Imagine soaring through the skies, the wind rushing past, and the earth a beautiful canvas far below — all while securely attached to a professional instructor. This is the essence of a tandem skydive.

In a tandem jump, you’re not alone. You’re paired with an experienced skydiver who takes the plunge with you, literally.

The two of you are connected by specialized harnesses, ensuring that you remain safely attached throughout the entire descent. Your instructor guides the freefall, parachute deployment, and landing, allowing you to revel in the experience with peace of mind.

Many curious spirits ponder, “How many tandem jumps do I need before I can skydive solo?” The answer is more straightforward than you might think. Just one tandem jump can be enough to familiarize you with the skydiving basics and prepare you for the Accelerated Freefall (AFF) program, where you’ll learn to skydive independently.

The AFF program is a structured course designed to teach you the skills necessary to perform solo skydives safely. By starting with a tandem jump, you get a taste of the real thing, easing the transition to the more comprehensive training that the AFF program offers.

Tandem vs. Solo Skydiving: Key Differences 

Tandem skydiving is often the first chapter in most people’s skydiving narrative. It’s an eye-opening, heart-thumping experience where you’re harnessed to a seasoned instructor, sharing the thrill of freefall and the serenity of the parachute ride down. It’s a reassuring introduction to the sport, where the responsibility of jump execution is in your instructor’s capable hands.

On the flip side, if you’re the type who’s eager to take charge from the get-go, starting with solo skydiving might be your path of choice.

Contrary to popular belief, your first leap doesn’t have to be a tandem one. Ambitious beginners can embark on a solo skydiving certification course, where the first jump is made under your own parachute, overseen by professionals.

The Road to Your USPA “A” License

Whether you begin tandem or solo, the ultimate goal for many is earning the USPA “A” License, your golden ticket to the skies. It’s a journey of acquiring 25 jumps and mastering the art of skydiving, demonstrating proficiency in safety and flight skills. Once achieved, you’re recognized as a competent skydiver, able to venture solo or join in the camaraderie of the skydiving community worldwide.

The tandem skydive experience 

In a tandem jump, you’re harnessed to a seasoned skydiving instructor, ensuring safety and peace of mind as you soar through the skies. This setup is particularly comforting for newcomers who can’t imagine jumping alone – it’s like having a sky-high safety net.

Now, let’s talk about what makes a tandem skydive so special. As a first-time jumper, the thrill is immeasurable. Imagine experiencing the full spectrum of skydiving without the responsibility of flying the parachute yourself. That’s the magic of a tandem jump. It allows you to focus entirely on the rush of the wind and the breathtaking views while your instructor takes care of the technical bits.

Solo skydiving, on the other hand, is the ultimate adrenaline booster. The sense of achievement you get from jumping independently is unmatched.

However, it does come with a hefty dose of responsibility. Solo jumpers must undergo comprehensive ground school training, which delves deep into the equipment, jump procedures, and crucial emergency protocols. This extensive preparation ensures that even the most jittery novices feel confident enough to take this monumental step.

Is tandem skydiving risky? 

Is Tandem Skydiving Safe? Tandem skydiving is heralded as the safest form of skydiving available, boasting a stellar safety record that should ease the minds of even the most jittery jumpers.

According to recent statistics, the likelihood of a fatality is a mere 0.003 per thousand jumps over the last decade. To put that into perspective, the chances of being struck by lightning or scooping up a lottery jackpot are actually greater than experiencing a fatal tandem jump. It’s a reassuring comparison that highlights the meticulous safety protocols in place for this high-adrenaline activity.

Managing unconsciousness during tandem skydiving 

Imagine soaring through the sky, the world spread out below like a miniature masterpiece – this is the allure of tandem skydiving. It’s a sport that combines the thrill of freefall with the security of a seasoned expert guiding you every step of the way.

But even with the highest safety standards, how do instructors manage the rare case of an emergency, such as a passenger losing consciousness?

This question hovers in the minds of many prospective skydivers, and the answer lies in the rigorous training and protocols followed by tandem skydiving professionals.

In the world of tandem skydiving, instructors are not only skilled in the art of flight but are also equipped to handle unexpected situations. Since the inception of their careers, which for some began as early as 2005, these professionals have encountered various scenarios, learning and adapting to ensure the safety of their passengers.

It’s reassuring to know that incidences of unconsciousness during freefall are nearly non-existent. The challenge of managing such a situation amid the forceful winds at speeds of around 120 miles per hour would be considerable. Thankfully, the training and experience of tandem masters mean they’re prepared for even the most unlikely events.

On the rare occasion that a passenger might faint after the parachute has opened, the instructor’s training kicks into high gear. Their immediate responsibility is to ensure the parachute is fully deployable and they are directed toward a safe landing zone. Once these critical elements are in place, attention shifts to the passenger’s ability to breathe. Breathing can become compromised if an unconscious person’s head slumps forward. That’s why instructors are adept at gently tilting the passenger’s head back to maintain an open airway. This act is performed while one of the instructor’s hands remains on the parachute controls – a testament to their multitasking skills and composure.

As the ground approaches, the instructor prepares to execute a precision landing. For a brief but crucial moment, both hands must control the parachute.

Upon landing, their focus returns to the passenger, ensuring that breathing is unobstructed and that the individual is responding appropriately.

Such dedication to safety and responsiveness to emergencies defines tandem skydiving instruction. The instructors’ ability to navigate these rare situations while providing an exhilarating experience is what makes tandem skydiving a remarkable venture. Participants walk away not just with an adrenaline rush but with a deeper respect for the professionals who make this sport accessible and safe.

Tandem skydiving is an adventure wrapped in layers of precaution, expertise, and care, allowing participants to indulge in the thrill with confidence. It offers an extraordinary narrative to share, a highlight in one’s life that is as secure as it is sensational, all thanks to the discreet yet formidable guardianship of the tandem instructors.

If you’re considering a skydiving adventure that combines the excitement of freefall with breathtaking scenery, you won’t want to miss our detailed review of GoJump Hawaii’s tandem skydiving experience in Oahu. Recognized for providing both an exhilarating jump and top-notch safety, GoJump Hawaii is a premier choice for skydiving enthusiasts and first-timers alike. At $299 per person, the experience offers incredible value for a memory that lasts a lifetime, set against the stunning backdrop of Oahu’s landscapes. The excursion, lasting about three hours, is guided by seasoned instructors committed to safety and the best skydiving experience possible.

Why tandem skydiving trumps solo in safety 

Statistical evidence shows that tandem skydiving has a more impressive safety record compared to solo skydiving. Specifically, there’s only one student fatality in every 500,000 tandem skydives versus one in every 220,000 solo jumps. This means you have a 0.00020% chance of a fatal incident on a tandem dive, while solo jumps nudge that number up to 0.00045%.

At the core of tandem skydiving’s heightened safety is the presence of an experienced instructor. These instructors aren’t just seasoned skydivers; they’ve undergone rigorous safety training to obtain their tandem licenses. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) plays a significant role in this process, mandating that a skydiver complete a minimum of 500 jumps before qualifying for the tandem instructor course. In practice, however, most instructors have logged thousands of jumps by the time they train others, which was precisely the case with my instructor, who had over 4,000 leaps to their name.

These seasoned professionals don’t just bring experience to the table; they also bring a specialized skill set honed through specialized training.

This training involves handling a variety of challenging scenarios, from low or high-altitude pulls to stabilizing frenetic student movements in mid-air. It takes careful counterbalancing and precise positioning before deploying the parachute, ensuring that any potential mistakes made by the student are mitigated effectively.

Tandem instructors must demonstrate their ability to handle these challenges competently before they can earn their license. This rigorous certification process is a student’s guarantee that their tandem instructor can navigate any of their errors, ensuring a safe skydiving experience.

A tandem instructor’s expertise goes beyond handling physical maneuvers; they are also attuned to the emotional state of their students. They have the intuition to soothe nerves and manage anxiety, providing reassurance before and during the jump. In the event of panic, their training ensures they can still guide the descent to a safe and controlled landing. Considering these factors, the superior safety of tandem skydives is no longer surprising. Solo skydivers, especially those with less experience, are more susceptible to human error and slower reaction times in responding to any mid-air inconsistencies. A primary cause of skydiving accidents is human error, which is significantly reduced in tandem jumps due to the expertise of the instructor.

Jump count for flying solo in skydiving

Imagine the thrill of soaring through the skies with nothing but the blue expanse above and the earth far below. For many, this dream becomes a reality through skydiving.

But before you can fly solo, there’s a critical path you must follow to ensure safety and expertise. It’s a journey that requires commitment, training, and a series of jumps that build your skill and confidence.

Welcome to the Accelerated Freefall program (AFF), your gateway to becoming a certified solo skydiver. The AFF isn’t just any program; it’s an intensive training regimen designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need for solo skydiving. The journey begins with an in-depth class that lasts approximately 4-6 hours. This is where you’ll learn the fundamentals of skydiving, including safety protocols, equipment handling, and the physics of freefall.

After your ground training, you’ll embark on a series of ‘category’ jumps. These jumps are structured to guide you through different aspects of skydiving, with each one focusing on particular skills.

Think of it as a step-by-step approach to mastering the art of skydiving. With each jump, you’ll demonstrate your understanding and ability, and upon completion of each category, you’ll inch closer to your goal.

But how many jumps does it take to fly solo? The magic number is 25. That’s right, you’ll need to complete 25 total jumps to earn your A License, the certification that declares you a qualified solo skydiver. Each jump is a building block, a lesson in the sky that takes you from novice to the coveted status of a certified jumper. The process is designed not only to train you but also to inspire confidence. By the time you complete your 25th jump and earn your certification, you’ll have a wealth of experience that allows you to skydive solo with the same ease as an eagle gliding across the sky.

The importance of these jumps cannot be overstated. They are your rite of passage into the world of solo skydiving, a blend of discipline, learning, and exhilarating experiences. And once you’ve achieved your A License, you join an elite group of adventurers who can call the sky their playground.

For those who dream of flying, the AFF is your path to independence in the sky. It’s a commitment that rewards you with remarkable stories, the kind of stories that you’ll want to share with others.

It’s about performing under pressure, executing what you’ve learned, and helping others who share your dream to step into the vastness of the sky.

In the end, those 25 jumps are more than just numbers; they represent a journey of growth and adventure. They are your ticket to freedom, allowing you to embrace the sky solo with respect and confidence.


For the adventurous spirit yearning for a departure from the mundane, skydiving presents a compelling challenge. It’s an activity that beckons the brave and rewards them with an unparalleled sense of freedom. There’s a misconception that skydiving is reserved for the wildly audacious. However, this exhilarating sport is a natural progression for those who desire to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in new experiences.

Disconnecting from technology and its incessant demands allows one to engage fully with the present moment. Skydiving epitomizes this disconnection, inviting participants to plunge into a realm of clarity and presence where the only tweets come from the birds sharing the skies. At its heart, skydiving is about connection—not with Wi-Fi signals, but with fellow skydivers who share the same zest for life and adventure.

Moreover, skydiving is the perfect answer for those looking to tick an item off their bucket list. Whether you choose to experience the thrill in tandem with an experienced instructor or take the leap into solo skydiving, the activity promises to deliver the full spectrum of excitement and accomplishment.