Skydiving is the original extreme sport, and it is perfectly natural to be nervous about doing it. Evolutionarily speaking, we have only just climbed down from the trees, so jumping out of an aeroplane makes your monkey brain ask a lot of questions. Despite what your instincts insist, many decades of continual refinement mean that skydiving is really very safe. Here are a few ways the wellbeing of skydiving (and skydivers) is looked after.
The very early days of parachuting – when ex-paratroopers were basically using trial and error to see if they could turn skydiving into a hobby – are now a long time ago. The techniques and materials used in the production of skydiving equipment add up to mean that parachutes are very good at what they are supposed to do. When squaring up to the idea of jumping out of an aeroplane for the first time it is perfectly natural to wonder, “is it worth the risk” or “what if my parachute doesn’t open?” Parachute equipment is actually highly reliable and undergoes documented maintenance every six months to ensure it is being looked after correctly. Also, every system, or ‘rig’, contains two parachutes, so even in the uncommon situation of a malfunction you can just use your reserve instead.
The repeatability of modern skydiving, combined with the continual advancement of our ability to do it, means that it has become a competitive sport. From the balletic freefall moves of ‘freestyle’ to the swooshing velocity of ‘canopy piloting’, the practitioners of the various disciplines treat their training much the same as athletes of other sports. As such, it is possible to pick up injuries – a pulled muscle here or a twisted ankle there. In reality though, sustaining any kind of injury while skydiving is quite rare and infrequent.
Although your brain wants you to believe that leaping from an aircraft wearing a backpack made of canvas and string is a dangerous thing to do, it really is not. Modern skydiving allows you to indulge in something unrivaled in thrills and excitement, and do so in a managed and responsible way. Even knowing the above things in advance, you still may be nervous up until the point you make the jump, but the anticipation just adds to how great it feels to get out of the plane and into the sky.