When people see the weight limit of 240 pounds to make a skydive, they often get the wrong idea. They think it’s arbitrary; they think it’s prejudicial; they think it’s not fair.
We’re here to tell you that the skydiving weight limit is there for the very most excellent of reasons, and it’s not arbitrary at all. It pains us to enforce it, because–if there was any way that we could–we’d make sure everyone was able to make a skydive at the very first moment they wanted to. We don’t want anyone to be left on the ground. Ever.
The skydiving weight limit for tandem students at the Long Island Skydiving Center is about hard numbers and our dropzone’s steel-clad emphasis on safety. Here’s the true facts in black and white.
1. We care about you.
You’ve got to be disciplined when you’re defying gravity, so everything in aviation comes with a strict weight range. These weight ranges indicate the loads that the given flying machine can safely support without becoming a crashing machine. These are numbers to be taken seriously, for sure.
In airplanes, exceeding the equipment’s weight range can prevent takeoff or dangerously complicate landing. In skydiving, exceeding the parachute’s weight range can result in painfully abrupt deployments (yikes!), snapped parachute lines (double yikes!) and dangerously fast, hard-to-control landings (triple yikes!). Bigger parachutes, of course, add even more weight to the equation. It’s a problem that just keeps exaggerating itself.
It’s not just the airfoil, either. The harness comes into play here, too. Tandem harnesses can only adjust to a certain point. Past that point, the harness becomes difficult to put on, pinchy to wear and constrictive during freefall. It’s a bad scene.
So: If you did manage to make a skydive that exceeded the weight limit, not only would it be way less comfortable and way more dangerous–but your skydive would be over faster, deployment would be harder, and the landing would be pretty reliably no-bueno. That’s not the way you want to experience your first time meeting the sky face-to-face, is it? Nopey nope nope.
2. We care about our instructors.
We work hard to stay flexible to each student’s health and safety requirements–and skydiving is, by the way, a remarkably accessible sport!–but some lines must be drawn to protect the instructors who make up our caring, professional, all-star team.
In a nutshell, it comes to this: Students over the weight limit make a soft, safe landing almost impossible to pull off. That puts our students and our family of instructors in a compromising position with the ground. Our priority is to take care of our staff and the students who trust us, so we can’t do that in good faith.
3. We’re saving a place for you.
While that 240 number is a hard limit, listen up: when you get there, we’re right here to welcome you. Pro tip: Set skydiving as the goal. You won’t just emerge lighter and healthier you’ll emerge inspired. Dubious? Don’t be. We’ve known one tandem student who lost four hundred pounds to make a skydive. If he can do it, you can, too! And we’ll celebrate right alongside you in the sky.