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Aerial Adventures

How to Skydive from a Helicopter

Most people assume that you can only skydive out of a plane, usually one of those small fixed-wing planes that have been especially converted for jumps. But, actually, skydiving from a helicopter is becoming an increasingly popular twist on this adventure sport, for those who want to add a bit more thrill to their thrill-seeking ways. Here’s everything you need to know about how to skydive from a helicopter.

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Where to Skydive from a Helicopter

  • At Wanaka, in New Zealand, Skydive Wanaka has the certification for clients to jump 12,000 feet from a helicopter.
  • Enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over the coastline of Australia, and join Gold Coast Heli Tours for a tandem skydive over the Gold Coast.
  • During both summer and winter you can skydive from a helicopter over the Swiss Alps in Switzerland with Skydive Interlaken.
  • If you’re a potential “heli hardcore skydiver” head to Hungary’s Skydive Balaton to register for jumps over Europe’s biggest lake.
  • Join Skydive Lauterbrunnen, to go on a scenic helicopter flight and a 45 second free-fall over the glaciers of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in the Bernese Oberland.
  • See some of the most amazing man-made structures on Earth with Skydive Dubai. See this amazing video for inspiration.


What’s Different about Skydiving from a Helicopter

Skydiving from a helicopter versus from a plane has some differences and some similarities. In terms of whats different:

  • The cost of skydiving from a helicopter can be much higher.
  • It’s rarer to find skydiving units that offer the helicopter option.
  • Fewer people can jump from a helicopter, which is one of the reasons it’s more expensive than a plane, but might also mean you need to book two spots and go with a pair.
  • Generally speaking the helicopter will be closer to the ground so  you won’t get the overarching view you get from a plane as you jump. This can be a pro and a con, it could be more thrilling for certain jumpers to be not as high up.
  • The helicopter is moving forward, so it feels different as you exit.
  • Many people have been on a plane, but few on a helicopter so you can combine two birds  with one stone.
  • It’s definitely more unusual to skydive from a helicopter.

What’s the same:

  • Both require safety precautions and a safety briefing.
  • Both require that inexperienced jumpers jump tandem (with someone much more experienced) initially.
  • After the exit, the rest of the skydive follows much the same pattern regardless of the aircraft; so your parachute will open and then you’ll land.

How to Skydive from a Helicopter

  1. Always approach the helicopter from the side, never the tail. There’s a rotor at the back, that can be nearly invisible when it’s on and this can be very dangerous (as in, you could die if you walk into it).
  2. Don’t jump on the side where the tail rotor is, and don’t hang anything out of the helicopter that could hit the rotor or tangle up in it – this could cause the helicopter to crash!
  3. The helicopter will likely not stop mid-air as you jump, but have a strong forward motion. There’s no need to push out as you jump off, ‘stepping’ or ‘falling’ out is all it takes!
  4. Generally what you will do is sit on the edge of the helicopter door, with your tandem skydiver behind you. He or she will count to three before launching you over the edge.
  5. From there it takes the normal format of several seconds of free-fall (the length of free-fall will depend on the jump height), then your tandem skydiver will launch the parachute and you’ll glide softly to earth enjoying the views and a racing heart.
  6. One of the most dangerous elements of skydiving from a helicopter is that anything that comes in touch with the tail rotor or propellor is in big trouble and could cause a massive accident; therefore it is a bit riskier perhaps than skydiving from a plane. This is purely relevant so that you take care throughout the whole process. This is nothing to be cavalier about. Check out this video – your palms will be sweating for sure.
  7. It’s also possible to go wingsuit skydiving from a helicopter for the extra challenge.

You could also do it like these guys:

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