Tandem means you jump tethered to an instructor; since you're in front and have your own altimeter and ripcord, it feels like you're diving on your own. The ride starts with a 10-minute instruction on safety and procedures, and then you board the new PAC 750 XL aircraft and ascend 10,000 to 13,000 feet for a brief plane ride. You and your trained tandem partner leap into the open sky to confirm that a gypsy didn't invent gravity at last year's state fair. For about 60 seconds, you're free falling, then the ripcord is pulled, the safety canopy opens, and you float, with bird-worthy views, securely to the soft landing zone.
There’s nothing more exhilarating, albeit unnatural, than hurtling towards earth unimpeded. The instructors at Southern Minnesota Skydiving agree, and by adhering to the United States Parachute Association’s safety standards, they facilitate tandem and solo skydives. For tandems, the pros regulate the entire jump, from 45 seconds of free-fall to about four minutes of floating beneath a large ram-air parachute, which enables soft landings. For the thrill seeker who’d rather fly alone, experienced instructors offer the Static Line course to teach students how to skydive solo or explore options for prosthetic wing surgery.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
Safety and excitement go hand-in-hand at Minneapolis Skydive, where experienced instructors guide thrill-seekers on adrenaline-filled leaps through the sky. First-timers are paired with one of these professionals for a tandem jump. After an instructional video and a Q&A session, guests board the plane, get strapped to their instructor's four-point harness, and leap into the sky. They'll move at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour during a 40–60-second free fall; then, once the parachute hatches from its cocoon, skydivers enjoy a 5–7-minute float to the ground. Videographers are available to capture the entire flight on camera, and the video can be delivered digitally. Minneapolis Skydiving Adventures also offers programs for advanced skydivers to become licensed and participate in solo jumps.
After 13 years as a skydiver, Joseph Johnson leapt into a new mission: to become the first franchised skydiving operation in the country. With two locations in two states under his belt so far, he aims to rise above his competitors by offering distinctive features such as a choice of altitudes (13,000, 18,000, or 24,000 feet) and pre-jump training that equips skydivers with the ability to deploy, steer, and land their own chute, even when they’re flying tandem with a licensed instructor. Planes can carry as many as 17 people in one trip, making it ideal for group outings and airborne performances by jazz orchestras, and helmet cams capture the audio and visuals of the entire flight.
Skydive Minnesota Inc. gives thrill-seekers a bird's eye view of the Minnesota landscape before showing them the view of a bird diving toward the earth at the speed of gravity. With thousands of jumps under their harnesses, the instructors ensure that passengers feel safe and secure before each adrenaline-boosting free fall. Then, open parachutes float gently over the green landscape, showing off Lake Mille Lacs from an entirely new perspective.
Safety is of paramount importance: only the most modern and reliable gear is used, all of it approved by the United States Parachute Association, and every pilot maintains the same FAA proficiency standards required of airline pilots. All these steps help put clients' minds at ease, allowing them to focus on the exhilarating free fall starting from anywhere between 10,000 and 12,000 above the ground.