Cookies and milk, peanut butter and jelly, altitude and airplanes: some things go together. In a way, the altitude you reach and the airplane you ride in make skydiving what it is, especially at a first-rate facility like Skydive Orange. Ultimately, the altitude you skydive from will define your entire adventure. So, what determines the altitude you jump from? The aircraft! Want to learn more? Keep reading for industry intel about airplanes and the altitude of skydiving.
In general, the average skydiving altitude for dropzones in the United States is right around 10,000 ft. Why this number? Well, the majority of dropzones utilize an aircraft called the Cessna-182. This plane is a small, single-engined aircraft that seats four (not including the pilot). Though the workhorse of the industry, this plane is not powerful enough to take jumpers to an altitude higher than 10,000 feet. For a point of reference, from this altitude, a skydiver will be in free fall for about 40 seconds.
Ask any skydiver and they’ll say “without a doubt.” In fact, mention the opportunity to get higher altitude to skydivers, and they’re practically throwing their money at you. The reason we prefer higher altitudes is that it allows us more time to enjoy our playground: the sky!
At Skydive Orange, we primarily operate an aircraft called the Twin Otter. The Twin Otter is a large turbine aircraft that seats 22 people. Compared to the Cessna-182, the engine on the Twin Otter is supercharged. The Twin Otter can reach an altitude of 14,000 feet in 15-20 minutes. Because of its speed and size, this aircraft allows us to have a more comfortable ride to a higher altitude with more of our friends!
It’s possible to reach altitudes higher than 14,000 feet, but to do so, you will need supplemental oxygen. As you ascend higher and higher above sea level, the air thins. Essentially, the amount of oxygen in each breath you take diminishes the higher you go. To prevent experiencing hypoxia (altitude sickness), for jumps above 15,000 feet, supplemental oxygen is needed.
At Skydive Orange, you can pick your own altitude adventure!
The typical altitude of skydiving at Skydive Orange is 14,000 feet, which, by the way, is higher than any other skydiving center in Virginia! From this height, a jumper will enjoy 60 seconds (one full minute) in freefall.
Fancy even more time to soak in freefall? If you come between the months of May-October, you can reach even greater heights. At Skydive Orange, we also offer High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) tandems. The skydiving altitude of a HALO tandem is an incredible 17,500 feet. From this altitude, jumper’s experience a freefall of 80 seconds. To put it in perspective, that is nearly a minute and a half of freefall or double the time spent in freefall on a skydive from 10,000 feet!
As we mentioned above, for a HALO tandem, there’s the added custom experience of utilizing supplemental oxygen.
Interested in seeing the world from 14K or maybe even higher? Skydive Orange is ready to give you the inside look! Reach out with a call or email today!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.