quickly or have otherwise lost control.

An early watershed moment for parachutes came by accident in 1914, when skydiving pioneer Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick made the first free-fall jump from an airplane. Parachuting from planes was new, and the chutes normally opened immediately via a “static line” attached to the hull as the jumper left the plane. But Broadwick’s line got stuck on the aircraft so she had to cut herself free and open her chute manually after a brief plunge. The free fall caught on among enthusiasts, as did widespread use of ripcords to open parachutes.

By World War II, parachutes were reliable enough that the military adopted them for rescuing downed pilots and delivering troops to the battlefield. After the war and into the 1960s, former soldiers bought military-surplus parachutes and began jumping for fun. “Sport parachuting,” later known as skydiving, was born.

In the 1960s jumpers began experimenting by cutting vents or “gores” in basic round silk canopies that allowed air to escape from the rear of the chute and drive it forward. But the most significant change in skydiving occurred in the 1970s as old round parachutes and other military-surplus gear gave way to specialized recreational rigs built around the ram-air chute, or parafoil, developed a decade earlier by Canadian kite maker Domina Jalbert. These rectangular canopies had a number of air pockets, or cells, that fill with air upon opening. Internal ribs help them hold their shape, and the jumper pulls on control lines to make the chute turn, speed up or slow down.

Over the past decade, the introduction of the wingsuit has redefined the sport again. Once homemade, these outfits, which incorporate folding wings attached to the jumper’s arms and legs, are now mass-produced. The latest suits extend the free-fall time significantly by slowing the skydiver’s vertical speed to as little as 30 mph, while propelling him forward at speeds of 70 to 90 mph. Wingsuit fliers, whether jumping from planes or cliffs, are on sport’s cutting edge. Many hope to develop suits that can be flown all the way to the ground safely, without a parachute.

Richard Winstock, who runs Skydive Sussex, said that when he started skydiving 25 years ago, it was regarded as a sketchy activity you couldn’t pursue without practically sneaking out of the house—adding, “Now teenagers bring their parents to watch their first jump.”

Sky’s The Limit Skydiving Center is the ultimate skydiving center located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. Upon arriving at our facility, our friendly staff will be sure to accommodate all of your needs to make sure that your experience is one of excitement, hospitality, and safety. Our staff is committed to you and your once-in-a-lifetime experience with their vast knowledge and years of training in the industry. Whether you are an experienced jumper looking for a new atmosphere, a beginning student in need of professional training, or a first time jumper looking for a thrill, let us help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for more information!

The post A Scaredy Cat’s Guide to Skydiving appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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From Thrillist

Go ASAP

Put as little time as possible between your decision and the actual act of jumping, as that time will be chock full of second-guessing and deciding to watch the second season of House of Cards instead (which is good, but it’s not skydiving).

I had two full days to think about my jump, and I considered backing out at least a dozen times. Being at the skydiving facility exaggerates that time thing even more. If you’re in a group and it’s split between two planes, do your best to get on that first flight. And once you’re in the air, try to go first.

Believe me when I say it’s unnerving to see your group disappear out a garage door and into the sky.

Just sign up

Skydiving tends to be pricey, and it’s a much bigger commitment than, say, tossing a football around in the park. When you get an opportunity, you need to take it. In my case, Dos Equis reached out as part of a summer campaign calling on fans to submit photos and video of challenges the company presented, with the opportunity to win prizes (including trips to Mexico!).

That particular week was documenting skydiving experiences. Since Dos Equis was offering to pick up the tab, I figured, why not? Don’t hesitate because you’re “not sure you’re ready.”

You’re ready.

Peer pressure yourself

Tell a bunch of coworkers/friends/anyone who will listen that you’re going skydiving. You’ll never live it down if you brag to your former frat brothers about how badass you’ll be, then chicken out. That comes with the added bonus of everyone thinking you’re brave in the first place.

Or even better…

Go with a group

Pretty much everything is more fun with multiple people. And when the groupthink is turned on, you’ll be far more likely to go through with skydiving. It’s far less likely one or two freaked-out-beyond-reason people will convince five others to wuss out with them. And when you’re the only guy in the bachelor party who REALLY doesn’t want to do it, it’s far easier for them to convince you to jump than for you to convince all of them to just go to the bar instead.

Plus, in the end, FOMO wins out.

Don’t drink and dive

As tempting as it might be, avoid the urge to “calm your nerves” with a few drinks (especially anything high gravity) or any kind of self-medication. Many, if not all, skydiving facilities make you sign a waiver beforehand promising you haven’t done any drugs or had anything to drink recently. If you break the rules, they won’t let you jump.

And although you might be able to fool them, you should be as lucid as possible just so, you know, you don’t miss directions, screw something up, and jeopardize your life and the lives of everyone else diving out of a plane from several thousand feet.

Save the drinks for after your “Welcome Back to Earth” celebration. There will be plenty.

Don’t give in to fear

I am a coward. I HATE roller coasters, heights freak me out in general, and the few times I’ve ever gone faster than 100mph in a car were completely against my will. So naturally, the combination of heights and extreme speed should have given me the vapors and had me blacking out the second I was out of the plane. But it didn’t.

The truth is, you don’t really have a perception of being thousands of feet in the air when you’re free falling. The hazy ground below doesn’t appear to get any closer for much of the fall, and despite actually reaching speeds around 120mph (terminal velocity), you don’t have stationary marks in the sky as reference points. It is the sky, after all. Your brain just thinks you’re basically floating with a super-strong fan blowing air in your face. Kinda like a Magic Eye, but with a lot more danger and a lot less eye-crossing.

Once the chute opens, you’re much more conscious about how high up you are, but the scariest part is already over.

Don’t judge your jump site on looks

Consider some of the best barbecue joints out there. Sure, the floor might be a little dirty, and the guy behind the smoker looks like a character from Deliverance, but the looks don’t dictate how tasty the meat is. The same goes with many skydiving joints.

The facility where I went was as basic as it gets. It had one runway, a parking lot with a handful of planes, a small collection of trailers (where you watched the how-to video and signed the “my-family-won’t-sue-if-I-die” forms), a preparation hangar, and a fire pit & picnic tables. The reality is, that’s all this place needs. Everything else is just bells and whistles, and nobody ever said they needed more bells and whistles on a parachute.

Once you’re in the air, nothing matters except for the plane coasting, the parachute opening, and the videographer’s GoPro firing on all cylinders to catch you in the midst of the craziest thing you’ve (probably) ever done.

RELATED Kloofing: Eight Amazing Spots To Cliff Jump
SKYDIVE SUSSEX
Get educated

Pay close attention any time your tandem partner is talking. Not only is it mandatory for you to learn the protocol of how not to potentially kill yourself (and them), but it helps ease your mind to have a friendly conversation. And considering you’ll be sitting on a dude’s lap and strapped to him in what amounts to an adult Baby Bjorn, you might as well get to know him a little bit first.

Even on the off chance that you don’t learn anything (unlikely), these guys rocket through the sky every day for their JOBS, so you can only imagine what they do in their free time (sword fighting? Zumba? Checkers?!). Their stories are worth hearing and in most cases, they’ll be more than willing to answer any of your questions or concerns.

SKYDIVE SUSSEX
Don’t. Look. Down.

At least not until you’ve exited the plane. Looking down before the last possible second could be exactly what it takes for you to ruin your shorts and your odds of jumping.

As you approach the door of the plane, stare straight ahead into the horizon. Eventually, your partner will have you lean your head back onto their shoulder, so you’ll actually be looking up right before the jump. Once they heave you out of the plane, even sheer terror and cowardice can’t stop you. All that’s left for you to do is enjoy the ride…

SKYDIVE SUSSEX
SKYDIVE SUSSEX

… and the eventual realization that you’re not a coward after all, because you just jumped out of a damn plane.

The post Thrillist: THE COMPLETE WUSS’S GUIDE TO SKYDIVING appeared first on Sky's The Limit Skydiving | East Stroudsburg, PA.

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