Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is your safety record?
A: Since opening in 2000 we have maintained an excellent record with ZERO fatalities, two student injuries (ankle and hip), and 100% great times from over 10,000 skydives! (more information)
Q: Do we really jump into the Zion National Park?
A: No, we don't. There is no airport or convenient area to land the parachutes in the park. Nor would we want to disturb the pristine nature of the park with our airplane noise. Also, it is illegal to land a parachute on national park service property.
Q: So why "Skydive Zion?"
A: Because we are right next to Zion National Park. We take off from the Hurricane Airport which is the closest airport to Zion, and have a spectacular view of the entire park - during the freefall we get to enjoy the whole view at 120 m.p.h.!
Q: What days are you open?
A: Skydive Zion is open by appointment only, but we can arrange for your skydive anytime during the day, and seven days a week! We may be able to schedule your dive on short notice, but it is best to schedule your dive at least several days in advance.
Q: How hard do you hit the ground?
A: You mean, how hard do you 'land'? Soft enough that all you will need are sneakers for the jump.
Q: What if I have made a tandem skydive at another location - does it count? Can I go onto a level 2 tandem skydive?
A: As long as you made the skydive within the last two years you can go onto a tandem level 2 skydive. As you may have noticed, at Skydive Zion people get the opportunity to do much more flying than at other places (roll on exit; turns in freefall; pull your own ripcord; land the parachute with the instructor; etc.). But even if you only got a tandem 'ride' somewhere else you have still learned the primary lessons of what it is like to voluntarily get out of an airplane, arch for control during freefall, and fly a modern parachute through the sky. And by the way, even if you never make another skydive - congratulations on your first dive, wherever it happened!
Q: What Should I bring?
A: A t-shirt and bluejeans with sneakers are all that is needed most of the year. During colder months you might need a sweatshirt, but even in the winter the Utah skies are very comfortable.
Q: I'm over 215 lbs, but I'm in great shape. Can I go?
A: Sorry, but no. The odds of an injury go up once a tandem student weighs more than 215, and we would rather have someone frustrated than injured. Besides, the parachute doesn't know if you are in great shape - it only reacts according to weight.
Q: How do we pay?
A: If you have not gone skydiving with us before, then we will ask for a deposit to hold the reservation. A credit card number is usually left with us, and you are only charged if you cancel with less than 24 hours before you are scheduled to arrive at the airport. Once you arrive at the airport we expect payment by cash or check. If you'd like to use a credit card to make payment, we can do that but it must be in advance over the internet. We do not have credit card processing equipment at the airport so we use PayPal.com, which is no charge to you.
Q: What if I sign a parent's consent form to let my 17 year old go skydiving with Skydive Zion?
A: Sorry again. In this instance the legal system will not allow either you or your offspring to sign our Agreement of Responsibility.
Q: How much does it cost after I graduate?
A: Our cost is $20 per jump, but depends upon our operating schedule and other divers helping share the cost of the airplane.
Q: How much is gear rental?
A: Our current cost is $15 per jump, and that includes the entire parachute system including main-harness-reserve-automatic opener, along with helmet, goggles, and altimeter.
Q: What is the worst thing that can happen?
A: Your check could bounce!
Q: Will you guarantee that the chute will work?
A: Modern parachutes are extremely reliable, and we have never had a student parachute malfunction here at Skydive Zion. But the only guarantee is that you will return to the ground!
Q: Why do you jump from perfectly good airplanes?
A(1): To go skydiving!
A(2): There is no such thing as a perfectly good airplane, only a perfectly flying airplane!
Q: What is the lowest altitude you can open your parachute?
A: About 1 foot, but the landing would not be good.
Q: So how can I get up in the sky with Skydive Zion?
A: Why, that's a great question! Just call us at 435 635-3742, or click on the email address above.
Q: How long has skydiving been around?
A: Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the design of a parachute which was dropped off the Tower of Pisa in Italy. In 1617, story has it that a countryman actually jumped from a tower in Venice. Eventually in the 18th Century Frenchman Andre Garnerin jumped out of a balloon over Paris. This was likely the first "skydive" since it was from an aircraft. In the early 20th Century, people referred to as "barnstormers" began trying aviation stunt flying. This eventually included jumping out of airplanes with a parachute. Skydiving really came of age following World War II and the extensive use of airborne delivery of troops to the battlefield. A few stalwart pioneers proved that parachuting was not limited to low altitude military jumps in which parachutes were automatically opened by a static line attached to the departure aircraft. Man could make a controlled fall through the air for over a minute, open his own parachute and land safely.
Q: How did skydiving became so popular in the past few years?
A: There are many reasons for skydiving's popularity. First, equipment has improved dramatically. Ram air parachutes make landings soft and fun, and automatic activation devices for parachutes have substantially reduced fatal accidents. Second, the new generations of Americans are looking for more adventurous sports, and skydiving is that. Third, several motion pictures in the last decade have used skydiving as an underlying theme, thus bringing the sport to more people. And the ability to take air-to-air videos has shown how photogenic the sport is.
Q: How is skydiving regulated?
A: Skydiving as a sport is self-regulated, meaning that skydivers voluntarily follow a set of basic safety requirements set by the U.S. Parachute Association. There, are, however, some federal rules established by the federal Aviation Administration, most of which apply to the aircraft from which we jump. Please refer to the "Drop Zones, Skydiving Centers, and Schools" FAQs for more on regulations.
Q: How does a parachute work?
A: A parachute is simply a device made of fabric designed to slow a persons descent through the air sufficient to make a safe landing or stop. The traditional parachutes -- often referred to as canopies -- were round. Air flowing into and around the parachute created drag, which retarded the jumper's fall. In the 1950's it was discovered that not only could parachutes slow descent vertically, but they could also cause the jumper to move laterally. This was done by cutting holes in the back of the canopy so that air could rush out to the rear and produce thrust. With an equal and opposite reaction, the canopy and the jumper would move forward. In the 1960's aeronautical engineers began developing canopies which were not round, but rather shaped like an aircraft wing or "airfoil". The parachutes not only slowed descent as the original round parachutes did, but also were able to generate lift. They became known as ram-air parachutes, which are what almost all skydivers use today. A skydiver can steer a ram air parachute by distorting the airfoil. For example, pulling down on the right rear of a parachute causes it to turn right. Special steering lines are provided to accomplish this. The skydiver can also pull down on both rear steering lines at the same time, causing the canopy to raise its "angle of attack" to the relative wind. This is analogous to what a pilot of an airplane does just as he is about to land. It is called "flaring." It increases drag which slows the skydiver or airplane down, while momentarily increasing lift. This allows the jumper or airplane can land slowly and gently.
Q: How dangerous is skydiving?
A: Danger, of course, is relative. People often try to compare the risks of skydiving to other activities, but this is difficult to do because of the different duration, frequency and/or number of participants. It is difficult, for example to compare the risks or SCUBA diving and skydiving. USPA usually explains risk in terms of the number of fatalities per jump. With more than 350,000 people making around 3.3 million jumps a year and an annual average over the past decade of 20 fatalities per year, that translates into one fatality per 165,000 jumps (currently averaging 18 per year - see www.uspa.org for more info). It is noteworthy that while the number of fatalities has remained fairly constant the number of jumps made annually over the past decade has doubled. Very few fatal accidents involve student skydivers even though students comprise the bulk of participants in the sport. This is due largely to the quality of instruction, most of which is conducted or supervised by USPA-rated instructors.
Q: How many people are injured each year skydiving?
A: It's hard to estimate injuries very accurately, because what one person might call an injury, another might brush off as a minor occurrence. Also, there is no requirement to report skydiving injuries to any government agency. Many accidents go unreported, so USPA has no accurate information.
Q: How often does a parachute malfunction?
A: A variety of causes can lead to a parachute malfunction, but the jumper can control most of them. They include design choice, inspection and maintenance, packing, how the jumper puts the parachute on, how careful the jumper is with his or her gear in the airplane, and stability on opening. There is no requirement to report parachute malfunctions, so how often they occur is difficult to estimate. One widely accepted estimate is that in 600 to 1,000 random parachute openings of the main parachute, one will result in a malfunction requiring the use of the reserve parachute. (The reserve parachute is inspected, packed, and used under more controlled conditions.)