At one point, during the laissez-faire ’70s, skydiving culture was a little like the wild west. There was one rule: there were no rules. Thankfully, times changed quickly, rules of skydiving were implemented, and skydiving safety improved vastly because of it.
While we still love to have fun, we take the rules of skydiving seriously.
Skydiving rules have allowed skydiving to grow and develop into an experience shared by nearly half a million people each year. Needless to say, skydiving has some inherent risks. However, it is with the adherence to skydiving safety rules and regulations that we mitigate these risks.
Below you’ll find some of the basic skydiving requirements for United States Parachute Association (USPA) group member dropzones, dropzone-specific skydiving requirements, and important FAA regulations.
Basic skydiving safety requirements can be found within the USPA Skydiver Information Manual (SIM).
Within this text, there are skydiving requirements outlining who can skydive. Minors (unless provided waiver by the USPA and gear manufacturer) cannot skydive. A minor is rarely allowed to skydive and generally only in cases of terminal illness alongside the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Another skydiving safety rule that is strictly enforced concerns individuals seemingly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No one may make a skydive, tandem or solo, if that person appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Additionally, a person may not jump if they have consumed an alcoholic beverage within eight hours of their jump.
Furthermore, there are skydiving requirements within the SIM covering student skydivers, maximum ground winds, and the minimum opening altitudes for skydivers.
Not just anyone can become a skydiving instructor. In addition to the general skydiving requirements, there are instructor-specific skydiving requirements. For example, in order to become a tandem skydiving instructor, one must have a D license, have held an instructional rating, have three years of skydiving experience, four hours of freefall time, and a Class III flight medical from the Federal Aviation Administration.
There are also a few skydiving requirements that are somewhat dropzone-specific. One of these is the skydiving weight limit. The general weight limit at Skydive Orange is 220 lbs. However, a height and weight proportionate person up to 260lbs may be accommodated. Because of the added strain on our instructors and gear, there is an additional surcharge of $35 for every 10 lbs over 220.
Another dropzone-specific rule at Skydive Orange is that all licensed skydivers are required to jump with an Automatic Activation Device (AAD). We also have additional rules concerning licensed skydiver and student skydiver landing patterns which can be found here.
For our tandem students, we request that no pets be brought on site. We also do not allow smoking within the hangar or around skydiving equipment.
Many of the rules of skydiving come directly from the Federal Aviation Administration. In fact, Part 105 of the Federal Aviation Regulations is dedicated entirely to parachute operations. Although the rules cover many topics ranging from proper equipment to seatbelts in the aircraft, one of the ways these rules are most readily seen by customers is when it comes to weather restrictions.
Skydiving operations cannot take place when there are cloudy skies, high winds, or rain. As a responsible skydiving center, we must adhere to the FAA regulations which say we cannot conduct parachute operations through clouds or when the flight visibility does not meet minimum requirements.
Understandably, it can be frustrating to wait when the conditions “seem” right. However, we have your safety and best interest in mind when we delay or postpone operations. Trust us, we want to jump as much as you do!
Get it? Because of the rules of skydiving, we can have fun in the sport that we love. In our book, skydiving safety, rules! Come jump with us!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.