What Height Do You Skydive From?

Friday, June 26, 2020

What height do you skydive from? Truthfully, your skydive height will depend on the type of skydiving you are doing. Naturally, if you are a first-time skydiver considering embarking on the adventure of a lifetime with a tandem skydive, often one of the first thoughts to come to mind is exactly how high do you skydive from? It’s a wise inquiry. Afterall, skydiving altitude affects your experience in a variety of ways, including time in freefall and, even, safety.  Keep reading to find out the different skydive heights and to get an insider scoop of a little skydiving industry intel.


Licensed Skydive Height

Certain skydiving heights that are appropriate for licensed skydivers but not for tandem skydivers. To focus exclusively on parachute skills, licensed skydivers will often get out from a lower skydive height. The skydivers that exit from a lower skydive height are completing what is known as clear and pulls, as in clear the airplane and pull (deploy) the parachute. In the skydiving world, you may even hear these lower altitude “skydives” referred to as “hop-n-pops.” On these skydives, there isn’t much “skydiving” that happens. Rather than experience any freefall time the parachute is deployed almost immediately after exiting the aircraft. Hop-n-pops or clear and pulls, whichever you prefer, are typically completed from 5,000-3500 feet. These jumps can be completed from these lower skydive heights because the minimum parachute opening height for licensed skydivers is lower than it is for tandem skydivers. 

Who determines the parachute height minimum?

In general, licensed skydivers look to the United States Parachute Association Skydive Information Manual for guidance regarding parachute deployment heights. The requirements for parachute deployment heights are based on an individual’s experience level. Parachute deployment heights are higher for less experienced jumpers and lower for more experienced jumpers. However, even the most experienced jumper should not deploy a parachute lower than 2000 feet.  

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Tandem Skydive Height

What height do you skydive from at WNY Skydiving? Tandem skydives with WNY Skydiving are completed from a height of 10,000ft. This height is a very common skydive height. On a skydive from 10,000 feet, you will experience freefall at 120 mph for about 30 seconds. Then, once the parachute is deployed, you get to experience flying around under a canopy for another four to five minutes. Typically, your tandem instructor will deploy the parachute anywhere from 5,500ft to 6,000ft. 

Much like the specific parachute heights set for licensed skydivers, there is a specific requirement for tandem skydivers. As a USPA Group Member dropzone, WNY Skydiving adheres to the USPA Basic Safety Requirements. According to the USPA Basic Safety Requirements, the minimum parachute deployment height for tandem skydivers is 5,000ft. Because the tandem skydiving pair is usually composed of a highly experienced trained tandem instructor and a first-time skydiver, a higher parachute deployment height creates a nice safety margin to help ensure that if any issues arise, there is plenty of time and altitude for the instructor to pursue appropriate action. In truth, because of the safety margins created by minimum skydive heights, tandem skydiving is now safer than it has ever been!

Ready to check out what height you skydive from first hand? We’d love to give you a bird’s eye view on your tandem skydive from 10,000 feet! Call WNY Skydiving today!

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