An Introduction to Skydiving

 By: Jill Smi
Skydiving, as the word implies, is an activity in which you'll be literally diving down from the sky with some safety measures, of course. It's done from an airplane or a helicopter which takes off from a drop zone, which is like a small airbase.

A Bird's Eye View Of Skydiving

If you're planning to do this breathtaking activity, then you should be prepared to know that skydivers would usually exit their airplane at the height of 4000 metres or 13,000 feet. After doing so, you would have to do a freefall for a period of time and then you could open your parachute to slow down your descent until you reach a safe and slow landing speed.

Generally, the chute should be fully inflated by the height of around 2,500 ft. In fact it is part of the law that skydivers should jump with two chutes. One would be the main chute and the other would be the reserve, just in case the main parachute would fail.

Once your parachute is in its full inflation, you now have the ability to control your speed and direction using your chute's steering lines. With that, technical manoeuvres could be executed by experienced skydivers giving them the ability to land with great accuracy. In fact, there are even some competitions held on being able to land in a specific spot with the most precision and style.

Other than bundling yourself out of the plane, opening a parachute and floating your way down to Earth, skydiving also have some specialization areas, and here are some of them.

Formation Skydiving: Creating Art While You Fall

During the freefall period of the jump, some experienced skydivers would combine to create and hold different formations before they breaking off and open up their parachutes and float down to earth as normal skydiving does. In fact, the world record for this kind of skydiving is actually a 400 man dive. The formation was maintained for 4.25 seconds from the altitude of 25,000 ft. in Udon Thai, Thailand.

Freestyle Skydiving: A Solo Performance

This kind of diving can be a very entertaining one. It is where the skydiver would perform some acrobatic manoeuvres and stunts, such as rolls, tumbles and graceful formations by himself throughout the freefall period and before he opens his parachute. Freestyle dives would also need the participation of another skydiver.

The second diver on the other hand would not do any kind of stunts. However, he would be the one to film his partners' performance through a camera that is mounted on his helmet. This kind of dive is actually a registered competitive sport that was declared in 1996 by the FAI.

Free Flying: Do It Your Way

This is considered to be the art of controlling your body and having the ability to move through different static positions while you are in the freefall period of your jump, before you open your parachute. If you'll be doing dives like this, you would have to do some manoeuvres like Sit Flying, Back Flying, and Head Down. These would allow you to have more control on your speed and trajectory. You also have to do some exit rolls or tumbles at the end of your freefall stage so that you can safely deploy your parachute by the time you reach the right altitude.
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