People are afraid of skydiving mainly because there are a lot of myths surrounding it. These inaccurate 'facts' present a distorted picture of skydiving, keeping a lot of people way from the adventure sport. Here are four of these myths along with the real explanation.
Myth 1: During free fall you can't breathe
Fact: Breathing during free fall is possible, contrary to what people tend to think. If breathing wouldn't be possible the skydiver wouldn't be able to open the parachute because they would be unconscious.
Myth 2:A conversation can be held during free fall.
Fact: This might be doable in movies but it is strictly Hollywood. The reality is that while free falling you can't hear anything because the wind screaming through your ears is too loud. Trying to have a conversation in such conditions is impossible.
Myth 3: Holding on to someone that has a parachute is possible, if you don't have one yourself.
Fact: This is indeed a movie miracle and is 99% likely not to happen. While such stunts have been pulled off , it is next to impossible due to the forces which are at work when the parachute opens.
Myth 4: You can free fall for five minutes
Fact: The cruise height of an airplane is at about 10,000 - 12,000 feet and that means you enjoy about 40 seconds of free fall before opening the parachute. A five minutes fall requires a height of about 60,000 feet and you would need extra oxygen.
Myth 5: My parachute will not open
Fact: There are a lot of natural fears about your parachute failing to open but this has been take care of in modern parachutes. These are fitted with a device that will deploy the parachute automatically in case you fail to do that yourself. The device is called Automatic Activation Device, or AAD.
The most common reasons for skydiving deaths and injuries, are mistakes in judgment and procedure. This means that if you are well prepared for the jump and do everything right then you'll enjoy 60 seconds of exhilarating free fall and live to tell the tale.