What Is The Maximum Height You Can Skydive From?
Skydiving! If the idea of jumping from a plane miles in the sky excites you, then skydiving is just the outdoor experience you’re missing out on. When you go for a skydiving experience, there is a wide range of altitudes offered, from 7000 feet to 18000 feet. If you’re a first-time sky driver, the height to jump from is one of the most important decisions to make.
What’s the maximum height you can skydive from? Read ahead to find out!
While experienced skydivers can fall from a variety of heights, the range becomes shorter for tandem heights and depends highly on the institute you’re diving with. In tandem skydiving, you’re attached to a certified instructor who does all the hard job for you, all you have to do is enjoy the astounding landscape and revel in the freedom of flying through large expanses of sky. But first! Why does the height matter? Well, a typical skydiving experience is made up of 4 parts. The aircraft journey to the height, the jump, the freefall, and the parachute. The aircraft size increases when the height increases, the jump remains the same for all experiences, and the freefall and parachute time depend on the height you dive from.
Photo by Henry Li from Pexels
The sensation during freefall is the same you’d feel when you put your hand out of the window of a fast car. The wind forces your hand back, but the weight of your hand keeps it from going backward. This is the same experience you’ll get when you’re in free fall, the air below puts upward pressure on your body, and you feel like you’re floating through the air. For a 10,000 feet jump, you’ll be in freefall for 30 seconds, and this comes up to 60 seconds for a 14,000 feet jump. The rest of the journey is with the parachute opened, which takes more time and is a much calmer experience.
What is the maximum height you can skydive from?
The first time you skydive, the height won’t matter. If you have skydived before, you’ll understand why the extra free fall seconds higher jumps provide the matter. In tandem skydiving, the maximum height you can skydive from is 18,000 feet. Chattanooga Skydiving Company, in the US, provides this height for tandem jumping. The altitude gives you a whopping 2 minutes of freefall!
Before you hop on for an 18,000 feet jump, here’s an important fact: This fall will require you to wear an oxygen mask. If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, you’ll notice you feel less air at a higher height. It’s not that there’s less air, it just becomes thinner which makes it harder to breathe. You’ll feel this especially when jumping from 18000 feet, the inadequate oxygen supply makes for an uncomfortable experience, and takes away from the pleasures of skydiving. The lack of oxygen in the cells and tissues causes Hypoxia, which leads to slower reaction times, altitude sickness, poor decision-making skills, and can even have fatal complications.
Obviously, these extreme high altitude jumps require professional jumpers, specialty aircraft, and supplemental oxygen.
What is the maximum height you can skydive without needing oxygen?
If you’re not thrilled with the idea of wearing an oxygen mask while skydiving, we hear you! While the higher jumps give you more freefall time, using an oxygen mask takes some fun away. Your face might feel constricted, and where’s the fun when you can’t scream at the top of your lungs?
Typically, the maximum height you can skydive without needing oxygen is 15,000 feet. You still get a little more than 60 seconds in freefall, giving you plenty of time to revel in the breathtaking landscapes the experience brings.
Can you skydive from 35000 feet?
When even the 18000 feet jump fails to excite you, HALO skydiving has your back. High Altitude Low Opening skydiving was originally developed as a means for tactical military to deliver military equipment, supplies, and personnel to distant or enemy areas. Simply put, you jump from a height anywhere between 15000 and 35000 feet and deploy the parachute at a lower altitude.
So why choose HALO skydiving? Well, freefall time is related to height, and higher heights give you a greater freefall time. With a 35000 feet jump, your freefall time increases to 3 minutes. For those three minutes, you’ll experience slowly falling through the air, feeling like a bird, and enjoying the splendid scenery around you.
Well, can you go higher? The record for the highest free-fall parachute jump is 135,890 feet, on October 24, 2014, by Google Senior VP Alan Eustace. The freefall lasted 4 minutes and 27 seconds, the longest ever recorded.
For commercial skydiving, however, the maximum height is 35000 feet, which still gives you plenty of freefall time.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels
What is the lowest height you can skydive?
If you’re a first-time skydiver, it might be a good idea to start small (well, as small as skydiving can get!) Generally speaking, the lowest height you can skydive is between 7500 to 9000 feet, depending on the company you skydive with.
There might be a number of reasons why you might want to start small, the most common is the price factor. For a first-time experience, you don’t necessarily care about the freefall time, so a lower-cost option is a perfect fit for you. You can always choose more expensive packages for the greater height they provide, but a 7500 feet jump will still be enjoyable if you’re new to skydiving.
What about the freefall? Well, for a 7500 feet jump, you’ll experience 20 seconds of freefall.
The Bottom Line
The average industry range for tandem skydiving is 7500 to 18000 feet. The minimum height to tandem skydive is 7500 feet which gets you 20 seconds of freefall. The maximum height for this category is 18000 feet which increases freefall time to 2 minutes, but anything above 15000 feet will require you to wear an oxygen mask. For people looking for higher heights, HALO skydiving accomplishes 35000 feet.
If tandem skydiving is too scary for you, try indoor skydiving, it’s safer!
What is the highest altitude you can skydive from?
Skydiving altitude varies from one skydiving center to another depending upon: the class of airspace the dropzone flies through; the type of aircraft used; and even the weather conditions on any given day. Inquisitive first-time skydivers tend to have a lot of questions – including the popular one, what is the highest altitude you can skydive from?
You asked and, as your resident skydiving experts, we are happy to answer. In fact, we will do even better. Here’s the scoop on different skydiving altitudes, starting at the top!
Can you skydive from 50,000 feet?
The highest verified altitude you can skydive from in the United States is 30,000 feet. For context, this is in the range of standard cruising altitude for a commercial airline and about 7 miles up. In other words, much higher than your average skydive at 10,000 feet or nearly 2 miles up!
Currently, a skydive from this altitude is offered seasonally at only one skydiving dropzone in the world. A skydive from this altitude is so rare because of the care and consideration that must be taken, which exceeds even the stringent requirements of skydiving from typical altitudes. For starters, it requires specific approval from the Federal Aviation Administration as well as a waiver to fly above 28,000 feet. Additionally, individuals wanting to jump from this altitude, including tandem skydivers, must have an FAA Class 3 medical certificate (or equivalent) and participate in physiological training.
A skydive from 30,000 feet also requires specialized breathing equipment. Because the air pressure is greatly reduced at these extremely high altitudes (meaning the number of oxygen molecules in the air decreases) , the risk of hypoxia is extremely high. To mitigate the risk of hypoxia, participants must breathe pure oxygen for about an hour prior to taking off, and receive oxygen supplements on the way to altitude.
As you can imagine, because of all the requirements, these HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening) tandem skydives are quite pricey. Jumps from this height cost thousands of dollars.
How High Are Typical High Altitude Skydives?
Facilities that offer high altitude skydiving typically ascend to 18,000 feet. Even these facilities, though, are few and far between. This is because the aircraft and the specialized equipment necessary are extremely expensive and require frequent (also expensive) maintenance.
What’s the highest you can skydive from without oxygen?
Oxygen is required for any skydive over 15,000 feet – any higher will introduce a new range of considerations.
According to the Skydiver Information Manual: “The reduced oxygen, lower atmospheric pressure and temperature, and the higher winds and airspeed above 15,000 feet MSL make skydiving more hazardous in this region than at lower altitudes.” The SIM also goes on to state that the most immediate concern at these higher altitudes is oxygen deficiency (hypoxia).
What is the Normal Skydiving Altitude?
The normal skydiving altitude at most skydiving centers falls between 10,000 and 14,000 feet. Across the United States, the most common skydiving altitude is 10,000 feet. In order to reach higher altitudes in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner, a skydiving center must have a turbine aircraft.
How long do skydives last?
A skydive consists of two primary parts: the freefall and the canopy ride. Because the parachute deployment altitude is pretty standard across the board (somewhere between 6,000 and 5,000 feet), the only real difference you experience jumping from different altitudes is the amount of time spent in freefall.
The freefall time from extremely high altitude jumps like the 30,000 ft HALO jump mentioned above is around 170 seconds or 2.5 minutes. A more typical, although still fairly rare, high-altitude skydive from 18,000 feet has a freefall time of 80 seconds or 1 minute and 20 seconds. The typical skydiving freefall time is about 60 seconds.
At Wisconsin Skydiving Center, you will freefall for approximately one minute before the parachute is deployed and you glide through the sky for another 5 to 7 minutes.
Are you ready to reach new heights? Schedule your first tandem skydive today !
Skydiving Heights: The Altitudes You Can Jump From
An experience which differs greatly depending on what height you jump from!
The altitude you leave the plane defines how long you get to freefall. So what altitude will you jump from, and how long will that give you soaring in the air?
In this guide, I’ve covered all the popular skydiving heights.
In short, you typically skydive from 10,000ft – with about 30 seconds of freefall. This can increase to 14,000ft, or even 18,000ft, depending on the airplane and drop zone. That said, skydives can happen from anywhere between 2,200 – 45,000 ft!
Read on to find out what altitude you’ll likely be jumping from, and how skydiving from that height will look.
Note: freefall time depends on whether it’s a solo/tandem jump, and what altitude you pull your chute at. Tandems need to deploy higher – at 5,000ft.
Super Low Altitudes: 3,000 – 5,000ft.
Freefall time: 0-15 seconds. Solo jumpers only.
The lowest altitude we’re safely allowed to jump at is around 3,000ft. In some rare cases, experienced jumpers may even go from 2,200ft for a quick “hop ‘n’ pop”. These extreme cases are done on super cloudy days (common here in Scotland) where there’s not enough visibility higher up, and skydivers get bored waiting around!
A very common altitude is 4,500ft. This is the number for static line jumps – where the parachute is automatically pulled after you leave the plane. If you’re learning to skydive solo, this is your home base altitude until you unlock real freefall.
Hot Air Balloons
This category also includes hot air balloons! They can fly between 3,500 – 5,000ft when allowing skydivers to jump from them. This kind of skydiving feels totally different to jumping from a plane, because you get the butterfly feeling when jumping from a hot air balloon.
Base Tandem Height: 10,000ft.
Freefall time: 30-40 seconds.
10,000ft is the first ‘big’ altitude when it comes to skydiving. It’s the base for any tandem jump (below this wouldn’t have enough freefall time to justify it).
It’s also where many smaller airfields max out at. Running small Cessna planes like the one below limit you to around 10,000ft of jumping height.
Not quite a Boeing 747! Small Cessna’s can only fly to 10,000ft.
Ideal Height: 14,000ft.
Freefall time: 60-70 seconds.
Moving up in the world of planes and altitude gives us the great all-around altitude of 14,000ft. This gives you over a minute in freefall, and is generally the best option available for a tandem skydive.
Reaching these kinds of heights needs a combination of good planes and workable weather. Too much cloud cover means we’d be flying blind for too long!
Maximum Height: 18,000ft.
Freefall time: 80-90 seconds.
Now this is high!
It’s super rare for an airfield to offer altitudes this big. In the US, for example, there’s only a small handful on airfields which can take you to 18,000ft.
However, it does give you an extra ~20seconds of freefall time on top of the already massive 14,000ft jump. One jump from this height is the same skydiving time as three jumps from 10,000ft. Crazy!
At this height, you need a plane equipped with an oxygen supply just to avoid passing out. Though I don’t believe the oxygen is necessary in freefall, unlike the next category.
HALO Jumps: 45,000ft.
Freefall time: ~210 seconds (3.5+ minutes!)
A HALO jump is a special type of skydive pioneered by the military.
It was developed (and is still used) for undetected insertions of people or equipment behind enemy lines. The idea is to fly above radar detection, then drop a cargo which is moving so quickly downward, and so little forward, that it also isn’t detected. Typically, they also jump with very low amounts of metal to minimize the chance of getting picked up, too.
The low opening part refers to deploying the parachute at around 3,000ft. This is lower than most civilian jumpers, AND is done after falling for 3 or more minutes. Often at night. Ballsy.
Note – High Altitude, High Opening is also a thing. It’s used to glide over impassable terrain or equally avoid detection in other ways. Particularly from the loud noise of a canopy deploying.
Civilian HALO jumps are possible – but extremely rare.
Unless you’ve got friends in very high places (pun intended), there’s very few opportunities to take part in a HALO jump.
The only accessible one I know of is with the crew at halojumper.com.
Jumps start for a cool $6,000 for a solo jump, or over $20,000 for them to take you as a tandem jumper. You can imagine how much it costs them to cover the huge plane, the oxygen gear, the training, and authorizations.
That about covers all the possible heights you can jump from.
Not forgetting the ‘0ft’ altitude of indoor skydiving jumps, of course!
I hope this quick guide helped clear up what altitude you’ll be jumping from, and what you can expect.
The most important part about skydiving is simply to enjoy it. Don’t worry about exactly how many seconds of freefall you’ll be getting – it’s truly the experience of it that matters!
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