How Weather Can Effect My Skydiving Day

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How Weather Can Effect My Skydiving Day

Published: May 10, 2018

Nearly every outdoor sport and activity is subject to the weather and affected by certain unfavorable conditions. You can't exactly play ball if the field is drenched or it is raining cats and dogs. And, you wouldn't want to take your little ones (if you have them) to the park or playground if it was forecast to storm. When you're skydiving, your playground is the sky. As you take in the atmosphere, you are particularly at the mercy of mother nature. Bright blue cloudless skies, gentle breezes, and temperatures of 75 degrees make a perfect day for tons of activities, skydiving included.

Though, not every day will match up to the delightful description above.

So, what sorts of weather conditions will affect your skydiving day and how?

Things to consider:

  1. We need to be able to see the ground to land. While GPS is used in the aircraft, nothing beats the human eye. Exiting in conditions where the ground is not visible could result in jumpers being forced to land over trees, neighborhoods, lakes, or parking lots.
  2. There are essentially two parts to a skydive-freefall and the canopy ride. While you are probably more focused on the thrilling fall through the air at a zippy 120mph, there is still the canopy ride to consider. Winds can affect the ability of the canopy to fly, and thus, the ability of you and your tandem instructor to land safely on the ground.
  3. Rain drops pitter pattering on a roof may be natures poetry or the skies soft symphony, but raindrops making contact with your skin while you freefall at 120 mph is anything but soft! Honestly, it's a real pain.

Patience is a virtue, and sometimes, skydiving requires waiting for optimal conditions. Weather holds can cause delays. Please understand, it's for your safety and the safety of the instructors that the drop zone will suspend or pause operations

Now that you know what we're keeping in mind, here are some situations where we will go on a "weather hold."

Low Clouds

Low clouds are often a no-go for skydiving. Skydiving operations take place from around 13,500ft agl If there is a significant amount of cloud cover at a lower altitude than this, we will likely go on a weather hold. Even if you see bits of blue above, it may not be favorable for jumping. The clouds aren't typically static objects. They are moving and shifting about. This means while you may see a blue "hole" when you take off, by the time you make it to altitude, it could have closed up, and you will end up in a bit of a pickle. The Safety and Training Officer at the drop zone will hold operations until the clouds dissipate and clear, and it appears that it is safe to skydive.

High Winds/High Wind Gusts

There are different wind speed limits in place for various skydiving levels. The more experienced you are, the greater the wind range or spread in wind speeds you are able to jump in and the more leniency you are given to make decisions about the speeds of winds you can fly in. Typically, skydives can still be made in higher winds, if the winds are consistent. If the gusts of wind become too dramatic (say, for example, from no wind to a gust of 14mph), operations will be put on hold. While tandem instructors are incredibly experienced jumpers, we keep your safety and theirs in mind when we put a wind hold in place.

Rain

Rain=Pain

Furthermore, the weight of the water on the fabric of the parachutes negatively affects the way the parachutes fly and can cause damage to the gear. Honestly, if it looks like a dreary drizzly dismal day, it's likely that your skydive will be nixed.

So, what is one to do?

Sometimes, the winds will calm, the clouds will clear, and the rains will pass. At many drop zones, if it appears that skydive operations will be able to occur later in the day, they will remain open, and you are welcome to wait as long as you like. Other times, it is a solid bet that skydiving just isn't in the cards that day and the drop zone will cancel operations for the day. While it can be frustrating, remember that no one can control the weather and decisions to suspend or cancel operations are made with safety and your experience in mind.

If the forecast seems grim the day before your scheduled skydive, give us a ring! We are more than happy to tell you what we think the next day will bring. Though we can only go off the forecasts we have, and no one can predict exactly what the weather will do (meteorologists who are paid to predict such things get it wrong all the time).

If, unfortunately, the weather prevents you from skydiving, do not fret, we will work with you to get you rescheduled for another day when you have availability. We promise the experience itself is so remarkable it is worth the wait for a perfect day.