Skydiving Altitude and Airplanes | Skydive Orange

Skydiving Altitude and Airplanes

Thursday, August 17, 2023

What is the average skydive height? Does it even matter if you’re jumping from a plane either way!? Skydiving height varies based on which plane is used (don’t worry, ours is superior!). Keep on reading to answer the most frequently asked questions about skydiving altitudes and the airplanes that support our phenomenal sport!

What Is The Average Skydive Altitude?

The most common height that skydivers jump from is 10,000 feet. How come? Most dropzones own and operate the OG jump plane, the Cessna-182. While these planes get the job done, they have slowed in popularity for two reasons: they take a minute to climb to altitude (25-30 minutes), and they can only fit four skydivers. Cessna-182s are great for skydiving centers that have a smaller operation or for loads of jumpers who prioritize lower-altitude exits. From 10,000 feet, these puppies allow about 40 seconds of freefall time!

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What Is The Biggest Difference In Skydiving Height?

Is it better to skydive at 10,000 or 13,000 feet? Ask this question to any skydiver and they will respond with, “Higher altitude is ALWAYS better, duh!” Simply put, higher altitude = more freefall time. Don’t get us wrong, skydivers love the entirety of the skydive, from exit to landing. BUT there’s something special about having a little extra time to play in the sky with your friends, do a superrr high pull and focus on canopy work, or have the extra time to fall alone and simply just be.

What Altitude Does Skydive Orange Jump From?

Our average skydiving height is 14,000 feet, ensuring a full minute of freefall! Here at Skydive Orange, we utilize one of the most sought-after jump planes in the world, the Twin Otter. Let’s look further into why this plane is superior to all others.

What’s So Cool About A Twin Otter?

No, we’re not talking about fraternal otters. A Twin Otter is just over five times the size of a Cessna-182. Our Twin Otter seats 22 jumpers, which allows us to build skydiving formations with 22 experienced skydivers if we wanted to! This beast of an aircraft also has a supercharged engine and puts us at 14,000 feet in around 15-20 minutes – this isn’t even enough time to let the pre-jump jitters kick in!

How Low Can You Go?

The minimum height that most licensed skydivers choose to jump from is between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. Why? The higher the height of our parachute deployment, the more time we have to deal with any potential issues. Skydivers are always putting safety first and are expectant of worst-case scenarios, which is why we can jump five, 10, or 25 times in a weekend!

Jumpers often choose to jump from low altitudes to solely focus the jump on their canopy skills. These jumps are called hop-n-pops, which means the jumper hops (exits the aircraft) and almost immediately pops (deploys their main parachute). The minimum altitude that tandem jumpers can jump from is 8,000 feet, but given they must deploy their canopy by 5,000 feet, this leaves a teeny tiny window of freefall time – no bueno.

experienced skydivers in freefall

What Is A HALO Jump?

HALO stands for high altitude, low opening. High-altitude jumps are typically done from between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Once a jump plane hits 15,000 feet, supplemental oxygen is required on the plane. Some HALO jumps reach such a high altitude that experienced jumpers are required to bring a “bail-out bottle” of oxygen that they continue to breathe after exiting the plane. Can you skydive from 38,000 feet? Technically, yes. If the proper precautions (being in communication with Air Traffic Control, etc.) and training (understanding the heightened risk, how the O2 system works, etc.) are addressed, it is possible to skydive from 38,000 feet, which would have a freefall time of about three minutes!

So, what altitudes do planes fly for skydiving? All kinds! Although height matters most of the time, we skydive for the sport, camaraderie, and overall challenge and joy of skydiving all of the time. We can’t wait to share it with you at 14,000 feet – book your tandem skydive today!


About Whitney Payne

Co-Operations Manager at Skydive Orange - Working with Skydive Orange for 10+ years - Previously positions held: Office manager, manifest, guest services, social media manager, she does it all! “If you told be 10 years ago I’d be co-managing a skydiving facility and loving every minute of it, I would have laughed in your face. I am not an adrenaline junkie, not spontaneous and definitely not a thrill-seeker but I love these people. Skydivers are truly a different breed of people and I am forever thankful for them accepting me into their community. Watching people visit Skydive Orange to face fears, celebrate milestones or just jump out of a perfectly good airplane has been truly life changing for me and helped be become the person I am today.” – Whitney Payne

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Stephanie Ann

The customer service was amazing and the people were outgoing and fun and made it a great time before, during and after the jump!

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