Published: October 9, 2020
Wondering whether the weather will affect your upcoming skydive? We are here to help. Because skydiving weather requirements aren't exactly common knowledge, you may not know what qualifies as good skydiving weather and what may put the kibosh on your adventure.
Many will check the weekly forecast a few days before their scheduled skydive. The problem is they end up bombarded by a confusing series of icons, symbols, and information. Using the weather channel to determine skydiving weather conditions isn't as straightforward as you might think, and the local meteorologist's messages aren't exactly the easiest to interpret. What's the difference between partly cloudy and mostly sunny or mostly cloudy and partly sunny anyway? Truthfully, we don't know who decides the semantics, but we do know what skydiving weather is optimal for a great experience!
Like most outdoor activities, skydiving is subject to the whims of Mother Nature. For your safety and the safety of our instructors, skydiving weather conditions have to fit into a pretty narrow window.
Try as we might, even with the most modern of weather satellites and enormous insight, we cannot predict the weather. However, we can tell you how different types of weather will affect your day at the dropzone.
Skydiving weather requirements are not made up willy nilly at the dropzone. Rather, skydiving weather restrictions are put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration, the governing body in charge of aviation and some aspects of skydiving. The FAA requires that skydivers observe Visual Flight Rules conditions. In case you wanted to look it up, the official federal regulation is 14 CFR Part 105. But, instead of boring you with the details, allow us to summarize: if the skies are covered with low clouds, we cannot skydive. In order to ensure the safety of everyone involved, we have to have the visibility to guarantee that we can see other people, the plane, and the ground/landing area below. In general, the best skydiving weather conditions are clear blue skies and sparse clouds.
When it's raining, pouring, and full blown storming, it's easy to see why you might be better off staying in than heading out for your skydive. But, if there's just the light pitter patter of a drizzle on your windshield, you may not know if the skydive can still continue. No matter how light, rain means pain. This is because on a skydive, you collide with the raindrops at 120 mph. Aside from a pretty miserable time in freefall, rain can mean dangerous things for jumpers under parachute because the weight of the water on the parachute can negatively affect its ability to fly. For both the quality of experience and your safety, it's much better to wait until the rain has moved on.
No skydiver will complain about a nice, light breeze, but high winds are another matter entirely. During our descent to the ground under canopy, we need to be able to control our parachutes. If the winds are too high, they can push us off course. In really extreme instances, it can even cause you to go backwards. This is why we have to enforce certain wind speed limits. On your tandem skydive, you will be attached to a high-level professional. If they deem that the winds are too high, you should trust their expertise. Taking a risk, just isn't worth it.
Have any questions about skydiving weather requirements or skydiving weather conditions?
Just give us a call!
Poor weather in the morning doesn't mean there won't be jumping later in the afternoon. We want to share the sky with you, and so, most of the time, we're willing to wait all day for conditions to improve! Once the weather clears, we begin with the students who scheduled the earliest appointments and work our way down. Sometimes, patience is rewarded. Othertimes, the weather simply won't cooperate. At Long Island Skydiving Center, we always put the customer's safety first, and if the weather conditions aren't optimal for skydiving, we won't jump.
Though, we will say, today seems like the perfect day to schedule your next adventure!