How to Prepare for Skydiving 101: What You Need to Know

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You decided to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Great choice, if we may say so.

The day of your reservation is approaching and you want to be sure you're ready for your first skydiving experience. 

We wanted to share some tips for what you can do to plan ahead and make your day as smooth as possible. Procedures and special considerations may vary per dropzone, but these general guidelines should apply at most skydiving facilities.

Here’s how to prepare for your very first skydiving experience:


Look at the forecast for the location of the skydiving facility where you'll be jumping. Weather conditions that could affect skydiving operations include wind higher than 20 mph, cloudy skies, and temperature.

  • Temperature: We always say that the best way to prepare for your first skydive is to simply dress for the weather the way you normally would. Throw a long sleeve shirt or sweater in the car, just in case. While temperatures on the ground can vary from the temperatures at jump altitude, you will usually be fine in a normal outfit. Wear something you can move comfortably in, with shoes that tie. If you feel chilly on the ground, say "yes" when your instructor offers you a jumpsuit to wear.
  • If the forecast is windy: Contact the dropzone to see if they still plan to conduct operations the next day. Ask if there is a wind limit for tandem skydives (the answer should be yes), and how they will decide when to reschedule appointments. They may recommend changing your appointment time to hit a better weather window. You could save yourself a long wait by calling ahead.
  • If the forecast is cloudy or rainy: The day before getting ready to skydive, contact the dropzone to see if they still plan to conduct operations. Most dropzones use aviation weather programs, which are a bit more sophisticated than popular forecast apps, so they may see things you don't. Clouds don't always mean you can't jump. Sometimes a front will roll through, or a cloud layer is high enough above your exit altitude to jump without interruption.

If you're jumping with us at CSC: We will always be proactive with weather forecasts, and contact you if we think we won't be able to jump at your reserved time. To know our forecast, check weather for Rochelle, Illinois.


Many people believe it's best not to eat, because they fear they will get sick while skydiving. This is simply not true, it's actually best to have a little something in your stomach. You are less likely to feel nausea if you eat on your normal schedule.

If you're jumping with us at CSC: Feel free to get here plenty early and grab a bite to eat at our Flight Deck Bar and Grill, right on-site! We do also have some small snacks available if you're not hungry enough for a full meal.

More importantly, drinking water is one of the best things you can do to prepare for your first skydive! If you're hydrated, you will be less likely to feel uncomfortable in the airplane, or light-headed under the parachute. Do not, under any circumstance, consume alcohol before your skydive. You will not be allowed to jump, and in some cases, may not be able to get a refund.

PRO TIP: Don't jump if you're hungover. Seriously, it sucks for both you and your instructor. You are better off rescheduling your appointment after a big night out rather than trying to push through it.


On the day of your first big skydive, build some buffer into your travel schedule. The last thing you want is to get lost and miss your appointment, or arrive flustered and rushed. These things can start your day off on a stressful note, which makes it much more difficult to enjoy the jump experience.

Most skydiving centers will ask first-time jumpers to arrive earlier than the time you selected for your reservation to properly prepare. This is to ensure enough time for the check-in process, filling out paperwork, completing your pre-jump orientation, and giving you time to go to the bathroom before you board the plane. Your appointment time indicates the time your process starts, and we build this buffer in for a reason. Arriving later than advised delays your take-off time, and mostly likely the flights of others.

If you're jumping with us at CSC: Our correct location is at the Rochelle Municipal Airport.


There will be some wait time so be sure to arrive with that expectation. Bring something to do if you can't stand waiting. There are a lot of moving pieces to juggle when it comes to skydiving operations. Trust that the team is doing their best to get you in the air. Once your name is called, try not to freak out.

You will meet your instructor, they will go over a few basic jump procedures with you, and get your equipment on. Breathe, relax, and listen to what they are saying — this is the most important person in your life for the next few minutes. Your instructor will tell you what you need to know to prepare, and won't stress you with every little detail. That said, if something is unclear, or doesn't seem right — speak up! It's ok to ask questions.

Do your best to relax throughout the pre-jump process. The people around you are just as nervous as you are. The skydiving staff all remember what it's like to be a first-timer. Just remember that when you step on the plane together, you're all the same — SKYDIVERS! Make a conscious choice to enjoy the experience even if you feel nervous (that's natural). Breathe, put a smile on your face, and trust the process.

PRO TIP: Skydivers love to talk about the sport. Ask them about their first jump, why they love the sport, or how they got into it. There are some really cool stories out there.

If you're jumping with us at CSC: Seriously, talk to us. Your instructor, your videographer, other jumpers around the dropzone. We truly love meeting you.


This is the moment you've been waiting for. Breathe, smile, and jump! You can only experience the magic of your first skydive once. Enjoy it!

If you're jumping with us at CSC: See you soon…


You're a rockstar at planning ahead. 

In addition to this info, we've compiled answers to a lot of frequently asked skydiving questions. Take a look! 

You can also download our First-Time Skydiver’s Checklist to ensure you are fully prepared. Happy freefalling!

prepare for your first chicago skydive

Becky Johns

Becky Johns

Becky Johns is a marketing professional in the outdoor industry. She is an experienced skydiver, AFF Instructor, and has made over 1,000 jumps since she got her license at CSC in 2011.

Topics: Tandem