Skydiving problem


15-Year Member
Jun 12, 2006
im looking to go for my first jump, but i have one problem. i want to go solo (AFF), but my parents will only let me go tandem, and because I'm a minor i need their signature. Does anyone know of any compelling reasons i can give them to let me go solo?

They think its too dangerous. I tell them, it would be a good warmup for them before i join the military and am really doing something dangerous.
Dude, listen to your parents. Not only are they your parents, they are also legally responsible for your ass. You should be grateful they're letting you jump at all.

I'm not being a prick. I'm speaking as a father. Granted, my oldest is only 6, but I'd be damned before I let her jump out of a plane solo for her first jump. Not MY little girl!

Well, your parents are doing the same thing.

Thank them for being concerned, thank them for letting you jump at all, and then jump tandem. You have the rest of your life to jump solo.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes. This "old man" over here has been wanting to jump for ages, but I'll admit that I have no idea if I'd freeze at the door. I'm terrified of unprotected heights (being on a TALL ladder scares the hell out of me, but when the WTC was standing I went up to the top, put my head on the glass, and looked straight down with no problems), but I'd sure like to try it. :thumb:
My brother was in the Air Force for 16 years (12 active). He flew F-16 fighters for most of the time. He told me that his training did not include skydiving. He did it once just for the heck of it. He said those round parachutes land hard (at least for a 200+ lb guy).

I'm not answering your question, but just letting you know that this is not necessary thing for fighter pilots.
Actually, around ready rooms, the common response to skydiving conversations is:
"Why in the heck would anyone ever want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?"
I posed your question to my daughter, whose goal is to join the Army Skydiving Club, and she thinks your parents should sign.

As a parent, I wouldn't sign for her. In fact, I think you should wait until you are in the Army and do it under their guidance. I was originally going to tell you to wait until your birthday, jump and tell your parents afterward. But consider this, what if say you broke/sprained your ankle? Seemingly harmless injury, but what if the fix for that kept you from R-day, or I-Day or whereever you end up? You certainly do not want to do anything to jepordize your medical qualification.
You have a lot of years ahead of you - don't try to rush things to much. Your parents are realizing that they will not be in control much longer - just try to cut them a little slack here.
BR2011 said:
I tell them, it would be a good warmup for them before i join the military and am really doing something dangerous.

As an aviator, you will find that the equipment is getting more and more dependable. Therefore, what you do is not neccessarily dangerous. It just has an extremely small margin of error. There is a huge difference.

Just_A_Mom: I couldn't have said it better. As a BGO, I have seen several fall sports injuries where successful rehab would not be completed in time for I-Day. It's one of the rare cases where I have seen the Academy Admissions Board do an early unqual.
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USNA69 says it all concerning a potential injury derailing the chance to go to a service academy. I've see way to many applicants who were out goofing off and had an injury that precluded them from attending the service academy that year, and have even seen injuries that have kept applicants out of the service altogether.

You have more than enough time once you are 18 to go out and do stupid stuff. That your parents are willing to let you jump tandem (even though the risk of injury is still there) says quite a bit about what they will let you do, but like all young 'uns you want it all, and want it now! Take a breath, realize that you have many, many years ahead of you to do what you want. You may even find out that if you wait a couple of years, the ideas don't sound as much fun!

An injury that keeps you out of a service academy due to a complete accident (like hitting a deer) is one thing, an accident that keeps you out of a service academy due to wanting to try something that isn't necessary (like skydiving or car surfing) is plain stupid.
well so much for compelling reasons to sway my parents :biggrin:

i know the risks, and in fact, they are really the big reason i want to do it now. unless i somehow tear my ACL, MCL, and whatever other CL's there are, there is no injury i couldnt recover from in time to attend an SA.

BTW, this isnt some new idea. i have really wanted to do this since i was about 12. I was going to wait until my 18th B-day (February), but once i found out there was a drop zone around me that allows 17's to jump, i figured it would be better to do it now.

Where are all the youngsters on this forum to back me up? All these parents are ganging up on me.:eek:
BR2011 "i know the risks, and in fact, they are really the big reason i want to do it now. unless i somehow tear my ACL, MCL, and whatever other CL's there are, there is no injury i couldnt recover from in time to attend an SA."

Well here are a couple of scenarios where you couldn't recover in time to get to an SA, or even never get into an SA from a skydiving injury:

You sustain a fractured ankle, requiring hardware to be placed, and get an infection in the surgical site. Or, a fracture, and the bone fragments fail to heal, causing the bone to die out and requiring a bone graft, which may or may not heal and may or may not require an amputation - disqualified, low chance of a waiver

You sustain a head injury, causing a bleed in the brain - disqualified for 5 years at a minimum

You sustain a spinal cord injury, even if it doesn't cause paralysis - disqualified, no chance of a waiver

An ACL/MCL/LCL tear and surgery are the least of your concerns from skydiving.

The chances of something happening are probably low, but why take the risk? There is more than enough risk in life as it is, as as you pointed out in your first post "before i join the military and am really doing something dangerous"
The question is do you want a SA enough to postpone this sky diving dream? Or, does the risk associated with achieving the dream now (vs later) outweigh the dream of a SA? It comes down to which dream is bigger and are you willing to accept delayed gratification. Only you can answer that and only you can live with the consequences of the down side risk. If you dream of a SA and blow out your ankle thus DQ for SA, you change your life path because of one jump. If you wait for the sky dive, you delay gratification in exchange for better odds on the life path. Which life dream do you want to accomplish? In the insurance world it is a frequency / severity issue. Sure, the frequency of accident is low but the severity is pretty darn high. Have you ever heard of Russian Roulette?
Listen to what these folks are telling you, buddy. :thumb:
I agree somewhat with what you guys are saying, but you cant live your life in fear of what COULD happen. In fact, i probably have a better chance of being seriously hurt, or dieing in my car from now until the time i could attend an SA. Everyone's seen the Allstate Insurance commercial. "theres an accident every 5 seconds in America..." I'm not gonna ride my bike to school now am I?

Candidate for 2011's mom said:
Have you ever heard of Russian Roulette?

well jeez, if you put it like that......

except with russian roulette you have about a 1/8 chance of dieing. with skydiving you have 35/1000000+ chance of being hurt (last years statistics)
You have been given a lot of very good advice and insight. I suggest you sit down and carefully review all of it. Around 80% of those who commence a SA graduate in 4 years. For those who don't, normally it is not because of the difficulty of the academics. It is because they were not dedicated to being there and succeeding. A mature sound judgement as to what you really want in life is important to you at this time. Good luck.
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'Course, the frequency AND the severity is pretty high with Russina Roulette:shake: Being a parent, I have to agree with the posters here. We bubble wrapped our son until BCT since the consequence of an injury wasn't worth it. He is quite the daredevil but even decided not to go skiing the winter prior to BCT -- he was so intent on not missing BCT for any medical reason. He still played football -- he would never had dropped that -- he was captain and a total team player -- but recreational sports with risk was something he felt was worth passing up to realise his dream. Today, he's at USAFA, will be jumping, and is in the ski club. He didn't give up anything -- just postponed some things for a VERY SHORT time.
You asked for advice. You got it. It is yours to take or leave. You have gotten a lot of advice from many different people. You were hoping to get something different. Your folks are actually letting you go tandem, which isn't what you want. One sign of a leader is knowing when to ask for guidance/suggestions from others (good job, you have done that). Another sign is knowing if the suggestions/guidance given is appropriate for your situation. How you deal with the guidance given is your decision.

I see three options:

1) do the tandem jump your parents have authorized

2) continue to seek reasons to do the solo and try to gain parental approval

3) don't do any jump now, wait and perhaps do a solo later

You are old enough to consider going to a SA - You are old enough to plan your options. By the way, at some level parents can't bubble wrap their kids - the kid has to want it. My daughter bubble wrapped herself. It sounds like AFDAD's son bubble wrapped himself too - and AFDAD supports that. (AFDAD, correct me if I am wrong, I suspect your son possibly initiated the bubble wrap? My daughter bubble wrapped herself before I could even bring the subject up - no annual ski passes, no goofing off at the ice-rink, etc.).

Good luck and I hope to hear you're at a SA next year!
Yes Cand.for2011mom, he definately bubblewrapped himself. There was NO WAY we would ever have been able to do the bubblewrapping if he didn't see the logic of it himself! After all, the Academy is all about making an investment now for future benefit so he thought of it as investing now to ensure success later. Note: he did take flying lessons but that was really VERY low on the risk spectrum and I encouraged it to make sure that flying was really something he wanted. He did/does. Had he hated flying, he would have probably gone to WP so knowing that was critical to his deciding to go to the AFA.

Incidentally, we had enough to worry about with football since two out of the eight knees in our family (not including parents) had torn ACLs in High School from football and soccer. That's a 25% hit rate for you Russian Rouletters. :wink:
AFDAD, yes my daughter did the flying too - for the same reason. Certainly there is no way a parent can bubble wrap a kid that doesn't see the value in it you are so right there!

Don't know where mine will end up, it will depend on if and where she gets accepted. I'll tell you this though, she has a lot of drive and this has been her goal for years – she lives it and breaths it everyday. Her GPA is above mid-range of the profile and SAT's at or above mid-range too and she has very strong EC's as well as in top 10% of class. Her academy liaison interviews are done they said she is the best candidate they have seen in years … of course they probably say that to lots of candidates! We now have to wait and see - and pressure her hard for "Plan B"! She can't see herself at a regular university, we have visited many. She has been to AFA and WP to shadow a cadet plus did WP Summer Seminar (couldn't get AFA in because of other commitments). DoDMRB is done and passed, all apps are done and nomination stuff is done. Congressman rep has privately told her that she is a very strong candidate for a nomination “or two” so we’ll see where that goes. The waiting is the hard part, as I am sure you know. I think she plans to apply to the local univ. and try again next year if she isn't accepted this year. Time will tell.
well, I definitely did not hear the answers i wanted to hear, but maybe it's for good reason. I guess there will always be a time for me to jump, just not now:unhappy:

I still want to hear what other c/o 2010, c/o 2011 candidates have to say about this. justamoms daugther is with me:thumb:
Candidate for 2011's mom said:
Her academy liaison interviews are done they said she is the best candidate they have seen in years … of course they probably say that to lots of candidates! .

While it is true they probably say that to many candidates (they said it to my son), I have a feeling most of them end up at the Academy! :smile: Good luck to her!
AFDAD2010 said:
While it is true they probably say that to many candidates (they said it to my son), I have a feeling most of them end up at the Academy! :smile: Good luck to her!

At USNA, we are warned repeatedly against making any such statements since we are not the Admissions Board. Many things can happen. I had a very strong candidate once to whom the track coach thought he lied concerning some of his best times. My conversations with the coach and the timing of his disqualification leaves me no doubt that the coaches imput to the Board was the reason for his disqualification. What if I had told him he was a definite candidate?

I suppose that the reason for this is that the USAFA ALOs are more in the business of recruiting, attempting to get good candidates to attend the academy while USNA BGOs are more in the business of trying to only select the very best because we have so many that are attempting to attend. Subtle difference. :shake:
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