First Time Skydiving Landing. What to know.

The skydiving landing is one of the most important parts of the parachute jump, including on a tandem skydiving. It consists of coordinated inputs done by the skydive instructor, to slow down the descent and the forward movement of the parachute. Most landings are very well performed, ending with the jumpers smoothly touching down and walking on their feet. Like airplane pilots, skydivers learn to land their parachute into the wind. This little help from mother nature greatly aids the moment of touching down, including for your first time skydiving landing.

When we think about skydiving, usually the images that come to mind are of people in free fall. But as soon as you book your first time skydiving experience, a bunch of scenarios start to pop in your head and… – ‘OMG if I jump I have to land!’ – can be one of them. During our skydiving history many jumpers came to us wondering about their first time skydiving landing, probably you would be one of them. The purpose of this article is to help you to be calm, have a better skydiving landing and lots of fun!

Tandem Student on a First Time Parachute Landing about to Touch Down.


Let’s have a look at how much the skydiving equipment has evolved over the last years. I assure that what you are about to read will certainly help to calm you down a bit more.

Parachutes nowadays are a remarkable hi-tech system. No, they do not have an auto-pilot for landing, but they do for opening. One thing very few people know, is that all tandem skydive parachutes have an Automatic Activation Device – AAD. This electronic “guardian angel” can automatically deploy the reserve chute in case of an emergency – Or if your instructor “forgets” about it! (In case you thought that could happen. LOL)

Cypres Changeable MODE Interface Showing Display on Zero with Cutter behind.

But the technology that involves the skydiving equipment has evolved in many other aspects of the skydiving industry. The standards for product development and testing that goes into a parachute system is very similar to the ones for the aviation industry. In fact all the parachute’s critical components have to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration – FAA before going into market. But the skydiving industry also has its own standards, issued by the Parachute Industry Association – PIA. This organization is committed to advancing the growth, development, training and safety of civilian and military parachuting.

A couple of years ago Silicon Valley Skydiving took part as the testing platform for a parachute manufacturer. The developers needed a testing site for some skydiving near Monterey Bay to drop a dummy jumper. That gave us the opportunity to learn a lot more about all that goes behind a parachute development and testing.


The way that we teach and train skydiving has evolved, especially the canopy flying training, which plays the main role during a skydiving landing. As parachutes became more reliable, manufacturers started to invest more in their performance. This resulted in canopies that are a lot more fun to play with, but that required better piloting skills. This resulted in skydivers developing new ways of training in order to keep up with the evolving performance of the new parachute canopies.

One of the advances in training and education was the development of Advanced Parachute Control Courses. Those courses can be done at any stage after the skydiving graduation. Although, it is mandatory for any skydiver applying for their B-License after they reach 50 jumps. The main purpose of those courses is to teach the basic skills for skydivers to develop accuracy and safety on their landings. This is done at a very early stage in the skydiving training, way before they can even consider becoming a skydiving instructor. An instructor rating will require at least two years in the sport and another 500 jumps to be even considered for it.

Tandem First time Skydiving Landings

While high up, your instructor might even invite you to control the parachute for a moment, maybe you can even try a few turns. But at a certain altitude, they will take back full control of the parachute for the landing. – Of course! They are the ones experienced, fully trained and capable of precisely flying the parachute to the landing area, slow the parachute, and touchdown.

The last 30 seconds are the most important part of your tandem skydive, and you can certainly help to make your landing even better. Keep in mind that you are more than just a passenger, and at this stage you are also part of the landing gear. At this moment you can be sure you’ll be hearing: Legs Up! Legs Up! Legs Up!

To help you understand the reason behind this, look at this picture of an airplane about to touchdown. For this to be a smooth landing, the rear wheel must touch down before the nose wheel.

Jet plane landing to picture comparison with a tandem skydiving landing.

The same is true for a first time skydiving landing, where your instructor’s feet are the rear wheel, and yours, are the nose wheel.