How Does Tandem Jumping Work?

Turn your dream of flight into reality! Skydiving tandem at Skydive Cross Keys is a great way to experience the thrill of freefall for the first time. Don’t worry; a certified instructor will accompany you at all times. Our instructors are among the most experienced licensed skydivers in the country, with thousands of tandem jumps under their belts.

What is Tandem Skydiving?

Tandem skydiving is jumping out of an airplane while attached to a professional instructor, who guides your descent, deploys your parachute, and facilitates your landing. Skydiving instructors are certified and highly experienced, and trained to make your tandem jump as comfortable as possible.

Tandem Jumping at a Glance

Altitude – 13,500 feet

Airplane ride – 10 min

Freefall time – 60 seconds

Opening altitude – 5,500 feet

Canopy flight – 5 min

An experience you'll never forget!

Your First Time Skydiving: Step by Step

Women pose in front of plane

Step 1: Before Your Tandem Jump

When you first arrive at the skydiving center and check in at our front desk, we will show you a quick orientation video. Then one of our tandem instructors will brief you for your skydive and gear you up in a harness, provide goggles, and you will be ready to go!

You and your instructor will board the airplane together. There will be plenty of unforgettable moments to capture on camera – make sure to book your photo and video package!

Man does thumbs up in plane

Step 2: Your Skydiving Plane Ride

Once all jumpers board the plane (our Super Grand Caravan fits 17 jumpers), the pilot will take off and start climbing. It takes around 10 minutes to get to a full altitude of 13,500 feet. Ask your instructor to point out the local landmarks!

As you climb towards the clouds, your harness will be securely attached to your instructor’s harness. Your videographer will record a short interview to capture all your emotions on the way up!

Woman smiles mid-air on tandem skydive.

Step 3: Enjoy Your Skydiving Freefall Time

Now, the most thrilling part. Stepping out of the airplane! Enjoy a breathtaking view of the clouds surrounding you and the ground far below, the wind in your face, and your heart pounding with excitement! You will be in freefall for about 60 seconds. Nothing to worry about – your instructor will open the parachute when it’s time. Your videographer will capture all of your freefall, from airplane exit to parachute opening. Feel free to high five them in freefall!

Skydivers float above green countryside.

Step 4: Floating in Canopy Flight

The moment the parachute opens will most likely catch you by surprise! It feels like you are getting pulled up slightly, as you move from your horizontal freefalling position to hanging vertically in your harness. You get to watch the canopy open, a thrilling sensation, and an experience in itself!

Once the parachute opens, you will slow down and enjoy the quiet yet spectacular canopy flight. As you gradually descend for about 5-10 minutes, you will have plenty of time to absorb the unique views and chat with your instructor. Ask them to point out the Philadelphia skyline, one of the reasons why skydiving in NJ is so special! To us, this part is just as enjoyable as the freefall, scenic and serene, as you get to fly and navigate your way back to the dropzone.

tandem skydivers on the ground after a successful jump

Step 5: Celebrate Your Skydive Landing!

And finally, the landing. Your instructor will land the canopy in the landing area right next to our hangar. Your friends will be there watching you land from our spectator deck, and your videographer will capture that moment of pure joy as your feet touch the ground!

Congratulations, you will have just completed your first tandem skydive!

If you enjoy it and decide to pursue your skydiving license, and skydive regularly as a hobby or a sport, you can enroll in our AFP (Advanced Freefall Progression) program and keep jumping with us!

Frequently Asked Questions

A tandem skydive means two people (an instructor and a student) jumping out of a plane together with one large parachute. Skydiving tandem is accessible to most people, and is the easiest way to make your first skydive, since it only requires a short training session for the tandem student.

On a tandem skydive, two jumpers (an instructor and a student) share one large parachute. On a solo skydive, a jumper wears and pilots their own individual parachute. Solo skydiving requires more training and preparation than a tandem skydive. Typically after making a tandem skydive, you have an option of enrolling in a student program to learn how to skydive solo.

A skydiving pair jumping tandem (instructor and student) typically freefalls at a speed of about 120 miles per hour. It is an exhilarating sensation that feels more like flying rather than falling. See our blog post to find out what a skydiving experience feels like!

Expect to spend about half of the day at the dropzone – sometimes weather causes delays. It is okay to feel a little nervous, it’s not every day that you get to have this thrilling adventure! Remember that a certified professional will be taking care of you, just as they have of hundreds or thousands of tandem students before you. Most first timers report that once they jump out, they experience a thrilling sensation of flight, exhilaration and freedom. Remember to relax and enjoy every second of the experience! Check out our tandem skydiving FAQs to learn more about what to expect during your skydive.

Like any sport, skydiving comes with its inherent risks. At Skydive Cross Keys, we work to minimize the risk by complying with all relevant FAA and USPA regulations regarding instructor training and certification, equipment and aircraft maintenance, weather limitations, etc. Skydiving equipment is quite advanced – besides having a main and a reserve parachute, every tandem system is also equipped with an Automatic Activation Device (AAD) that deploys the parachute at a certain altitude if one hasn’t been deployed yet. You can learn more about skydiving safety at this link.