The world of skydiving can be quiet unknown or mysterious to those outside of our sport. Skydiving is looked at with a very curious view from most onlookers. Which allows people to create speculations and myths about our sport, that are quite frankly not true at all. In light of April Fool’s Day today, we thought it would be fun to share some myths and jokes about skydiving. Check out our list of the top 15 skydiving myths that are ‘floating around’!
Okay so lets categorize these ones as skydiving jokes rather than myths. They are certainly jokes that us skydivers have heard a time or two, or one hundred!
A perfectly good airplane!
“Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?”. Okay, so this is the classic, forever and always remark of most people who do not skydive. This is a good natured joke to explain to other people how silly it would be to voluntarily go for a skydive. Well this joke may be redundant to us skydivers. However, it is actually pretty funny because us skydivers have our own joke in response….there is no such thing as a perfectly good skydiving airplane! But don’t worry, of course our aircrafts are safe and pass all required inspections!
Better have a back up!
The old, “I sure hope you have a back up ‘chute!” skydiving joke. Don’t worry everyone! We do have a “back up ‘chute”, we call it a reserve canopy. This is a fair joke to be made from someone who does not understand our sport. Although we have all heard i a hundred times. Breath deep and use this opportunity to explain about our reserve parachutes, how our equipment functions and our emergency procedure trainings.
Alright, lets get onto some of the most common skydiving myths that surround our sport. Even though we as skydivers know better, don’t be surprised if you hear some of these from your non-skydiving friends!
You cannot breath during a skydive. Some people think that you cannot breath during freefall. This is completely false. Too be fair, if its your first tandem, or you are just learning to skydive, the rush of air may be a strange sensation. However, yes you can breath, and the more you jump the more you get used to it. Or you get a closed face helmet. Funny story, my first tandem I came down and complained, “freefall was fun, but I couldn’t breath!”. Well after watching my tandem video, the reason I couldn’t breath was because I was holding my breath!
You can talk during a skydive
So we have all seen the skydiving scenes in movies, like Point Break for instance. In these scenes the skydivers are screaming at each other in free fall, seemingly having audible conversations. This is entirely false. Skydivers cannot talk to each other by screaming loudly during freefall. While you are under canopy, and you are no longer falling at such high speeds, and now you can yell over at your buddy under their canopy. Or if you are on a tandem, once under the parachute, you and your instructor can hear each other and talk.
All skydivers are crazy!
It is often assumed that all skydivers are crazy adrenaline junkies. Yet, this is actually not the case. Most skydivers are very cautious and calculated in their approach to skydiving. We all want to survive another jump to be able to keep making more skydives! We are not dangerous or risky people. Skydivers come from all walks of life, we are doctors, accountants, waitresses, engineers – basically all types of folks come out to enjoy the exhilarating feeling of skydiving!
Free fall lasts a while
Another misconception that is made, which is also a result of movie and tv production, is how long skydive free fall actually lasts. During these scenes you often see the skydiver falling for a really long time. This is just dramatization. Generally an average skydive free fall last just shy of a minute. Of course the higher altitude you jump, a couple extra seconds will be added on. However, the couple minute free fall scenes on the big screen are not accurate.
I’m too old to skydive
Don’t tell yourself this! This is certainly a silly skydiving myth! You do not need to put limits on yourself. There are plenty of skydivers who got their licenses and began to jump later in their lives, some in their 50’s and 60’s. Not to mention there are the old school skydivers who never stopped jumping their whole lives. They watched the sport grow and develop from when they started, and now they are still jumping in their 60’s and 70’s! Maybe you don’t need to get your solo license, but you can still enjoy the taste of adrenaline and make a tandem skydive. The oldest person to make a tandem skydive was 103 years old, and he made the Guinness World Record for his jump!
Can’t control where to land
Some people seem to think that you cannot choose where you land, and that the wind just decides for you. Well modern skydiving parachutes are have been developed over the years to provide us with this power. We actually have control over exactly where we land our canopies. Some of us better than others! The more practise and skills you develop the more precise a skydiver will be with their canopy. Its super impressive how accurate our professional and experienced canopy pilots are!
You must be rich to be a skydiver!
Well there is certainly no denying that skydiving is an expensive sport. However, often people who make a tandem think that we are paying the same price as them for every jump. This is incorrect. Tandem skydive prices are higher due to facts such as you are paying for your slot in the plane, your instructors, the gear use, the video person, etc. Licensed skydivers are only paying their own jump ticket, and usually has already made the investment in their own gear, so they do not need to rent from the skydiving centre.
It takes a long time to learn
It actually does not take as long as some people think to become a licensed skydiver. If you focus and the weather is good, you can complete your solo license in less than a week. Afterwards you do need to work towards other licenses, in order to jump with others for example. However, it is not as overwhelming as one may believe. In fact, we all started in the same place, getting the same licenses. So it is attainable for anyone with the desire. Of course it will take a lot of effort, practise and jumps to become an incredibly skills ninja. But you can enjoy perfectly fun, safe skydives a lot sooner than you may have thought! Check out this blog post on how to get your skydiving license!
Its possible to survive a jump without a parachute
“One time a friend of a friend went for a skydive and his parachute didn’t open, he hit the ground but he survived!”. Now this is an age-old skydiving myth. Okay, so this maybe is true that he hit the ground and survived. But trust us, he didn’t survive with no parachute deployed. Usually during these freak accidents, the skydiver did have some sort of material/canopy above their head on landing. There can be a number of scenarios that happened. As we mentioned skydivers have a “back up parachute”, the reserve. The reserve or the main canopy, or both, could have been a mess overtop of the skydivers head, allowing them to survive a jump. It may seem like they didn’t have a parachute that opened, but something was in fact there.
The skydiving is dangerous myth
Well there is no way I will sit here and say that skydiving is not dangerous at all. But the general public seems to think that skydiving is extremely risky and dangerous sport. Yes, it is an extreme sport, but yes there is a lot of safety design and training that goes into our gear and our skydives. The sport has really developed over the years, and safety is only being increased. We have learned a lot from the pioneers in our sport, and they were certainly some brave folks. If you compare the number of skydive jumps made per year to the number of skydiving related deaths. You will be able to see that we are not dying left and right from our extreme sport.
All skydive centres are the same
Maybe you are thinking of making a tandem skydive and you want to pick the best place around you to make you skydive. Not all skydive centres are the same! There are smaller drop zones with smaller aircrafts and you get less altitude on your jumps. Some facilities are very large, with daily activities non-stop, very business oriented, and you won’t be waiting around all day to make your jump. Here you may not get a chance to experience the awesome fun of the skydiving community during your experience. Some skydiving centres are located in areas with pristine views, and others simple a backdrop of farm land. Not all skydiving centres are the same, and you should really do your research when choosing a place to make your skydive!
The higher the altitude the more scary
Actually, for many of us the opposite is true. When the skydive is from a lower altitude, it is much more scary. The ground seems a lot closer. This means you have quite a bit less time to make sure you have a safe and functioning parachute over your head. There is much less time to correct any malfunctions that might occur. Having higher altitude feels more comfortable and safe. Having extra altitude on your skydives can add a couple of seconds to free fall times, and we love this. Now, this changes when you get to VERY high altitude jumps, like HALO jumps. So yeah, in those cases, due to the extra gear and training, it can be a bit more nerve racking.
Skydiving is only a hobby
Maybe for some folks skydiving is just a hobby and they keep current by making a couple of jumps each year. However, this doesn’t speak for the majority of skydivers. Skydiving often changes people’s lives and we become addicted to the sport, the community and the lifestyle. It is super common to meet many people at the drop zone who fell in love with skydiving and made major life changes around the sport, some even leaving jobs to work in the skydiving world. Skydiving is most definitely not “just a hobby’.
Keep coming back
Be sure to share this article with your non-skydiving friends and family. Give them an idea of all the funny skydiving myths and jokes that surround our sport and educate them on the reality of skydiving! If you like this article, please let me know; send me an email or a message on Instagram. I want to know about your experience and thoughts!
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