Everyone knows that Tandem Skydiving is the ultimate bucket list item! But did you know that there are two types of aircraft that you can jump from? Helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving!
Most skydiving centres (or dropzones) around the world jump from airplanes – this is because airplanes are more efficient to fly. But there are some areas (like Interlaken, Switzerland or Christchurch, New Zealand) that you have the option to skydive from a helicopter – which can change your experience significantly!
So what’s the difference between helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving, you ask? In this article, we asked Laura from Skydive Interlaken to explain the differences between skydiving from an airplane vs helicopter.
Are the sensations different?
Yes! The sensations of helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving are different during the exit. Here’s why.
An airplane can’t stand still in the air and always has to be flying forward. Once it gets to the right height for skydivers to exit, it slows down as much as it can to about 160km/h. As soon as the door opens you will feel a strong rush of cool air – just think about when you open your car window on the freeway. When you’re sitting at the door of the plane ready to exit, the strong wind is pushing on your body and as you fall off, you always feel like you’re being “supported” by this wind.
A helicopter on the other hand can hover, and there are a couple of benefits to this. One is that when the door opens, there’s no wind rushing into the cabin, and the other is that there’s no time pressure on the exit (because you’re always hovering over the dropzone). This means there is no rush on the exit, and you may even stand very relaxed on the outside of the helicopter with your instructor, looking around at your surroundings. When it’s time to fall off, you get an incredibly calming feeling until a few seconds later you feel the rush of air from below like you’re floating on a bubble.