That depends who you ask. Safe is a rather relative term that becomes hard to quantify, however skydiving is for the most part rather safe when paired alongside many other sports. In fact, it may surprise you that running, cycling and swimming have more deaths per 100,000 people than skydiving does. Skydiving is especially safe for tandem jumpers who are doing their first jump, this is because there are less risks being taken in the activity. Tandem deaths are few and far between, with most skydiving incidents occuring from solo skydivers who already have a number of jumps under their belt.
Not sold yet? Here's some statistics on the safety of skydiving compared to other sports, as well as the odds of a fatal skydive taking place.
Skydiving can be scary, but it can also be exciting! Much the same as a roller coaster, jumping out of an aeroplane is definitely not something our natural instinct is cool with. In fact, it can be pretty terrifying for some people. But also much like a roller coaster, the scariest part is usually before you have commited to the activity. The ride up is by far more scary than the ride back down under canopy, your adrenaline will take over and you will be allowed to experience the thrill without the anxiety you may have felt on the way up.
The jitters you feel on your first jumps do ease with time, if you continue to skydive you will notice it becomes far less anxiety inducing than it was in the beginning. Though with that said, even the most experienced jumpers can have some nerves on their ride up.
Skydiving isn't the most affordable activity out there, at around $250 a tandem jump you may be wondering if it's really worth the money. The answer is, absolutely! While $250 is a lot of money, skydiving is one of those experiences that make it onto most people's bucket lists. It provides a feeling of freedom that is hard to replicate. Even explaining the experience is difficult as there is nothing quite like it. If you're looking to get into the sport of skydiving, the costs are much higher and will be discussed below in the question of whether or not skydiving is expensive.
Skydiving is most certainly a sport, one with a number of different disciplines, each with their own set of competitive rules. Skydiving never started out as a sport though, and even after skydiving picked up in popularity as a recreational activity it only really developed into a true sport years later. Back in 1995 Sky Surfing was at its peak and was even part of the X Games competitions, and while perhaps skydiving isn't in the same mainstream limelight it once had in the extreme sports world, it certainly remains a sport, with new competitive ventures and disciplines being developed regularly.
More so than words can describe. Skydiving is fun in all of it's disciplines, whether you're doing your first tandem skydive and simply experiencing life in the sky or whether you're an experienced skydiver specializing in a competitive discipline, the sport itself has the potential to change your views on fear itself. If you're on the fence about whether or not you should try skydiving, you absolutely should.
Skydiving costs vary greatly depending on the type of jump you are doing. If you're doing your first tandem skydive you can expect to pay between $200 and $300 for your jump. If you're looking to gain your AFF licensing through an AFF course, you'll find that prices become more steep with a total cost of around $3000-$4000 to complete your AFF training and A-license course. Once licensed your cost per jump will decrease significantly to around $30-$40 a jump ticket. However, the main cost will still come with the acquirement of gear, skydiving gear is certainly not cheap - but you can always look at purchasing used gear to make it a bit more affordable.
No more than going for a run can give you a heart attack. There have been very few cases of individuals suffering heart attacks while skydiving, though they have occurred. It is more than likely that these heart attacks would have occurred regardless of the skydive, but the sample size is so small that any real attribution of direct cause is anecdoctal. With that said, if you are worried about an existing heart condition, speak to your doctor first before booking your skydive. To paraphrase a reddit user, the prices are the most likely cause of a heart attack when jumping.
Skydiving definitely has the potential for ear trauma, and we highly recommend that every skydiver, whether a licensed jumper or simply a tandem passenger employ proper ear safety measures to ensure that ear problems do not occur. The first aspect that impacts the ears is simply the noises involved in performing a jump, from the loud engine noises of the aircraft on ascent through to the sound the air makes as you're descending in freefall. Ear plugs are a must-have for your jump and will assist in protecting your ears from harm, we've got an in depth article on why you should be jumping with earplugs here.
The second risk towards ear injury relates to congestion in the sinuses. If you have any sinus congestion, we highly recommend postponing your jump until you are healthier. Jumping with congested sinus or an existing ear infection poses a risk for bursting your eardrums.
Skydiving while pregnant is a controversial topic, there are people on both sides who are very passionate about how they feel towards it. We are hesitant to make any clear cut answers to this question as we feel it's completely up to the parent to decide whether they want to adopt the risks that come with the activity. However, Amy Blackwell wrote an in-depth article on the topic which we highly recommend reading.
The minimum age to perform a tandem skydive varies depending on the country. In the United States the minimum age is 18 years of age, until 2014 it was possible for those between the ages of 16 and 18 were able to jump with parental consent, however this was changed to a standard age limit of 18 across the board. In Australia and Germany one is able to skydive from just 12 years old with parental consent. In South Africa, France and United Kingdom the minimum age is 16, with parental consent required for those between the ages 16 and 18.
You can certainly skydive in winter, depending on your location. In some areas of the world, dropzones may close for the winter period while other locations with more moderate winters may continue jumping operations through the season. It is entirely dependent on the temperatures, winds and precipitation that occur during the winter months. During winter, dropzones that operate during the winter months may be required to postpone or cancel your appointment based off the weather. It's not uncommon for jumpers in the northern states to head south during the winter months to get in more jumps through the cold season.
Technically you can, there's a lot of skydivers who have jumped in the rain. But it's not the most pleasant experience, the speeds one reaches during freefall causes the rain drops to sting more than one may think. In practice, rain jumps aren't very common though. Most jumps will be postponed if there are low level clouds because of the safety concerns. So even though you can physically jump in the rain, it is certainly not the best practice.