If the mere thought of stepping up and stepping out leaves you shaking in your boots – we commend you for landing on this page, and we’re thrilled to share some great news. Perhaps contrary to logic, skydiving can help people living with a fear of heights to overcome it.
Too good to be true? Not so, muchacho. Here are five tips that could propel you into an exciting new life chapter.
Know Your Enemy
Before we jump in, let’s break it down. Officially, those with a fear of heights are acrophobic or suffer from acrophobia. “Acron” meaning edge, summit or peak and “phobos” meaning fear. The term is as ancient as the Greeks because being afraid of heights was commonplace then too. Matter of fact, it’s an affliction as old as mammalian history.
That whole survival of the fittest thing? Being mindful of heights is a big part of it. If you feel anxious when in a potentially life-threatening situation and back away, you’ve got a key to survival worth passing on. And pass it on we have! Clammy hands and flop sweat. Butterflies and lumps in the throat. Screams and swears. All totally natural. OK, on with the tips.
1. Do Your Research
If you’ve only watched videos of world-class skydivers shredding the gnar, you likely need a little skydiving 101 to ground your fear and boost your confidence. Spend some time on dropzone websites learning about tandem skydiving, check out the FAQs, call to get a sense of the vibe, visit to see the lay of the land. You want to understand what each operation prioritizes and what they value.
At Texas Skydiving, our number one priority is safety. Our aircraft are meticulously maintained, our gear is top-of-the-line, and our instructors are highly trained and experienced. If you have any questions about our operations or our sport, connect with us. We have intentionally created an environment that is inviting, empowering and collaborative.
2. Know What to Expect
When it comes to facing a major fear, understanding what you’re getting into is half the battle. Skydiving follows that old what-goes-up, must-come-down formula. Unlike the early days of recreational skydiving, though – which featured will-of-the-wind military surplus gear – modern-day skydiving equipment is high-tech, sophisticated and allows for precise maneuverability.
So, here’s the quick and dirty:
You’ll attend a 15 or 20 minute training session before getting into your tandem skydiving harness that attaches you securely to your instructor and the parachute system.
You and your instructor will board the plane and fly to altitude – 10,500 feet or about two miles up. When it’s go time, you’ll head to the door and jump!
This is the awesome part that everyone thinks is petrifying. It is scary for a beat, and then it’s i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. Fear melts away as you feel like you’re floating – never falling.
Your instructor deploys the parachute after about a minute of freefall. You glide peacefully over the scenic countryside below. You can even steer if you want to.
When your instructor says the word, you’ll lift your legs while s/he brings you in for a landing. You might slide in on your butt or land on your feet. Either way, no sweat.
A major misconception people tend to have about skydiving – the plane ride and freefall in particular – is that you won’t be able to breathe. Skydiving planes are not pressurized like commercial aircraft and so, yes, if you went above 15,000 feet the USPA would require that everyone on board receive supplemental oxygen. But up to 10,500 feet, you’re A-OK.
In terms of freefall, it’s a myth. It’s no more difficult to breathe while in freefall than it is to breathe on a speedboat. The anxiety of potentially not being able to breathe, though, makes people instinctively hold their breath. To chase that primal non-thought away, consciously decide to scream – because before you scream, you have to take a big ol’ breath!
4. Visualize Your Success
Whether you need to channel The Secret or some of that baby-step energy from What About Bob, sometimes you’ve got to really, truly believe to achieve. Focus on how you’ll feel inside when you’ve accomplished what you previously considered out of the question, and how proud you’ll feel when you tell others. Consider creating a mantra that will help you meet the moment. Maybe something like, Release the fear. Reclaim the power. Step forward, renewed. Your words have weight – carry those that feed you!
5. See Yourself In Action
The triumph everyone feels when they touch down after their first skydive is huge. And for the person who is afraid of heights, it’s transcendent!
Catch yourself in the act of transformation by signing up for a video package. You’ll see yourself riddled with anxiety, and board the plane anyway. The nervous laughter on the plane that didn’t stop you from edging toward the door … the ENORMOUS smile on your face in freefall when you – yes, you! – took the leap and flew! And when the canopy opens and the relief and empowerment washes over you, you’ll be so intensely proud of yourself that when you see the victory dance you did that day, you might be grooving all over again.
This is the power of skydiving. You let fear be your teacher and learn that anything is possible.
Coping with a fear of heights is no fun and, unless confronted, it can keep you down from living it up. If you think skydiving might help you face your fear, come check out Texas Skydiving. We’ll happily give you a tour, show you the ropes, and introduce you to the friendly llamas and donkeys that live on the ranch. And when you’re ready to take flight, we’d be thrilled for you to come jump with us! Blue skies!