Parachuting in Chicago: 5 Important Things to Know

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You have a lot of options when you want to go parachuting in Chicago

But what should you know before you spend money to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? 

There are a handful of key tidbits that’ll help you make a decision about where to choose and also how to get the most for your dollar. 

In this blog, we’ll cover the most important concepts you should know before you choose to go parachuting in Chicago! 

1. Parachuting Is the Same as Skydiving

Sometimes, new jumpers come to us asking about the difference between parachuting and skydiving

For unlicensed jumpers – those who have to jump tandem with an instructor – there isn’t any difference at all. 

Jumping out of an airplane still requires you to go through an orientation period on the day of your jump, you must be attached to your instructor when you jump, and you get the same thrill of sailing over Illinois from thousands of feet in the air. 

So in the event you find a dropzone that talks about skydiving instead of parachuting, keep in mind that they’re the same thing when you’re looking for a tandem skydive! 

2. Parachuting Is 99.97% Safe

The first question everyone has when they “take the plunge” is understandably about safety. 

After all, how could you not think about your own wellbeing when you’re experiencing a drop from thousands of feet in the air? 

But because of the latest advancements in technology, material science, and licensing requirements, parachuting is safer than any other extreme sport and even most forms of transportation.

In fact, in the 2010s, the United States Parachuting Association measured 0.003 fatalities per 1000 jumps for the entire decade. That’s a 0.03% fatality rate – less than half of air travel, which is the safest method of transportation, statistically speaking. 

At CSC, we heavily believe that safety is the #1 most important part of parachuting. We’re so dedicated to that idea that we’re one of the few skydiving dropzones in the country with a 100% perfect safety rating. 

No one has ever had a fatal accident when jumping with CSC, and we intend to keep it that way. 

3. Your Instructor Is a Master at Parachuting

In order to jump alone or guide someone through a parachuting operation, a skydiving instructor must be licensed. 

Then, they must also go through a process to ensure they understand how to jump with an untrained participant attached to them. 

This training is designed to ensure that only the best of the best make it through, again with the #1 focus on safety. 

Instructors must complete a certain number of jumps according to a strict set of parameters to even be eligible for their license in the first place. Then, they have to advance through multiple licenses “classes” to earn their way to more advanced opportunities, like jumping tandem. 

Not only is this testing process rigorous and challenging, it’s also expensive. Those who earn their licenses must be so intensely dedicated to the idea of parachuting – and doing so safely – that they often front thousands of dollars in equipment, flights, classes, in-person practice, and much, much more. 

And if they can’t pass a test the first time, they have to do it again until they get it right. 

Even when they do pass the test, instructors must also complete a number of tasks to ensure they maintain the license that they already earned! 

In this way, earning and maintaining a skydiving license is treated with a similar rigor as someone who has earned a medical license. 

This may sound strict – and it is! Earning your skydiving license is intentionally difficult so that those who choose to jump tandem know they’re working with someone who has done this same exact process hundreds or even thousands of times already. 

You, as a customer, are jumping with someone who has made such a big investment into skydiving in general that they would never risk danger or poor performance for any reason. 

As a result, when you parachute with an instructor, you can be confident that they’re personally invested in your safety and their own skill to an obsessive degree. 

4. You Have Preparations to Make

While your tandem instructor is a master and your dropzone is safe, you also have a number of tasks and procedures to accomplish in order to have a safe and exhilarating time during a parachute jump. 

In fact, we’ve coached new tandem jumpers through this process so often that we developed a checklist that’ll get you 95% of the way to a successful jump before you even set foot at our dropzone. 

Most of the items in this checklist are pretty straightforward. 

Don’t have any substances in your system like alcohol or drugs. Drink water normally throughout the day. Eat a regular breakfast and lunch. 

In short, don’t change your daily routine just because you’re parachuting. 

This is important because changing your diet or having mind-altering substances in your system can cause serious problems during your jump. 

Fainting, vomiting, and other issues are all more likely to happen if you make sudden changes that your body isn’t ready for you to make. 

In other words, show up as yourself. Be yourself. Treat yourself and your instructor with respect. 

And when you’re about to jump out of an airplane, you’ll be happy you did!

5. Height & Weight Are Incredibly Important

This is sometimes a challenging subject to broach because it entails personal sensitivity. However, in tandem parachuting, personal height and weight are important factors. 

The biggest reason is that parachutes can only safely accommodate a certain weight limit to deliver a jumper and instructor safely to the ground. In addition, the distribution of that weight is determined by a person’s height, and taller people will have more bodily surface area to help create drag and slow their descent than shorter people. 

In many ways, it’s as simple as Einstein’s equation E=mc2 – force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration squared. 

Because of this, heavier weights in parachuting mean you’ll hit the ground with a stronger force. But the impact of that weight can be offset by having more surface area that controls the descent to a slower fall, reducing the strain on the parachute when it deploys. 

Parachutes are designed to reduce this force to a safe impact. But they can only decelerate so much mass during their descent. 

If you’d like to see specifics about weight and its importance in a parachute jump, you can take a look at one of our most popular blogs that directly addresses the topic.

Are You Ready to Parachute?

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get started! 

Are you ready to parachute in Chicago?

Click the button below to book your jump now!

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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: Chicago