According to Tony Butler of the British Parachute Association (BPA), 35,000 people each year make their first jump.
BPA lists clubs that teach sky-diving (0116 278 5271; www.bpa.org.uk).
Novices usually start with a tandem jump (linked to another sky-diver), a static-line jump (your cord is pulled automatically), or a full solo course of around 20 jumps.
Risk? With tandem jumps, the odds of hurting yourself are 1 in 750 (mostly a sprained ankle). With solo jumps, it’s around 1 in 200. About two sky-divers, usually highly experienced, die each year.
BPA sets 55 as the beginners’ age limit.