Share the Thrill; Consider Tandem Skydiving
For those of us that go beyond thinking about skydiving, the thought has probably crossed your mind at least once (especially if this is your first skydive) that you would rather skydiving with someone. No, that doesn't mean someone else jumps before or after you, but you'd like to be attached to someone. Preferably, someone who knows what they're doing and has lots of experience with skydiving. That's exactly why tandem skydiving was created! Tandem skydiving is a technical term for a student skydiver who jumps with an experienced instructor. The instructor handles every aspect of the jump, from exiting the aircraft, handling and guiding the parachute, and landing. The student does not need extensive instruction and training in order to complete tandem skydiving.
Sometimes the student will be instructed in parachute deployment, but the instructor remains in control throughout the entire flight and ensures there are no safety issues. The equipment used for tandem skydiving differs slightly from the equipments used in single skydives. First of all, the parachutes are very different. Tandem jumpers use a drogue parachute. This parachute, when deployed, slows down the speed of the two jumpers to that of a single jumper.
Tandem skydivers also use larger parachutes of at least 400 square feet, which help support the weight of two jumpers as opposed to one. Each parachute and equipment piece are put together in a tandem "system," which each instructor must become certified in prior to performing a tandem jump. Rest assured that your instructor is knowledgeable and can handle any emergency situation. The FAA requires that tandem instructors have at least 500 single jumps and over three years of skydiving experience before they can qualify to be a tandem instructor. Tandem instructors will provide you with everything you need to know prior to making the jump. In about half an hour, they will go over deploying the parachute, hand signals, and let you know about landing techniques. While it almost seems too easy and you may even think you haven't had enough training, that is really all it takes to complete a successful tandem jump. For the most part, the instructors do all of the work for you. Be advised that while you are jumping with an expert, it still does not release you from the health requirements of a single jump. You can be expected to be held to the same standards, and you will still have to obtain medical permission in order to complete a tandem jump.
The facility is also not responsible for any emergencies or injuries, even if it is a direct result of the instructor. You will have to sign a waiver and release form, which states that in the event of an emergency you or your family members do not have the right to sue or take any legal action. Then again, you can expect to sign one of these at any skydive facility, tandem or single. Keep in mind that your instructor has had extensive training and the event of an emergency is nearly impossible. .
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