Skydiving Overweight is possible at Skydive Orange!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Skydiving Overweight

The question we hear most often is, “Is there a weight limit to skydive?” To answer bluntly, yes there is. However, there are many different factors that go into deciding whether someone is physically able to skydive, no matter their weight.

At Skydive Orange, larger customers are required to do a first time tandem jump, where the skydiving student is attached to a licensed instructor. For AFF (Accelerated Free Fall), the weight limit is 225 lbs, no exceptions.

For a tandem jump, we can typically accommodate up to 275 lbs. If an individual’s weight surpasses 220 lbs, there are additional fees which cover the fuel surcharge, gear fees, and instructor compensation. The fees are an extra $35 per 10 lbs over 220 lbs, i.e. if you weigh between 221-230 lbs, it would be an extra $35 for a tandem jump, and if you weigh between 231-240 lbs, it would be an extra $70, so on and so forth up to 275 lbs, which is the maximum weight we can accept.

Overweight Tandem

If you are over 220 lbs, there are preemptive measures to ensure that you will be able to skydive at our facility.  You may obtain pre-approval by calling 703-759-3483 or emailing Factors that determine jump eligibility include age, height, overall physical condition, body shape and combined exit weight, all of which will be reviewed before an approval can be made. Preliminary approvals can often be made over the phone but in ALL CASES a final approval cannot be made until the instructor has had an opportunity to see the student’s build, body shape, and overall physical condition in person (you MUST be able to lift your legs for less than 1 minute).

The bottom line, though, is the manufacturer’s stated limit for its harness. For most systems, the limit is 500 lbs total, including the instructor’s weight, your weight, and the gear, which weighs about 60 pounds. There’s an excellent article written in Parachutist Magazine about skydiving overweight by Musika Farnsworth, who explains the concept, perfectly.

Overweight Skydive

All in all, we want the best for our customers, so don’t be put off if you really want to skydive but are nervous because you weigh a little more or don’t think we’ll allow you. Give us a call and find out how we can help get you in the air!


    1. Hi Kyle!

      You could with prior planning. You would need to be 270 lbs fully clothed and we’d need you to call about 2 weeks prior to make the reservation to make sure we have the staff to accommodate you.

  1. Whitney, if the gear for tandem is 500 pounds, why is AFF 225? I was just there this past weekend watching the GF have the time of her life but because I’m 6-4 and built like a linebacker, now I can’t do either?! Can’t you jump solo with a tandem pack? I mean if they can drop tanks from 10,000 feet… the guy that doesn’t understand, can you briefly explain the reduction of weight reasoning if the gear can handle 500? A simple cuz you’re the size of a horse is sufficient if thats all you want to say. Thanks again

    1. Yes, Brent… Horse-size people can’t skydive! But, in all seriousness, the weight limits for AFF and Tandem are different because the gear is different; and they are completely different systems.

      We follow recommended guidelines and the Basic Safety Requirements of the U.S. Parachute Association when training AFF. The weight limit is based on the ratio of suspended weight of the jumper (including gear) to the square footage of the canopy (which is called wing-loading). A recommended beginning wing-loading for a first jump student is between .8 and .95 and not to exceed 1:1. Newly A-licensed jumpers are typically close to the 1:1 ratio as they graduate the AFF program. Our largest student canopy is 300 sq. ft. (which is the largest student canopy manufactured). That means a student weighing 225 lbs. + 55 lbs. of equipment = 280 lbs. “out the door” / (divided by) the square footage of the canopy = 300 s.f. is a ratio of .93. (280/300 = .93)

      Why can’t you jump tandem gear as a solo student? Because the tandem system is a different system with different emergency procedures. To jump a tandem system, it is required by the USPA and the gear manufacturers that you have at least 3 years in the sport and a minimum of 500 skydives. The system is built for a drogue-release which requires different emergency protocol than our sport gear; and with six handles (as opposed to three) are more involved than the emergency procedures and gear systems that we use for our sport and student gear (emergency procedures = cutting away a malfunctioned main canopy and deploying a reserve canopy).

      Can a tandem system be modified for larger jumpers? Yes, it has been done. The tandem system converted for larger jumpers is expensive and cost-prohibitive for most DZs.

      I hope this explains the difference in gear and why linebackers can’t skydive. We appreciate your enthusiasm and are sorry that you weren’t able to jump with us during your visit. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

  2. Can i bring my dog skydiving? I’m 215 pounds and but he’s 50 pounds so together that’s over the limit. Do I still have to pay the extra fees?

  3. Hey I weigh 500 pounds and Skydiving Yellow let me dive solo. So do you guys Weight-match, its kinda like price match.

  4. Hi my name is amber….i was wondering how much would it be because my husband is 268 and im 214…would we be able to sky dive. And how much for both of us to do so…

  5. I am an overweight man, I have been working on losing weight all my life. I have always wanted to go skydiving but have been put off by the weight limit. What I can’t understand is, why is there a weight limit, when I have seen videos of the army parachuting tanks out of plans. I thought it had to do with the size of the parachute, but maybe there’s more to it than that. Can you explain? thanks.

  6. You can also buy your own gear from the military. I’m 6’5″, 270 lbs. And I’m going to make it a life style change. So, it all depends on if you just want the one time or if you want to be about it.

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