Everyone knows that Tandem Skydiving is the ultimate bucket list item! But did you know that there are two types of aircraft that you can jump from? Helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving!
Most skydiving centres (or dropzones) around the world jump from airplanes – this is because airplanes are more efficient to fly. But there are some areas (like Interlaken, Switzerland or Christchurch, New Zealand) that you have the option to skydive from a helicopter – which can change your experience significantly!
So what’s the difference between helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving, you ask? In this article, we asked Laura from Skydive Interlaken to explain the differences between skydiving from an airplane vs helicopter.
Are the sensations different?
Yes! The sensations of helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving are different during the exit. Here’s why.
An airplane can’t stand still in the air and always has to be flying forward. Once it gets to the right height for skydivers to exit, it slows down as much as it can to about 160km/h. As soon as the door opens you will feel a strong rush of cool air – just think about when you open your car window on the freeway. When you’re sitting at the door of the plane ready to exit, the strong wind is pushing on your body and as you fall off, you always feel like you’re being “supported” by this wind.
A helicopter on the other hand can hover, and there are a couple of benefits to this. One is that when the door opens, there’s no wind rushing into the cabin, and the other is that there’s no time pressure on the exit (because you’re always hovering over the dropzone). This means there is no rush on the exit, and you may even stand very relaxed on the outside of the helicopter with your instructor, looking around at your surroundings. When it’s time to fall off, you get an incredibly calming feeling until a few seconds later you feel the rush of air from below like you’re floating on a bubble.
Is Helicopter Skydiving safer than Airplane Skydiving?
Although Tandem Skydiving sounds dangerous, these days it is extremely safe – according to the National Safety Council, an individual is more likely to die by a lightning strike or being stung by a bee!
Nevertheless, both skydiving from a helicopter and out of an airplane have their dangers – just like anything in life! But one is not safer than the other. The skydiving equipment used is the same, it’s just the aircraft that’s different. Nowadays, most countries have very strict regulations on skydiving, whether it’s out of an airplane or helicopter.
Where can I skydive out of a helicopter, and where out of an airplane?
Skydiving out of an airplane is easy to find as this is what most skydiving centres around the world offer. However, there are a few places around the world (like Skydive Interlaken) that offer daily helicopter skydives.
What about the price?
Helicopter skydiving is generally more expensive than airplane skydiving as it’s more expensive to run a helicopter.
What to go for in Interlaken?
Interlaken is a town situated between two glacial lakes and on the edge of the Swiss Alps, so if you want to get up close and personal to the Alps then definitely go for the helicopter as it can hover close to the mountains, and has a huge 360-degree view out of its huge windows. As described above, the exit is also very different – in the helicopter, you’ll be able to stand outside on the skit before exiting, which is a pretty cool experience.
If you don’t care so much about the scenic flight and are more worried about price – then the airplane could be the right choice for you. The skydiving part will feel the same, but the exit and view will be different. The view of the Alps is still beautiful, but you might not be able to see as much because the windows of a plane are much smaller. But if you’re on a budget, and want to experience the beauty of skydiving in the Alps then this could be a great option!
And what will you choose?
So, you might be wondering, is it better to jump from an airplane or helicopter?
Well, depending on your personal preferences like where you’re located and your budget might play a big role in your decision. But Laura from Skydive Interlaken has done both and would always recommend the helicopter! She says:
“Helicopter skydiving in the Swiss Alps is such a unique, special experience, and there are not many places in the world where you can do it. Getting up close and personal with mountains and waterfalls during the scenic flight before the jump makes the experience even more phenomenal! Although it’s a little more pricey – it’s an experience of a lifetime and totally worth it if you can make it to Switzerland”
Whether you go for the helicopter skydive in Interlaken or for a more classic airplane skydive somewhere on this globe, one thing is for sure: it will be an unforgettable experience full of adrenaline! To help you get ready for this adventure, read everything you need to know about tandem skydiving.
A big thank you to Laura from Skydive Interlaken for answering our questions and explaining the difference between helicopter skydiving and airplane skydiving. The Skydive Interlaken team is waiting for you with open arms for your tandem skydive experience in Interlaken.