The Solo - sometimes called "static line" or "IAD" - is the most cost-effective way to experience the thrill of skydiving. It is generally a whole-day excursion, with training (about four to five hours) and your jump happening on the same day, weather permitting.
You arrive at the drop zone (the standard term for a skydiving area) by 9:30 a.m. for class registration. If the weather is good, there's a decent chance that you'll get to see other jumpers flying through the air before your class starts at 10:00.
Please be prepared to be here as late as dark. Although you may be jumping well before sunset, the weather and other factors can sometimes have students jumping close to then.
We teach the course on weekends and holidays year-round. Reservations or deposits are not necessary! We'll teach the course whether there's one person or fifty.
What You Need - proof that you're at least 18 years old
- running shoes with decent support
- maximum weight 250 pounds
- ability to read English and understand spoken English
What You Learn
Your class instructor will teach you everything you need to know to make that big leap of faith with confidence. You spend some time learning the general theory behind skydiving, but most of the day is spent rehearsing the physical skills you'll need: exiting the aircraft, arching and counting until your main parachute opens, flying your parachute home, and landing gently. You'll also work hard on what to do in the unlikely event that something goes wrong with your main parachute and you need to use your reserve. The whole class takes about five hours on average.
When You Get to Jump
Once the class is finished, weather permitting, your class will start gearing up for the jump in the order in which you arrived for registration. Generally, we manage to get the whole class in the air before we have to stop jumping at sunset; though poor weather can stymie us. Even if you don't get to jump the same day, that's okay - you just come back on a day with decent weather any day we're open in the next sixty days, and we'll try again. If you do have to come back, try to come early in the day - once the day's class is out, they have priority, since they have been there since 9:00. If it has been more than sixty days since your training, you will need a quick refresher course. It takes an hour and only costs $15 (just enough to keep the instructor fed!)
The Jump Itself
When it is your turn, a staff member will help you gear up and make sure your parachute system is safe. Then it's off to the plane with your instructor and as many as four other students.
Then it's the ten-minute climb to the jump altitude of 3,000 ft or higher - more than half a mile above the ground. Time to savour the trickle of adrenaline, while remembering that your class has taught you everything that you need to know to make your jump, and you know how to handle any unusual situations.
Your turn. Your instructor beckons you forward, and tells you to get into position. Then, "Get ready!... GO!!" and you're off, falling away from the aircraft, looking up at your instructor, and focussing on your arch and count. A few seconds later - that can feel like no time at all, or a lifetime - you feel a firm tug, and your parachute blossoms gently over your head. You check it over, thank your particular deity of choice, grab the steering toggles, and start listening to the ground coach over the radio.
With the coach's help, you get to play a little with your parachute and enjoy the scenery again while you steer yourself back to the landing area. The buzz from the adrenaline at this point is pretty powerful, and you get a couple of minutes during your peaceful ride down to relish the feeling. Then, with coaching, you bring yourself to a gentle landing back on the drop zone.
You gather up your equipment and head back to the skydiving building, where you can come down a bit from the high and watch the video of your jump taken from the plane. If you'd like a copy as a memento, they are available at a reasonable cost.
Perhaps the best part is telling your friends, co-workers, family, or classmates all about it when you see them next. They'll be jealous...