6 Tips for First-Time Skydivers— Straight from the Pros at CSC

Posted by

IMG_5407-1For those of you who are new to skydiving, you won’t be jumping out of a plane by yourself. You’ll be tandem skydiving with a certified instructor.

In our previous post we offered some advice from first-time skydivers themselves, who shared their recommendations for having the best time in the air.

This time, we’re sharing advice from the professionals— those you’ll be jumping with themselves who have the best insider tips for making your first skydiving experience an unforgettable event.

Here are six tips for first-time freefallers straight from our tandem instructors:

1. Your instructor knows all. Put your utmost confidence in them. 

Your skydive instructor has an incredible amount of experience jumping out of perfectly good airplanes - all certified tandem instructors do. They’ve made a minimum of 500 jumps, jumped in the dark and went through a myriad of other tests to get their proper licencing. 

Read our article all about the safety of your tandem partner and trust that your skydiving guide is extremely qualified to get you to the ground safely. Here at Chicagoland Skydiving Center, we have a perfect student safety record! 

2. It goes fast! Jump at the higher altitude.

Your skydive experience can feel like a quick rush for first-timers, especially those who choose the lowest altitude, fearing the highest will be too intense. While the 9,000-feet ascent with the 30 second freefall is still a thrilling drop, the standard Freefall University Training Jumps are at 14,000 feet and include 60 seconds of freefall.

This “medium-level” jump altitude is much more preferred by first-timers. Our tandem instructors can even take you on our most extreme jump: 18,000 feet with 90 seconds in freefall. In the end, the choice is yours, but the pros say the higher the better— as you’ll only be extending the thrill! 

3. Appropriately prepare for the jump.

In our other article on preparation tips for first-time jumpers, we talk about how to dress for the plunge, how to eat, what to bring and what to leave behind, etc. Be sure to check out that piece to ensure you show up ready-to-go for your big day.

4. Arch like a banana during the jump. 

When you’re flying through the sky, proper body positioning is very important. You will be strapped to the frontside of your tandem instructor, and be the closest to the ground during freefall.

Once you jump out of the plane together, you will need to remember one thing: be the banana! Arching your body helps to improve the skydiving experience— and imagining the shape of your body as this tropical fruit is an easy way to get into proper body position.

Lay down on the floor at home to practice. Extend your arms in front of you, slightly raised with palms open and fingers pointed upwards. Raise your legs and point your toes towards the sky too. Do you look like a yellow banana yet? Then you’re doing it right!

5. Lift your legs before landing.

Once you’re getting close to the Earth, there’s one way you can help you tandem partner get you both to the ground as safely as possible: raise those legs!

Your tandem instructor needs to be the first to touch the ground, as they know exactly how to plant the stand, properly bear the weight and land without any hiccups. If you forget to raise your legs, your feet can get in your partner’s way and cause quite the entanglement, resulting in rolling or injuries.

As you get ready to land, your instructor and the parachute with cause your body to rotate into a vertical position. At this point, act as if you’re in an invisible chair by raising your knees towards your stomach like you were seated. 

You will need to maintain this body positioning for up to 10 seconds in preparation for touching the ground. If you have difficulty holding this type of raised posture, you may not be ready to skydive. Check out our physical limitations section to learn more.

6. Bring friends so it’s not so scary.

While you can’t jump out of the plane at the exact same time as your buddy for safety reasons, you can ride up on the plane together and jump back-to-back. The jitters aren’t so bad when you have others in the same boat.

There’s a different energy in the airplane when you’re with your best friends. There’s encouragement from those you trust to calm your nerves, and a whole crew to build the excitement. Plus, large parties get discounts at Chicagoland Skydiving Center; it’s a win-win all around!

Show your friends our article on 7 Reasons to Take the Plunge & Try Skydiving for proof of its sheer awesomeness and book your adventure together.

Are You Ready?

Still get the sweats just thinking about jumping out of an airplane? That’s okay— you’re not alone. 

It’s almost always scarier than you make it out to be, and first-time skydivers usually want to come back for more!

Read our Tandem Skydiving Guide for all of the answers to your questions and give us a call today at 815.561.3663 to save your seat on the plane. 

Tandem skydiving guide



Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.

Topics: Tandem