Wait, why is there a skydiving weight limit? Let’s think about it. Skydiving is simply the act of defying gravity for a short amount of time, which is an exploit that is really affected by weight. Why is there a weight limit for skydiving? There are a few good reasons for the tandem skydiving weight limit, including: gear manufacturer requirements, harness fit, comfort (of you and your instructor), and the physical strength that is needed to efficiently fly the parachute.
Weight Limit For Skydiving At Long Island Skydiving Center
Our weight limit has a hard deck of 250 lbs for people that are weight-to-height proportionate. However, we ask our tandem students who are over 200 lbs to please connect with us prior to making a reservation. We want to be absolutely positive that we will have an instructor who is capable of safely taking you on a jump!
Being asked to step on a scale with your clothing on the day of your jump is a super common practice at all dropzones, so please don’t be alarmed or offended if we ask this of you.
What If I Am Over The Maximum Weight For Skydiving?
Don’t fret! We welcome anyone and everyone eager to learn about and watch skydiving to come see our operation in full swing. Feel free to come catch sight of us jumping, and decide if it’s something you want to strive toward doing. What’s better than a skydive to celebrate reaching a personal goal!?
Am I Being Discriminated Against?
Absolutely not. The skydiving community is hands down the most accepting group of people you’ll ever meet. In fact, we inherently care about you SO much that we can’t let you skydive in an unsafe condition, such as exceeding the legally mandated weight limit.
We never intend to make anyone feel unwelcome or unworthy, we are simply putting your safety (and ours) before anything. Even your favorite amusement park rides have height and weight restrictions!
1. Manufacturer Requirements: Weight Limits
Let’s get into the liability side of things! Skydivers get their containers (the backpack and harness) and parachutes from gear makers, and prior to being put on the market the gear is tested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – yes, we take this stuff seriously!
Once evaluated, the FAA issues a Technical Standard Order (TSO) for the equipment. This TSO shows a breakdown of the minimum performance standard for the gear, which includes the maximum weight the parachute and harness can safely endure. Exceeding TSO limits can result in malfunctions of the gear. TSOs are implemented on solo skydiving gear and tandem gear.
2. BMI Matters
As a society we’ve recently realized that BMI as an indicator of health is a bunch of hokey pokey, BUT it is still very relevant in the skydiving realm. The proportion of someone’s weight and height is a determining factor in being able to skydive.
Harnesses are designed to fit all sorts of body types … with a few exceptions. Attachment points on the harness are fastened to corresponding links on your instructor’s harness, and news flash: they have the parachute! A nice and snug harness fit is absolutely crucial for proper security.
3. Comfort Is Key
It is critical that the harness fits in such a way that both you and your instructor are comfortable! Even if you were okay with being uncomfortable, a good harness fit would still be a necessity in order to ensure proper attachment to your instructor, as mentioned above.
A harness that is too tight can increase anxiety due to feeling restricted and can pinch you to a point of being painful or even dangerous. A harness that is too loose causes all sorts of issues, such as hanging too low on the front of your instructor, which can result in a tricky landing or funky shock upon the opening of the canopy. When a canopy opens, the tandem pair will go from approximately 120 mph to 15 mph in a matter of seconds.
Imagine driving that fast and then slamming on the breaks, and envision your harness as your seatbelt. You want your harness to fit in a way that says: I’m so comfy that you don’t know I’m here, but when you need me, I’ve got your back.
Although your instructor may look strong as an ox, they can only handle so much! It is a lot to guide not one but TWO people softly to the ground and bring them in for landing.
The landing requires the instructor to “flare” the canopy – basically, do a muscle-up with the steering toggles and slow the descent rate and forward speed of the canopy. A lighter tandem pair makes this maneuver easier on the instructor’s body, while a heavier pair makes it more strenuous.
Tandem students are typically told to lift their feet and knees when coming in for landing. This requires leg and core strength to avoid any twisted ankles. It also prevents the possibility of your instructor tripping over you and landing on their face!
How To Prepare For Your First Skydive
Preparing for a skydive is relatively straightforward – you just have to work up the courage to DO IT! Book your skydive and video package with us, get a good night of rest, arrive at your appointment on time, stay hydrated and fed, and listen to your instructor! Easy peasy!
If you are hugging the weight limit line, that’s probably no biggie! Make sure your instructor knows so they are prepared and manage the skydive accordingly.
Ready to book your skydive now? Go for it! If you still have a few extra LBs to knock off, we can’t wait to celebrate your milestone in the sky with you! Have questions or concerns? Don’t hesitate to contact us — we’re here to help. Blue skies!