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What happens to your body when you skydive from 13K to 15K feet?

Every year, at least 500,000 people jump from the planes voluntarily. The aim is to free fall 13,000 feet to the ground beneath. Studies (linkby the United States Parachute Association shows that only in the U.S, at least 3.2 million jumps are done per annum; of these, 500,000 are first-timers.

Free-falling has a lot of physical effects, though it is difficult to notice them due to the screams.  The effects of skydiving from such height are as follows:


Certain doctors may be rightly classified Skydiving as a deliberate exposure to trauma. When one has a traumatic experience, time seems to crawl, or even stands still. This is a very common experience. However, the brain continues to process stress the same way, shifting the skydiver’s perception of time.  A 2007 study published in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy on perception of time by first-time divers found that those who actually felt frightened by the fall also felt that the duration of fall was longer than it actually was. However, the excited ones felt that the fall lasted for a very short period of time. Speaking objectively, free fall lasts for at least 60 seconds of pure rush and adrenaline, which is an incredible great feeling.

The ear and nose

While descending from a height of 13,000 feet, one may experience drastic changes in atmospheric pressure; a condition which may have great impacts on the sinuses and the ears. A review published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, shows that during the flight up, pressures in the ears and sinus decreases, allowing air in through a “reverse sneeze.” These are pressure changes that occur in such activities as skydiving and scuba diving. However, during a free fall, there is an increase in pressure, with air being squeezed out of the sinus and the ears. Very rarely, such drastic changes in pressure can cause pains to the ears and the sinus as well as nausea, vertigo and headache. So relax, and enjoy the trip once you step into the plane and be ready to experience your first-time skydive.

Effect on the butt

Let’s be clear first-timers. It is not uncommon to experience some nervous farts just before the free fall (we are not kidding, we have been there!!!). This is one of the biological changes peculiar to skydiving from such heights. Also, one may feel a strong urge to urinate. Why does this happen? This is simply the body’s reaction to extreme levels of anxiety. This causes tension on the muscles, while mounting additional pressure on the bladder, creating the “pee” sensation.

Changes in the internal organs

A variety of accelerations and speeds are experienced by the body right from the moment one jumps out of the plane till the landing. Rapid acceleration lasts for between 3-4 seconds. After that, what happens is what we’d call… “Terminal Speed” (at this point, the body feels like it is floating … and guess what? The feeling is amazing!!! ). Our friends at Skydive Paraclete XP have a great article that refers to the terminal velocity. When we exit an aircraft, our bodies accelerate – but only up until the point at which air resistance equals the force of gravity.

So in short – terminal velocity in skydiving is the downward speed achievable by the human body in free fall. This free fall sensation is caused by the pushing back of air molecules against the body as gravity attempts to pull the body towards the ground.

The speed of the plane prior to the fall is close to that when the diver does the free fall, which is defined as relative speed. In other words, when the skydiver is leaving the plane that is already moving, the relative speed that the diver feel as he is falling away includes the forward speed of the plane. After you jump and within a few seconds of this, the skydiver attains a speed of approximately 110 – 120 miles per hour lasting for about 30 – 50 seconds before the parachute is deployed at a range of 5,000 to 3,500 feet depending of the experience of the skydiver.   Finally, there’s an increase in adrenaline secretion and of course, heart rate. For first-timers, the heart rate could reach 170 beats per minute, about 3 times the normal heart rate of 60-70 beats per minute.

Fly with our experts!

That being said, we just want to make you aware of all the changes and sensations you may experience during your first skydiving Zeshion. With the help of our elite coaches, your progression in the discipline will be skyrocketed to levels you never imagined on a rapid fashion.

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Carlos Pedro Briceño

Carlos Pedro Briceño

Carlos Pedro Briceño’s story started 20 years ago. After returning to his home country of Venezuela following his university completion in Australia, it only took one jump with a…


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