FAQS ABOUT YOUR FIRST TANDEM JUMP
BEFORE YOUR FIRST JUMP:
Before your first tandem jump, you will be required to watch a 30 minute video explaining the dangers of skydiving and the legal aspects of the document you are about to sign. After that, you'll sign a waiver indicating, in plain English, that you understand you may get hurt or die and in any of those cases you (or your estate) may not sue Skydive Palatka. Please take as much time as you need to read and understand the waiver, as you are giving up certain rights by signing it. If you do not understand the waiver, do not ask the dropzone personnel to explain it to you, they are not lawyers and advice you receive from them may be incorrect. If you have any concerns, consult a lawyer that is licensed to practice in Florida.
After that you'll get fitted on your harness, you may ask to wear a jumpsuit, a leather frap hat and altimeter. A brief training session will occur where you'll learn how to arch and some other practical details of the jump. These details will include: how to board/exit the aircraft, where to sit and where to look for the best shots for your video. If you would to experience what it’s like to open the parachute, talk to you tandem instructor.
You will then board the aircraft and set off for a 15 to 30 minute ride to altitude. At Skydive Palatka you will go up to an altitude of about 13,000 feet. At some point your instructor will connect your harness to his. (S)he will review some of the training before jumping out. Just stand by and listen to his/her instructions. Always ask if you have questions about the details of the jump.
As for the jump itself, just enjoy it. If you have a camera flier in front of you make sure to smile but don't watch the camera flier all the way, take in the view and think about how awesome it is to fly.
Do I really have to do a tandem before I can do a solo jump?
According to the USPA, no. Some dropzones want a person to have done a tandem before begining AFF but Skydive Palatka does not require you to. The tandem will give you a chance to experience freefall with fewer responsibilities, learn about the sensations and the jump flow, and experience a bit of canopy piloting before being responsible for everything at once.
How do I book/schedule a jump?
Skydive Palatka usually works by appointment, so call to book your jump. It's that easy. Avoid websites that are not directly affiliated with Skydive Palatka. Sites like rushcube.com and weaty.com are resellers who will charge you a premium for doing no work other than calling a dropzone and booking a jump for you, which you can do yourself and save a lot of money. Just go to skydivepalatka.com or call (386) 328-0606.
How much does a tandem jump cost?
These are the prices listed in skydivepalatka.com. Check the site in case it’s changed.
FOR GROUPS OF 1-2: $185 / Jumper
FOR GROUPS OF 3-4: $175 / Jumper
FOR GROUPS OF 5+: $160 / Jumper
Video & Photo ($85 / Jumper)
Video ONLY ($65 / Jumper)
Photo ONLY ($65 / Jumper)
Double check the site just to make sure the prices haven’t changed. Once a semester we have the Falling Gators tandem special with an even cheaper price. Contact us for more information.
How old do I have to be to jump?
In the US, 18. In the United States, USPA Group Member Dropzones have pledged to abide by the recommendations of USPA and the tandem system manufacturers, all of which prohibit anyone from jumping until they are 18 years old.
How far/long do you fall?
Tandem skydives leave the airplane at an altitude of 10,000-14,000 feet. They are in freefall for about 40-60 seconds before pulling the parachute, and then they enjoy a 5 to 10 minute canopy ride back to the dropzone’s landing area.
Should I drink some "liquid courage" before jumping?
No. Jumping under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited.
What is the weight limit for jumping?
Jumpers weighing more than 230 lbs. will pay $1 for each lb. over, if approved.
What does it feel like?
Like nothing you can experience on the ground. It does not feel like a rollercoaster. You do not feel like you're falling. There is no "stomach drop". You will experience a lot of noise (from the wind) and some pressure pushing your arms up. Some students have difficulty controlling their arms, it's nothing to be concerned, you're just not used to moving in such high winds. Just smile and enjoy yourself.
Will I be able to breathe?
Yes. We wouldn't expect you to hold your breath for a full minute. Some students will mention they couldn't breathe during the jump, or will feel they can only breathe if they cover their face or mouth. It is 100% psychological. There is no impediment to breathing at high speeds.
Can I jump with my glasses/contact lenses?
Yes. There are goggles made specifically for students who wear glasses, they fit over your frame and keep your glasses safe. If you're wearing contact lenses, you may wear a normal pair of goggles and they'll be safe too, just make sure your goggles are tight.
Will my prosthetic fall off?
It shouldn't. For your dentures, just keep a toothy smile and clenched teeth and they should be fine. Prosthetic eyes should be fine under the goggles. Wigs/toupees will fly off immediately, so don't wear them or ask to wear a fraphat/helmet at the dropzone. Hearing aids must be left on the ground. Prosthetic limbs are generally not allowed as if they become loose they could do some damage falling.
Can I wear my own helmet?
Probably not, they are too bulky and heavy. You could wear a fraphat, which is a type of soft "beanie". This is to protect the instructor from impact with your head. Skydiving helmets are meant to protect from small bumps and light impact, so a soft leather hat such as a fraphat is protection enough.
What if the weather turns bad?
Skydive Palatka will offer to reschedule your jump or offer you a full refund.
Can I see the curvature of the Earth?
No. It may look like it on GoPro videos because they have a wide field-of-view, but you are not high enough. So unless you rode a rocket to 35,000ft and jumped out wearing a space suit, you won't see any curvature.
Can my friend jump with me?
They can be in the plane with you and jump right before or after, but you won't be able to see them in freefall. Separation between jumpers is a necessity for safety, so the last thing we want is one tandem pair high-fiving another.
Can me and my friend hire one camera flier and "share it"?
No. Due to safety, there is plenty of separation between jumpers. One single camera flier is unable to film two different tandem pairs.
Can I take my GoPro?
No. My personal recommendation is to opt for what is called "outside video", where another skydiver flies in front of you and shoots video from a short distance away.
What should I eat before the jump?
Something light. Don't fill up on a heavy breakfast as all the epinephrine in your system may upset your stomach.
Should I tip my instructor?
It’s not required at Skydive Palatka, but they are not going to reject your tip either.
How should I dress for my jump?
As if you were going out for a walk around the block. Avoid wearing tight fitting pants (jeans for example) especially if you are male, and jeans do not stretch and can cause discomfort in your "plums". Shorts are ok but pants may be preferred. Women should not wear skirts. Shoes must be closed-toe, so no sandals. Running shoes/sneakers are best, make sure they are tight. You won't be able to wear any hats. Jewelry is fine as long as it is small (hoop earrings for example must be removed). Everything else in your person must be left on the ground. Car keys, wallets, watches, etc.
Can I wear my [insert superhero who can fly here] costume?
Maybe. If your costume behaves like normal clothing (Iron Man/Captain Marvel) it should be fine. If your costume does not behave like normal clothing (Superman/Doctor Strange) they will most likely not allow it.
Can I write on my hands for the camera?
Sure. Tell your camera flier you want a close up of the message and #yolo away. "Sorry mom" is also a favorite.
Can I jump naked?
Call Skydive Palatka and ask for more details. It will depend on instructor availability. Some price discounts may be available.
My friend doesn't want to jump, but can he watch me jump from inside the plane?
Yes. Skydive Palatka offers ride-alongs. A ride-along is about $30 and is the same price a licensed skydiver pay for a jump. They are basically paying for the seat on the plane. These are super fun too!!!
Can I open/control the parachute?
Probably. Inform your instructor you want to take a more active role and ask if you would be allowed to deploy or steer your canopy. Do not, under any circumstance, try to touch or operate your instructor's gear without his knowledge and express authorization.
How hard is the landing?
It depends on a number of factors, but the hardest stand-up landing will be similar to a hop from a chair to the ground. Depending on wind conditions and other factors, your instructor may elect to "slide" your landing, meaning you'll land on your butt while you slide along the ground. Talk to your instructor for more details.
Who are all these people in the plane with me?
They are called "fun jumpers". They have gone through the process of being certified and licensed so they can jump their own parachutes and play with each other in freefall. Most will enjoy answering your questions and talking to you, but for any serious questions regarding your jump talk to a dropzone employee. Do not accept any advice or instructions from fun jumpers without first checking with your instructor. Do not feed fun jumpers, they may follow you home for more food.
My questions is not listed here!
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