Los Angeles Times
China dives into tandem parachuting
More and more Chinese are throwing themselves into tandem parachuting, as the industry grows by leaps and bounds in the country.
In tandem skydiving, or tandem parachuting, student skydivers are strapped to instructors with a harness. The student jumps out of the plane together with the veteran and is guided during the entire jump until safely on the ground.
This type of jump requires little pre-training, so it is wildly popular.
"The moment I jumped, I felt like, wow, nothing else matters. It's very comfortable and stress-relieving. I screamed all the way down. I'm very happy that I got a chance to enjoy myself in the sky," said a skydiver.
Accelerate Skydive in Beijing charges about 4,000 yuan (about 600 U.S. dollars) per jump in tandem with an expert. It also offers solo skydive options for about 600 yuan (about 90 U.S. dollars) for experienced jumpers.
Despite the high prices, the company says every year their business increases.
"In skydiving season, we organize at least 10 flights per day, for 20 days a month for skydivers at our Beijing site. Every year, the number of skydivers doubles from the previous year," said Gao Jian, the general manager of Accelerate Skydive.
Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are jumping at the opportunity to enter the potentially lucrative market.
"In the United States, about 3.3 million people parachute every year, whereas in China, there are less than 90,000 people jumping, so that leaves huge room for growth. We have set up three skydiving sites within a year," said Zhang Shupeng, the general manager of Champion Skydiving based in Shenzhen.
Currently, China has more than 1,100 companies engaged in skydiving operations most of which were established within the last five years.