Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I sign up to Skydive?
To sign up for a Tandem or First Jump Course, go to our Tandem & Training Prices page and click on the appropriate button at the bottom of the page; or simply click any of the "Book Now" buttons on various pages of our website.
Which aircraft and/or altitude should I choose?
Check out our Aircraft page!
Are reservations and deposits required?
Yes. We do require reservations and deposits. Deposits are non-refundable. Because classes and timeslots fill up quickly, we suggest you make your reservation as far in advance as possible. See our current price list for deposit amounts.
Can I reschedule?
Yes. You can reschedule using our online booking system up to 7 days before your tandem. Log in here using the email address that was entered for you when your booking was scheduled. Click the "Forgot Password" link to have a new password emailed to you.
What if the weather is poor and jumping is postponed or cancelled?
Weather is a huge factor in our sport. This includes wind, clouds and rain. Some days we will have weather holds and other days jumping will be cancelled all together. We want to jump as much as you do and we will do our very best to get you in the air. The safety of our students and jumpers is our main priority. If jumping must be postponed or is cancelled, we will gladly re-schedule you.
How old do I have to be to skydive?
You must be at least 18 years old to make a solo skydive or a tandem. Unfortunately, exceptions will NOT be made, even with parental consent. Your ID will be checked so please be sure to bring it. There is no age "limit." In fact, our oldest tandem customer was 100 years old! (June 2019)
How safe is skydiving?
In 2018 there were 13 skydiving related fatalities in the United States out of an estimated 3.2 million jumps. This translates to a fatality rate of 1 per 246,154 skydives. This includes all of the high risk skydives taken by highly experienced jumpers under aggressive canopies. A tandem or accelerated freefall skydive is by far much safer than these numbers, which includes experienced high risk sport jumpers. The Des Moines Skydivers have never suffered a fatality. We do our best adhere to all the new safety protocols and equipment upgrades to ensure our record remains the same for years to come.
What if the main parachute doesn't open?
All of our parachute systems contain a backup (reserve) canopy in the unlikely event that the main canopy fails to deploy properly. They also contain an electronic device known as an automatic activation device (AAD) that will deploy your reserve canopy for you at a predetermined altitude should your main canopy fail to deploy. The reserve canopy must be removed, inspected and repacked every 180 days by an FAA certified parachute rigger regardless if it was used or not.
How safe is a tandem skydive?
In 2019 there were 15 skydiving related fatalities in the United States out of an estimated 3.3 million jumps. This translates to a fatality rate of 0.45 per 100,000 skydives. This includes all of the high risk skydives taken by highly experienced jumpers under aggressive canopies. A tandem or accelerated freefall skydive is by far much safer than these numbers, which includes experienced high risk sport jumpers. The Des Moines Skydivers have never suffered a fatality. We do our best adhere to all the new safety protocols and equipment upgrades to ensure our record remains the same for years to come. Check out the statistics at USPA.
Is Des Moines Skydivers a USPA Group Member Dropzone?
Yes! The Des Moines Skydivers is the only USPA affiliated dropzone in the state of Iowa. The USPA is an FAA recognized body overseeing the safety of skydiving. We encourage all of our visitors to investigate your dropzone before participating in the sport of skydiving.
Can someone take a video of my skydive?
Yes! You are welcome to bring your own camera and a friend to take video or pictures of your jump from the ground. Depending on availability, you can hire a freefall cameraman to take video or digital still photographs of your tandem or AFF jump. If you would like to hire a cameraman to capture your skydive on video or still photographs, please let us know at the time you schedule your jump. Click here to read about our Video & Stills packages.
Is there a weight limit to skydive?
Yes. Our normal weight limit is 220 lbs. We will take passengers over 220 lbs and up to 240 lbs but we charge a $20 overweight fee due to the extra wear on the equipment. Factors such as physical fitness, height and build figure into this limit. It's ultimately up to the instructor to accurately judge the safety and comfort of the skydive. If you think you might be near this limit and would still like to skydive please contact us and we will discuss your situation. (515) 243-1711. The overweight fee is determined when you come to make your skydive.
What credit cards do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
How long will my training and jump take?
The time required for your training jump depends on the training method you have selected and the number of students. We suggest that you plan on spending up to 6 hours at the dropzone. Even if you are among the first students to jump for the day we still encourage you to remain at the dropzone to learn more about the sport and watch your fellow students experience the same level of excitement you already know. If you will be unable to be at the drop zone all day please inform your instructor or jump master of your time constraints as early as possible.
When should I arrive for my skydive?
We want you to arrive at your scheduled time, not before. If you have made a reservation for 8am, then be here at 8am, not 7:30. When you get here, you will need to fill out a waiver (if not already completed online), watch a training video and then go through a short training session before you skydive. We have accounted for this in our scheduling. While it may seem like a good idea to show up early, it will just add to the amount of time you will wait.
Can friends and family come and watch?
Absolutely! We have a large area for spectators. Bring chairs, hats, sunglasses and a cooler to hang out and watch. We do require that all spectators stay behind the barriers and signs unless you are with an instructor or club member. We advise them to arrive no later than 15 minutes after your scheduled arrival time.
Can I bring my dog to the dropzone?
While we all love pets, the dropzone is not a place for them so please leave your pets at home.
Can I drink alcohol or do drugs before I skydive?
Per USPA's Skydivers Information Manual section 2-1 : F states:
No person may make a parachute jump, or attempt to make a jump, if that person is or appears to be under the influence of either;
b. any drug that affects that person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety.
Can you breathe in freefall?
Of course! While people claim they have trouble breathing, it is typically because they simply forget to, or hold their breath without realizing! Simply breathe normal and you won't have any problems.
How fast do you fall?
Skydivers fall about 120mph in the "belly-to-earth" body position. Other body positions of experienced skydivers can easily reach 200mph!
How long does the skydive last?
You freefall time will vary depending on the altitude in which you jump. Normal free fall times are between 30 & 60 seconds. Our high altitude jumps give up to 90 seconds of freefall. After the parachute is deployed you can expect about a 4-5 minute to the ground.
What does skydiving feel like?
Ask any skydiver this question and you will get a different
response. First, you will experience a "sensory overload"
because of all of your bodies senses experiencing so much at
once. We have put together a promotional video that
gives perspectives from many experiences skydivers from
our club. Most will agree that there is nothing like it and you
will have to experience it for yourself to understand!
How do you land?
There are several variables that come into play when landing you will either slide in on your behind or stand up the landing. Your instructor will brief you on the landing.
Will I get sick?
While getting sick is not common, it can happen. Typically the canopy ride is where motion sickness can occur. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, we advise taking a motion sickness medicine prior to jumping. We also advise you to eat something prior to jumping. You can advise your instructor if you want your canopy ride "mild" or "wild"!
Do you get the "stomach drop" feeling when jumping?
While many think the "stomach drop" sensation is synonymous with skydiving, it's not true. That particular feeling typically comes when your body experiences a "zero-G" or a feeling of weightlessness. Since you don't experience zero G's when skydiving, you won't get that feeling. It's more like a sensation of flying!
What should I wear on my skydive?
Wear a good pair of tennis shoes (no open-toed shoes) and appropriate clothing for the temperature. If the weather is cool, we suggest that you bring a sweatshirt to wear. It can be quite cool at altitude. Expect a 2-3 degree drop per 1,000 ft of altitude. We recommend that you leave your jewelry at home. Not only can jewelry be lost during your skydive but rings, necklaces, and bracelets can become snagged on the aircraft during exit leading to injury. You can wear your glasses as we have special goggles that will fit over them. We supply all the equipment needed to make your jump. This may include a jumpsuit, helmet, goggles, and, of course, the parachute.
Where do I go to jump?
Although we are the Des Moines Skydivers, we have made the Winterset Municipal Airport our home. The low volume of air traffic, wide open landing areas, and beautiful countryside make the Winterset Airport an ideal spot for jumping. We are located only thirty minutes from downtown Des Moines. The Winterset Airport is located one mile north of Winterset just off Highway 169, approximately thirteen miles south of Interstate 80. Here is a map for your reference.