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So You Want to Skydive: Understanding Weight Limits

Skydiving is an exhilarating experience, offering a unique perspective of the world while plummeting through the air. If you’ve ever considered taking the plunge, you might be wondering if there are any restrictions on who can participate. One important factor to consider is weight.

Why Weight Limits Exist

There are two main reasons why skydiving centers have weight restrictions:

  • Safety: Skydiving equipment is designed to safely handle a specific weight range. Exceeding these limits can put undue stress on the parachute system, potentially compromising its effectiveness during deployment and landing.
  • Comfort: Tandem skydiving involves being securely harnessed to an instructor. The combined weight of the instructor, student, and gear needs to be within a comfortable range to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for both parties during freefall and maneuvering.

So You Want to Skydive: Understanding Weight Limits

Understanding Weight Limits for Tandem Skydiving

Tandem skydiving is the most common way for first-timers to experience skydiving. In a tandem jump, you are securely harnessed to a certified instructor who guides you through the entire process. Here’s a breakdown of weight limits for tandem skydiving:

  • Total Weight Limit: Most skydiving centers have a total weight limit for tandem jumps, which typically falls between 450 and 500 pounds (204 and 227 kg). This includes the combined weight of the instructor, student, and all the equipment.
  • Individual Weight Limit: There is also usually an individual weight limit for tandem students. This varies depending on the dropzone and equipment, but it generally falls between 220 and 250 pounds (99 and 113 kg) for individuals of average height. Shorter individuals may have a slightly lower weight limit due to harness size and proper weight distribution.
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It’s important to remember that these are just general guidelines. The specific weight limit for you will depend on several factors, including:

  • The dropzone: Different dropzones may have slightly different weight restrictions based on their equipment and safety procedures.
  • Your height: Shorter individuals may have a lower weight limit to ensure proper harness fit and weight distribution during the jump.
  • Your body composition: Muscle weighs more than fat, so someone with a higher muscle mass may be able to exceed the weight limit slightly compared to someone with a higher body fat percentage.

What if I Exceed the Weight Limit?

If you exceed the weight limit for tandem skydiving, don’t despair! Here are a few options to consider:

  • Talk to the dropzone: Some dropzones may be able to accommodate individuals who are slightly above the weight limit, especially if your body composition is primarily muscle.
  • Consider weight loss: If you are close to the weight limit, losing a few pounds can make you eligible for a tandem jump.
  • Look into AFF programs: The Accelerated Freefall (AFF) program is a more advanced training course that allows you to skydive solo after completing the training. AFF programs may have slightly higher weight limits compared to tandem jumps.

Weight limits exist in skydiving for a reason: safety. By understanding these limits and working with a reputable dropzone, you can ensure a thrilling and safe skydiving experience. If you have any questions about weight limits or eligibility, don’t hesitate to contact a skydiving center near you. They’ll be happy to discuss your options and help you determine if skydiving is right for you.