How do I learn to skydive?
Simple! Just pick up the phone and call (515) 282-1788
You will be put directly in touch with our friendly and experienced staff who will answer all your questions and make your appointment for that first jump!
Is Skydiving Safe?
Your safety is our top priority.
Skydiving is a high-speed sport and, as with other adventures such as skiing, boating or racing, there are always dangerous elements that must be respected. With the state-of-the-art training and equipment now available skydiving is a relatively safe sport anyone can enjoy.
At Skydive Iowa, all of our student equipment is equipped with an AAD (Automatic Activation Device) designed to activate your parachute automatically should you fail to do so. All of our skydiving instructors have undergone rigorous training and certification, and all student parachutes are packed under FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Rigger supervision. We strictly adhere to all FAA and USPA (United States Parachute Association) guidelines on safety.
What are the age requirements?
You must be at least 18 years of age to make any skydive. Photo ID is required.
No one is "too old" to experience the thrill of skydiving. In fact, our oldest jumper to date was 87 years young!
What are the physical requirements?
As with any sport, the better shape you are in the easier it will be and the more fun you will have. However, one of the best features of the Tandem program is that is has opened up the sport to the mainstream public. Almost anyone can make a tandem skydive.
We've taken people with many different disabilities, even those who are missing limbs. We have some of the most experienced Tandem Instructors in the field working full time at Skydive Iowa. If you have a special requirement, call us! We can make your dream of flight come true!
How long should I expect to be at the drop zone?
If you decide on a Tandem skydive, the check in and briefing process will take about 30-45 minutes. The instructors will explain the equipment and the skydive. You will also have ample opportunity to ask all the questions you have of your instructors before you get in the airplane.
With the training, preparation, aircraft ride, jump and video editing and dubbing you should plan on being here for about 1/2 a day. We usually have you on your way home in 2-3 hours. Unless of course you choose to stick around for our nightly BBQ and bonfire.
Weather can cause unexpected delays, so please be patient, we are trying to get you in the air as quickly as possible but will not sacrifice safety.
If you choose to make an AFP or Static Line jump, your training will usually start at 9:00 am on a Saturday and go to about 3:00 or 4:00 pm. Weather permitting you will then make your first jump that same day. You must plan on spending the whole day but it will be one of the most exciting and rewarding days of your life.
How fast do you fall?
Typically, freefall is about 120 miles per hour. A person's weight or body position can alter this speed. From 12,500 feet, this allows you to fall for about 50 seconds before you reach deployment altitude.
Once you are under an open parachute, your rate of descent decreases to about 10 miles per hour.
Parachutes can also fly, descend, and turn at different speeds, depending on the size and type of the parachute. Students use large, docile parachutes in order to keep them safe.
What if my parachute doesn't open?
Although it is unlikely your main parachute will fail to open properly, it does occasionaly occur. According to federal law (FAA regulations), all intentional parachute jumps must be made with a single harness, dual parachute system with both a main canopy and a reserve canopy.
In other words, you must have a second, or spare parachute packed in the system in case the first one fails to open properly. On a Tandem skydive, the Tandem Instructor will handle this process should it become necessary. On an AFP or Static Line Jump, you are trained to perform the procedure yourself. Should you or your instructor fail to activate the reserve, the Automatic Activation Device (AAD) is designed to activate the reserve parachute for you.
How hard is the landing?
The parachutes used today bear little resemblance to the classic round parachutes of years gone by. Today, nearly all jumpers use "square" ram air parachutes. These parachutes are actually rectangular in shape, and when open, act like an airplane wing.
They are more like gliders than umbrellas. The aerodynamics of the square parachute provides it with exceptional maneuverability, allowing jumpers to land almost anywhere they wish. This wing shape also provides lift, much like an airplane, to make tiptoe soft landings routine. We often land standing up or sliding in on our rear ends.
We use only square main and reserve canopies at Skydive Iowa. On a Tandem, you will assist the Tandem Master in landing the very large "parachute for two" together. On AFP or Static Line, you will wear a radio receiver and receive verbal instructions from the ground to help you land. Most students land standing up on their first jump.
Hard landings are extremely rare and injuries even more rare but they can and do occasionally happen.
Can you breathe in freefall?
Absolutely! Due to the rush of air along with the rush of adrenaline, people sometimes mistakenly feel they are unable to breathe.
Relax and breathe normally. It's just air up there!
What should I wear?
We recommend wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothing such as t-shirts, shorts, jogging pants or sweats. If you chill easily or in cooler weather, you may want long sleeve shirts or sweat shirts. Tight fitting clothes such as blue jeans are not recommended. Wear clothing in which you could excercise or do stretching. We will provide a colorful jump suit to wear over your own clothes.
We also suggest a pair of gloves in cooler months. If it is 70 degrees on the ground, it could be in the low to mid 40s at jump altitude. Most jumpers wear light gloves like those used for batting or golfing. If you want to be sure to stay warm, bring your winter gloves.
As for shoes, try to avoid cowboy and work boots as well as dress shoes. A comfortable pair of lace up athletic shoes would be perfect.
What if I wear glasses or contacts?
No problem, we supply goggles that will fit over your glasses or keep your contacts in.
Just let your instructor know about your needs.
Do you jump in all weather?
No! We will not be jumping when it is raining, very windy or when the clouds are lower than our minimums. Please do not try to make these determinations on your own. What may look questionable to you in your city, may not be as bad at the DZ.
If you are uncertain about the weather please call (515) 282-1788 and we will advise you on what is expected for the day. We have been doing this many years and are pretty good at reading the weather patterns. Weather can cause unexpected delays, so please be patient, we are trying to get you in the air as quickly as possible but will not sacrifice safety.
If you are schedlued to attend an AFP or Static Line class then please show up at the scheduled time because the ground training will take place regardless of weather.
Will I get sick?
Most people never have any trouble. Ocassionally however, some people get a little motion sickness during the parachute ride, but not the freefall. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, then perhaps a Gravol or Dramamine will help. We also suggest that you eat something before you show up. We can fly the parachute like the wildest roller coaster that you have ever been on, or we can fly it smooth, flat and slowly if that's what you prefer.
Just let your instructor know about your desires.
Why should I consider getting video? Can't my family and friends video my jump?
Your family and friends are welcome to take pictures and shoot ground video but will not be able to be in the landing area for your landing.
Most people will only jump out of a plane once in their life. Our professional video package will allow you to show your jump to your family, friends, co-workers and more importantly your kids and grandkids.
If you choose our optional video package, a professional freefall videographer, using a special camera attached to his helmet, goes along on your jump. He films everything, from your instruction and gearing up process, to boarding the plane, taking off and airplane ride. On jump run he will climb out of the aircraft, and while hanging onto the side of the plane, will capture you making your way to the door. He will then go in free fall with you to capture you exiting the plane, film your free fall (up close and personal), your parachute opening and your parachute landing.
All this will include a pre jump interview along with your reactions immediately after you land. Your video will then be edited to a DVD and set to music to create your very own "mini-movie" complete with film credits, with you as the star.
This is not your mom's video.
* Some of our videographers have the ability to take still pictures in addition to the video.