What Hollywood Movies Get Wrong About Skydiving

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Skydiving isn’t like what you see in the movies. The views aren’t half as beautiful as they are in person, try as they might. There are movies that try to capture the rush, but nothing can convey the heart-pounding adrenaline rush of staring out that cabin door. Hollywood has gotten better over the years, but still have a long way to go before they would be able to impress any of our experts.

1. First Time Skydivers Left on Their Own

You’ve seen it a million times in the movies. The first-time skydiver shows up to the center, met by a couple of intimidating bros who slap a parachute on them. They barely get out a hello and some basic safety tips before they are on their way, climbing up into the clouds. The first-timer gets a quick reminder of what to do in an emergency before being practically pushed out of the cabin door, alone to fend for themselves. If you’re the main character, you’ll fumble around helplessly before figuring it out just in the nick of time.

Your first time skydiving is not going to be like that. Or if it looks like it’s going to be like that — get out of there and come visit us! At our skydiving center, you will be taken care of. This is why we ask you to clear several hours from your schedule for your lesson! Your safety and comfort are our staff’s number 1 and number 2 priorities. Before you ever hit the sky, we are going to take you through the steps of your day. We will answer your questions, make sure your gear is good, and we can promise you will not be getting pushed out alone. You will be strapped tight to an experienced instructor who will have your back. Literally- strapped to your back.

2. Wind-Tossed Perfection

Light, camera, action! Ready for your close up? Our instructors also happen to be masters of the handicam. While you enjoy the view and wind in your hair, your instructor will make sure to capture your experience. Whether you are planning to show friends and family, want to work on your form for your next jump, or simply need proof you did it, this video will be a treasured keepsake. While glimpses of the view help set the mood, these videos focus on your real reactions at that moment.

Which of course means you might not be looking like a perfect 10 in the moment. In movies and TV we see it often: beautiful actors flying gracefully. Sure, their hair blows back, but they are still a perfect vision. No funny flappy faces. No tears from the stinging wind or tangled locks. Nothing but perfection. You also don’t know how you will react within the moment. We’re hoping for glee and joy, but we’d be liars if we said no one’s nerves ever got the best of them. We can’t imagine them showing you one of Charlie’s Angels looking queasy mid-flight because she forgot a light breakfast before taking off.

3. Those Hollywood Stunt Pros

Another annoying expectation set by movies is the ease of pulling off stunts. We have seen it more often than we’d like. The scene where the first time skydiver, our main character, stumbles out of the plane. They fumble clumsily with their chute, maybe even putting it on as they are falling, but once in the air and strapped in they are doing backflips with the best of them. Five minutes ago they barely knew ‘which cord to pull’ but now they are an aerial stunt master!

It’s just not realistic and it definitely isn’t safe. Even veteran skydivers don’t venture into tricks as often as one would think. Sure, a couple of tumbles or barrel rolls are possible, but a real skydiver is going to be too busy to fool around. We are watching the altitude and tracking our speed and time to ensure a safe parachute deployment. Skydiving is a serious sport, and stunt-diving is another beast. Keep yourself and your instructor safe and don’t worry about dive-bombing the surface. Enjoy the ride, the breeze, and the sunshine.

4. Glossing Over Realistic Skydiving Details

 A stand-out skydiving scene for us is San Andreas (2015). Unfortunately, it’s a stand out for all the wrong reasons. Our heroes, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Carla Gugino, fly low over California. The Rock declares they have nowhere to land with a plane running out of gas. So, they jump. They freefall for 2 second before gently sailing and landing in AT&T park. The mistakes are small if you are casually watching, but if you are a skydiver it’s hard to ignore.

The Rock’s character in this film is a helicopter rescue pilot, and he flies the plane as such. The very first thing you’ll notice if you are a skydiver is their complete lack of proper altitude. They are just too close to the ground to be able to safely deploy their parachutes. The city is burning, they don’t have a clear view of where to land at all, and are surrounded by skyscrapers. Watching they leap from the plane, it’s hard not to feel they really are jumping to their deaths.

There is an argument for the drama in the movie being upped by these mistakes, but the details are important! Not only for immersion, but for expectations. The drama of skydiving scenes not only encourage thrill seekers, but it can have the opposite effect. If your only exposure to skydiving is through movies and television, you’re likely to be more fearful of the sport- but we’re here to help that.

When you choose to take your first lesson with us, we will ensure you are taken care of and informed. You’ll greet the sky eagerly, ready for almost anything your flight can throw at you. And while you may not be ready to dive face first into an explosion after, you will walk away feeling like an action star with the video to prove it! Give us a call today at 520-840-9095 or email us at PhoenixSkydiveCenter@gmail.com with your questions.

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