As perfect summer weather gives way to the cooler temps of Fall and Winter, many people just assume that skydiving stops altogether. But that’s not the case at all. There do tend to be more days where weather prohibits skydiving, making many people wonder, can you actually go skydiving in the rain?
The short answer is no. If it’s raining, that can cause additional issues when it comes to skydiving that make it not worth it. The biggest issue is visibility – the FAA says that skydiving operations can only take place with good visibility (we will spare you the nitty-gritty details of the regulation) and when it’s raining, good visibility is compromised. Even if the FAA didn’t have anything to say about this, we would still encounter other issues if we wanted to skydive in the rain. Our skydiving gear isn’t waterproof! We don’t want our gear to get wet because not only is it difficult and costly to dry out, but there are also electronic parts that can become ruined if soaked by enough water. In addition, when there is rain, it can be accompanied by unpredictable winds. While skydivers like a steady wind, gusting winds can cause parachutes to become unstable.
At this point, you may find yourself wondering what other weather conditions halt skydiving operations apart from rain. If you guessed clouds, you’d be right. And you’d better believe that the FAA has something to say about clouds, too. In fact, it goes right back to the visibility issue. If the clouds are high enough, skydiving operations can go off without a hitch. But if there’s low cloud cover or fog, you won’t find us in the air. Visibility is important to us as skydivers because we need to be able to see each other in the sky and we need to be able to spot our landing area. Additionally, it’s important for nearby aircraft to be able to see us during a skydive and if there are a lot of clouds, that increases the danger factor.
Finally, there is one more weather concern that we touched on a bit already. You may look outside, see blue skies, sunshine, zero clouds, and no rain. However, blustery Fall days can bring strong wind with them. How much wind is too much for skydiving? The answer here is it depends. For solo students learning to skydive, the maximum winds allowed to jump are 14 miles per hour. For tandem skydiving, your instructor is allowed to jump in any wind conditions, but that definitely doesn’t mean they will take unnecessary risks just to skydive. Often times, winds can cause us to choose to stay on the ground until they subside, which can be as short as a few hours or as long as the entire day.
What’s not as much of a concern that we get asked about often? Colder temperatures. Most everyone assumes skydiving doesn’t happen in the cold but that’s just not true. The cold alone doesn’t keep us on the ground. Skydiving is pretty much like any other cold-weather sport or activity – as long as you wear the right clothing, you’ll be just fine. And if it’s your first time skydiving, adrenaline will provide a good bit of warmth, so much so that many people don’t even notice the cold!
So come join us at Skydive Orange in the cooler temps and if you hear us say that we are on a weather hold, know that it’s not only for your safety but for ours as well. There’s a saying in the skydiving world that it’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than it is to be in the air wishing you were on the ground. We fully believe that and will wait until the conditions are right to skydive.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.