Freefall Parachuting

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Freefall parachuting is little different from skydiving, if you're wondering. It's identical, in fact. The term freefall parachuting is simply used more often across the United Kingdom--where it's amazingly popular, with 20 drop zones on one small island. It is also used in countries of the former Soviet Union, specifically Kazakhstan in Central Asia. In both sports, freefall parachuting and skydiving, you jump out of an airplane and fall part of the way and descend by parachute the rest of the way.

Facts about Freefall Parachuting

The sport is more expensive initially than it is once you really get into it. The cost for a first jump runs from $175 to $250. Hang gliding is considered flying and is overseen by the Federal Aeronautics Administration. Freefall parachuting--that is, skydiving--falls under the United States Parachuting Association, which represents and advocates for the sport before the FAA.

Training is available at drop zones, based almost without exception at local or regional airports, and provided by certified instructors who are also experienced jumpers, licensed by the USPA. Offerings vary from drop zone to drop zone. There are three ways to learn freefall parachuting after the initial four hours of lecture on the ground: tandem freefall, static line, and accelerated freefall.

In the first, you jump from 10,000 feet with an instructor who controls the parachutes and is linked to you for the entire jump (about five minutes). In the second, you jump alone from about 3,500 feet, with the chute opening automatically after about three seconds. In the third, you spend five hours on the ground, and then jump solo in the company of two experienced jumpers who stay with you for a 40-second freefall and parachute landing.


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