Skydiving FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


If you’ve never been skydiving before, you probably have a large number of questions as you prepare for your tandem jump.  You will find the answers to some of the most common questions below.

Is Skydiving Dangerous?

Of course it’s dangerous. You get out of a plane three miles above the earth. Gravity does work, in fact, it rules supreme. The only thing between a skydiver and “deceleration trauma” is a chunk of nylon about the size of your living room. Which part of not being dangerous was unclear?

Is Skydiving Safe?

That’s a much better question.

Silicon Valley Skydiving owns the latest student, solo, and tandem gear. All of the equipment used at Silicon Valley Skydiving is serviced and maintained by FAA certified technicians of the highest ratings. The parachutes are packed by professionals, and the reserves are packed and repacked even if they’re unused (it’s not only a good idea, it’s the law). Although an inherently dangerous sport, just as driving a car is an inherently dangerous activity (you did know that, right?), we take every precaution to assure your safety while on our drop zone. Do you drive with bad brakes and bald tires?
So, the short answer is that the sport of skydiving has been made as safe as possible. And at Silicon Valley Skydiving, we take every precaution possible before, during, and after your skydive.

What Should I Wear To Skydive?

Clothing would be a good thing. Oh, you mean specifically? Well, let’s start with shoes: wear sneakers. That’s about it. You may see some of the experienced skydivers wearing sandals, but the key word there is experienced.

For the beginner, stick with athletic footwear, or closed-toe shoes, comfortable jeans and top. On colder days, we recommend that you bring additional layers.

What If I'm Afraid Of Flying?

Well… you are only taking half of the flight, once we get up there the other half is freefall!

Does it feel like you are falling when you skydive?

Briefly. A human body leaving an airplane at 13,000 feet reaches terminal velocity within just a few seconds. After that, you no longer feel like you’re falling, just like you’re moving down a cushion of air.

Is Freefall Noisy?

Yes and no. Don’t plan on carrying on a lot of conversations without first learning sign language. But you won’t need earplugs, either. It’s like sticking your head out of a car window. When it’s moving, of course.

How Long Is The Plane Ride?

In Silicon Valley Skydiving’s PAC750XL, it takes only about fifteen to twenty minutes to get to jump altitude.

How Long Is The Skydive?

It depends on a lot on body-weight, surface area, and a number of other factors, but on average, from 8,000ft is a quick ride of 15 seconds, from 13,000ft you get about 60 seconds of freefall, and from 18,000ft is over 1 minute free-fall l. You will then have about five minutes under canopy to enjoy the view and the ride.

We highly recommend that you plan your day around the skydive. Due to the nature of the sport of skydiving, the entire process may take all day due to unforeseen circumstances such as wind speed and direction changes, butt coverage, gear and/or equipment maintenance, aircraft upkeep and operation, air traffic, and other factors that may affect the safety of your experience.

Where is Hollister?

Hollister, CA is located in San Benito County, just a quick drive from San Francisco, San Jose, Monterey, Salinas, Marina, Santa Clara, and the Silicon Valley. We’re pretty much in the middle of everything!

How much does it cost to skydive?

California skydiving prices vary, mostly based on altitude. At Silicon Valley Skydiving we offer three different altitudes every jump day. Tandem skydive pricing is a little bit cheaper on weekdays due to volume (we also get done earlier, so if you’re pressed for time this might be for you).

You can find all of the details on our pricing here.

Can I bring my dog?

Yes! We love pets. But please bring a leash and doggy bag, and leave Fido with a friend if he’s not good with strangers and their puppers.

Can my dog go skydiving?


What Is The Minimum Age Requirement?

All participants must be at least 18 years old. No exceptions. We will require to see your government-issued photo ID, such as a passport or license upon your arrival at our location.

What Is The Maximum Weight Limit?

We charge $2 per pound over 200 lbs. The maximum weight for a tandem skydiving student is dependent on each student’s heigh and weight proportions and activity level. For your reference, we’ll stick to a 250lbs limit. Call us if you have any concerns.

What Should I Drink?

As mentioned, it does get warm around the DZ during the summer months, so drinking water will keep you from dehydrating.

Drinking alcoholic beverages before your skydive is not only a bad idea; we won’t even take you skydiving. If you want to have a drink after your skydive, that’s up to you. Skydiving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is just a plain bad idea. What you do on your own time is up to you. What you do when you’re with us is our business.

What Should I Eat?

Well, some are a bit concerned about seeing their breakfast or lunch again when they do their first skydive (I know I was), so you may want to eat light, or bring something to snack on… but get some chow in, an empty belly results in low blood sugar and you may easily get light-headed during the experience

What If I'm Afraid Of Heights?

A good deal of acrophobia has to do with relativity. No, not what Einstein talked about, but seeing objects moving in relation to one another. At jump altitude, the ground is a long way off and you can’t really tell that you’re above anything. Not like climbing a ladder where you can see objects and gauge your distance from them.

The ground becomes too far away to worry about and acrophobia goes away. You probably know better than anyone what you can handle, but we did have someone who is acrophobic tell us that they’d rather jump out of a plane than climb a step-ladder. (They did a tandem and enjoyed it thoroughly.)

How Do You Take Videos And/Or Photos Of A Skydive?

When you leave the plane, we throw a video camera out with you… just kidding. Either the instructor takes a camera on a wrist-mount or a highly trained skydiver leaves the plane with you (a little before, actually) and follows you down. You will be recorded throughout free fall and through chute deployment, so try to smile a lot.

What is a Tandem Skydive?

On your first jump, we literally have your back. Your first skydive will be a tandem jump. You will be attached via four-point harness to a professional tandem instructor. After free falling for up to 90 seconds and taking in the incredible California coastal views, your tandem instructor will deploy the parachute at around 5000 feet above the ground. The fun continues with a 5-7 minute (depending on winds) scenic parachute ride and a smooth, easy landing.
The best way to experience your first jump is through tandem skydiving. You’ll get to experience both freefall and parachute descent in the safest environment; a taste of all of the best skydiving has to offer. You are to be an active participant in the jump, flying your body through the air in tandem with your flight instructor.
Tandem skydiving is like jumping with training wheels (kind of), but instead of wheels you have an actual training person. Your first tandem skydive enables you to fully participate in the entire experience while not needing to worry about knowing everything that’s going on. Your instructor provides the necessary safety controls so that you can focus on a fun, stress-free, amazing experience.