If Googling “How Safe is Tandem Skydiving” or “How Dangerous is Tandem Skydiving”, it’s likely you’re a parent who has just learned that your kids have decided to go skydiving, and you’re not too comfortable with the idea at all! If that’s you or someone equally concerned, fear not; skydiving isn’t quite as dangerous as you may think! We’re going to break it down to help you better understand the safety statistics of skydiving and whether the risk is worth the adventure!
As any company attorney will tell you, you can never claim anything to be perfectly safe. No activity whether it be taking a shower, skydiving or even indoor skydiving has a 100% safety record. There is a risk in everything we do! The question we really need to ask is how much risk are we willing to manage in our lives? Driving a car is one of the most dangerous things we do, and over 1.2 million people die from driving each year, yet society has determined this risk to be one worth taking.
How safe is skydiving? Skydiving isn’t without risk, but is much safer than you might expect. According to statistics by the United States Parachute Association, in 2018 there were a total of 13 skydiving-related fatalities out of approximately 3.3 million jumps! Statistics show that as technology and skydiver education programs have progressed, the fatality rates have continued to decline.
|Skydiving Fatalities by Decade||Average Number of Fatalities per Year|
|1970 – 1979||43.5|
|1980 – 1989||34.1|
|1990 – 1999||32.3|
|2000 – 2009||25.8|
|2010 – 2019||21.3|
What the statistics don’t show are the circumstances that led to these fatalities. If you’re unfamiliar with skydiving, you may think that skydivers are being killed by equipment malfunctions, and ironically that’s not the case. Many of the fatalities occurring today are from the most elite skydivers who push the limits under small parachutes that are exciting to fly, but increase the risk quotient exponentially. In other words, many of today’s fatalities occur via pilot error while flying perfectly functioning parachutes.
Tandem skydiving is considered to be the safest form of skydiving. Statistics show that there is one tandem student skydiving fatality for every 500,000 tandem jumps which makes the odds of death .000002%! According to the National Safety Council, an individual is more likely to die by a lightning strike or being stung by a bee.
As described earlier, many of today’s skydiving fatalities tend to be from experienced skydivers pushing the limits and increasing the risk envelope. In other words, these skydivers are driving the Corvette’s of parachutes. In tandem skydiving, the equipment is more like driving an 18-wheeler truck – not as responsive or peppy – much more docile. Of course, it’s not without risk (our lawyer encouraged us to highlight this fact), but pretty manageable!
Safety statistics furnished by the USPA show that tandem skydiving is safer than skydiving solo. With tandem skydiving, the risk quotient is greatly reduced because the tandem instructor is highly experienced and the equipment is not used for high-performance maneuvers.
While learning to skydive doesn’t require that you make a tandem skydive first, it’s recommended as the training for a tandem skydive and the free fall experience better prepares an individual for the learn to skydive program (AFF) which serves as the introductory training program to learn how to skydive solo.
Is tandem skydiving worth the risk? Of course this question is based on the individual, but if you were to survey the 3 million+ people who make tandem skydives each year, you would find that more than 90% (an unofficial statistic) would say that it’s totally worth it. How do we know this? Because we see it everyday! Skydiving is so much more than people think it is; it’s better than any roller coaster and for many, it stands as a major life event ranking up there with marriage and childbirth. For some, skydiving is life changing as it brings about a sense of peace and ultimately perspective on how well we live our lives. It’s the major reason our owner, Andy Beck started Oklahoma Skydiving Center. Skydiving rocked his world and it’s his goal to share it with you!
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