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What Does Skydiving Feel Like?

Tandem Skydiving

When you look at a video of someone making a jump, it might occur to you to wonder: What does skydiving feel like? In the video, the jumper is usually smiling like mad; the wind is whipping by; they’re bathed in sunlight; they’re lying on their bellies on the void. It looks like they’re in another world–and, indeed, they are.

If you’re curious, we’re happy to break down those feels for you, from soup to nuts. Here’s what you can expect!

What it feels like in the door of the plane

A few moments before it’s time to get out, the pilot will indicate that it’s time for the door to be opened. It’s an intense moment! When the door opens, you’ll feel the cool air rush in and you’ll hear the sound of the engines get louder. Your heart will beat faster in your chest, because you’ll know that the big moment is at hand.

As you move to the door, you’ll notice something interesting: Your mind will try to convince you to stay in the plane, but you’ll summon your strength. You’ll look out at the earth below you and feel the wind whizzing by. You’ll feel the fear, but you’ll do it anyways. In the last moment in the door, you’ll take a deep breath, remember to pull your head back and arch–and then you’ll be out!

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What it feels like to leave the plane

As soon as you leave the plane, you’ll feel things become a little disorienting. Without the solidity of the plane beneath you, you’ll instead be supported by air. You’ll feel the air pressing against your belly and limbs, and you’ll be amazed by how supported you feel.

You’ll trade sounds, too: instead of the roar of the plane engines, you’ll hear the sound of freefall. It sounds like an everlasting wave, crashing.

What does skydiving feel like when you start freefalling

After a second or two, your awareness will return. You’ll start to understand how your body navigates in the freefall environment. You’ll look around you. You’ll recognize elements of the terrain below. In fact, just a few short seconds into the one-minute freefall, you’ll relax!

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What it feels like when the parachute opens

When it’s time for the parachute to make an entrance, you’ll feel yourself slow down. You’ll feel it grab the air overhead; you’ll feel it do its little dance as it inflates completely and slows you and your tandem instructor down to canopy speed (which is about the same speed as you’d be driving in a school zone). When that canopy is open and overhead, you’ll feel a rising calm take over. The crashing wave of freefall dissolves into the sweet little whistle of relative wind through your parachute’s lines. Under canopy, you can once more speak with your instructor as you float down to the ground.

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What it feels like to land under a parachute

As you approach the landing area, your instructor will remind you of the pointers you received beforehand in your briefing. You’ll watch the ground rise gently to meet you, lift your legs high, then settle down to the grass as your fan club cheers you on. You’ll bathe in the tingles of exhilaration and splash around in a sense of mega accomplishment. The feeling is indescribable really.

What does skydiving feel like, then? It feels like nothing else you’ve ever experienced before, and you owe it to yourself to give it a try!

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