General Questions

  1. What does the MIT Skydiving Club do?
  2. Why would anyone choose to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?
  3. Where do you jump?
  4. I want to skydive! How can I start jumping?
  5. What is a tandem?
  6. Do I really have to do a tandem before I can do a solo jump?
  7. How can I jump by myself? Tell me more about Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) training!
  8. Isn’t skydiving dangerous?
  9. How old do I have to be? Any other restrictions?
  10. How far/long do you fall?
  11. How do I get to the dropzone in Pepperell, MA?
  12. How do I get to Jumptown in Orange, MA?
  13. How much does it cost to go skydiving?
  14. I’m an experienced skydiver who just moved to the Boston area. Help?
  15. I’m an experienced skydiver but my ratings are uncurrent. Help?
  16. Can I get on your email lists?
  17. Where can I get more information?
  18. Okay, I really want to skydive!

Nerd Questions

  1. Do you reach terminal velocity? How long does it take?
  2. Do you feel like you’re falling or flying?
  3. What is your freefall velocity?
  4. How many G’s?
  5. Can you give me some sweet statistics about the dangers of skydiving.?

General Questions

  1. What does the MIT Skydiving Club do?
  2. The MIT Skydiving Club provides opportunities for members of the MIT community to get involved with skydiving and promotes the sport on campus. The purpose of the club is three-fold: (i) to provide a network for experience skydivers to meet each other, jump with each other, and compete for MIT, (ii) to mentor beginner skydivers through completing their license requirements and to encourage their further participation in the sport, and (iii) to facilitate members of the MIT community in making their first tandem skydive. Club membership is open to all MIT students, staff, faculty, and affiliates, as well as to members of the Cambridge and Boston community.

  3. Why would anyone choose to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?
  4. There aren't any perfectly good airplanes. Plus it's awesome. Experienced skydivers often answer this question with "because somebody opened the door!"

    The chemical answer is, of course, C9H13NO3 - adrenaline (epinephrine).

  5. Where do you jump?
  6. Our preferred dropzones are Skydive Pepperell in Pepperell, MA and Jumptown in Orange, MA. Both are USPA Group Member dropzones that cater to first time tandem students, beginners, and experienced jumpers alike. Each has a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft that comfortably seats 21 jumpers. Experienced jumpers include belly fliers, free fliers, and wingsuiters.

    Skydive Pepperell:
    165 Nashua Road, P.O. Box 279, Pepperell, MA 01463
    Phone: 978-433-9222, 1-800-SKYJUMP
    Fax: 978-433-8269
    Email: manifest@skyjump.com
    Airport Identifier: 26 MA - Unicom Frequency: 123.05
    Latitude: 42° 41.771667 N - Longitude: 71° 33.003333 W

    Jumptown:
    31 C St Orange, MA, MA 01364
    Phone: 978-544-5321, 1-800-890-JUMP
    Email: reservations@jumptown.com
    Airport Identifier: KORE - Unicom Frequency: 135.675
    Latitude: 42° 34 12.0 N - Longitude: 72° 17 18.6 W

    There are a number of other wonderful USPA-certified dropzones in the area as well, including Skydive New England in Lebanon, ME. We do not jump at much at Skydive New England, but it's also very nice, just a bit further away, so we tend to only have club events there on special occasions.

    In addition, there is a vertical wind tunnel in Nashua, NH, just down the road from the dropzone at Pepperell: Skyventure New Hampshire.

  7. I want to skydive! How can I start jumping?
  8. Great! Your first jump will be a tandem skydive, where you are strapped to the front of an experienced instructor who will guide you through the entire jump, canopy ride, and landing. Simply get in touch with us to sort out the details. Afterwards, you can enroll in the First Jump Course – a six-hour ground training course – to kick off the Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) training progression towards your solo skydiving license. skills. If you are interested in either a tandem or AFF with the club, let us know a few weeks in advance and we can help!

  9. What is a tandem?
  10. Tandem jumping is where you are attached to the front of an instructor. Tandem jumps are a great way to get a taste of skydiving with a smaller investment. They are cheaper than AFF category A, and unlike Static Line, you get to experience free fall on your first jump. It only requires an hour of ground training, so you can get trained on the morning of your first jump. You don't need as much training to do a tandem jump because there is always an instructor who is in control of the parachute strapped to your back in case you get in trouble. Some tandems pull their own ripcord, and some have their tandem master pull the ripcord. For many people, a tandem jump gets them hooked on skydiving and they sign up for the next AFF class. Some people do it just once to check skydiving off of their list of things to do in life. Either way, tandem skydives are a fantastic adventure!

  11. Do I really have to do a tandem before I can do a solo jump?
  12. According to the USPA, no. But many dropzones, including Skydive Pepperell, want a person to have done a tandem before begining AFF. The tandem gives a student a chance to experience freefall with fewer responsibilites, learn about the sensations and the jumpflow, and experience a bit of canopy piloting before being responsible for everything at once. We highly reccomend doing a tandem first, and let your instructor know you are interested in AFF!

  13. How can I jump by myself? Tell me more about Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) training!
  14. After your tandem skydive, you can start Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) training to progress towards your A-license. AFF is the premier method of training supported by the United States Parachuting Association (USPA). All aspects of AFF training are offered at Skydive Pepperell, where the MIT Skydiving Club jumps.

    You need to take the First Jump Course, which is a six-hour ground training course to brief you on skydiving safety, free fall skills, and canopy handling. You will also spend 20 minutes working on basic freefall skills in a wind tunnel. The first AFF skydive will be the Category A jump, where you exit the plane with two USPA-rated AFF instructors holding your harness and work on skydive safety and stability. The AFF progression through Categories B, C, D, E, and F skydives will introduce you to motion control, heading maintenance, and canopy control. You will also learn about airplane spotting, canopy packing, and equipment checks.

    After you have mastered the basics, you will work on advanced skydive skills with USPA- rated coaches, such as tracking, turning in freefall, and formation skydiving. You can get your USPA A-license after completing all the AFF requirements, performing 25 jumps, and passing your AFF check dive. Click here for more information on USPA licenses and the application procedure.

  15. Isn’t skydiving dangerous?
  16. Yes. As with any extreme sport, there is a palpable risk of injury or death while skydiving. The USPA, the MIT Skydiving Club, and all skydivers take skydiving safety very seriously. Years of research have resulted in extremely safe and reliable skydiving equipment. However, your survival is directly correlated to your knowledge, awareness, and respect for others in the sky. The AFF progression requires a rigorous ground course covering skydiving safety. Experienced skydivers constantly remind themselves of the risks involved and talk through safety precautions while planning their jumps. All skydivers are required to understand and practice emergency procedures while learning, planning jumps, and debriefing jumps. All dropzone, piloting, and skydiving activities must be made in accordance with FAA and USPA regulations.

    As skydivers, we understand and fully accept the risks associated with the sport. We additionally attempt to make these risks as transparent and accessible as possible. Please see the USPA’s Skydiving Safety page and Dropzone.com’s Skydiving Fatalities Database. Anyone participating in a club event must sign our liability waiver each year.

  17. How old do I have to be? Any other restrictions?
  18. Skydive Pepperell and the USPA adhere to a rigorous set of Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs) governing your eligibility to skydive. You must be over the age of 18. The weight limit is 225 pounds for tandem skydives and 220 pounds for AFF, as designated by the skydiving equipment manufacturers. Other factors, such as body proportion, may pose safety concerns for skydiving. If you are uncertain of your eligibility, please contact Skydive Pepperell before booking your jump.

  19. How far/long do you fall?
  20. Tandem skydives leave the airplane at an altitude of 10,000-14,000 feet. They are in freefall for about 40-60 seconds before pulling the parachute, and then they enjoy a 5-10 minute canopy ride back to the dropzone’s landing area. AFF and experienced jumperss exit the airplane at an altitude of 14,000 feet. They generally pull their parachutes around 3,500 feet, giving 10,500 feet of freefall (about 60 seconds), with a 5 minute canopy ride before landing.

  21. How do I get to the dropzone in Pepperell, MA?
  22. Skydive Pepperell is located off of Route 111 in Pepperell, MA (165 Nashua Road, Pepperell, MA). By car, take follow Route 3 North to Exit 5W (Route 111W), and follow Route 111W for 5 miles. The airport will be on your left.

    The MIT Skydiving Club regularly organizes trips up to the dropzone, and we welcome you to carpool with us! Simply Email us for a ride.

  23. How do I get to Jumptown in Orange, MA?
  24. Jumptown is located at the Orange Municipal Airport (ORE) in Orange, MA. From Boston, take route 2 west and get off at exit 16. Turn left at the exit ramp and then go north for approximately 200 yards until you see a sign for Jumptown and Indistrial Park / Lucci Drive. Turn left onto this road and go to the end, then take a right and your first left.

    The MIT Skydiving Club regularly organizes trips up to the dropzone, and we welcome you to carpool with us! Simply Email us for a ride.

  25. How much does it cost to go skydiving?
  26. Current prices can be found at Skydive Pepperell's Jump Prices page. The current Pepperell prices as of July, 2012 are:

    Tandem Prices

    Tandem $235
    Tandem with student or military ID $215
    Tandem with MIT Skydiving Club Discount - ask us! $195

    AFF Training

    First jump course $125
    Category A, B, & C1 jumps $225
    Category C2, D, E jumps $170
    Coach Jumps (not strictly AFF, but the natural progression) $125
    Solo jumps $75
    A license check dive $170

    Experienced Skydiver

    Full altitude $27
    Hop 'n' pop $21

    At Jumptown you can find prices at their Jump Prices page. As of April 2014 these were:

    Tandem Prices

    Tandem $235
    Thursday and Friday Special $220
    Tandem with student or military ID $220
    Tandem with MIT Skydiving Club Discount - ask us! ASK!

    AFF Prices

    AFF Camp (price includes First Jump Course, first 8 jumps, 1 year membership in USPA) $1,495
    First Jump Course (price includes your first jump) $325
    Category B and C1 (two instructor dives) $200
    One Year Membership to the United States Parachute Association (required at time of Category B Jump) $65
    Category C2 - E2 (one instructor dives) $175
    Coach Jumps (not strictly AFF, but the natural progression) $125

    Experienced Twin Otter Slot Prices and Gear Rental

    Exp. Jumpers and Non-Club Members Jumps $27
    Gear Rental Per Jump for Student or Experienced Gear (pack job not included) $25
    Daily Gear Rental for Experienced Rig (pack jobs not included) $60
    Recurrency Training with AFF Instructor (Price Depends on Length of Time Since Last Jump) $75 or $100
    Packing Class (Book at least one week in advance) $75

  27. I’m an experienced skydiver who just moved to the Boston area. Help?
  28. Welcome to Boston! The MIT Skydiving Club and the Skydive Pepperell community warmly invite you to start jumping with us as soon as you can! Email us and we would be happy to answer any questions you have about jumping with us. We look forward to meeting you!

  29. I’m an experienced skydiver but my ratings are uncurrent. Help?
  30. Not a problem! Instructors and coaches at Skydive Pepperell are happy to do recurrency jumps with you. If it’s really been a while, Skydive Pepperell also offers refresher jump courses frequently during the season. Email us and we would be happy to help you figure out the details. We look forward to getting you back into the sport!

  31. Can I get on your email lists?
  32. Yes! Simply email us to get on our lists or you can subscribe yourself via Mailman. We have two email lists: skydive@mit is our club’s general announcements list (Mailman page) skydive-banter@mit is a big announcements list for dropzones across New England (Mailman page)

  33. Where can I get more information?
  34. The United States Parachuting Association website has a plethora of information about the sport, regulations, and dropzones. Dropzone.com has even more information about equipment, safety, dropzones, and gear. Skydive Pepperell is our home dropzone.

    Still have questions? Email us!

  35. Okay, I really want to skydive!
  36. Great! Stop being awkward and talk to us!

Nerd Questions

  1. Do you reach terminal velocity? How long does it take?
  2. Terminal velocoty is what happens when the force of gravity pulling you down is exactly canceled by the drag force from the air pushing back up on you. When there is no net force, acceleration is zero (F=ma), and thus you do not go any faster. For a skydiver, this takes about 15 seconds (or the first 1000 feet of freefall) to reach.

    Simulated early jump

  3. What is your freefall velocity?
  4. Terminal velocity depends on a number of factors, including weight, surface area, and body position. The acceleration of gravity on earth is more or less a constant, so the force pulling you down in just proportional to your mass. The drag force due to all of the wind is more complicated, and generally, at least for fast drag at a Reynold's number close to that of a skydiver, depends on shape, area exposed to wind, the atmospheric density, and the velocity squared.

    Simulated jump

  5. Do you feel like you’re falling or flying?
  6. Surprisingly, you don't typically get that sort of "roller coaster" stomach sensation. It's more like floating than falling, and it's very windy. Think about sticking your hand out a car window going down the freeway. Now imagine doing that with your whole body at 120mph.

  7. How many G’s?
  8. In freefall, only gravity is pulling on you, so you feel 1G. Upon opening, the parachute comes out in stages so as to not be uncomfortable or decelerate you too quickly. A typical opening is a couple vertical G's.

    Simulated Opening

  9. Can you give me some sweet statistics about the dangers of skydiving?
  10. Statistics are constantly manipulated to prove or disprove any reporter’s agenda. The USPA, the MIT Skydiving Club, and all skydivers take skydiving safety very seriously. Please see the USPA’s Skydiving Safety page and Dropzone.com’s Skydiving Fatalities Database for more information. You might also find this discussion of risk quantification interesting.