Skydiving is the extreme sport that is a dream for many, but few dare to try. It is the ultimate adrenaline experience combined with the ultimate sense of freedom. Mixed and intense emotions that you will hardly feel in another activity. Initially the first contact came with static belt jumps during my military service. Then I did 2 tandem jumps after that and 2 AFF jumps. Below in our article we will analyze the terms I mentioned above and in general we will give more information about free fall.
Table of Contents
Historical Data on Skydiving
Going back to 1100, we will find the first reports of free fall in China. The Chinese attempted the well-known “base jumps” by jumping off cliffs with improvised parachutes.
Later in 1485, Leonardo Da Vinci made the same attempt with his own parachute. 515 years later, on June 26th, 2000, Adrian Nicholas made an exact replica of the Da Vinci model with a successful landing. The parachute weighed 187 kg and was made of rope, canvas and wood. However, in order to complete a jump of 10,000 feet, he had to cut the above parachute at 7,000 feet. Then the landing was completed with a normal one.
The true story of free fall begins with the Frenchman Andre-Jacques Garnerin. Garnerin made successful descents in 1797 using a canvas canopy and jumping from a balloon. The first recorded freestyle was credited to Leslie Irvin in 1919. Finally, the first racing descents date back to the 1930s.
Skydiving became widely known when the military began to develop parachute technology and used jumps as a tactical move during World War II. After the war parachuting became more popular. Which led to it becoming a national sport in 1952.
The Guinness record to date in the free fall is held by the Austrian paratrooper Felix Baumgartner. Felix successfully jumped from a height of 39 km in 2012 and broke the sound barrier.
What is Tandem?
The right way to experience this exciting experience, in the safest way. Following your arrival at the respective throwing zone, you start the process from the theoretical part. Mini ground training includes basic knowledge and equipment description. It also includes the correct posture that your body must have in each phase of the jump. In the tandem jump the apprentice is in front of their instructor and firmly tied to them throughout the flight. The trainer has complete control over the flow of the jump. From the posture to the handling of the parachute and the safe landing in the respective drop zone.
In the procedural part the fall is quite simple (as simple as a jump from an airplane can be!) First the plane reaches the appropriate height, the door opens and the paratroopers start dropping. However, the duration of the free fall depends on the initial height at which the jump will start. Something that depends on the person (what package they will choose), but also on the school you choose to go to (not everyone has the same packages). Some people choose, for example, the 8,000-foot tandem. Yes, it is cheaper, but the free fall lasts only about 10 seconds. Some schools have a ceiling of 12,000 feet and others have a ceiling of 14,000 feet.
In the latter case the duration is about 55 seconds at a speed of up to 220 kilometers per hour.
The truth is that the first time you will not be able to realize much. A little stress, a little adrenaline, time passes in a flash in whatever choice you have made. Then the trainer at a certain altitude, opens the parachute and you pass to the second phase of the jump. This phase is associated with aerial parachuting. as well as its guidance. After about 5 minutes, the third and final phase of the jump begins, which is related to the approach of the drop zone and your safe landing in the area.
Video from Tandem skydiving can be watched below:
With the A.F.F. skydiving course (Accelerated Free Fall) you can, after proper training, fly alone, like a standalone paratrooper. It is a fast-paced, globally recognized program that allows you to fly alone within a few days after school.
The flow of the AFF diploma begins with the ground school lasting about 7 hours. First learn your equipment, parachute parts and use of each component. Learn the relationship between time and height, as well as what is the correct posture you should have when free-falling.
In the following lessons the material is related to what controls you should handle from the moment your parachute opens, how you can direct it and what procedures you should follow for a safe landing.
Finally you learn about canopy malfunction types, how to deal with them, the way of emergency landing and what signals to follow in the air during the free fall.
After successfully attending the courses, you move on to the second and most important part, that of the internship. The program consists of 7 different levels each of which you must pass successfully before obtaining the diploma. For the first jump in particular there is the possibility of it becoming a tandem and you normally count to 7 levels. If the objectives of a level are not achieved, the student cannot move on to the next level and the jump must be repeated.
In the first 3 jumps (except the first if it becomes a tandem) the free fall is accompanied by 2 instructors who fly with you. They guide you with the appropriate signals so that you maintain the correct posture and are able to perform the corresponding actions required by each level. The main goals of these 3 jumps are the awareness of height, the constant posture of the body, some turns and the opening of the parachute.
In the next jumps from the 4th to the 7th there is only one instructor. It evaluates your skills, pays attention to your safety, while introducing new techniques. The practice and the theoretical part of each fall is done before the actual fall to the ground.
In each of the above cases the guidance for the correct entry into the drop zone and the safe landing is done via radio.
After completing the 7 successful levels (not necessarily 7 jumps) you are able to make a free fall on your own, provided that your equipment has been inspected by an instructor. For anyone who wants to continue the skydiving sport further, there are other diplomas for autonomy, as well as for anyone who wants to become an instructor.
More articles on activities can be found here.
As for your subsequent course as a paratrooper, after obtaining the AFF diploma, in order to be active and autonomous, you must perform a jump every 30 days. If time has passed and you have not made a jump, in order to be allowed to make a free fall on your own, it must first be preceded by an educational jump accompanied by an instructor, which obviously costs more. So you have to think in advance what exactly you want and if you are able to pay each month the amount of about € 60 for each jump.
Just think that to fall alone in the future you will pay about 180 € for the jump with the instructor plus 60 € for free falling yourself. It costs as much as one tandem jump without a diploma. Also, note for friends of action cameras. In order to have a camera with you during the jump, the number of 200 jumps must be completed first, according to international regulations. Until then, if one wants photographic material, one must pay an extra package like the ones mentioned above in the case of tandem.
The cost of AFF amounts to approximately 1500 €. Provided you successfully pass each level in the first jump. From there and beyond for each repetition of the level the cost amounts to 230 € – 250 € for the levels 1 to 3, while it’s approximately 180 € for the levels 4 to 7. An average for finishing the school is the 10 jumps. In addition to the initial cost, calculate the current travel expenses and the medical certificates needed by a physician and cardiologist.
There is no specific age limit. Only those under 18 need the consent of their parents. In the case of even younger children, the condition is that the equipment can be adjusted to the child properly. The maximum weight is defined as approximately 120 kg for a free fall from 14,000 feet, while from 8,000 feet up to 85 kg. It is also a good idea to rest before the fall and avoid heavy meals.
Cost and Location
Skydiving is one of those activities that generally costs and not unjustly so. The cost of the fall depends on the altitude you choose to fall from. In the case of the tandem jump, if you choose the 8,000 feet it will cost you about 180 €. A jump from 12,000 or 14,000 feet amounts to 210 €.
Another price variation can be made depending on whether you choose to videotape your fall or not. There the cost starts from 40 € for handy cam video by the instructor himself and can reach up to 100 € for video recording from an extra paratrooper who will jump with you.
Unfortunately, there is no possibility to have your own action camera on you. The rules say that to do this, you must have a diploma and have accomplished 200 falls first. There are centers for free fall, with throwing zones in Greece located in Kopaida, in the area of Pachi in Megara and in other parts of Greece such as Crete or Serres.