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Skydiving Vs Bungee Jumping

Written By: Jack Buscombe

Skydiving and bungee jumping are commonly considered in the same category of experiences. They both have a leap of faith, a free fall and can inspire chills just watching someone do it. A common question is whether to bungee jump or to skydive, and there are a number of differences between the two. This article compares the two in a battle of the experiences!

Pros and Cons

Which is Safer?

While both skydiving and bungee jumps are very safe when performed correctly, fatality statistics suggest bungee jumps are slightly safer.

The Australian Parachute Federation conducted a report in 2017 which looked at the ratio of jumps per fatality. While it varies significantly, it averages out to about 1 fatality for every 350,000 skydives. This equates to about 2.5 fatalities per year.

Bungee jumping statistics assume 1 fatality for every 500,000 jumps. Over the last 20 years, there have been 23 bungee jumping related deaths, which equates to around 1.15 deaths per year.

Which is Cheaper?

The price of the experiences depend on a number of factors, including:

  • altitude
  • location
  • day/time (e.g. weekends/mornings etc.)

All else equal with comparative factors (as above), bungee jumping is cheaper than skydiving. In fact, it's almost half the price! For example, a bungee experience in Cairns costs $179, whereas a 14,000ft skydive in the same region will cost $295.

Which is more fun?

A question like this is mostly subjective, however a skydiving is generally a better experience. This is based on 5 reasons:

  • You'll reach terminal velocity (220km/h) on a skydive
  • Skydiving has a longer freefall.
    • Bungee jumping freefall = 4-5 seconds
    • Skydiving freefall= 40-70 seconds
  • Skydiving is significantly higher with broader scope of surroundings/better views
    • Bungee Jumping height = <500 ft
    • Skydiving Height = 10,000ft - 15,000ft
  • Skydiving Experience is longer
    • Bungee Jump Duration = 2 minute (immediate free fall + 2 minute hang-time)
    • Skydiving Duration = 5 minutes (1 minute free fall + ~4 minute parachute to ground)
  • And you get a scenic flight in an airplane before a skydive!

The specific numbers will vary, however a skydive is always from a greater height, meaning longer and faster free falls. And the parachute ride gliding back down to ground is also great fun on a skydive!

Skydiving views

Which is scarier?

We asked this question to 20 people who have experienced both jumps and 90% said bungee jumping is a scarier experience than skydiving. Three of the main reasons cited are:

  • Proximity to ground. When you bungee jump, the furthest extension of the cord will usually dangle you from within 10 metres of the ground.
  • The surroundings are much closer - either by forest, cliff, canyon or waterfall. When you have points of reference, you can see how fast you really are falling. Whereas with a skydive it's just you and the open air.
  • In a tandem skydive, you're attached to a professional instructor which provides the security lacking on a bungee jump. We know both activities are safe, but you're doing it alone on a bungee jump.
Standing on the platform of a bungee jump

Conclusion - Which should I do?

Both are fantastic experiences which will push you well beyond your comfort zone. While both activities are extremely safe, statistics suggest bungy jumping is slightly safer. Considering you're more likely to be killed by a bee sting, this shouldn't exactly be front of mind when making your decision.

A skydive is a longer and more diverse experience which will cast you off into the air with a longer free fall. You'll get better views on both the way up and way down. You'll get a longer drawn out adrenaline hit and you'll reach faster speeds than you will on a bungee jump. For these reasons, I usually recommend booking a skydive instead of a bungee jump.

There are some points that go to the bungee jump, mostly related to price and the increased fear factor. As discussed above, a bungee experience is usually considered more frightening due to the freefall proximity to the ground and other environmental factors. It's also worthwhile considering the price benefit it has over skydiving. If you're on a tight budget or have already been skydiving, then a bungee jump is probably a better choice for you.

Bracing for the jump

FAQ

Is skydiving more expensive than bungee jumping?

As a general rule, skydiving is more expensive than bungee jumping.

Where can you bungee jump in Australia?

Cairns is the only location to bungee jump in Australia. Conversely, there are more than 20 skydiving locations across the country, with at least one in each capital city. There are several bungee locations in New Zealand, however.

Why is it so hard to book a bungee jump in Australia?

The main reason there are hardly any bungee jumping businesses in Australia is mainly due to high insurance costs. A few businesses have started to eventually close down due to unreachable demand requirements to meet the high outgoings.

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