What Are Weather Holds And Why Are They Such A Big Deal When It Comes To Skydiving?

January 9, 2023

Skydiving weather is notorious for being the biggest letdown EVER on the day of your big jump. While weather conditions for skydiving are typically favorable (or else we’d never be able to skydive!), there are a few unfortunate inclement weather days peppered into the mix that keeps us on the ground looking up.


We always cheekily say that the best time to skydive is anytime … that means anytime there’s not too much wind, any sort of precipitation, or an expansive amount of cloud coverage. As always, everything we do is with your safety at the top of our minds. Let’s jump into why skydiving weather conditions are so important for a successful jump!


What's A Weather Hold?


A weather hold is a term used in skydiving that simply means that skydiving has been stopped (momentarily or indefinitely) due to unfavorable weather.


While staying on the ground at the dropzone isn’t exactly what skydiving centers are designed for, it’s not all bad! Holds put in place due to weather are there to keep us safe by preventing a potentially dangerous situation. They can be beneficial by allowing you time to get to better know your instructor, fellow tandem students, and experienced jumpers before taking the leap of your life. We always say some of the best opportunities to learn and memories made happen when we’re grounded! 

What Is The Optimal Weather Forecast?


Uhhh, sunny and 75 with light and variable winds, please!? If only! We wish we were fortunate enough to have flawless year-round weather, but that’s just not the case. The best weather to do a full send from an airplane is one that has three things: minimal clouds (we can’t jump through clouds), light and predictable winds, and zero rain. 


1. Why can’t we jump through clouds!? 


Jumping through clouds is forbidden by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is the governing body of well … aviation, which includes skydivers and airplanes. Other than the fact that it’s illegal, cloud surfing presents a potentially dangerous situation, so we wouldn’t want to do it even if we could.


Although humans can soar through the skies at terminal velocity, we aren’t able to see through clouds. What if there’s another aircraft under the cloud? What about a fellow jumper deploying their canopy directly beneath you? Being able to use your eyes is critical not only for your safety, but the safety of those around you, and clouds are the ultimate vision blockers. 


2. Why is a good skydiving wind forecast so essential? 


Because we don’t want to end up like Dorothy and Toto (or worse)! Wind limits are predominantly put in place to protect jumpers while they’re close to the ground.


For example, under the parachute, you will be descending and moving forward at a rate specific to you and your tandem instructor (the same goes for a solo skydiver). If the rate at which you’re moving forward is 15mph, and the wind is 10mph, you will land with a headwind of 5mph – yay! But if you’re flying forward at 15mph and the wind is blowing at a steady 25mph, guess who’s landing while moving backward?


There are some other factors like the design of your canopy, its feasibility to cut through the wind, and how high your wing-loading is that play into how much wind is too much wind. Nonetheless, wind limits are put in place to keep us safe. 


3. Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Back ... Never!

Rain is the skydiver's worst enemy. It is impossible to prioritize safety if you’re jumping in the rain. Firstly, raindrops HURT when they’re hitting you at crazy high speeds; imagine a million little pinpricks hitting your face and arms and neck and literally every part of your body … ouch!


Secondly, rain is WET, which means it has the potential to prevent gear from working properly (parachutes aren’t designed to fly while sopping wet), and it can even damage critical components, like the Automatic Activation Device (AAD). Rain can cause goggles to fog up and obstruct our ability to see, and can also be hazardous when landing. A slip n’ slide may be fun, but may be a little too advanced for your first jump!  

Can The Weather Mess Up My Scheduled Skydive? 


Unfortunately, undesirable weather can force us to stay grounded for an entire day or even weekend - in which case, we’ll have to reschedule your skydive booking. We will contact you before your scheduled time if we are on a weather hold on the day of your jump.


If you have a super far trek ahead of you to get to us or are at all concerned about the weather please don’t hesitate to call us and check in! If the weather gods decide to be giant jerks and we have to move your skydive to a more opportune time, you will get to pick a new time and date, your deposit moves to the newly selected time, there is absolutely no fee charged, and discounts still apply! We would like to note that if your skydive needs to be rescheduled to a sunnier day, there are no refunds. 


We always say that we’d rather be on the ground wishing we were in the sky, rather than in the sky wishing we were on the ground! And while weather holds are not as exciting as a skydive, we’ll be sure you have a good time and welcome you into our skydiving family! Fingers crossed for sunny days and fun jumps, book your skydive today!

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- Can I Skydive When It's Cloudy Outside?

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