Skydiving Age Limits: The Oldest, Youngest, & InBetweens
Throwing ourselves out of a plane isn’t exactly as common as driving a car, so skydiving age limits can seem a bit of a mystery!
So how old do you have to be skydive? You need to be 18 years old to undertake a solo skydiving course. However, certain airfields do accept tandem jumpers as young as 7 years old. There is no upper age limit for tandem jumpers – there’s even a skydiving club for jumpers over 90!
While that’s the quick answer, I’ve included plenty more information below. Including locations, tips, weight limits, and things to know for younger/older jumpers.
Sound good? Then let’s dive in!
Skydiving Under 18 Years Old
One of the most popular questions is whether people can bring their kids skydiving.
In other words, my kids just saw the latest Mission Impossible movie, and now they’re obsessed.
Can Children Go Skydiving?
The answer yes, kids absolutely can go skydiving, down to a minimum of 7 years old (height/weight dependant). However, this takes the right airfield to do it in. Within the USA I believe there’s only one airfield approved to have child skydivers by the FAA, and that’s located in Western Colorado.
Outside of the US, most English-speaking countries (UK, Australia, New Zealand) allows kids under 18 to go skydiving with a tandem instructor. Again – this depends entirely on the airfield, it can be a rare thing to find.
If you’re having trouble finding a child-friendly drop zone online, I recommend calling any dropzone and asking them directly. Skydive centers tend to be well connected to each other.
Of course, all of this refers to tandem jumping. This is where you’re strapped to a supremely qualified skydiver, and you’re just along for the ride.
Can Children Go Skydiving… Solo?
If you’re talking about skydiving on your own, then the answer is unfortunately no. There’s so many reasons why, including weight limitations (you can’t be too light), gear limitations, and, of course, your Mum would go crazy.
However, in the UK you can go solo skydiving from 16 years old, with parental consent.
Concerns for Kid Jumpers
When it comes to taking a youngster skydiving, safety is always the #1 concern.
I’ve touched on this much more in other articles, but skydiving is incredibly safe.
Especially tandem skydiving. Most reported skydiving injuries are from experienced jumpers trying to push the limits. When it comes to simple, basic jumps that strictly follow all protocols, it’s extremely safe.
In fact, you’re much more likely to be injured on the drive to the airfield, rather than from skydiving.
Aside from safety, the other main concern is whether your child would really enjoy it. All I can say is that you know your kids best. If they love adventure and aren’t afraid to push the boat out, skydiving can be an incredible experience for them. Not only in terms of fun, but one which will give them a ton of confidence and pride (especially if Mum or Dad is doing it too!).
The Maximum Skydiving Age
One of the amazing things about skydiving is that is relatively easy. All movements while in the sky are gentle – the only real ‘active’ part of the whole thing is the landing. (Aside from handling the chafing when your parachute opens).
This is why there’s no maximum age for tandem skydiving. Absolutely none. The only requirement, generally, is that your health is up to scratch. That means no heart, blood pressure, or other serious medical conditions. As long as you’re able to lift your legs up in-front of you while seated, you’ll probably be able to tandem skydive.
Solo skydiving courses tend to have a maximum age of 49. This is true for both static line ## and AFF ## courses. However, exceptions can be made at the airfield – if you prove you’re fit and healthy enough.
Amazing Older Jumpers
There’s some incredible people out there in the world – a bunch of which are skydiving well into their golden years.
Here’s Dilys Price showing us how it’s done at 82 years old!
Here’s one of my favorite ads from them:
These guys and gals are a testament to the saying – “You’re only as old as you act”
Concerns for Older Jumpers
If you or an older loved one are considering to take the plunge, literally, then here are the most common concerns:
- Mobility. No acrobatics are needed – only the strength to lift up your legs. Try sitting on the edge of a seat, and lifting your legs straight up in-front of you. This is the landing position, and you’ll need to hold it for a good dozen or so seconds.
- Injuries. The only common skydiving injuries for tandem jumpers tend to be from a stray hand or foot during landing. Having the confidence to stick to the instructors direction (and not put out a stray limb) is all that’s needed.
- Wind.No, not that wind! The ease of a jump highly depends on how windy of a day it is. If you let the airfield know you’re an older jumper in advance, they can hold off your jump until there’s a suitably calm day to make things easier for you.
- Uncertain? If you’re unsure, the best bet is just to give the drop zone a call. They’ll advise you on whether or not to come down. Once there, they’ll walk through a questionnaire with you and do some basic movements to make sure you’re all set for a jump.
Skydiving Weight Limits
Now while we’re talking about limits – unfortunately – parachutes have a limit too!
Maximum Weight for Skydiving
Being too heavy, or even too light, can cause issues. Not because that parachute would ever rip (they’re strong enough to hold up a small car), but because they can be hard to fly.
Too heavy of a load (especially with a tandem jump) becomes harder to control. You also lose altitude at a faster rate, which makes landing a bit tricky. For this reason, most dropzones have a 220lb (100kg) limit for jumpers. This is fully clothed – including your shoes!
Tandem skydive limits are a bit more lenient, going up to 260lbs. However, they may charge a little extra for this as it may take specialist equipment and the right instructor.
Minimum Skydiving Weight
On the other hand, being too light can be an issue too. Having too little load can mean the parachute hardly descends! For solo jumping, there’s often a minimum weight limit of 8 stone and a height limit of 4ft 11.
I’ve personally seen the light weight issue a ton of times. For some reason, skydiving at our university was super popular with short girls.
My theory is that the shorter you are, the less scared of heights you must be – since you’re always closer to the ground!
Sometimes these girls would be so light they’d take forever to finally come back down. Our plane of jumpers would all have landed, when we realized that one of the girls wasn’t there. Looking up, we’d always spot her still high up in the sky! She took what felt like twice as long to eventually come down (talk about getting your money’s worth).
Most lightweight solo jumpers solve this by wearing a weight belt, and eventually graduating to their own much smaller canopy.
Skydiving isn’t something that everyone just does – so there’s often some confusion around it.
Particularly with age and weight limits. I hope this article has helped clear things up for you.
At the end of the day, your best bet is to call the dropzone you’d jump at and ask them directly. They’ll guide you through their own specific protocols and age/weight limits.
If this content has helped you, please do check out some of our other articles below!
How Old Do You Have to Be to Skydive?
We’ve all seen the Instagram-worthy pictures and videos of thrilling skydiving experiences. It’s one of the most fun adventures you’ll ever take, and kids would love to join in.
Youths excitedly beg their parents to let them freefall, and some might even consider letting them. But how old do you have to be to legally skydive?
We’re here to answer all your questions about how old you need to be to take your first freefall.
You Must Be 18 Years Old to Skydive in the United States (No Exceptions)
Just like how there’s a weight limit to skydiving , there’s also an age limit.
According to US law, someone must be at least 18 years old to skydive . Even if a minor has parental consent and jumps with a trained, adult instructor, they must be 18 years old at a minimum.
This minimum age limit was deemed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) law and is strongly enforced by The United States Parachute Association and all USPA-affiliated dropzones. Dropzones can get into big trouble for letting a minor skydive — not to mention the legal trouble that would come with it — and the penalties are far too steep to try and “sidestep” the law.
Legally, someone can skydive the day of their 18th birthday, so if a teenager is itching to take the plunge, it could make the perfect birthday present .
It’s worth noting that there’s no stated limit on the maximum age someone can be to skydive. As long as the person in question is in good enough health to take the jump, they can proceed whenever they’d like. In fact, an Australian woman set the world record for being the oldest skydiver at 100 years old!
Why Is 18 the Age for Skydiving?
Depending on the country, the minimum age for skydiving may vary. So if other countries allow minors to skydive, why is the age restriction 18-years-old in America?
At the core of it all, the minimum age to skydive is 18 because it’s the law. Just like you have to be 21 in the U.S. to drink alcohol (which also varies by country), there’s a law about the minimum age to jump out of an airplane. Currently, the law states that a person can’t skydive until they are legally considered an adult.
This is because of the risks associated with the sport. While skydiving is inherently much safer than many assume, skydivers are required to sign waivers to protect the dropzone in case of any accidents, and this requires the signature of an adult who’s fully capable of understanding the risks they’re taking.
While Chicagoland Skydiving Center has maintained a perfect student safety rating 50+ years in business, we highly respect the rules set in place by the FAA and USPA and would never allow a minor to tandem skydive so long as our regulatory bodies deem it unfit.
Will the Age for Skydiving Ever Change?
Despite current regulation, it’s possible that the minimum skydiving age could change. Over the years, there has been debate over the appropriate age to skydive in the U.S. Back in the 1960s, the minimum age was 21. In 1970, it was up to each individual state’s age of legal majority, which ranged from 17 to 21. For a while, some dropzones even allowed 16-year-olds to freefall with parental consent.
With this history in mind, there’s certainly a possibility that the minimum age to skydive could change again. Still, we don’t foresee it shifting again anytime soon. While this was a major discussion several decades ago, it’s not as pressing of an issue today. The only way this could change is if the legal age of adulthood was amended in the United States nationwide — which would be a major undertaking.
Does Every Dropzone in the U.S. Require You to Be 18?
Yes. You must be at least 18 years old to tandem at a dropzone. The only exception would be if a dropzone requires you to be older than 18 to skydive.
In some cases, individual dropzones may choose to increase the age limit — for instance, requiring you to be at least 21 to skydive — for added safety. That’s at the discretion of every dropzone and could vary across the board, so be sure to ask your skydiving center before assuming it’s 18.
The Answers to All of Your First-Time Skydiving Questions!
We hope that this article answered all your questions about the minimum age limit for skydiving, but we know first-time skydivers often have quite a few inquiries.
Download our Guide to Tandem Skydiving for a long list of FAQs and helpful beginner’s information for making the most of your first freefall.
Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.
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Can You Skydive at 16 Years Old?
In the United States, all skydiving passengers must be at least 18 years of age to jump at United States Parachute Association member dropzones. At Skydive New England, we are often asked if children and teenagers under the age of 18 can skydive with parental consent, but unfortunately, USPA dropzones are restricted from accepting any passengers who are under 18 years old.
Skydiving Age Limit Restrictions
There are two major organizations that prevent children from skydiving:
- The manufacturers of tandem skydiving equipment (Strong Enterprises and United Parachute Technologies): To comply with safety standards set by the FAA, these companies established regulations for the use of their tandem gear, including a minimum age requirement.
- The United States Parachute Association: Taking into account the age of majority, the USPA mandated that a jumper must be at least 18 years of age to skydive, and dropzones affiliated with the USPA must abide by USPA regulations and safety requirements.
Additionally, jumpers who wish to go on a tandem skydive must sign a waiver of rights as skydiving is an extreme sport. This waiver of rights is a legally binding contract that serves as an agreement, release of liability, and assumption of risk. In the United States, an individual must be at least 18 years of age to enter into a legally binding contract. Parents or legal guardians of children under 18 cannot waive their child’s rights and enter into this contract for them.
TANDEM SKYDIVING ALTERNATIVE FOR MINORS
Not old enough to skydive yet? Indoor skydiving is a great way for minors to enjoy skydiving. This alternative sport can be enjoyed by children as young as 3 years old. Wind tunnels simulate the freefall portion of a skydive, which means you get the pure adrenaline rush of freefall throughout the entire experience. Enjoy the feeling of flying like a superhero while you await your 18th birthday!
Here are the 2 indoor skydiving locations in New England:
- – Nashua, NH – Yonkers, NY
WHY SKYDIVING IS WORTH THE WAIT
Skydiving has this amazing way of making you feel absolutely incredible! The feelings you get when you skydive are very freeing and many first-time skydivers walk away after their jump feeling like a new person. Although many people choose to skydive simply for the thrill, they often discover that the remarkable freedom and breathtaking beauty of skydiving are greater than anything they could have imagined. You feel incredibly empowered and accomplished, ready to take on the world and face anything. Check out What Does Skydiving Feel Like to find out more about why skydiving is as extraordinary as it is.