FAQ about Skydiving in Kenya
Find out answers to frequently asked questions about skydiving in Kenya and generally tandem skydiving. For the question that you don't see on this web page please contact Us directly.
What is skydiving?
Skydiving is the sport or activity of jumping from a perfectly good aircraft and performing acrobatic manoeuvers in the air under free fall before landing by parachute. Skydiving is the most popular extreme sport around the world, where the adrenaline rush of high altitudes meets with an amazing scenery of the nature. While the idea of free-falling from the sky might seem scary, skydiving is a safe and fun choice for adventureres of all ages.
What is Tandem Skydiving?
A Tandem Skydive is a skydiving experience where two people jump out of an airplane together, strapped to one another during the entire descent. One person is the certified Tandem Instructor, who is the pilot in command, who also guides you through the whole jump from exit through freefall, piloting the canopy and landing. The other perosn is YOU, the “newbie” or student. So, come join us for this breath taking experience!
Is skydiving safe?
Skydiving is an extereme sport, we are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority in Kenya and United States Parachute Association. Our dropzones' moto is "Safety First" and we adhere to all Safety Rules and Regulations by both authoroties mentioned. Statistically, it is safer than driving in a car. All our skydiving instructors are professionals and they always follow appropriate procedures. We also teach our students to execute their skydives with an emphasis on safety. More than 99% of accidents in skydiving are due to human errors, and they happen when skydiver gets careless. Even with 500 to 1000 jumps, a skydiver is still not as experienced as he or she thinks. Therefore, it is important that a skydiver stays current, modest and does not try to impress others with his or her skill level, no matter the number of jumps. All our instructors have thousands of jumps and lots of International experience. However, it is a sport and accidents can happen.
Can I do the skydive jump without going through the extensive training course?
YES. It is called a Tandem Skydive. A tandem skydive allows you to feel the adrenaline rush of a skydive without ever having any previous experience. How do we do it? Easy. You get a special harness that enables you to be attached to a highly qualified and experienced tandem instructor. The tandem instructor is the pilot in command and responsible for all necessary procedures during your skydive while you enjoy the ride and the rush from falling through the sky.
What is a Tandem Instructor?
A tandem instructor is a specially rated skydiver who is extensively trained to skydive with non-skydivers. During his special training, he learns how to freefall and fly with people whose reactions can vary in all kinds of unexpected ways. Tandem instructors are also trained to work with people's fears or over excitement in order to ensure that your jump goes as smoothly and safely as possible. The primary goal of a tandem instructor is a SAFE skydive jump, and then it is all about the tandem candidate's fun and thrill.
Can I jump alone after I have done a Tandem skydive?
In order to jump alone, you have to go through a skydiving programme called Accelerated Free Fall. Call us for more details on this. However, doing a tandem skydive is always the best way to see if you have what it takes to be a skydiver. You will encounter all the new situations like flying in the plane or under the parachute so You can decide whether that scares or excites you. In conclusion, we are recommending the tandem skydive before deciding on a skydiving course.
What can go wrong during tandem Skydive?
All of our operations are primarily focused on safety. Nonetheless, skydiving is an extreme sport so there is always a possibility that something could go wrong. All our tandem instructors are aware of that and are always fully prepared to execute emergency procedures. For an example, airplanes are machines, and as such, they can experience malfunction. If such thing happens, your tandem instructor will get you out of that plane at a safe height so you can both land safely, no need to worry about that part. The only thing that is important for you is to do a good body position during the landing so you don't hurt your legs. If you do not put your legs up during the tandem parachute landing, not only will you hurt them but your tandem instructor will land on top of you since he is at your rear. If you have difficulties getting your legs up, your tandem instructor will help you, but be sure to let him know so he can prepare the proper procedure.
What do I wear for my tandem skydive?
Wear something comfortable. We recommend athletic apperals. You can also jump barefeet if you choose to. You should avoid shirts with buttons, jewelry such as big earrings or necklaces and open toes shoes. You can wear the watch but we do not recommend it since there is always a possibility of it getting damaged in the airplane. Your tandem instructor will inspect you before going to the plane and recommend what you should leave on the ground. Also, it is prohibited to jump in high heels or flip-flops. For women, we do not recommend dresses or skirts as it is really difficult to put a tandem harness over them. Avoid jumping with glasses, but if they are corrective glasses and you need them, then we have skydiving goggles that go over them. Bear in mind there is always a slight possibility of you losing them during free fall.
What if the weather is bad?
Our skydiving season is mostly dominated by good weather. In the unlikely event of bad weather, we will reschedule your tandem skydive for the first possible day you are available. If you are not able to do the skydive another day, we will refund your deposit. As we said a couple of times, safety is our first priority, and if the weather does not allow it, we can not do anything against it. Fortunately, our location blesses us with good weather throughout the whole season.
Fear of heights and skydiving?
People most commonly confuse the fear of heights with the fear of falling. Fear of heights is a rare condition and it is medically called vertigo. It is a condition where, when standing high above the ground, you feel as though the environment around you is spinning and moving, which can easily cause a person to faint. On the contrary, what you may experience is the fear of falling that is natural to every human being. It is a sensation when you are looking over the fence of a tall building and feeling uncomfortable because of the thought that you might fall. All people have this sensation because it is one of three primal fears we are born with. People's reactions can vary depending on the intensity of the uncomfortable feeling. In the case of skydiving, this feeling does not occur during the jump. When you get above 300 meters or 1000 feet you lose perspective of the three-dimensional sight of the earth. Simply said, it looks flat. Because of that perception, your brain does not get the uncomfortable feeling of potentially falling and hurting yourself. Therefore, unless you really have vertigo, you will be all right and the sensation of fear will be minimal. In addition, during the tandem skydive, you also have an experienced tandem instructor behind you who knows how to deal with it, so you will be perfectly fine.
How fast am I going during the free fall and is it cold?
The free fall speed depends on your body position. Experienced skydivers compete in a special discipline where the goal is to get as much speed as possible. This discipline is called speed skydiving and the commonly reached speed is around 480 km/h or 300 mph. During tandem skydiving, our goal is to make the tandem skydive comfortable for the passenger, so we try to fly around 200 - 220 km/h or around 135 mph. Tandem parachutes are also different from all the other parachutes in a way that they have something that is called a drogue. It is a small parachute that is pulled out a few seconds after leaving the plane. Its purpose is to slow down our free-fall descent. Without it, we would easily go to around 300 km/h or around 185 mph.
As for the cold factor, again, we are lucky with our location, because it is quite warm all year round. The general rule is that for every 1000 meters of height the temperature decreases around 6.5 degrees celsius. So if it is 30 degrees on the ground then there will be around 10 degrees on jump altitude. Taking into acount the element of adrenalin rush, you will not be cold at all.
Is it hard to breathe in free fall?
No, not at all. Breathing in free fall is as natural as it is while walking or driving. You may think you are doing a difficult body movement, but in fact, you are hardly moving at all. You are simply falling, and the only thing that is happening to you is that you are getting a higher dose of epinephrine which will allow you to breathe more quickly, and in fact, more easily.
How long does the whole experience last?
Once you arrive at the skydiving center you will have to fill out the required documents and settle the payment. That will last around 10 minutes. With that done, you will get a briefing and get strapped into your tandem harness which will last around 15 minutes. The next step is a 10 - 15 min drive to the airport. The airplane will take up to 20 min to get us to the jump altitude. After jumping out it will be around 40 - 60 seconds of freefall, followed by up to 7 to 8 min of parachute flying above the ocean. After you land you can enjoy a celebratory drink while you wait for your video. The video will be ready in less than 30 min. So to sum it up, the whole experience will last around 1 hour and 30 - 40 min, but you are of course welcome to enjoy the Vipingo Beach Club for as long as you want. There is a restaurant where you can get a nice meal and you can also use lounge chairs from where you can enjoy the beach, sun, and some drinks from the bar.
Can I eat and drink before going skydiving?
You should go about it normally as you do in life. If your skydive jump is earlier in the morning, you should get a normal breakfast. Avoid coming on an empty stomach as that could result in you fainting or feeling sick. Don't overdo it either because it is not going to be your last meal. If your skydive is later during the day, enjoy your normal meals but avoid eating immediately before your skydive jump. Let it be at least an hour before. Alcohol drinks are strongly forbidden before skydiving. If you are doing a tandem skydive and your tandem instructor smells or sees that you have been drinking he will not let you do the jump that day. The same rule applies to experienced skydivers. Going on a tandem skydive while being under the influence of alcohol will certainly result in you vomiting. Without saying, the same goes for any form of drugs.
How safe is the skydiving equipment?
Skydiving parachutes and the included equipment have developed immensely since they were invented. Every new feature integrated into the parachute is invented with the sole purpose of improving the safety of the equipment. As for some of those features, allow us to explain the basic ones for non-skydivers to understand. Every parachute system includes 2 parachutes. The main one and a reserve one. Reserve parachutes must be repacked every 6 - 12 months. That depends on the jurisdiction under which skydiving centers belong. Every parachute has a device called an AAD (automatic activation device). The AAD is a small safety instrument that opens the reserve parachute in case the skydiver did not do it before reaching a certain altitude. The tandem parachute also has 2 deployment handles for opening the main parachute. They are there in case the tandem passenger is preventing the tandem instructor from reaching one of the handles. In the unlikely event that we are forced to cut away our main parachute due to a malfunction, and open the reserve one, we also have something called the RSL (reserve static line). The RSL opens the reserve parachute immediately upon cutaway. Our skydiving equipment has many other smaller safety features, but just these basic ones are proof that our parachutes are quite safe and well taken care of.
What is the age limit for skydiving?
The minimum age to do a tandem skydive is 16 years with parental consent. The maximum age does not exist. If you feel fit and capable of doing this activity, we will gladly welcome you. If you are not sure that you are able, but you have a really strong desire, it will be best to call us so we can advise you based on the health information you provide us with along with your doctors approval.
What is the weight limit for a tandem skydive?
Due to the complexity of skydiving activity, there are weight limits. For male candidates, we will not accept people over 110 kg or 240 pounds, and for female candidates weight limit is 100 kg or 220 pounds. Important notice is that with heavier candidates our equipment suffers greater loads and our tandem instructors have more demanding tasks upon them, so we charge extra for male candidates over 100 kg / 220 pounds, and for female candidates extra charge is above 90 kg /200 pounds. You can check the prices in our skydiving price list.
Do I need to have a medical certificate for a tandem skydive?
No, only your instructor is required to have a valid medical certificate since he is a professional. You are not required to. Nonetheless, if you have an existing medical issue please be advised that some medical condition will prevent you from doing your tandem skydive. If you are suffering from any illness that may be a potential risk, please contact us for advice. In case we are not sure, we will require a certificate from your doctor confirming you are fit for the skydive.
Can I take a video of my jump?
You can't take a video of your jump because our regulations do not allow even skydivers under 200 jumps to take cameras for their skydive. Our experienced tandem instructors are all able to make the video of you during your jump, so you can always have a nice memory. Video and photo option during your jump is charged extra so you can check the prices in our skydiving price list.
Can I buy a gift voucher for a tandem skydive?
Yes, we have that option. You can check it out on our website under "order a skydiving gift voucher" and the prices are listed in our price list. You can decide to buy a voucher only for a jump, and a person who is getting the jump can decide if they want a video option. They will have to pay then only for the extra options they decide on. It is also possible for you to get as many extra features for the jump as you want, they will be listed on the gift voucher.
Are there any special rules when I am at the skydiving center?
Yes, there are. We have some rules we would like you to comply with. The rules are there mostly for your safety and the safety of our equipment. For example:
- Don't go near the aircraft on your own. If you want to take some pictures, ask our staff and they will escort you when it is safe.
- It is strictly forbidden to smoke near the skydiving equipment, and also we would like that you not consume any alcohol near the other skydiver who is preparing for the jump.
- If you are bringing children with you, they are most welcome, but they should also be supervised at all times. They are the biggest risk for the first item on this list.
- If you are bringing your pets with you, please keep them away from any equipment because it is sensitive, and the repairs on it could be quite expensive.
- If you are coming near the parachutes, please try not to step on them. When parachutes are being packed they take up a lot of space, so be advised when you are maneuvering around them.
- During your skydive, any questions or concerns should be discussed with your tandem instructor, at that moment he/she is responsible for your well-being.