9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start Skydiving As A Hobby

A small girl in a black and white dress wearing a backpack observing a small white propeller plane, parked on a tarmac in a desert landscape.
Skydiving Is Pollutive For The Environment

If you think about picking up skydiving as a hobby there is a lot to consider. Skydiving offers a lot of physical, mental, and social advantages, however, it also has some disadvantages that you should be aware of.

Like any other sport, skydiving also has its disadvantages and downsides. 

  1. Your Family Members Will Worry About You 
  2. Skydiving Is An Expensive Hobby 
  3. Any Mistake Can Be Fatal When Skydiving 
  4. Skydiving Damages The Environment More Than Other Hobbies 
  5. You Rely On Other People
  6. Adrenaline Makes Addictive 
  7. The Weather Conditions Are Often Unreliable 
  8. Skydiving Is Highly Seasonal
  9. You Can Injure Yourself During Landing Maneuvers 

Before we dive into the negative parts of skydiving make sure that you also read this article about the 9 advantages of skydiving as a hobby. Despite its downsides, I decided to pick up skydiving as a hobby and I want to make sure that you have the full picture before you decide if you want to pick it up or not.

Your Family Members Will Worry About You When You Go Skydiving

Many people are afraid of skydiving because of the extreme heights and because of its risky image. Everyone has watched videos on the internet where a parachute does not open, or a skydiver passes out during a skydive. If that happens the skydiver will usually die. 

More importantly, if a skydiving accident happens in close distance, it will be all over the local news and people will start talking about it. Although the likelihood of dying during a skydive is only 0.00045% i.e. one in every 220,301 jumps, people overestimate its dangers because they hear about it. 

This is called the availability bias and also plays a role in the fear of airplane flights. Similar to skydiving, the media reports about airplane crashes which leads to people overestimating its likelihood. In contrast, the media does not report bicycle accidents (which are much more common) because bicycle accidents are no sensational news that people want to read. 

Even if you tell your friends and family members multiple times that you are more likely to die during a car accident on your way to the dropzone than during an actual skydiving accident, they will still worry about you much more than in other sports. Humans are irrational, and it’s tough to calm down emotionally due to rational arguments. 

Another reason why they will worry about you is that they are not used to the potential risk of skydiving while they are used to the risk that you are involved in a car accident. Their worries will get much better over time and one strategy that helped me successfully was bringing them to the dropzone and have them perform a tandem jump as well.

Another strategy might be not to tell them when you go skydiving – in this way they cannot worry. 

You might also want to show them this article that I wrote about the true risks of skydiving and which five daily risks are much greater than skydiving

Skydiving Is An Expensive Hobby 

There is no way to gloss over the fact that skydiving is an expensive hobby. Learning how to skydive comes with a big upfront cost of around $1,700 – 2,800 for an AFF course or a licensing course. You will also want to get the additional licenses from A-D which will increase the price by an additional $36 per course. 

You should definitely be sure that you enjoy skydiving before booking such a course. Many skydiving companies also offer trial courses that teach the basics of skydiving. If people then decide to go for a license, their course price will be discounted by the amount of the trial course. This is a good way to check fully that skydiving is something for you. 

Once you know how to skydive, you will pay between $15-30 for the lift fee per jump. If you do not have your own equipment, you might need to rent it out at your dropzone as well which can increase the price by an additional $25-40. 

If you skydive 5 times per month, it would mean that you pay between $200 – 350 for your hobby – which is much more than the regular gym membership but might be the same that people pay for other hobbies such as motorsports or hobbies that include pets. 

You might be able to bring these costs down by buying tickets of ten or twenty. Another way would be to become a member of your local dropzone and to buy your own equipment. Buying your own equipment is really expensive as well but can be cheaper if you jump regularly.

You can also increase the durability of your equipment if you take good care of it. If you are not sure which equipment to buy, I have summarized what I learned about various equipment here. 

Once you are experienced enough you might also be able to complete a tandem license. If you have a tandem license and jump with students, you will even get paid to do your hobby. Some skydiving companies also allow earning free jumps for every tandem jump that you do as an instructor.

Any Mistake Can Be Fatal When Skydiving 

One of the reasons why skydiving courses are so expensive is because they offer intense and rigorous training. Skydiving companies are heavily regulated and must ensure that it is safe for new skydivers to jump alone. 

Even if you have received your license successfully, it is not a guarantee that you will not make any mistakes. And unlike as in many other sports, a mistake during a skydive can be fatal for you and others. 

The biggest reason for skydiving accidents is not – as many people believe – malfunctioning parachutes but human errors. People might get sloppy when packaging their parachute, they might deploy the parachute in the wrong body position, or they might not watch out for other skydivers and collide with them.

New skydivers might also get carried away by the amazing scenery, and pull their parachute too late (although this has mostly been resolved due to automatic parachute deployments).

Authorities are trying to make the sport safer and safer, however, skydiving is not a trial and error sport. If you make an error, you can die. 

Most people are scared of this before starting skydiving. Knowing that any mistake can mean your death puts some pressure on you. However, you should also not worry too much about this. I know many people who were scared of this but adapted quickly once they started skydiving regularly. 

The upside of this is that you will learn how to function in extreme situations and under pressure. This is not only a useful skill for other areas of your life but will also boost your confidence in your own abilities. 

If you or your family is still worried about parachute malfunctions, you can check out my article where I explain the 13 most common reasons why parachutes fail. It also includes surprising tips and tricks to avoid parachute failure!

Skydiving Damages The Environment More Than Other Hobbies 

If you care about climate change and the environment, there is no way around this: A disadvantage of skydiving is that it is really pollutive for the environment. It has been put on the list of the most environmentally damaging sports activities of our time. If you do not care about the environment or believe in climate change, then there is nothing for you to worry about. 

Depending on the aircraft model of your skydiving company you will produce 450 – 900 kg CO2 for every 50 jumps. This would be approximately the same as driving between 3,750 – 7,500km with an average car. 

Skydivers often try to put this into perspective by comparing the footprint of skydiving to the footprint of other activities that are more damaging and pollutive. They, therefore, try to justify their hobby – because if you love something you do not want to be told that it is bad. But make no mistake: it is pollutive even though other activities might be even more pollutive.

You can always try to offset the negative effects of skydiving by reducing your footprint in other areas. For example, flying in the economy class from New York to Los Angeles will emit 1,100 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. So if you just save one of those flights you would make up for your hobby. 

There are also great initiatives where you can donate money in order to offset your carbon footprint. I personally donate money to a few organizations to offset my footprint and I do not own a car (but this obviously comes at a price). 

Nine Crucial Factors to Consider Before Taking Up Skydiving as a Hobby
The 9 Reasons Why Skydiving Might Not Be The Right Hobby For Everyone

You Rely On Other People When You Go Skydiving

Skydiving is a bonding experience not only because you experience something amazing with other people but also because you rely on them and therefore need to build your trust. This also has its downsides. 

One of the biggest sources of skydiving accidents are collisions between skydivers either during the freefall or the canopy ride. Even if you do everything correctly and follow the jumping plan, someone else can make a mistake and screw you over. 

If someone opens his parachute too early, you might not be able to track away fast enough and to avoid him. The biggest problems often come from unintentional openings, because the opening does not only come as a surprise to the other skydivers but also to the one opening the parachute. In these cases, skydivers will often focus on bringing their bodies in the right position and will check if the parachute opens properly. However, they often forget to observe his environment which makes a collision even more likely. 

In order to avoid this, it is advisable to increase the period between each jumper and to only perform formation jumps with people that you trust. 

You might also rely on other skydivers when you injure yourself during the landing process. You can be hit unconscious or twist your ankles so that you are not able to walk. The other skydivers will then call the ambulance and there is often someone at the dropzone who knows how to do first aid. 

If you do not like to rely on other people, it is understandable. However, keep in mind that you also rely on other people when driving a car. You might drive your car perfectly and still be involved in an accident because someone else makes a mistake.

Similar to driving licenses, you trust that the skydiving license offered enough training for the other skydivers to jump safely and not put you in danger.
Would you like to know how to obtain a skydiving certification or license? My article covers everything that you need to know including different courses, requirements, types of training, duration and costs. It also reveals some practical tips to make the most of your skydiving certification course!

Adrenaline Can Make Addictive And Can Have Negative Effects On Your Body

Whenever you jump out of the plane, your body will release adrenaline that helps you think faster and react quicker. Although this state increases your performance, it does come at a price. 

Releasing too much adrenaline continuously increases your blood pressure and impairs your heart. The key point here is “too much”. Adrenaline is known to have negative effects if you start releasing it to every day’s stress and in response to situations with no danger. 

Skydiving can, in fact, help you regulate your adrenaline production because you will get to know real dangers. This experience usually prevents your body from sending adrenaline out in situations where it’s not required – something that has positive health effects. 

However, you can also overdo it. We all have watched videos of adrenaline junkies that perform the most incredible stunts in order to release more and more adrenaline. At some point, their bodies adjust to the adrenaline such that they need to perform even more dangerous stunts in order to feel the adrenaline. This is obviously poisonous.

Not only are these adrenaline junkies likely to die during one of their stunts, but their constant exposure to adrenaline also damage their brain and heart over time. 

The Weather Conditions Are Often Unreliable Before Skydiving

In order to have an enjoyable skydive, you rely on the right weather conditions. At best, the sky is clear, the sun is shining and there is only a little bit of wind.

Having good weather obviously depends on where you live. If you live in an area where you usually have good weather, this should not be a problem for you. 

If you, however, live in an area where the weather is not always great, skydiving can be a pain. It can be really frustrating to be dependent on the weather and wait for it to improve in order to follow your passion and exercise your hobby. It can be even harder if you live in areas where the weather conditions are changing quite quickly. 

Nothing is worse than getting excited because the weather conditions look great only to find out that they changed overnight and you are not able to jump. I always try to be flexible in my schedule and to have a back-up plan in place in case that the weather conditions change. 

Another strategy to handle quickly changing weather conditions is to buy multiple jumpsuits that are suited to different weather conditions. This only makes sense if you perform more than a hundred jumps in a year.

If you are a beginner I would only buy one jumpsuit and then rent out another one in case of changing weather conditions. If you are not sure what jumpsuit to buy, this article will help you choose the right one. 

Skydiving Is Highly Seasonal

Skydiving is a highly seasonal sport that you can only do for 6-9 months per year – depending on where you live. As a result, skydiving should not be your only hobby as otherwise winters can become quite long. 

One way to go skydiving in the winter is to go indoor skydiving. Although indoor skydiving is not the same as normal skydiving, it is quite fun and simulates freefall quite well. Indoor training can also be an important pillar of your improvement. You can train many maneuvers and stunts without the risk of injuring yourself (ie. dying – you can still get injuries during indoor skydiving). 

Indoor skydiving also offers a much more time-efficient way of training your freefall. Going indoor skydiving for 30 minutes will give you the same freefall time as performing 30 – 40 jumps. This can be a real skill booster and allow you to progress much faster than other skydivers.

However, indoor skydiving places are quite rare so you probably need to drive a bit until you reach the next one. It is also known to be quite expensive. I nonetheless prefer outdoor skydiving because you will have more adrenaline and you can enjoy the scenery around you. 

You Can Injure Yourself During Landing Maneuvers 

Although skydiving is statistically a safe sport, you can still get many injuries due to improper landing maneuvers. In fact, most of the injuries happen during landings. The most common wrong landings include fast landings, having the wrong body position, or landing off the dropzone

In order to prevent injuries, regular stretching helps because it gives your muscles and strings flexibility and strength. It also helps to wear the right boots – specifically if you are a beginner. 

As you become more experienced over time, the likelihood that you make mistakes during the landing is reduced tremendously – specifically because you will become an expert in steering the canopy

I hope this article helped you guide your decision on whether skydiving is a good hobby for you or not. If you have not read it already, read also this article about the 9 amazing benefits of skydiving on a regular basis

That being said, I hope you start jumping soon.

Enjoy your freefall!

Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

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