There’s one word for what skydiving feels like.
Intense. Amazing. Pure Freedom.
There’s a few more…
I could use thousands of words to describe the feelings as you fall through the sky for the first time. It’s total sensory overload.
Skydiving feels like you’re flying. Like you’re floating in a swimming pool, but with air. All thoughts and fears disappear as you’re completely in the moment. As the wind roars up against you, you enjoy the most real, vivid views you’ll ever see.
To be honest, I can’t do this justice in a few paragraphs. The story of a skydive is so much more than a snapshot in mid-air.
Let me walk you through how your first day skydiving will actually feel.
We start at home…
How Skydiving Feels: Arrival
After having a mini life-crisis when you wake up (am I REALLY going to jump out of a plane today? Am I insane?!) you get your things together and head to the airfield early.
Trying to act normal on the drive there, inside your brain is already going bonkers. Your emotions slam back and forth with a cocktail of pure excitement and nervousness, lavishly topped with self-doubt.
You arrive at the airfield, and meet your instructor.
You’ve never judged anyone this strongly before..
Is this REALLY the person that’s going to have my life in their hands? They look WAY too relaxed! What kind of shoes are they? They really don’t look like the shoes of a responsible person. I hope they’re not going to mess up, or forget to attach my harness…
After some basic preparations, paperwork, and safety briefs (which you don’t believe), you’re asked to wait for your name to be called out.
How Skydiving Feels: The Wait
“This is pure mental torture!” you think to yourself as you wait on your name to be called.
You’re on a never-ending rollercoaster. The excitement builds and builds, before the nerves kick-in and your stomach drops. Sometimes you get some small respite of distraction from your phone or a friend. But it’s rare.
You continue to wait, wondering how all the other jumpers seem so damn relaxed. Do these people not know where they are?!
Eventually, your name gets called. And you’ve somehow not imploded yet.
That’s got to be a good sign. Right?
Putting on your bravest face, you get geared up and politely laugh as your instructor’s jokes around and tries to reassure you. All while your heart is going a million miles an hour.
You go to board the plane, and you see how small this thing is. You’re not going on holiday here – you’re wondering if this plane is even safe?! With the whole interior ripped out, it looks like the inside of a van. But with wings.
Everyone squeezes in to their allocated spots, and the plane taxis to the runway. Before speeding up and leaving the ground behind.
You have to admit, you’ve never experienced a take off like this.
You’re so much closer to the ground – you can really feel it. It’s so much more real than flying in a big jumbo jet.
How Skydiving Feels: The Plane
With the loud engine noise, there’s not much talking going on.
Instead, all you can do is watch as you get higher, and higher, and higher.
This is when your brain kicks in to overdrive.
You’re wondering why the hell you’re doing this.
Your mind is running through a flip-book of all the different ways things could go wrong.
You find yourself being thankful for the life you’ve had so far.
The sanity of the instructors seems more and more questionable.
You’ve never felt more fear, or adrenaline.
But you’re squeezed into a big metal box in the sky.
There’s no backing down.
This is it.
The green light appears.
The jumpmaster springs into action.
Your heart drops.
People are moving, getting ready. Your brain is going absolutely nuts.
The door opens, and you hear the wind hurtling past.
You watch in disbelief as the first jumpers go out. One second they’re in front of you, the next they’re gone.
The jumpmaster locks eyes with you and signals forward. The instructor starts shimmying you towards the door. “OH GOD” – is all that’s running through your head, about 10 times a second.
You can’t help it. You look down.
…and it looks like some sort of picture? Your fear of heights doesn’t kick in – it’s like your brain doesn’t know what to do. That confuses you for a second, until you realize
All of a sudden, your legs are dangling out the side of an airplane.
How Skydiving Feels: The Fall
You’ve assumed the position the instructor has shown you. Your arms are out, your head is up. Your brain is about paralyzed with fear at this point. It’s been through so much – so much thinking, so much worrying, so much pure panic.
And then, you go.
And you feel nothing.
You’re not panicking. You’re not going in to a seizure. In fact… you’re not even worried.
You look around, and the earth is stretched out below you. You can see farms, mountains, lakes, roads – everything!
You notice the sound of the wind rushing past you as your instructor is hollering with delight on your back.
You smile. You smile the biggest, most relieving smile that you have in years.
You’re flying. You’re totally in the moment.
The sheer delight, the absolute euphoria, the pure joy of it all floods through you.
You become a kid again: screaming with joy and excitement as you hurtle towards the earth.
How Skydiving Feels: Under Canopy
After what feels like minutes, your instructor pulls the parachute.
You feel a sudden, strong tug on the harness straps between your legs. It’s like slamming the emergency brakes in a car, with seatbelts strapped around your thighs.
You look up, and there’s a brightly colored canopy smiling back down at you.
The wind, the noise, the chaos – has all disappeared.
The peacefulness of it all sets in.
After one of the most insane days of your life – here you are.
Sitting in a harness, thousands of feet above the earth, and it’s quiet.
There’s no plane engine. No noise. Just the gentle flap of your parachute gliding along..
Your instructor checks to make sure you’re okay, and you give them the biggest grin.
How Skydiving Feels: The Landing
After sailing through the sky for a while – you notice the ground is getting pretty close.
The instructor takes back control, and descends into a flight pattern.
That grass is coming up fast. Closer, and closer. Hold on, we’re going way too fast here! There’s no way we can –
The instructor pulls down on the parachute’s toggles, and all the speed disappears.
You slide down gently and reconnect your butt the with the grass. The lovely, beautiful grass. You feel like kissing it!
Instead, you look up to the sky and think “Really? Did I REALLY just do that?!”
The reality of it all sets in – and you’re flooded with this immense sense of accomplishment.
All of a sudden, life’s worries seem like nothing. YOU just jumped out of a plane, flew threw the sky, glided like a bird, AND landed!
You walk back into the airfield a hero.
Everyone’s cheering you on, and you can’t help but cheer yourself!
You hug everyone you came with, and have this irresistible urge to high-five everyone in sight.
You did it. You freaking did it.
Ask any skydiver what skydiving feels like, and most will tell you that you can’t really describe.
And honestly – you can’t.
That being said, I hope this little journey has given you some idea of what to expect.
The funny thing is, no matter how much time goes by – you’ll never forget every moment of the day you first skydive.
I feels like yesterday the first time I was sitting in that plane, waiting to jump. It’s on of the most surreal and incredible days of your life.
Do You Get That Butterfly Feeling When You Skydive?
This is a super common question, so I wanted to give it a direct answer.
No, you don’t get butterflies in your stomach when you skydive. That feeling is the sudden acceleration when you go from being still to falling. In a plane, you’re already travelling at 70+mph, so the butterfly feeling never comes.
That’s not always true, however. Skydiving from a hot air balloon, dangling from a helicopter, base jumping, or even bungee jumping will all give you an insane level of butterflies. Since each of these mean you start falling from a stationary start.
I hope this guide has helped you feel a bit calmer about the prospect about throwing yourself out of a plane.
As scary as it is, there’s hundreds of thousands of people who’ve gone through the same journey. And there’s hundreds of thousands of testimonials of how absolutely incredible it is.
If you’re steeling yourself to jump sometime soon, take a look the related articles below for more content that will help you get prepared.
Thanks for reading, and happy jumping!