Why Can Skydiving Take up to 4 hours?
A lot of people who skydive for the first time are doing it to mark a big occasion: an anniversary, major work or life milestone, dream vacation, etc. So, why can skydiving take up to 4 hours? Even for more casual occasions, you want to be able to plan your day. Maybe you want to squeeze it in while the kids are at school. Given that, a common question is going to be “How much time will skydiving take?” When you begin to look into the sport more, you’ll see varying time quotes from 1 hour to upwards of 4 hours. That’s a big variation and can affect any dinner plans.
Hiccups and delays can start with check-in. We want to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, so we may hold you back if paperwork needs to be completed. We ask our patrons to clear about 2-3 hours from their schedule on average, but there are many factors at play when it comes to time.
A drawback to all outdoor sports is that they are very dependent on the weather. This is especially true with extreme sports, skydiving most of all. As skydivers, we are at the mercy of the weather to be able to safely conduct a jump. When you arrive, if the weather is not perfect, there is a chance it could pass by the time your jump comes. If not, we will have you wait around for a bit. The right window can take time to open, but your safety and enjoyment are worth the wait.
Wind, cloud coverage, presence of rain, and even temperature need to align for the right conditions. If the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s unlikely you will be jumping that day. This is because the temperature is going to be even lower up in the air, about 10 degrees for every 3,000 feet.This is the man reason why skydiving can take up to 4 hours.
If we were to allow you to jump in these conditions, once you factor in altitude and wind chill, you could be jumping in -10 degree weather easily. Cloud coverage affects visibility, which can make your landing dangerous, and even a light drizzle is going to feel like hundreds of needles in freefall. Best to play it safe, wait it out, and jump in as clear of weather as you can.
A lot of your time at the skydive center will be spent preparing for your jump. Our instructors are going to ensure you are well equipped to complete a safe jump, no matter what is thrown your way. It may surprise you that you can’t just hop into the plane and jump out all willy-nilly. There is a certain je ne sais quoi to the technique.
Part of your prep will be instructional materials on the art of skydiving. After reviewing these, you and your fellow jumpers will undoubtedly be full of questions. Our instructors are going to make sure every one of your questions is answered. They will not rush to ensure everyone feels informed. We will also walk you through the proper way to jump from the cabin at this time.
After questions, we will check gear together. Gear can include things like protective gear and jumpsuits, but will always include your harness and parachute. The instructors will go over these and make sure everything is working in order.
This will include ensuring your harness is well fitted. Besides the obvious dangers of an ill-fitting harness, improper fit can also lead to nausea mid-skydive. The instructor will also take this time to set up handi-cams to capture the memory for you. This step can vary in length depending on how many skydivers are in the party.
Also dependent on party size is the time spent waiting to board the plane. Our planes are designed to take up 2 tandem teams at a time. If you are a single diver or a team of two, that will greatly speed up the overall process. A team of this size with perfect conditions, without any hiccups, can expect to be in and out within 2 hours.
If you’re a family making the leap together, your experience will be different. Each ride up to altitude can take around 25 minutes. Add in the 15 minute average for canopy ride, and it’s not hard to see how that can add up by the end of the day.
Even just three groups of two can lead to an extra hour of wait time for that third group. You’ll also be waiting for your group mates to finish their jumps. That means that even if you were the first to jump, you can’t expect to roll out of the skydiving center within 2 hours. Well, you could — but then you’d miss all the extra fun on the ground watching your mates!
A Note on Waiting
The waiting game is a favorite around the Skydive Castroville. We’re waiting on papers to be signed, waiting for the clouds to pass, waiting while we gear up. If we aren’t in the air, we’re waiting. We’re master waiters, because we know why skydiving can take up to 4 hours. As you can see, by the end of the day you’ll be one too. Seeing as phones are discouraged due to the high probability of loss in the air, we recommend you use this time to chat with fellow skydivers and the instructors.
It isn’t uncommon for experienced skydivers to also visit the center. Listen to their stories and ask them for tips! Experience is valuable in this sport, and you never know who has a story. Ask instructors for tips on improving your technique, and watch your group members as they jump. If you fall in love with the sky as we know you will, watching others jump is a valuable way to further your skill. Pay attention to how they stick the landing or how they don’t. Compare it to yours when you receive your handi-cam footage.
If you’re ready to take the leap, we’re ready to guide you. Give us a call today. Our customer service experts are ready to help you schedule your jump. If you have further questions, reach out! We are always eager to answer.