What is a Tandem Skydive

TLDR: Tandem skydiving is when a rated skydiving instructor wears a parachute system and attaches a student in a harness to jump from a plane. 

Tandem Skydiving History

The main stream method of teaching students how to skydive was via Static Line. The Static Line method required about 6 hours of ground training to cover the fundamentals of exiting the plane, flying the parachute and emergency procedures. A student would wear their own parachute system with a cord attached to the plane, fly up in a small plane to about 3,500 feet with an instructor dispatching them. 

A tandem first jumper and tandem instructor waiting for the plane at Skydive Chicago

Although Static Line was a popular method and a great way to introduce new people to the sport, it was time consuming. It was skydiving Hall of Famer, Bill Morrisey’s time in the sport and he teamed up with Ted Strong, another Hall of Famer to create tandem skydiving as we know it. 

Tandem skydiving was invented by the duo in the early 1980’s. The duo created new technology revolutionized the sport of skydiving allowing the general public to experience the thrill without hours of training to solo skydive. Another Hall of Famer, Bill Booth came along to create his own version of the tandem system. 

From that time forward, the sport changed as we knew it. 

Tandem as a Training Tool

Tandem skydiving opened the door to a new world of possibilities, especially because so many that had the opportunity to experience the thrill and they wanted more. It became a gateway into the sport of skydiving. 

Skydive Chicago sees tandem skydiving more than just a thrill ride, it’s an a training method, whether one wants to simply experience it or take it to the next step. 

tandem skydiver walking to the plane with instructor at Skydive Chicago

Do I Have to Tandem Skydive for the First Jump?

Every skydiving school is different and has different philosophies. Skydive Chicago firmly believes that starting tandem allows students to experience the overwhelm of the aviation industry coupled with freefall, all side-by-side with a rated skydiving instructor to walk them through the basics. This orientation allows students a learning platform to see beyond the first skydive. 

At Skydive Chicago, we require two tandem skydives before entering our solo freefall program, the Advanced Freefall Program (AFP). The second tandem is referred to as the ‘Training Tandem.’ On this jump, the instructor briefs the student on performing additional objectives for exit, freefall (including hand signals) and canopy flight. This prepares the student to enter the student program with more knowledge and experience. 

tandem first time jump freefall from 13,500' at Skydive Chicago

Our Mission

Skydive Chicago’s slogan is ‘Setting the Standard.’ From the first jump, solo program and the events we offer for experienced jumpers and a training ground for teams, Skydive Chicago goes above and beyond industry standards. 

And our Mission: 

Skydive Chicago’s team is dedicated to excellence in customer service, facilities, and safety. Setting the standard through an evolving culture where goals become achievements, moments become memories, and friendships last forever.

Are you ready to experience the sport of skydiving? Check off your bucket list? We are ready to welcome you to the sport of skydiving with a tandem skydive!


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