When you first walk over and shake the hand of your skydiving tandem instructor, the human behind that smiling face will likely be a mystery to you. To start with, the chances are pretty good that you’ve never actually met a professional skydiver before this one–and you might think they’re a little loopy to have chosen this as a profession.
We’re here to change all that. Since you’re going to be spending the next half an hour under the close, direct oversight of your brand-new best friend, we’d like to introduce you to what your skydiving instructor’s daily life looks like. It’s not crazy at all, actually–and our eminently experienced, professional instructors love every minute of it. Try this day on for size–challenging, for sure, with more than a little bit of excitement.
A skydiving instructor’s alarm goes off early. After gulping down a breakfast and a healthy dose of coffee, it’s time to roll over to the DZ and wriggle into that jumpsuit.
The staff and instructors are the first to arrive at the dropzone, and it’s important that everyone gets together and does a “preflight” for the day. It’s in these early moments that the dropzone personnel set about checking the weather, syncing up about what’s on the schedule, doing our morning stretches and checking out the equipment.
While all of that’s going on, your instructor will have been chatting with the other instructors–as we’re a tight crew!–and getting mentally prepped for the challenges of the day.
The day kicks off for reals when the first nervous tandem student sets foot in the dropzone door. From that moment on, your instructor will be the primary point of contact–meeting, training and jumping with 10 to 15 brand-new skydivers. He or she will introduce them to the gear, walk them through the procedures, answer all of their questions and help to address their nervousness in a thorough, respectful and friendly way. Remember: Your instructor was scared of skydiving once, too, so you’re in empathetic hands.
When you make your first jump, the idea of making two in a day sounds unbelievable–so the thought of making 10 to 15 jumps–with a tandem passenger!–might sound like madness. In actual fact, that’s a very moderate workload for a tandem instructor. Other dropzones churn out far more. We’re not down with that way of doing things, as a tired, overworked instructor is an unhappy team member as well as a safety liability. At Skydive Tecumseh, we keep it easygoing–so our instructors have the resources they need to be on-point for your all-important jump.
When the end of the day rolls around and the last load has taken off, the “green light” goes on. (The “green light” is the traditional “it’s okay to have a beer now” indicator–one of our many skydiving traditions, passed on through the generations from the early days of the sport.) Now, it’s time for your instructor to hang up that jumpsuit, grab a cold one and talk about the day with the happy group of pros and sport jumpers gathering around the barbecue.
Now that you know how the day goes for a pro, think about it: Could you picture yourself in that jumpsuit? It’s a heck of a job, but our talented instructors wouldn’t have it any other way.