As a business in the entertainment industry, skydiving centers are aimed at providing a once in a life time, awe inspiring adventure. When Mother Nature changes their plans they must quickly shift gears to keep customers happy. Bad weather for skydiving means sad and frustrated customers who can't jump out of airplanes.
When skydiving operations are grounded it is because weather conditions are unsafe to skydive in. While we want everyone to skydive on the day of their reservation, we also pride ourselves in our safety. Your safety is our #1 Priority at Skydive Danielson. We ask our customers to be understanding of this possibility and respect our decisions to increase safety.
Is it raining outside? Conditions aren't good to skydive in. Rain = no skydiving. Our customers are never surprised on rainy days that their skydive has been cancelled. But on cloudy days, skydiving customers are left asking questions as to why they can not skydive.
On weather days, our first time tandem skydivers are frequently confused about clouds being the reason that they can not skydive. Sitting on the ground and looking up at the sky our customers ask us, "Once the rain stops, we can skydive, right?" Unfortunately, the answer to that is not always yes. After the rain stops conditions do not always become safe to skydive right away. Visibility is a key factor in making safe skydives.
Why is visibility so important? Think about this example, if you were driving your car and it was so foggy outside that you could no longer see, you would need to pull over. This is because you would not want to hit another car or run off the road.
Skydiving in clouds is similar, except collisions with other skydivers, parachutes and airplanes/helicopters are a real threat lurking in the clouds.
Simply put, if we can't see where we are going it is not safe to skydive.
Clouds provide some of the most amazing views that skydivers love. Playing in the clouds and free falling past a huge cloud formations can be life changing. Plenty of cloudy days have great visibility!
Clouds change constantly throughout the day. Sometimes conditions can change within minutes! Patience can be a virtue when waiting for clouds to clear at a skydiving center. The waiting is often rewarding for customers who get to experience amazing views of clouds in free fall.
So, how do we know if we can skydive? It all depends on the altitude of the clouds and how dense they are. Skydivers follow Cloud Clearance requirements for VFR conditions.
As skydivers, we are bound by the same regulations as airplanes flying without instruments. Once we exit the aircraft, we do not have GPS or weather instruments to keep us safe. All we have to rely on is our sight, so we better be able to see where we are going!
Cloud Factors That Affect Skydiving
This is the million dollar question that we get asked thousands of times each year. If weathermen could accurately predict the weather than we could give you an accurate answer. Unfortunately, we all know that while weathermen do their best to predict the future they are only right sometimes.
The only true indicator of what the weather will do on a cloudy day is to look up in the sky. If you live more than 10 minutes away, you could have a completely different sky than your neighbors.
Skydiving centers rely on weather forecasts to help them guess what will happen for the day. Often times, there are days that customers just need to drive out and see what happens.
No one really knows what the clouds will do. Some days the forecast comes true and other times it does not.
Common weather apps on your phone give little details regarding clouds. The app may say 'cloudy' but it does not say what altitude the clouds are at or how thick they are.
Simple Phone Weather App
There are some websites that give more details in regards to clouds and winds. USAirNet is a favorite website for skydivers to check out what the day's forecast might be.
US Air Net
Pilots use weather reporting websites that give even more details on the clouds such as what altitude they are at, and how thick the clouds are. These websites post information that is in pilot lingo and not easy to read if you aren't a pilot. These contain reports called TAF's and METARS.
While these websites tend to be trusted more, they are still not always accurate. Predicting the weather is a very difficult job!
Do you have a skydiving appointment and you are not sure what will happen as far as rescheduling goes? Check out What Happens If There Is Bad Weather On The Day Of My Skydive.