Skydiving Altitude and Airplanes

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Spreading wings for flight makes a bird’s heart sing. So, what do you think has the same effect on a skydiver? Why, a nice skydiving plane and plenty of skydiving altitude, of course! 

Skydiving altitude is one of the most important parts of your skydiving experience. In part, because it determines the amount of precious freefall time you’ll be able to enjoy. Despite the old adage saying the sky’s the limit, the truth is our skydiving altitude is limited based on the type of skydiving airplane being used. 

Interested in learning more? Here’s an insider scoop on skydiving airplanes and skydiving altitude.

Skydiving Airplanes

Some people imagine they’ll be leaping from a Boeing 747 for their first flight, but a typical skydiving airplane won’t be anything like a commercial airliner (other than they both fly of course)! Most aircraft were not designed with skydiving in mind. In fact, many skydiving airplanes are actually what you could call “repurposed” aircraft.  Naturally, each aircraft has its pros and cons when it comes to being used as a skydiving airplane.

Within the skydiving industry in the United States, these are some of the skydiving airplanes most commonly used: Cessna 182, Cessna 206, Caravan, Twin Otter, PAC 750, King Air, Sky Van, and Casa. 

Skydiving Airplane | WNY Skydiving

What makes a good skydiving airplane?

So, what makes a particular type of aircraft a good skydiving plane?

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Much like your personal vehicle, the ideal skydiving airplane is reliable. 



An ideal skydiving plane is one that is still being manufactured! That way if replacement parts are needed, they are readily available so that operations are not halted for too long. 

Efficient Operating Costs

Even if you’re not in the field of aviation, you know this: it’s expensive! Routine aircraft inspections and maintenance are crucial to the safe and efficient operation of a skydiving airplane, and aircraft maintenance costs can be downright mind-boggling. For the majority of dropzones around the world, skydiving airplanes need to have efficient and affordable operating costs in proportion to the amount of business.

Cessna 182

The sturdy Cessna 182 is commonly referred to as the “workhorse” of the industry, and it is our primary aircraft here at WNY Skydiving. 

The Cessna 182 has been a trusted skydiving plane since the beginning of commercial skydiving. In truth, the Cessna 182 is one of the primary reasons commercial skydiving centers have been able to open not just in the United States but, also, around the world!

A Cessna 182 typically carries up to four people to 10,000 feet in about 20-25 minutes. To go above 10,000 feet, this skydiving airplane would require an unsustainable amount of flight time and fuel. 

How Long Do You Freefall While Skydiving | WNY Skydiving

Average Skydiving Height

Because so many facilities utilize the Cessna 182, the average skydiving height is around 10,000 feet. 

During the week, 10,000 feet is the skydiving altitude at WNY Skydiving. From this skydiving altitude, you can expect to enjoy a 40-second freefall at 120 mph coupled with a 4-5 minute parachute ride!

On the weekends at WNY Skydiving, we offer skydives from a skydiving altitude of 14,000 feet using another skydiving airplane. From this skydiving altitude, you can expect to enjoy a 60-second freefall at 120 mph coupled with a 4-5 minute parachute ride!

Skydiving Altitude at WNY Skydiving

With options of a skydiving altitude of 10,000 feet throughout the week or the option of taking to 14,000 feet on the weekends, you can pick whichever skydiving adventure is just right for you! 

No matter which you choose, rest assured, the experience is going to be amazing! 

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