No matter how long you've dreamed of skydiving or how excited you are that you're about to do it, the prospect of your first jump can be very intimidating. You're about to experience something that very few people ever will, but it's normal to be a little unsure. Jumping out of an airplane is a true adventure and intimidates everyone the first time. Knowing what to expect the first time you jump tandem will help.The first thing the skydiving company will do is give you some pre-flight instructions. Don't worry; no one is expecting you to actually do anything. You're not responsible for opening the chute. No one is even counting on you to remember your name! The pre-flight instructions are mainly to spell out for you, step by step, what the jumps is going to be like. They'll also make sure that you're dressed properly, have you sign a waiver and ask you some questions about any health conditions that might prevent you from jumping safely.
Once you have received your instructions and donned a suit, you'll board the plane. Most planes will only hold a few passengers, so you'll be in a small group, or perhaps even alone with your instructor. Once on the plane, the instructor will securely fasten your safety harness to his. The instructor is the one who will actually wear the parachutes-one main chute and a secondary. It will take ten to fifteen minutes of flight to reach the proper height for a jump. Try to enjoy the scenery, but don't worry if all you can focus on is staying calm. Most likely, everyone else on the plane is also afraid, at least to some degree. Be reassured by the fact that your instructor had to jump a minimum of 500 times before he was certified to jump tandem with you!
Once the plane reaches 13,500 feet, each diving pair will move into place at the open door. There is a grab bar there, and both you and your instructor will hold on until it's time to jump. At this point, the wind power will be amazing and you'll hear very little other than the sounds of the plane and the wind. You may or may not hear your instructor tell you to let go, but when it's time to jump, you're going! One of the advantages, when you jump tandem, is that you don't have to be able to think.It will most likely take you a moment to be able to breathe or open your eyes. Once you do, you'll be floating in freefall for the first 8,000 feet. At 5,000 feet, your instructor will open the chute. Be prepared for quite a jerk. The chute will pull you back up again as the wind catches it, and then you'll begin floating downward again. At this point, most people are able to relax a bit, knowing the chute has opened properly.Unfortunately, it's over almost as soon as you start to relax! The great thing is, the next time you jump tandem, you'll be able to enjoy it even more.