Is Indoor Skydiving Safe? Your Ultimate Safety Guide
Indoor skydiving has been booming since the mid-2010s. Companies like iFly and XP are great for getting the thrill of skydiving without flying two miles above the earth. It’s also A LOT cheaper and lasts roughly the same amount of time (60 seconds).
Still, before jumping into a wind tunnel, it’s important to ask if indoor skydiving is safe.
We’re happy to reassure you. Indoor skydiving is a very safe yet exciting activity.
Is indoor skydiving safe?
Indoor skydiving is extremely safe. Out of millions of flights each year, less than 0.03% end with injuries.
Before every flight, the staff will give you the necessary safety equipment: a helmet, goggles, and a flight suit. The safety gear might make you look cool, but it will protect your head and eyes.
In every first flight, an instructor provides important safety assistance. They help you to be stable while floating.
The instructor shows you how to stay still, turn, and go up and down while making sure they can help control your body.
Accident do happen, but having the instructor really does help ensure a great deal of safety. Look at this video for example where a man is skydiving for the first time, loses a bit of control, and the instructor catches him.
As you might have guessed, indoor skydiving is much safer than skydiving from a plane. About 1 in 1,537 plane skydives end in injury.
If someone does suffer an injury from indoor skydiving, it most likely will be related to a muscle tear or dislocation of a shoulder joint.
If you have previously dislocated your shoulder, are double jointed or have ligamentous laxity you should probably not try indoor skydiving or at the very least, you should consult with your doctor before scheduling a flight.
Another issue are heart conditions. If you have a heart condition, it is advised that you do not try indoor skydiving. The activity is high stress and can increase your chance for stroke during the flight.
Can I get injured while indoor skydiving?
The short answer is yes, injuries have occured while indoor skydiving. However, injuries are very rare.
A prominent indoor skydiving company, iFly, said out of a million flights, only one jump ends in injury. That is a really good track record; much better than
Some people are sceptical however. They point out there are not as strict regulations in place for indoor skydiving as for rollercoasters.
One woman had what seemed like a normal tear injury but turned out to be ligamentous laxity which required surgery. She ended up spending $40,000 in medical bills, but this is an extremely rare occasion.
Horror stories aside, it’s important to know indoor skydiving is relatively safe as an activity. It gives you similar adrenaline as jumping out of a plane but with less risk and no expensive parachute required.
Is Indoor skydiving safe while pregnant?
While you may be able to fly while pregnant, companies advise against people pregnant flying.
Unfortunately, there are always risks with any activity even one with such a good safety record as indoor skydiving.
For example, what does a blast of 100 mph wind do to a person who is pregnant? You could also hit the plexiglass while flying or fall while exiting the chamber.
It is best to be safe. That is why it is not recommended to indoor skydive while pregnant.
It should be said pregnant people are not allowed to skydive out of a plane either unless they have a professional licence.
Some people have gone skydiving while pregnant without any ill effects.
Photo credit: Boris Dzhingarov via wikicommons and at www.thetripblogger.com
Can you die from indoor skydiving?
Any sport or ride entails risk of death like rollercoasters or even driving a car. Luckily, indoor skydiving is extremely safe.
There has only been one documented death while indoor skydiving, but it was due to a medical condition, not a flight accident.
In the extremely rare case, a professional indoor skydiver died while doing advanced manoeuvres because of a condition where his brain could haemorrhage at any time.
That’s why it is incredibly important to know the state of your body before going indoor skydiving. You need to know any conditions you might have, and what effect a high intensity activity might have on you.
If you have any concerns, speak with your doctor. You can ask about any conditions you may have which could be complicated by an exciting (for some stressful) experience such as indoor skydiving.
As you might have guessed, skydiving from a plane is riskier than indoor skydiving. 1 in 100,000 flights ends in death and different skydiving companies can have varying levels of safety. Still, one in one hundred thousand aren’t bad odds in the grand scheme of things.
Is it safe for children to indoor skydive?
Yes! Children ages 3 and over can indoor skydive.
Some suggest starting at the age of 4 just so your child has a bit more weight.
Staff can adjust the wind tunnel’s speedsto fit smaller as well as bigger bodies.
If you’re interested in what kids indoor skydiving looks like, here’s a short video capturing the entire flight experience.
Like with an adult, the instructor very carefully holds on to the children, not letting them fall or fly up too fast.
You may notice that children seem to have more trouble controlling their bodies than adults. This is probably because of their underdeveloped leg and arm muscles.
It’s important for the children to focus on the instructional videos before entering the tunnel. It’s also important they listen to and trust the instructor.
And of course, it’s important to check that your child wants to do indoor skydiving before booking or flying.
It’s helpful to tell your child that indoor skydiving can feel like swimming which can give them a good point of reference for what the experience may feel like.
Is it safe to indoor skydive if I am disabled?
Disabled people can enjoy the thrill of indoor skydiving just like anyone else.
While it each disability differs greatly, lot of disabled people can and do indoor skydiving.
In Atlanta, Georgia, there’s a group disabled people with spinal cord damage who go indoor skydiving together.
They can still fly like anyone else, but with two instructors rather than one to hold them steady and for safety.
Is it safe to indoor sky dive if I have an injury?
As far as injuries are concerned (not disabilities), the type of injury is crucial.
Indoor skydiving can worsen any dislocation, especially in the shoulders. Most companies do not allow or suggest people with shoulder injuries to fly.
When in doubt, it is best to consult with your doctor before doing any strenuous activity.
Is it safe to indoor skydive while intoxicated?
While it isn’t written specifically in their rules, indoor skydiving while being intoxicated is a very bad idea.
Being intoxicated makes everything riskier like driving, exercising, even walking, so it’s best not to go into the tunnel with wind speeds over a 100 mph.
You might feel like Superman while drunk in a wind tunnel, you may even fly like him, but you aren’t quite as durable as the Man of Steel.
Rafael Schwaiger, Photo Credit: wikicommons, artofflying
Is indoor skydiving worth the risk?
Every activity has some risks, sports, driving or even just taking a stroll, but indoor skydiving is a relatively safe way to get a big adrenaline rush.
Indoor skydiving is one of the only ways to feel weightless on earth. It can be the experience of a lifetime.
If you’re still worried after reading this, please check out some videos of amateur and professional indoor skydivers. It really helps to see the process before going through it.
Safety is crucial to having a great fun experience. Remember, companies designed indoor skydiving to provide an exhilarating activity while being extremely safe.
Skydiving Weight Limits: Explained (With Workarounds)
While the sport is incredible – really incredible – everything is based on safety. Safety of the gear, safety in control, safety in landing. And unfortunately, a skydivers weight affects all three.
It’s true that there are weight limits to skydiving. Both for tandem and solo jumps. In this article I go through what these limits are (depending your skydiving drop zone), why they’re in place, and what your options are.
In short, the weight limit for skydiving is about 225lbs (100kg). This is the maximum weight that most skydiving airfields will allow. However, you can skydive at a heavier weight in some locations (listed below). This does depend on a few factors, and may include a surcharge for the weight.
That’s the short answer, but I’ve covered everything you need to know below.
Skydiving Weight Limits – In Detail
Despite misconceptions (thanks Hollywood), skydivers are generally super safe people. They might be crazy, but they’re not reckless.
For that reason, every dropzone will make you step on a scale – privately – to make sure you’re within their weight limits.
These limits do vary per drop zone, but there’s a standard that almost every airfield abides to. This pass/fail system looks at your height and weight to see if you’ll fit the harness well, and not put too much strain on the kit.
Trust me, you don’t want to ignore this and then have a 20 minute torturous ride under canopy in too small of a harness! Say goodbye to any feeling in your legs…
Below is the general chart that most airfields stick to – courtesy of Chicago Skydive.
As you can see, it’s not just the weight that’s the limit. Your height also comes in to play. Unfortunately, if you’re super tall you could be perfectly slim but still be over the limit.
While I know this all seems unfair, there’s very real, very scary reasons behind it.
Let me explain why this is important first, before we get into ways around it.
Why Skydiving Has Weight Limits
Now, don’t get me wrong. The equipment used in skydiving is strong. Super strong.
Some say that you could even put a small car underneath a skydiving canopy, and it would land mostly undamaged (I’ve always wanted to test it).
So why is the weight limit for skydiving so strict?
Well, there’s a few reasons for that. I’ll go through them 1 by 1.
Even if a piece of equipment ‘could’ take more weight, there’s generally a maximum recommended amount given by a manufacturer.
In skydiving, this is typically the tandem student harness, and the overall kit of the combined student and instructor.
If you push these limits, you’d be using the equipment outside of their allowed limits. That means you’d void any insurance, and literally be putting your life at risk. Now in a literal sense, I know that the hooks attaching you could probably take a good bit more weight than we allow. But I would never, ever want to push that limit!
Wear & Tear
Now, let’s say we strap a heavier person into the gear and send them on their merry way. The other issue here is that – while everything will hold together – the wear and tear is a lot more damaging. Particularly when the parachute deploys, and all that gear has to rapidly slow you down from falling at 120mph to about 5mph. Imagine breaking at those speeds in a car, it’s a lot of force!
The more weight under a parachute, the harder it is to control.
Too heavy of a student and instructor can hinder the control you have over the parachute. That means risking a sketchy flight path, or not being able to turn properly.
Trust me, the last thing you want is to find yourself landing in some angry farmers field, with a bull coming towards you and a small cabin’s worth of canopy attached to you!
That faster fall speed makes it much harder to land properly. It’s the difference from jumping onto a treadmill when it’s running at walking speed, vs jumping onto it at a brisk jog. It’s hard to get the landing right.
Coming down quicker under canopy means landing can be trickier.
The majority of skydiving injuries happen during landings (sprained ankles, bruised elbows), and added weight only increases this likelihood.
With all of that covered, let’s look into what to do if you’re eager to throw yourself out of an airplane, but find yourself (or your friend) weighing over 225lbs.
Can I Skydive If I’m Over 225lbs?
Here’s the good news – the answer is yes! The bad news? It kind of depends, and it’ll probably cost you.
While not every airfield does this, there are some skydiving airfields with higher weight limits. A few include:
- Skydive Utah: 250lbs. https://www.skydiveutah.com
- Skydive Wisconsin: 240lbs tandem, 235lbs solo. https://skydivetwincities.com
- Skydive Virginia: 265lbs. https://www.skydiveorange.com
I’m working on researching all of these airfields into one big database. If you’re in the UK, you’re in luck. Here’s a good number of the UK skydiving drop zones and their weight limits.
What If I’m Just A Little Over The Weight Limit?
I’ll be honest, some instructors might let a few pounds slide, with a sly comment of skipping lunch!
In most cases however – it’s a hard and fast number. This is because everything needs to be written down, and if anything were to happen, a serious review process gets hammered down onto the airfield. Including looking into tiny malpractices like this.
Skydiving only exists because it’s safe, and no self-respecting instructor will break the rules.
That being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t game the system a little bit. Skip breakfast, dehydrate yourself the day before, and you could quickly lost just enough to get on board. After the weigh-in you can rehydrate.
The bottom line, though, is that this could just be a great motivator to lose weight. There’s a lot of skydivers out there who had to shed a few pounds before jumping. Their desire to finally skydive was what pushed them to change up their diet and hit the gym!
Other jumpers keep weight off for the sport. Being held up in a harness is a lot more comfortable if you’re a lighter person – you also glide back down slower and generally get easier landings. So there’s a number of skydivers who stay active so they can fly easier.
Well, that’s about it when it comes to skydiving weights!
In the future I do hope to collate a full database of all the USA dropzones that accept jumpers above 225lbs. If you happen to find something like this, please do let me know.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you did, please do check out the related articles below.
How Much is Indoor Skydiving?
When you make your first visit to a wind tunnel, it is important to understand what you to expect during your visit. The entire first time experience usually lasts between 1-2 hours and consists of the following:
- After arriving at the tunnel and checking in you will have the opportunity to watch others fly.
- Your personal instructor then takes you through an introductory class where learn everything you need to know for your first flight.
- After your class you gear up using equipment provided by the tunnel. You’ll wear a jumpsuit, helmet, goggles, and earplugs.
- You rotate (take turns) flying with the other people in your group.
- You fly at least twice in a one-on-one environment with your instructor. You’re shown the basic movements and allowed to fly on your own.
- During this time spectators can take photos/videos and most tunnels offer professional photos and videos of your flight.
- Most locations offer high flights where your instructor flies with you takes you flying much higher than you can fly on your own.
- After your flight you de-gear, talk with your instructor and get your media.
While you might be browsing a 2 or 4 minute package, you can see that indoor skydiving is much more than a 2 minute experience. I’ve had the opportunity to fly thousands of first time flyers. I can’t remember a time when someone didn’t come out of the tunnel with a satisfied smile on their face. If you’re ready to fly, you can find a location near you now.
How Much Should I Fly?
As a first time flyer we recommend that you fly at least 2 minutes. More time in the wind allows you to learn to control your body without assistance. You can quickly become independent. For your first experience the maximum recommended time is generally around 6-8 minutes. 4-5 minutes per person is the sweet spot.
Wind tunnels have allowed us to create an endless freefall situation. To reference this to tandem skydiving – the average freefall is no more than 1 minute.
Most wind tunnels offer 2 or more basic flight times. For instance tunnel might offer 2 minutes for $60 and 4 minutes for $110. Generally speaking you will pay a bit less as you buy more tunnel time. You will see this reflected quite often in the pricing plans for first time flights.
While these costs might seem steep at first, almost unanimously, indoor skydiving customers agree that their first tunnel experience was worth the money.
Often times tunnels will sell discounted packages for larger groups – bringing the cost per-person down. There may be group packages advertised per-tunnel. If you have a large group or party, make sure you investigate group packages and additional offerings.
Extras and Add-Ons
Often times tunnels will allow you to purchase additional minutes. Sometimes you can purchase them up front, sometimes you can purchase them as free time in the tunnel’s schedule allows at the end of your flight, and sometimes both situations apply. Additional minutes are often times a fairly decent deal. If you want to fly more time than the package you originally purchased, it is good to inquire about additional minutes.
Most tunnels will provide videos and/or photos of your flight session. Most tunnels have a spectator area so those watching can also take photos and videos of your flight.
A high flight is when an instructor holds on to the side of the flyer, and flies up and down. This is almost always the highlight of a person’s first flight experience. Depending on the tunnel you visit, high flights are sometimes included in the package price. Other tunnels charge an additional fee for high flights. We have a whole article dedicated to high flights which is important- read the article here.
Average First Time Cost
Obviously there are many extras to be added, and in the end you could spend a very large sum on wind tunnel time. If we had to bring pricing down to a simple number, we would advise you to budget somewhere between $60 – $100 per person for your first experience. With this budget you can be sure that all the members of your party are going to have a great time!
Flying Again/Return Flying
After your first flight, there are often times deals for flyers to return and fly again. This varies tunnel to tunnel. Check and see what the tunnel you plan to fly in offers. Some locations may also offer leagues/clubs which can provide an affordable way to fly with a bonus social side!
Skydiver/Experienced Flyer Costs
Tunnel time is extremely valuable for skydivers. Skills learned in a wind tunnel translate over to the sky. Often tunnel time should be considered when calculating the costs of new skydiver training.
For those who are serious about their wind tunnel training, we suggest you begin to search for a wind tunnel coach and purchasing block time. Normally block time or coaching is sold in larger blocks, the average being 10-15 minute sessions with rotations (breaks between flights).
For skydivers or avid tunnel flyers, this provides much more time in the wind to learn. This is generally one of the least expensive ways to fly – block time varies between tunnels and depends on if you are seeking coaching or not.
If you are thinking about flying, be sure to use our wind tunnel database to find a location near you. We advertise flight pricing on all of the tunnel profile pages.