In January 2022 I saw an Instagram post from Luke, who runs my local Gym at T2FIT. It was a 1 minute video clip of him doing a Tandem SkyDive over the stunning backdrop of the Palm Jumeriah and the Dubai Cityscape. I had never thought about doing a skydive before, but after being mesmerised by the video and the amazing scenery, I knew I had to do it.
The timing was perfect, as I had a week’s break planned with friends Dave and Jo in Abu Dhabi in March.
It didn’t take too much persuasion for Dave to agree to do the jump with me.
Booking the Jump
Booking the jump couldn’t have been easier. Click on the Skydive Dubai website, pick a date and an allotted timeslot. Complete and sign a waiver form (which includes insurance) and you’re done.
Note: There are some criteria you need to meet to do the jump:-
You must be 18 years of age or above on the day of your tandem skydive. We were instructed to bring a valid form of ID (Emirates ID, driver’s license, passport) on the day of your skydive.
There are strict weight and BMI limits. You are weighed in your clothes and shoes as you check in to ensure you’re within the limits.
Weight: 90.0 kg/ 198.0 lbs or less.
BMI: 27.5 or less.
Weight: 100.0 kg/220 lbs or less.
BMI: 30.0 or less.
If you are 70 years old or older on the day you skydive, you need to fill out the Declaration of Fitness form. The form must be completed and must be signed and stamped by your doctor.
Day of the jump
It was about 1.5 hour drive from Abu Dhabi to SkyDive Dubai, located at the northern end of the JBR in the Dubai Marina area. UAE had been particularly windy leading up to our jump day, but was glad to say there had been a marked decrease in windspeed, and there were clear blue skies to greet us as we approached Dubai. We had a 12:45 timeslot and arrived in good time. There was plenty of parking onsite and we quickly grabbed some photo’s outside.
Check in Process
Although we had booked a 12:45 timeslot, we had been advised this was simply the time we should arrive at SkyDive Dubai. The duration of the visit was expected to be between 2 – 4 hours. On arrival we provided our ID’s and were both weighed. We were then given the option to purchase a 1 minute, Instagram friendly video for AED 100 (about GBP 20). Having seen how good Luke’s video was, we both agreed to this.
Note. The cost of the Tandem jump does include a 3 minute edited video and photos. The Instagram video is simply a cut down version of your video, which makes it easier to share on social media.
After the checking in process was complete, we were advised to go to the 1st floor area and wait for our names to be called. Upstairs was a well stocked café and and outside seating/viewing area. From the viewing area we could see a procession of jumpers landing right in front of us. I was further encouraged by the all the soft landings I was witnessing.
After about a 30 minute wait, Dave and I had our names called out. We were led into a room with about 10 others, and shown an instructional video on the Tandem Jump. The video lasted about 5 minutes, but seemed to cover all the necessary points. At this stage we were advised to take one last bathroom break, then wait in the downstairs area, close to where the parachutes were being re-packed, for our jump instructor.
In the seating area was a big TV screen displaying a schedule of jumpers and their associated Instructors and Video team. It wasn’t long before Russ called out my name and introduced himself as my instructor for the jump. A quick chat about Russ’s native Australia and he was setting me up in the harness. He went through some of the key points from for the instructional video again and confirmed I was happy with everything. Main emphasis was stressing the importance of the “banana position” in free fall.
Then came Marcin, from Poland. He was to be my video man. He came with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm ! Marcin did a quick pre-jump video with me and asked for my reasons for doing the jump etc. We chatted on the way out to the bus that drove us to the runway. I told him I wanted to record the jump on my Garmin Fenix GPS watch. He kept laughing asking to see my heartrate on the watch – glad to say it was a steady 80 BPM.
Before we boarded the plane Marcin got Russ and I to pose for a quick pic
So Dave and I were onboard with about 10 other foolhardy souls. We were told it would only take 8-10 minutes to reach the jump height of 13000 feet. I sat with my back to Russ, as he clipped me into the tandem harness.
As we climbed, Russ pointed out some of the sights; The World Islands, Burj Al Arab, The Palm Jumeriah and the new Watergate Bay and its big Ferris Wheel. I was still feeling relatively relaxed, and Marcin insisted on a heartrate update, it was a steady 90 BPM.
Things became real when the side door of the aeroplane was slide open and there was a sudden rush of air in the cabin. I saw a few slightly anxious looking faces in front of me, but no time to back out now. We started shuffling towards the door as one by one, they leapt out the plane. Dave gave me a thumbs up as he disappeared and now it was my turn. I held onto the edge of the plane and waited for Russ to give me the nudge.
Then I was falling, very fast. Before I knew it Marcin was in front of me waving his arms and encouraging me to play up for the camera. At that point I remembered I hadn’t started my GPS tracker, so frantically went for the start button. The freefall itself lasted about 40 seconds, with speeds of approximately 120 MPH, but I was still able to take in the views.
The rush was amazing, and I then felt a pull on the harness and a rapid deceleration as the chute deployed. Then there was near silence. Russ asked if everything was OK. He said I could to drop the goggles off my eyes to better enjoy the views. Russ then asked if I fancied doing a few quick turns. He passed me two long yellow ropes, and said pull down hard on the left one to do a sharp turn to the left. We repeated this several times in either direction, and then started aiming towards the landing zone. The view coming down was simply staggering. All of Dubai was below me.
Before I knew it we were coming in for the landing. Russ had prepped me well and had advised the “legs up” position I needed to take. As a keen runner, with an important race coming up in a few weeks, this was the one thing I stressed to Russ pre-jump. Protect my ageing ankles at all cost ! There was no need to worry, he softly landed me down without any dramas. Of course Marcin was there with his video, getting the post jump reaction.
Dave and I coming in for soft landings
Despite the delayed start of the GPS watch, we had travelled approximately 2.2 miles and duration of the fall was about 5 minutes.
It was simply an amazing experience. My immediate reactions was I wanted to do it again. The rush, the views, the whole experience. Dave said exactly the same thing.
If you’re foolish enough to want do a parachute jump, don’t do it over a grass field in the middle of nowhere, come to Dubai, you won’t regret it !
The cost of the Tandem Jump, including an edited 3 minute video and photos was AED 2299 (approximately £475). We paid an additional AED 100 for the edited 1 minute video.
The videos and pictures were of excellent quality and were delivered by Dropbox within 24 hours.
The SkyDive Dubai website advises jumpers must wear long sleeve tops, but Dave and I both jumped in T-Shirts (as did most people).
Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours from the time you arrive onsite.
Location: Al Seyahi St – Dubai Marina – Dubai