If you're not a skydiving aficionado, you may not know the difference between accelerated free falling, static and tandem experiences. By far the most popular on the Intotheblue.co.uk website are tandem parachute jumps. These give you all the free falling thrill, without the lengthy ground training.
Put simply, you rock up to the jump school feeling confident, if a little nervous, get kitted out in flying suit, helmet and goggles, go through a safety briefing, practice the techniques and then head straight into the plane to around 13000ft. And yes, you are literally strapped to the harness of your instructor, with you in front of them. All you need to do then is give the jump master a thumbs up and away you go.
As soon as you leave the plane there will be a few seconds when you are definitely have the sensation of falling. As quickly as your body is adjusting, you reach terminal velocity and suddenly it doesn't feel like you're falling anymore, more like you're being 'propped up' and cushioned by the air pressure on your body. This is what a sky dive is all about. Those delicious 45 seconds in the aerial sweet-spot…
At around 4000ft your expert parachutist will deploy the canopy and (after the initial pulling up as you go from horizontal to vertical) it's a gentle drift back down to earth, with you probably screaming with delight, or at least grinning from ear to ear.
Static line is perfect for someone who wants a taste of going solo. You'll spend more time on the ground with the team learning the skills needed to be able to direct your own chute, but once you're up in the air you're by yourself. Of course, you'll be guided by radio or ground signals and there's no need to worry about when to release the canopy as this is done automatically as you exit. Fully opened after around 300ft, you don't get that free fall moment, but you do get to steer yourself in the sky - which we reckon is pretty cool!
Last but definitely no means least in the crazy world of diving into the sky is the accelerated free fall option. Also known as AFF, it's a teaching method renowned both in the UK and worldwide to quickly get students doing their first solo sky dive. Expect to spend a full day learning the ropes before your jump, which is often programmed for the following day.
So there you are sitting on the ledge at 13000ft. You've got your main and reserve rig on your back. At each side of you there's a smiling, reassuring instructor. The signal's been given and out you all go. With your chaperones keeping hold of you, it's time to experience the wonders of gravity on the human body and away you go. Master or mistress of your own canopy, it'll be you deploying the ram-air parachute at around 4500ft.
Back on Terra Firma after your air time, we think you'll agree that skydiving is one of the best experiences of your life. And remember, it doesn't matter where in the UK you jump, all of our parachute schools are BPA (British Parachute Association) registered and qualified, so you're in safe hands.