How High Is A Tandem Skydive?

August 14, 2023

For your first time skydiving, you may not even think about what altitude you’ll be jumping from or why it even matters. The truth is, skydiving from any altitude is pretty darn amazing – but we believe that the altitude you jump from on your skydive can play a significant role in making your first skydive that much more epic! And not all skydiving centers are equipped to provide the same experience, especially when it comes to skydiving heights. Why? Well, we’ve got your answers right here.

Tandem Skydiver flying a parachute tandem skydive

How High is Skydiving?

A normal skydiving altitude can range anywhere from 8,000 ft and 14,000 ft depending on which dropzone you choose to jump at. The skydiving height is determined by a couple of factors:

  • Aircraft Capabilities:

The type of aircraft you’ll be jumping out of can significantly impact your overall experience, including your skydiving exit altitude. One easy way to guess your skydiving altitude is to know which plane the dropzone will be flying that day. If it’s a small-engine aircraft such as a Cessna 182 then you can assume you’ll be going anywhere up to 10,000 ft. If they have a larger turbine or twin-turbine aircraft such as a Cessna 208 Caravan or King Air, you might be going above and beyond 10,000 ft and maybe even up to 14,000 ft! 

  • FAA Cloud Clearance Requirements:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implements strict Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) that dropzones are required to follow. One of them is the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which state that for a jump at anything above 10,000 ft, a skydiver must have at least 5 miles of visibility. This means that the sky must be clear of clouds for at least 1 statute mile horizontally and 1,000 ft above and below. These cloud clearance requirements are designed to keep skydivers safe from colliding with other skydivers or other aircraft. If the clouds are lower than the intended jump altitude, the altitude can be lowered below the clouds to accommodate our guests.

Tandem skydivers enjoying the skydiving experience

What is the Lowest Height You Can Skydive From?

For a tandem skydive, the minimum skydiving height is right around 8,000 ft. This is because the tandem instructor needs to deploy the parachute around 5,500 ft to ensure plenty of time to make an important judgment call for a safe landing. Experienced skydivers can perform what is called a ‘hop n pop’ at altitudes between 3,000 - 4,000 ft. Skydiving from this height leaves little room for freefall time and is usually for those looking to just get in some canopy time.

What is the Highest Height You Can Skydive From?

The highest height you can tandem skydive from usually rests around 14,000 feet. This is because anything over 15,000 ft is considered HIGH altitude and requires the use of supplemental oxygen, according to the United States Parachute Association (USPA). However, 30,000 ft jumps are offered seasonally at one dropzone that we know of – jumps from this altitude require a lot of planning, special waivers to be approved by the FAA, and even additional certification required by the jumper. With everything in consideration, you can imagine what a tandem jump from this skydive height could cost. However, there are plenty of licensed skydivers that will jump from heights above 15,000 ft usually for special events, demonstrations, or record-setting purposes. Currently, the world record for the highest skydive ever stands at an impressive 135,889 ft, held by Alan Eustace. It's an amazing skydiving experience!

Tandem skydiver exiting an airplane 

How High Do Most Skydives Go?

The average skydive height in the United States and throughout the world is 10,000 ft. This is typically because the most popular aircraft used for skydiving operations tends to be the tried and true, Cessna 182 aircraft. The Cessna 182 is a popular aircraft amongst dropzones because of its affordability and reliability. However, this aircraft has a smaller engine that can only withstand an altitude of 10,000 ft and hold a total of 4 passengers (2 tandem pairs per plane).

How High is a Tandem Skydive at Skydive Danielson?

Thanks to our spectacular and reliable Cessna 208 Caravan, the tandem skydive height at Skydive Danielson is up to 14,000 ft! Not only does our aircraft take you higher than the average skydiving height, but it also gets you there quickly (15-20 minutes) and comfortability with our larger cabin for extra leg room or to accommodate larger groups (up to 14 passengers)! Skydive Danielson is one of the few skydiving centers in the New England area that offers a tandem skydive jump at 14,000 ft.

Sunset skydivers from 14000 ft

How Long Does a 14,000' Skydive Take?

So, what’s the big deal? Does tandem skydiving altitude matter? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for – but a higher altitude means more adrenaline-filled, mind-blowing 120 mph freefall. A freefall from 10,000 ft takes about 30 seconds while a freefall from 14,000 is almost double that! With 60 seconds of freefall, you’ll get the chance to really take in the excitement and one-of-a-kind experience of falling through the big, beautiful blue sky.

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