Skydive New Mexico FAQs

General Questions

Is it safe to skydive at Skydive New Mexico?

All our skydiving instructors have undergone rigorous training and have obtained national USPA certification. We are proud to be a United States Parachute Association (USPA) group member drop zone and we strictly adhere to all FAA and USPA guidelines on safety. Safety is our top priority. All of our tandem/student parachutes are equipped with a computerized Automatic Activation Devices (AAD). Although it is the skydiver’s responsibility to deploy their parachute, the AAD is designed to activate the parachute automatically should the skydiver be incapable to do so. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) keeps detailed safety records and is a great resource to check out if you are curious about the safety of skydiving.

Are reservations required? How do I make one?

We do require reservations to ensure we don’t overbook our day. Tandem Reservations can be made online by clicking Here. For IAD First Jump Course reservations, you will need to call our scheduler directly at 505-596-0556. For all reservations we will collect your name, phone number, email address and a credit card number. No money is required up front, but we do charge a $50 per person “No Show” fee if you miss your reservation. Payment is collected the morning of your jump, and can be paid by cash or credit card. We recommend that you make your reservation 1-2 weeks in advance during the slower winter months, and 4-6 weeks in advance during the busier spring, summer and fall months.

Is there a cancellation policy?

Yes. Typically we require at least 48 hour’s notice of cancellation, otherwise we will charge a $50 per person “No Show” fee to the card used to hold the reservation. Due to the Covid-19 situation, we will be WAIVING Cancellation Fees, as long as we receive notice by 8am the morning of your scheduled jump. We do not want our customers to feel pressured to show up sick and risk exposing others to avoid a cancellation fee. However, if you do not show up AND you fail to notify us, you will be charged. Please understand that our instructors have been scheduled to accommodate your reservation. If you need to reschedule or cancel your reservation, please call Scheduling at 505-596-0556.

What if the weather is bad on the day I’m scheduled to jump?

If the weather does not permit safe jumping, we will reschedule for another time or give you a full refund if you can’t reschedule. It’s important to note that weather conditions in Albuquerque are often different than they are in Belen. Please plan on coming down to the drop zone unless you hear otherwise from us. If the weather forces us to cancel, we will do our best to call you that morning and save you the drive down if possible. Otherwise, you can usually assume that no news is good news. In the event of bad weather, if you choose to reschedule to another time, a Rain Check Certificate will be given to you to document your payment. Your Rain Check Certificate will be valid for 1 year from the date it is issued, and is non refundable.

What kind of paperwork is involved before making my jump?

When you arrive at the drop zone, we will ask you to fill out a Release of Rights and Assumption of Risk Agreement. The paperwork you fill out can only be completed onsite and must be witnessed by a representative of Skydive New Mexico. Once the waiver is complete and your payment has been collected, you will begin your training class with one of our instructors.

What type of payment do you accept?

We accept Cash, Visa, Master Card and Discover.

Do you offer Group or Military Discounts?

NO, we do not offer any group or military discounts. The only discount that we offer is to returning tandem students. If you have previously made a tandem jump with Skydive New Mexico, you can return within 2 years and receive a $25 discount on the IAD First Jump Course for yourself. Returning Tandem Discounts are not transferrable to anyone else, and may only be used by the person who originally did the tandem jump. Proof of your tandem jump (including the date) is required.

Do the prices listed include all equipment needed to make my skydive?

Yes, the prices listed include everything you will need to make your skydive, even the taxes.

Can I purchase a Gift Certificate to give to someone?

Yes, you can call or visit our office at the Belen Airport on weekends to purchase a gift certificate. The office is only staffed on Weekends, and we open at 8am during the summer or 9am during the winter. Since our closing time can vary from day to day, it’s a good idea to call us before you head down to visit us in person. Otherwise, you can call and make the purchase over the phone, and the gift certificate can be mailed to you. Our Gift Certificates and Rain Checks are Non-Refundable, and hold no monetary value. They are valid for 1 year from the date of purchase. Gift Certficates and Rain Checks that have expired (more than 1 year past the issue date) may not be honored. If you are having trouble scheduling an online reservation to use your Gift Certificate or Rain Check, please call Scheduling directly at 505-596-0556 for assistance.

Do you accept vouchers, jump certificates, etc. purchased from booking agencies?

No. We only accept gift certificates purchased directly from us. We also do not accept reservations made through any agency. Please use caution and verify that you are purchasing a Skydive New Mexico gift certificate or making a reservation with Skydive New Mexico. A good rule of thumb in telling the difference is, if the price you are being charged is higher than the prices listed on our website, you are not speaking directly to Skydive New Mexico.

What clothing should I wear?

Dress in seasonably comfortable clothing. In the winter, we recommend you dress in layers so you can adjust for the temperature of the day. For summer, shorts and t-shirt are fine. Lace up shoes (like tennis shoes) are recommended. No open toed shoes, flip flops, sandals, or slip on shoes (as they tend to fly off in freefall). We will provide you with a jumpsuit and goggles to wear in freefall.

Can I wear my prescription glasses?

Everyone is provided goggles for their skydive and we have goggles that can go over prescription glasses. However, if not wearing them won't take away from your experience, we recommend jumping without them since we cannot guarantee you will land with your prescription glasses. We do have lockers on site to temporarily store your personal items, or you can leave them safely in your car.

Should I eat before my skydive?

It's a good idea to eat a light meal or snack before you head to the drop zone.

Can I consume alcohol or drugs before my skydive?

No. You will not be allowed to skydive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Can I take my camera or GoPro on the skydive with me?

Under no circumstance may a student bring a camera on a skydive. The Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs) mandated by the United States Parachute Association (USPA) prohibits people with less than 200 jumps to wear any camera gear on their person or equipment. Cameras create a snag hazard during parachute opening and are a danger to untrained users and the instructors in that regard. Our video personnel are well trained in the use of their video equipment while jumping. If you would like to get a video of your tandem skydive, you can schedule that when you make your reservation. Due to the nature of the jump, there are NO video options for IAD jumps.

Can I bring my friends and family to watch?

Absolutely! We welcome anyone to visit our skydiving center. Ask us questions! We're happy to share information. Amenities in Belen are about a 10-minute drive away, so you may want to bring snacks and drinks along with you to keep your group comfortable. We love dogs but for safety reasons we DO NOT ALLOW PETS inside our facilities (except for service animals). We also love kids, but if you bring children they must be under adult supervision at all times.

Should I tip my instructor or videographer, what is standard procedure?

We recognize that skydiving is an expensive activity -- Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated.

When can I jump?

Skydive New Mexico is open for jump operations year-round, Saturdays and Sundays only. During the spring, summer and early fall we open at 8am. During the late fall and through the winter, we open at 9am. The drop zone will only be closed if the weather is bad enough to prevent jump operations. This includes high winds, rain, snow and low cloud cover. We will always post on our Group Facebook page if we will be closed for inclement weather, and we will notify scheduled customers directly.

What if I'm under 18? Can I have my parents sign for me?

Unfortunately you MUST be at least 18 years old to Skydive, NO EXCEPTIONS. Everyone who skydives signs a waiver, which is a legally binding contract, specifically a Release of Rights and Assumption of Risk Agreement. Minors are not allowed to enter into legal contracts, regardless of who signs on their behalf. Everyone who skydives with us is required to bring identification with a photo and birthdate. We WILL card you. Call us on your 18th birthday! We would be happy to help you Celebrate!!

Which is better, TANDEM OR IAD?

We offer two training methods, one is not necessarily better than the other. Which method you decide on depends more on your motivation, and what you’re interested in getting out of your skydiving experience.
The Tandem method is popular, but if you’re interested in 'doing it by yourself' or pursuing your skydiving license you will need to take our Instructor Assisted Deployment (IAD) first jump course. The decision is like, do you want to take a ride in a car or drive it. Read through the Tandem and IAD pages for a detailed description of the two training options.
Tandem: An hour of instruction, aprox. 30 seconds free fall, you jump attached to an instructor, relatively high performance 4-6 minute canopy ride. Higher dollar cost.
IAD: 4 to 6 hours of instruction, 3-5 seconds free fall, you jump solo, 4-6 minute canopy ride that you land by yourself (with radio help), train toward becoming a licensed skydiver and 'do it by yourself'. Costs less than a tandem jump.

I'm not seeing the dates I want to book online?

We recently started offering Online Reservations for Tandem Skydives. Since making this change, we have seen our available openings fill up much quicker than they used to. Often times we are fully booked 6-8 weeks in advance. Depending on the timing of when you visit our site, you may not see any available openings displayed. This doesn't mean that we are fully booked for the year, it just means we are fully booked for the next 2 months. We only open up reservation spots about 2 months ahead of time. The number of tandems we can do each day depends on the amount of instructors we have available that day. Since our staff members don't know their personal obligations/plans for the entire year, we are only able to plan ahead by about 2 months at a time. We try to post new reservations at the begining of each month. If you aren't seeing any available dates when you check online, feel free to sign up for our Wait List. We will email everyone on the waitlist when we open up new reservations each month and also when we get a cancellation.

How is Skydive New Mexico addressing COVID-19 risk?

CORONAVIRUS AND SKYDIVING Due to the nature of skydiving being a contact sport, please understand that with all the precautions and safety measures we have taken, by participating in skydiving, you assume all responsibility to the exposure and risk of contracting COVID-19. Skydive New Mexico cannot guarantee your protection. If you cannot accept the risk, despite all the safety measures we have taken, then you should not participate in skydiving activities. If you have traveled outside the state of New Mexico within the last 14 days, you will not be allowed to skydive. Please DO NOT visit our facility if you are feeling ill. Anyone who has a continuous cough may be asked to leave. BARRIERS AND PERSONAL PROTECTION: • Everyone visiting Skydive New Mexico property is encouraged to wear a nose/mouth barrier while in high-traffic areas (see below*). Medical masks, neck buffs or bandanas are considered sufficient as recommended by the CDC. • Everyone is asked to maintain at least six feet distance when at all possible. • We ask that everyone respect distancing measures and resist fist-bumping, high-fives, hugging or any other unnecessary touching. • Do not lean on countertops inside the manifest trailer. • Wash your hands with soap and water before boarding the plane, after landing and prior to making any transactions with manifest. • When possible, use a barrier such as a clean paper towel to prevent direct contact with high-touch surfaces. *High-traffic areas include: transactional counters, restrooms, inside the hangar, and inside the airplanes. PRECAUTIONS FOR MANIFEST OFFICE: • Employees are encouraged to wash their hands frequently. • Employees are encouraged to wear nose/mouth barriers. • Only 3 people will be allowed inside the manifest office at one time, including manifest (Note: this does not include brief entrance to retrieve gear or use the restroom) • Increased cleaning practices will be implemented for high-touch surfaces. AIRCRAFT: Government guidance is ambiguous. Differences in comfort with social distancing vary. Phase 1 federal guidelines recommend 6 feet of social distancing except if social distancing is impractical, precautionary measures should be observed. Skydive New Mexico has determined that it is impractical to run our planes with six feet distancing.

Tandem Questions

How long will it take to complete my tandem jump?

All the Tandems for the day start at 8:00am (9:00am in the winter). We ask that you plan to be with us for 4-6 hours to complete your tandem jump. The time you are here can vary and depends upon the day, weather, number of reservations scheduled, and order in which you jump. We never know ahead of time what order you will jump in. Several factors influence the order in which we need to take jumpers, and cannot be determined until that day.

Can I get a video of my jump? Can my friends and I be on the same video?

Absolutely! If you would like a video of your tandem jump, it will cost an additional $100. Be sure to add it to your reservation when you set it up online. If you decided to add it after the fact, please email or call our scheduler as soon as possible to let us know you wish to add it. We need time to make sure we have a videographer available. For safety reasons, each tandem pair (Instructor & Student) needs to have ample space between them and any other tandem in freefall. Because of this distance, it is not possible to video multiple tandem jumpers at once. So, each person that wants a video of their jump will need to schedule their own.

What height will we jump from? And how fast will we fall?

You will jump from approximately 10,000 feet AGL (Above Ground Level). Freefall averages 120 miles per hour. Our tandem jumps average about 30 seconds of freefall.

What will the skydive feel like?

The sensation of freefall is more of a floating sensation rather than falling. Most people worry they will get a dip in your stomach feel when you jump, but that doesn’t happen with skydiving.

I’m going with a group, how many of us can go up on the same plane?

Our plane seats 4 passengers total, so we can fit, at most, 2 pairs of tandem jumpers. If a person is getting a video of their jump, then they will have to go one at a time. A tandem student, their instructor, plus their videographer takes up 3 spots on the plane.

Do I have to be physically fit to make a tandem skydive?

You must be in good health to participate in skydiving activities. If you cannot bend your knees completely, kneel, or sit on your heels easily, you may not be able to do a tandem skydive. If you are concerned about health questions, we strongly advise you to consult a physician before engaging in skydiving activities.

What if I change my mind about Jumping?

We will never force you to make a jump, but we do have some policies to keep in mind.

If at any point, prior to boarding the plane, you decide not to jump, just let us know and we will refund your full payment.

In the rare event you decide not to jump while you are on the plane, please be advised you will not be refunded for any portion of the jump. Once the plane leaves the ground, we consider our services to have been rendered whether you decide to jump or not.

IAD FJC Questions

What is IAD?

Instructor Assisted Deployment (IAD) is a comprehensive program designed to train an individual with a strong foundation to become a solo, certified skydiver by building strong freefall and canopy skills. With the Instructor Assisted Deployment method, you start from the bottom and work your way up. For your first jump, you’ll ride the plane up to around 4,500 feet, where you’ll exit the airplane solo and focus on piloting your cano¬py safely to the ground. After you’ve learned to safely pilot your canopy, you’ll gradually add in freefall skills as you go incrementally higher with each successive jump. The benefit of the IAD method is that each sequential jump builds slowly on the skills learned in the previous jumps. This allows the student to concentrate on each individual aspect of their dive without being overwhelmed. At Skydive New Mexico, we follow the Integrated Student Program (ISP) created by the USPA.

Am I required to do a tandem jump before starting IAD?

No, a tandem skydive is not a requirement to begin the IAD program. Prior to jumping, you will attend an in-depth training course that will teach you everything you need to know to safely complete your first IAD jump.

What is entailed with the First Jump Course?

The first jump course involves 4-6 hours of classroom training followed by a Category A jump. The first jump course will identify the parachute gear and how it works, correct body position, identifying and handling emergency procedures, and flying & landing the canopy. The Category A jump focuses primarily on proper body position on exit. As you exit the plane, your instructor will deploy your pilot chute, which will initiate the opening of your main parachute. Once under canopy, a member of the ground crew will assist you with proper flying techniques and landing via wireless radio. Overall, the course is a mixture of classroom training and hands-on practical and participatory training using video, visual aids and skydiving equipment. Once your ground training is complete, you and your instructor will gear up and go make your jump. Depending on the size of the class, it may take a while to complete everyone's training and cycle through all the jumpers. So, to play it safe please plan on being with us for most of the day.

Can I get a video of my jump?

Due to the nature of the jump, it is not possible to video your first IAD skydive. Since there is no freefall experienced on this first jump, your instructor isn’t able to jump with you and record you in freefall.

What height will we jump from?

The first few jumps of the IAD program are made from about 4,500 feet. After about 5 jumps (assuming you pass each jump on the first try) you will move up in altitude and gradually increase your freefall time.

I’m going with a group, how many of us can go up on the same plane?

Our plane seats 4 passengers so, with an IAD jump, an instructor can take up to 3 students on one load. Each student will jump one at a time, with a short break in between each jumper to allow for safe separation of canopies in the air. For groups larger than 3 people, we will rotate through taking up multiple loads of jumpers in the plane.

Do I have to be physically fit to make a skydive?

Skydiving is a very physical activity, so if you are not in good physical condition, you may not want to skydive. It requires strength, very good flexibility, and the ability to bend, fall, and roll on the ground if necessary. If you cannot bend your knees completely, kneel, or sit on your heels easily, you may not be able to skydive. If you are concerned about health questions, we strongly advise you to consult a physician before engaging in skydiving activities.

What if I change my mind about Jumping?

We will never force you to make a jump, but we do have some policies to keep in mind. Once you have attended the ground training portion of the First Jump course, all but $50 of your course fee is refundable to you. This is because your instructor has already been paid for their time to train you at this point. If you decide not to jump after going through the training, we will gladly refund the remaining portion of your payment. You also have the option of switching to a tandem jump (for an additional fee), if you decide an IAD jump is not for you. If our schedule allows, we will take you on a tandem jump that same day. If our schedule is too full for that, you can set it for a later date when we do have availability. In the rare event you decide not to jump while you are on the plane, please be advised you will not be refunded for any portion of the jump. Once the plane leaves the ground, we consider our services to have been rendered whether you decide to jump or not.

Getting Licensed

So you want to get licensed to skydive by yourself?

The first step to working towards becoming a licensed skydiver is to attend the IAD First Jump Course. Once you have completed that training and first jump, you can start to work on attaining your “A” License. The USPA requires a minimum of 25 jumps to attain an A license. The A-license proficiency checklist must also be fully completed. The ability to pack a parachute correctly is a requirement as well. Emphasis will be placed on meeting all skill sets required on the A license proficiency card. The main goal for a new skydiver is to attain an A-license, which permits skydivers to jump with other non-instructor skydivers.

What is involved with each level?

At Skydive New Mexico, we follow the USPA’s Integrated Student Program (ISP). Each category in the ISP represents a skill set the student is required to learn and demonstrate. Advancement to the next level will not occur until the student properly demonstrates that they can execute the specific skills introduced for that particular category. Failure to demonstrate this skill set may require the student to repeat the jump. As you progress through the training program you will learn about stability in freefall, turns, tracking, fall rate adjustment, spotting and canopy control. Later, you will be required to show that you can properly and safely plan and execute a skydive with others from start to finish. Throughout the program student’s skills and knowledge are continuously tested to insure your safety.

How often should I be jumping while working through the program?

Once you’ve completed the IAD First Jump Course and have made your first Category A jump, you are welcome to come back as often as you’d like to continue on with the student program. Student jumps can be made as often as every weekend, or as slowly as one jump every 30 days. Students are encouraged to stay as current as possible and not allow too much time to elapse between jumps. Ideally, the more jumps one can make in a shorter period of time, the better. This helps improve confidence and allows you to progress more quickly.

Students who go beyond 30 days from their last jump will be required to repeat their last successfully completed jump. Students who surpass 6 months since their last jump will be required to attend a “Mini-refresher” course at a cost of $65. Students who have gone longer than 1 year from their last jump will have to attend a full First Jump Course again.

What should I budget when planning to get my A license?

Your first jump and training course will cost $270 (or $245 if you are a returning tandem student that has previously jumped at Skydive New Mexico within the last 2 years). After that, successive jumps are paid for as you make them. Jump costs will vary from $135 each to $120 each, depending on which category it’s in. On average, the full cost of attaining your “A” license will probably be between $3,000 and $3,500, depending on how many repeat jumps you wind up needing to make.

Once I've become an A licensed skydiver, what should I do about owning my own gear?

It is recommended that new jumpers purchase used gear before owning brand new gear. As you gain more experience, you’ll learn more about the kind of skydiving you will wish to participate in. It is always recommended to purchase used gear that has been properly inspected by an FAA certified parachute rigger to determine gear quality and airworthiness.

How can I schedule subsequent jumps to continue with the A license training program?

Our DZ has a limited number of instructors. So, we need to know when students are coming out, to make sure someone is available to jump with them.

You should have been given a log book after your IAD First Jump Class, that lists the names and numbers of our instructors. You can text or call them directly, to see who is available to jump with you. If you are having trouble reaching the instructors directly or if you don't have their contact info, you can text or call Scheduling at 505-596-0556 to assist you.

Because we have limited resources when it comes to instructors, we do expect to be notified if your plans change and you won’t be coming out to jump with an instructor. It’s unfair to the other students for you to “reserve” an instructor and then not show up. It winds up wasting the time of both the instructor and the other students that they could have worked with had they known your plans changed. Please help us make the most of our instructor's time. Communication is key.

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