Experiencing Human Powered Flight
As long as man has dreamed, he has dreamed of flying. From the earliest mythologies and religions to today’s comic books and superheroes, human beings have been enamored and fascinated with flight. Despite a manufactured logic that we are not destined to fly, these desires consistently manifested themselves within us. Parents don’t actively encourage a curiousity in aviation and yet almost every child, mostly likely including yourself, found themselves leaping from a picnic table, bedsheets attached with achieving eyes intently focused toward the sky.
Today very well may be that day that you begin to understand that humankind’s place is not bound to just walking on the Earth but also exploring it from above, unbound from the planetary laws of gravity and mankind’s mechanical devices. Human flight may not be divine but it most certainly feels that way.
We can transcend beyond gravity-bound creatures to one fueled by human powered flight, full of the unusual and magical feelings of weightlessness, weightiness, rotational and speed variations, and the full aviational range of controls.
Your door to a new world, literally opens at 12,500’ above the ground. For a completely tuned in sixty (60) seconds, your 200 km/h freefall flight introduces you to the power and possibility of human flight, making directional changes by moving your limbs and changing the contour of your body. It’s a sensory smorgasbord that’s almost too incredible to process: the sound of high speed wind, the feeling of floating on a column of air and the power of movement through simple touch. All the while, your brain rewarding you with powerful feel good chemicals from the intensity of your first freefall.
At 5000’ above the ground, your instructor will open the parachute and you’ll fly straight into another new world during a three (3) to six (6) minute descent. Parachute flight sensations are completely different than freefall. Your orientation changes from horizontal to vertical, weightlessness is replaced with weightiness, intensity and speed transitions into zen and peacefulness. Modern tandem skydiving parachutes are designed to provide a safe, yet wide range of parachute flying styles.
Together, you and instructor can glide gracefully and effortless in slow serene flight, completely in the element, unobstructed by machine or device, quietly passing by clouds, consumed by the bird’s eye beauty of the horizon. Or double down on adrenaline, pushing deep into the control range of the parachute, pitching and rolling in an aggressive dive and feel the g-forces build as you rotate and spiral quickly toward the ground.
Extending our human capabilities is a finite process that we can only achieve for an existential, few minutes. By the time we reassume our de facto place back on terra firma, we’ve already had a blissful cocktail of performance enhancing nuerochemicals delivering feelings of bliss, zen, accomplishment, strength and confidence. And this is what makes thrill seekers desire another jump.
The tandem skydive system has opened the door for virtually everyone to experience all aspects of skydiving, both freefall and parachuting. Securely attached, and under the guidance, of a certified, professional tandem instructor, you’re free to enjoy the sensations of human flight in a low stress, safe environment with minimal training. The tandem approach is similar to safe mode on a computer or training wheels on a bicycle. So the student can, to some extent, choose how much participation they have in the jump: you can simply enjoy the beauty of it all or we can train you to do any of freefall turns, opening the parachute and flying the parachute. All critical and safety first requirements are managed by your attached instructor with thousands of jumps.
As a tandem student, you’ll be fitted with a specially manufactured harness. It is equipped with four attachment points, two at the back of your shoulders and two at the back of your hips. The connection points are stress tested and over-engineered, each designed to handle about 5000 LB of tensile force. They are build so strong that technically speaking, only one connection point would be sufficient enough to keep the tandem pair connected. You will be secured to your instructor inside the airplane and all adjustments and connections fully secured prior to opening the jump door.
In freefall, the tandem pair will be horizontal, facing belly to earth, with the tandem student on the front and the instructor attached to your back. This is your jump, and we customize the experience to match your desired adventure, stress and participation levels. So, if you want to do flips and turns, and open and fly the parachute then we’ll crank it up for you. Or if you want a serene, chill experience all you need to do is smile and breathe. That is the beauty of a tandem skydive.
Tandem skydive equipment and training has evolved to become the safest and fastest method to try a first jump. Many of the old school thoughts only linger as incorrect myths. Statistics prove that while high risk, tandem skydiving is actually one of the safest adventure activities. You’ll be riding on board with a fully certified, highly experienced (think thousands of jumps) parachute pilot meaning landings are soft and controlled. And this is a similar description for parachute openings as they have been designed to slowly decelerate, ensuring a smooth, comfortable transition from horizontal to vertical, freefall to parachute flight.
Skydiving is a most unique sport in that it offers two sports in one activity. Parachute flight offers completely different sensations, visuals and interactions. Many people unexpectedly prefer the parachute ride over freefall.
The Tandem Skydive Process
Step 1: Check In
Your booking time is your arrival time. Please arrive at that time or shortly prior to ensure we are able to efficiently get you manifested on your flight. We are located at the Bieseker Airport
Upon arrival, check in at the front desk. To participate in any Calgary Skydive activities, you must review and agree to the terms and conditions of our waiver.
Step 2: Training
Tandem training involves watching our video which details aircraft safety and seating, exit technique, freefall and landing body position and tips to get the very best video and pictures. An instructor will provide a brief supplemental training session to clarify the key points.
In the event that you forget your training, our instructors possess more than adequate skill and experience to ensure a safe skydive.
Step 3: Gear Up
We will fit you with a custom tandem harness and goggles. The harness will be adjusted for your safety and comfort. It has four attachment points to your instructor, and combined, are tested to hold 15,000 pounds of tensile force.
We provide the harness, goggles and jump pants (optional). Please ensure that you bring outdoor activity clothing. The temperature at altitude can be significantly cooler. Sneakers or closed toe shoes are required.
Step 4: Flight To Altitude
Once geared up, you and your instructor will board our Black Panther Navajo. It has the largest skydive airplane windows providing fantastic, unobstructed views the badlands in Drumheller, and on clear days, the Rocky Mountains to the west.
Half way up, your instructor will make final adjustments on your harness and help you fit your goggles for freefall. Once we reach the drop point, we’ll open the door.
Step 5: Exit & Freefall
When the green light turns on, you and your instructor move toward the door and launch into freefall. Without experiencing a falling sensation, you will accelerate vertically for the first 12 seconds to a top speed of 200km/h. Human flight feels like being suspended on a column of zero gravity air; it is an amazing mix of an adrenalin shot and ultimate moment of zen. After about 8000 feet of freefall (50-60 seconds), your instructor will open the parachute at about 5000’ above the ground.
Step 6: Parachute Flight
Many people are surprised at the enjoyment level, peacefulness and the range and ease of controllability of parachute flight. The experience can vary significantly. It can be flown aggressively by inducing spiral turns, building up g-forces and zero g’s. Or you can have a cruisey ride back to the landing area. If conditions allow, we will hand over the controls for you to try parachute flight. On landing, you’ll lift up your legs up so the instructor can put his feet down for landing.
Step 7: Post Jump
After your post-jump hugs and high fives with your fellow new skydivers, we’ll ask you to return to the gear-up room where an Calgary Skydive staff member will help you de-gear.
During degearing our staff will review your video and pictures to ensure we’ve captured all of the appropriate shots return them within 20 minutes. Our cafe and bar has playback devices, light meals, cold beer, skydiving videos and a view of the landing area.
Step 8: Next Steps
Some people were just born to fly. If that’s you, talk to our staff about becoming a licensed skydiver. Solo jumping allows humans to push the boundaries of what is possible in human flight. Our advanced freefall program is the largest in the country, producing more students than any other operation in Canada. Skydiving is a beautiful sport with incredible people celebrating a legendary lifestyle. Sign up for your license and see how deep the rabbit hole goes!