Can You Skydive in a Thunderstorm?

Typing that sentence almost seems silly because of course, you can’t skydive in a thunderstorm! It’s generally not recommended that one walk their dog in a thunderstorm or even be outside! So before we expound further on this topic… why are we even writing about it?

Turns out our marketing team (made up of people who stay up late at night pouring over data that most of us would find terribly boring) have identified that the search query “Can you skydive in a thunderstorm?” is searched more than 90 times per month! This data point led us to ponder, who in the world would actually make this query? Turns out its two sets of people:

The first group of queries generally occur on the day people are supposed to make a skydive and it’s thunder-storming! What to do? Go to the dropzone or stay home? If that’s you right now, we’re going to spell out this query below to make sure it pops up on your screen to give you 100% clarity on this matter:

Can You Skydive in a Thunderstorm?

No. It is not recommended to skydive or participate in any activity when electricity is present.

Okay, we’ve got that covered!

The second group of queries stems from a famous skydive made in 2016 by Red Bull Air Force athlete, Sean MacCormac when he went sky surfing on the edge of a thunderstorm. Not surprisingly, the video went viral which was picked up by major news networks like ABC and was featured on Nightline. While some would call this cool (caution, this video will suck you in), it’s a definite win for the marketing team at Red Bull which has since likely generated lots of Google queries about skydiving in a thunderstorm. If you’re reading this because you saw the video and really want to make a jump in a thunderstorm, we’ve got bad news… you won’t find a dropzone willing to do it unless you’re a Red Bull athlete!

Can You Skydive in Bad Weather?

If you’ve made it this far, you may be wondering what the weather conditions need to be in order to safely skydive. If you weren’t thinking that, humor us as good information is coming!

Can You Skydive When It’s Windy?

Weather delays are one of the most frustrating aspects of skydiving especially when the sun is blazing and there are blue skies! To be grounded amidst a beautiful day because of high winds is maddening especially for people making their first jumps. Generally speaking, most dropzones stop operations when wind speeds get to about 20 mph (unless you skydive in Hawaii where 20mph is the norm).

The key with wind speeds is the smoothness of the air. If the wind is gusty or turbulent then that leads to everyone sitting around the dropzone and looking at the sky wishing they were jumping (it’s quite a depressing scene). Even more frustrating is when wind speeds at higher altitudes make it unsafe to jump even when ground winds are perfectly acceptable. Unless you want to land in the next county, jumping when the “uppers are screaming” isn’t exactly recommended.

If curious about winds check out our article on optimal wind conditions for skydiving.

Can You Skydive in the Rain?

You can go skydiving in the rain, but frankly, unless you enjoy going to the tattoo parlor and having your entire body inked simultaneously by ten tattooists, it’s a miserable experience because skydiving in the rain hurts! Turns out that the pointy edge of a raindrop is pretty sharp when you fly into it at 120mph!

Can You Skydive When It’s Cloudy?

You can, but it depends on the country you’re jumping in. In the US, the FAA mandates that skydivers visually see the ground before exiting the aircraft. This is a sound practice as it’s important to be able to know that there are no aircraft below you before leaving the plane or most importantly that you’re over the dropzone where you intend to land. The most perfect skydives are done on days where there are lots of broken clouds as it makes for beautiful visuals!

tandem skydive in clouds

Can You Skydive After It’s Snowed?

Believe it or not, skydivers love this! It’s a bit of a novelty, but diehard skydivers up north will jump after it has snowed to enjoy the incredible visuals below. Here at Skydive Carolina, we have done this in the past as it’s such a rarity to enjoy snow much less see the terrain covered in white!

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If you’re planning to make your first skydive, here’s a pro tip. Be patient! Weather is an uncontrolled variable and it causes delays at every skydiving center on the planet. It’s part of the sport and we know it can be frustrating! We’ll leave you with this piece of wisdom shared by an old skydiver who went his entire career without an injury:

“It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground!”

Have questions? We’d love to chat with you! Please feel free to contact us or call us at (803) 581-5867! Blue skies!

Can You Skydive in a Thunderstorm?

Typing that sentence almost seems silly because of course, you can’t skydive in a thunderstorm! It’s generally not recommended that one walk their dog in a thunderstorm or even be outside! So before we expound further on this topic… why are we even writing about it?

Turns out our marketing team (made up of people who stay up late at night pouring over data that most of us would find terribly boring) have identified that the search query “Can you skydive in a thunderstorm?” is searched more than 90 times per month! This data point led us to ponder, who in the world would actually make this query? Turns out its two sets of people:

The first group of queries generally occur on the day people are supposed to make a skydive and it’s thunder-storming! What to do? Go to the dropzone or stay home? If that’s you right now, we’re going to spell out this query below to make sure it pops up on your screen to give you 100% clarity on this matter:

Can You Skydive in a Thunderstorm?

No. It is not recommended to skydive or participate in any activity when electricity is present.

Okay, we’ve got that covered!

The second group of queries stems from a famous skydive made in 2016 by Red Bull Air Force athlete, Sean MacCormac when he went sky surfing on the edge of a thunderstorm. Not surprisingly, the video went viral which was picked up by major news networks like ABC and was featured on Nightline. While some would call this cool (caution, this video will suck you in), it’s a definite win for the marketing team at Red Bull which has since likely generated lots of Google queries about skydiving in a thunderstorm. If you’re reading this because you saw the video and really want to make a jump in a thunderstorm, we’ve got bad news… you won’t find a dropzone willing to do it unless you’re a Red Bull athlete!

Can You Skydive in Bad Weather?

If you’ve made it this far, you may be wondering what the weather conditions need to be in order to safely skydive. If you weren’t thinking that, humor us as good information is coming!

Can You Skydive When It’s Windy?

Weather delays are one of the most frustrating aspects of skydiving especially when the sun is blazing and there are blue skies! To be grounded amidst a beautiful day because of high winds is maddening especially for people making their first jumps. Generally speaking, most dropzones stop operations when wind speeds get to about 20 mph (unless you skydive in Hawaii where 20mph is the norm).

The key with wind speeds is the smoothness of the air. If the wind is gusty or turbulent then that leads to everyone sitting around the dropzone and looking at the sky wishing they were jumping (it’s quite a depressing scene). Even more frustrating is when wind speeds at higher altitudes make it unsafe to jump even when ground winds are perfectly acceptable. Unless you want to land in the next county, jumping when the “uppers are screaming” isn’t exactly recommended.

If curious about winds check out our article on optimal wind conditions for skydiving.

Can You Skydive in the Rain?

You can go skydiving in the rain, but frankly, unless you enjoy going to the tattoo parlor and having your entire body inked simultaneously by ten tattooists, it’s a miserable experience because skydiving in the rain hurts! Turns out that the pointy edge of a raindrop is pretty sharp when you fly into it at 120mph!

Can You Skydive When It’s Cloudy?

You can, but it depends on the country you’re jumping in. In the US, the FAA mandates that skydivers visually see the ground before exiting the aircraft. This is a sound practice as it’s important to be able to know that there are no aircraft below you before leaving the plane or most importantly that you’re over the dropzone where you intend to land. The most perfect skydives are done on days where there are lots of broken clouds as it makes for beautiful visuals!

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tandem skydive in clouds

Can You Skydive After It’s Snowed?

Believe it or not, skydivers love this! It’s a bit of a novelty, but diehard skydivers up north will jump after it has snowed to enjoy the incredible visuals below. Here at Skydive Carolina, we have done this in the past as it’s such a rarity to enjoy snow much less see the terrain covered in white!

If you’re planning to make your first skydive, here’s a pro tip. Be patient! Weather is an uncontrolled variable and it causes delays at every skydiving center on the planet. It’s part of the sport and we know it can be frustrating! We’ll leave you with this piece of wisdom shared by an old skydiver who went his entire career without an injury:

“It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground!”

Have questions? We’d love to chat with you! Please feel free to contact us or call us at (803) 581-5867! Blue skies!

What Happens When You Skydive Through a Cloud?

Clouds give a fantastic atmosphere and incredible views to a skydiver. Seeing some small, soft white clouds as you skydive is a breathtaking vision of beauty. But what happens when you skydive through a cloud? Can you get hurt? How dangerous is it? Are you going to get very wet?

I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about the need for clear blue skies to skydive. But sometimes, you see a few harmless fluffy clouds which look like they won’t cause any danger. After all, how harmless can a friendly-looking cloud be? Everyone has dreamt of reaching out and touching the clouds. So is it sometimes OK to dive through certain clouds?

Let’s take a look at the rules and advise on skydiving through clouds. We will also talk about the sensations of falling through a cloud and what conditions make for a dangerous skydive.

Does skydiving through clouds hurt?

hurt teddy bear

Even droplets of rain can sting your face at freefall speeds

There are ten main classes of cloud, and their height and shape can identify them.

High clouds stretch from 16,000 feet to above 40,000 feet. These clouds are not usually related to the weather conditions and are well above the average skydiving altitudes. Middle clouds are those at around 7,000 feet to 20,000 feet. They can consist of tiny crystals of ice and water droplets. And the clouds at 7,000 feet and below are called low clouds.

The friendly-looking white clouds you see at low altitudes are usually cumulus clouds. These are the fluffy white clouds you see on a sunny day, and they rarely threaten any rain. Passing through a small cumulus cloud, you probably won’t feel a thing, and you will pass through in a second. One thing you will feel is your speed. Passing through or close to a cloud can give you a much clearer idea of just how fast you are falling.

But not all clouds a fluffy white and friendly. Most clouds will hold a lot of water and crystallized ice. Passing through a cloud filled with lots of small pieces of ice at 120 MPH is something you will feel! Even droplets of rain can sting your face at that speed, and it will feel like someone is throwing sand or rice at your face, pretty hard. If this happens, you will want to shield your face or even turn away.

Would you get wet if you fell through a cloud?

people in rain

When you are passing through a cloud, you are passing through millions of tiny water droplets

Clouds are produced by water, formed through convection. Air at surface level and low altitudes heats up and rises. As it rises, it also begins to cool and produce water vapor. When there is too much water vapor in the air, it forms a cloud. So when you are passing through a cloud, you are passing through millions of tiny water droplets. Even a cloud that won’t produce rain still holds water, but the water vapors are smaller.

The type of cloud and how long you spend in it will determine just how wet you will get. Passing through a very small white cumulus may only last 1-2 seconds, and you might not feel wet at all. Passing through a larger cloud could make you feel a little damp, and your goggles may get covered in moisture, or you could get totally soaked! You may not feel like you are getting wet in some clouds and feel a slight tickle from the tiny water vapors, but once you exit the cloud, you discover you’re drenching wet.

A unique phenomenon sometimes forms on the top of clouds called a ‘glory.’ This is when the sun casts your shadow over a cloud you are falling towards and creates a rainbow pattern around it. It’s rare but stunning to see when it occurs. Sadly the rainbow disappears before you reach the cloud – so no chance of finding and gold here.

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Is it illegal to skydive through clouds?

legal

Is it illegal to skydive through clouds?

USPA and FAA make it clear in their fuels that skydivers should not pass through clouds. The official rule is FAA regulation 105.17, which states:

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft:

(a) into or through a cloud, or

(b) when the flight visibility or the distance from any cloud is less than that prescribed.

This rule is also covered by Visual Flight Rules (VFR). These rules permit U.S. pilots from flying without clear visibility of the grounds and the skies around them. Skydivers are bound by these same rules. Even if you were able to get to altitude, it would still be illegal because the clouds would be obstructing your vision of the ground and other objects, as you passed through them.

What happens occasionally is that low cloud forms as you begin your skydive. And on occasions, special allowance is given to certain skydivers and performers. Some professionals can get permission from the FAA to skydive or fly through cloudy skies, but it’s not something your average pilot or skydiver would be granted. The rules forbidding skydivers to dive through cloudy weather are there to protect your safety and keep you out of danger.

Is it dangerous to skydive through a cloud?

tall buildings and clouds

Skydiving through a thick cloud can be very scary and extremely dangerous

While it may look fun, skydiving through a thick cloud can be very scary and extremely dangerous. What really happens as you skydive through the cloud is you lose your sense of direction and all visibility. If you are skydiving with others, you will lose track of where they and the aircraft are. You’ll often have no idea how deep the cloud is or what’s on the other side. Diving through a big, thick cloud can be a frightening experience.

If you enter a thick cloud near the point you want to deploy your parachute, it can cause a lot of stress and danger. You can quickly start to lose track of your altitude and panic when the cloud takes longer than anticipated to pass through. Pulling your parachute inside a cloud can also be dangerous, especially if you are not skydiving alone. Skydivers falling above or close to you won’t see you deploy, and you risk having a mid-air collision.

If you are in a tight group and you all enter a cloud, no one will be safe opening their parachute until everyone has exited. Once you have exited, everyone will need to get clear and ensure they are safe before deploying their chute. In such circumstances, this can lead skydivers deploying much lower than they are comfortable with.

What conditions can you not skydive?

fog in distance

Fog can quickly cancel a skydive

So now you know what happens when you skydive through the cloud and doesn’t sound much fun. The fact it can hurt, you’ll probably get wet, and it’s hazardous, makes sense that you should avoid it. So what are the types of conditions you should avoid when skydiving?

While temperature is less important (you can skydive in the cold of winter), clear blue skies are crucial. Cloud and rain are the first things to postpone or cancel skydiving. For all the reasons above and many more, skydiving is a strict no-no when it’s stormy or cloudy. Not only is it illegal, and the VFR forbids pilots from taking you into the sky, it wouldn’t be fun anyway. Why would you want to soar through the skies at 120 MPH like superman but not be able to see the world around you?

Equally, ground fog can halt a skydive. A thick foggy morning means delays to your skydiving, which makes sense. But why cancel when the fog is very light? Well, although it may seem harmless at ground level, it’s different when floating above. You could have a visibility of 100 meters and see across the other side of the airfield, but from above, that could mean not seeing the tops of buildings and trees. Fortunately, most fog tends to clear fast, so it usually means being patient and waiting it out.

Strong wind can be another condition in which you can’t skydive. On very windy days, it can play havoc with parachutes. Strong winds can quickly take parachutes off course or even ascend backward as you get close to the ground. Up in the skies, it can cause a lot of unwanted turbulence, which can be incredibly stressful for new and first-time skydivers.

Source https://www.skydivecarolina.com/blog/can-you-skydive-in-thunderstorm/

Source https://www.skydivecarolina.com/blog/can-you-skydive-in-thunderstorm/

Source https://skydivingplanet.com/what-happens-when-you-skydive-through-a-cloud/

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