2014 has seen an increase in the amount of HALO tandem skydives. As a relatively exclusive & new experience, HALO tandems at Skydive Hawaii have proven to amaze both new and experienced skydivers. With a wide angle 360 view of the entire island chain, the jump makes for an unforgettable experience for all brave enough to take the leap.
The first thing you see is the price: $998! That's an expensive skydive! And you read the fine print: WARNING: Temperature at 20,000' can be -25 degrees. Layered clothing is recommended, as free-fall will add a windchill at 120mph. Men must be clean-shaven so that oxygen masks will fit snugly. It could be very cold for up to 20 minutes.
It almost doesn't seem worth it. What tandem skydive is worth a thousand US dollars? What kind of skydive is worth breathing oxygen and being cold?
Well, there is something about it that calls to a few. A dozen people have already decided to see what it was like this year alone adding to the short list of less than 25 members. So far all have received a truly unforgettable memory of Hawaii that they say they will cherish for years, some have already made the the high altitude jump multiple times. Even the experienced skydivers that happens to go along enjoy the experience immeasurably too.
It honestly is like any other tandem skydive, with a few added risks. The extra altitude gives you an extra 30 seconds of freefall time over jumping at 14,000ft -- the highest anyone can go without oxygen, the highest anyone else will take you. Above 14,000ft oxygen is necessary due to lower air density, without it hypoxia sets in rather quickly. Hypoxia effectively slows your cognitive ability, and simple tasks become much more difficult quickly. To combat hypoxia, on the HALO jumps, Skydive Hawaii's aircraft are equipped with onboard O2 systems. Skydivers breathe pure aviation-grade O2 starting at 8,000ft during the climb. Additionally, each tandem pair has a bailout bottle with a few minutes of O2 incase of a premature parachute deployment at higher altitudes.
So is hypoxia and freezing temperatures along with the price tag worth the extra 30 seconds of air-time? It is worth the panoramic views of the island chain? Is the thrill of dropping from high in the atmosphere, followed by the serene quit of floating under parachute above Oahu's north shore beaches worth it?
It seems that it is up to those that undertake the journey to decide, and the results seem to suggest that the short list of HALO skydivers will continue to grow.