Beginning from a height of 13,500 feet, thrill-seekers feel the ever-quickening pull of gravity for 60 seconds before a harnessed instructor deploys the parachute. Afterward,
the tandem duo floats safely back to the ground while enjoying birds' eye views of the Philadelphia and Atlantic City skylines. This is a typical experience at Freefall Adventures, an organization that's been providing tandem jumps and skydiving lessons for more than 25 years.
The team also works with professional videographers who can be hired to document the entire experience, including a pre-jump interview on the ground,
the entire free fall, and the post-landing nap.
The Manhattan and Philadelphia skylines are just specks in the distance, as your plane slowly climbs. Once it reaches the proper altitude, the cabin doors fling open. It's time to jump. The instructor strapped to your back gives you a nod, and you tumble through the sky, free-falling at 120 mph for nearly a minute before the parachute opens and you drift gently to the ground.
This scenario fills some with fear and others with an intoxicating wave of adrenaline, but for the instructors at Skydive Jersey, it's just another day on the job. That's because for more than 20 years their company has been specializing in tandem jumps, which retain all the thrill of solo jumps without the months of required training. In fact, this group of experienced skydivers can teach first-timers all the essential skills and safety precautions necessary to take the big leap in only an hour. Skydive Jersey even offers group rates for folks who want to skydive with their friends or bring a pet emu along so it can finally experience the sensation of flight.
Going against convention, the staff of Skydive Collegeville prioritize first-time jumpers over established divers. That's because their main focus is giving novices the best possible introduction to the sport, providing a laid-back atmosphere free from pressure or intimidation. During introductory lessons, their male and female certified tandem instructors walk clients through the basics of their jump on land before taking to the sky. Once they're harnessed into their parachute, the student and teacher duo both leap out of a plane for an exhilarating tandem free-fall, achieving speeds of up to 120 mph before leisurely drifting back to earth over suburban Collegeville. Guests can also request a record of their descent, which can be filmed with a camera on the instructor's wrist or captured by a videographer who skydives while simultaneously sitting in a director's chair.
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.
The airplanes of Skydive Philadelphia only offer one-way trips, and those journeys end at roughly about 14,000 feet. Strapped to their skydiving sherpas, participants exit the aircraft through the open door, free-falling to reach speeds up to 120 miles per hour. These tandem jumps are suited for beginner skydivers, and don't really require much in the way of training. More experienced skydivers can take advantage of the facilities, which include an indoor parachute packing area, observation zone, and discounted lift tickets that prove far cheaper than buying a lifetime supply of Fizzy Lifting Drink.
For a company that has pushed more than 1.5 million people out of planes during the course of 38 years, Skydive Baltimore enjoys a top-notch reputation among adrenaline-seeking sky travelers. Tandem skydivers pair off with their trusty instructor before ascending to 11,000 feet, taking in views of Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay as they discover what gravity feels like 2 miles above the ground. Divers can commemorate their jumps with video and photographic evidence captured by their instructor, a third jumper, or a borrowed spy satellite.