What to Expect When You Come to Skydive...
United States Parachute Association:
A good resource to reference before coming out for your tandem is the United States Parachute Association website, www.uspa.org . The Des Moines Skydivers is the only USPA group member drop zone and training center in Iowa. This means we pledge to comply with USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements and to use current USPA instructors, provide USPA-required equipment, and use USPA-developed instruction methods. Group Members designated as “Training Centers” provide instruction, equipment and training to become a licensed skydiver.
Make sure to arrive when your tandem is scheduled and be prepared to spend a good part of the day there. The Des Moines Skydiving team works to run operations smoothly and efficiently, however tandem slots can be adjusted during the day to accommodate changes caused by the weather and any other issues that may arise. If you have a smartphone, make sure to check in to the “Des Moines Skydivers” on Facebook!
Come right on in! You'll see the sign on the front of our hangar. You will find skydivers packing their parachutes, instructors teaching students, people preparing their gear, etc. Tell any of the skydivers there that you are there for a tandem and we will be able to get you started.
Before Your Skydive:
The first thing you will need to do is sign the waiver and watch an introductory skydiving video. While you are waiting feel free to ask questions, peruse the t-shirts and other merchandise, look through our skydiving albums and magazines, and go watch other skydivers descend into the landing area. For the safety of everyone, we ask that you do not approach any aircraft until it is time for your jump and you are with your tandem instructor. We encourage you to bring family and friends, however children and pets must be supervised at all times.
You will receive about ten minutes of instruction from your instructor and be fitted with a skydiving harness. You may also be weighed to ensure you are fitted with the appropriate skydiving gear. Some of the other equipment that will be provided to you may include goggles, a jumpsuit, and an altimeter. When you are ready, everyone who is jumping with you will proceed to the aircraft where your instructor will brief you again on the exit procedures before takeoff.
During Your Skydive:
The length of time until you reach altitude will depend on the aircraft you are jumping out of and how many people are on the load. Expect it to be about 15 – 30 minutes. Your instructor will then direct the both of you toward the door and together you will take to the skies.
Depending on the altitude and combined weight, freefall can last about 30-50 seconds. During freefall you won’t be able to hear each other so the instructor will communicate with hand signals. He will deploy your parachute about 5,500’ feet above the ground and you will have a five minute canopy ride to the landing area. If you are having video/pictures taken, another skydiver will accompany you and your tandem master during the ride to altitude, while you exit the airplane, throughout your freefall, the canopy deployment, and finally your landing.
After Your Skydive:
Your family/friends can watch you land and take video and pictures if you want. (Please remember that you must be accompanied by a Des Moines Skydivers team member if you want to be in the landing area.) After the skydive, you’re welcome to stay and watch other jumpers. Bring some food and drinks and enjoy the rest of the evening in the company of the Des Moines Skydivers. Ask about discounts for a second tandem jump within the same season. If you are interested in taking the next step in skydiving, the Des Moines Skydivers offer Accelerated Freefall training, the first step toward becoming a licensed skydiver. Inquire about requirements, training dates, and rates while there, or you can access more information about it here.