Tandem Skydiving Weight Limit | Chicagoland Skydiving Center

Many people wonder: is there a weight limit for tandem skydiving? The answer is yes.

But why? Well, there are a few answers to that question, and we will explain them here.

Most skydiving centers will say their weight limit for a tandem passenger is approximately 200-220 pounds for women and 230-250 pounds for men. There is typically no minimum weight, only a minimum age (18 years old in the US). But there’s more to it than the number on the scale.

Some dropzones have “heavy” upcharges built into their pricing model – basically charging heavier customers more ($1 per pound above 220lbs is a common example). Policies like this are not meant for “fat-shaming,” but instead directly related to how much more work (and the associated higher pay rate for the instructor) is required to take that person on a successful skydive.

At Chicagoland Skydiving Center, we have found that most people that fall within the approved sections of our skydiving weight limit chart (shown below) can be safely accommodated on a skydive. Most respected skydive companies will operate within similar thresholds.


Sometimes, we have to make on-site assessments of potential tandem jumpers. This is sometimes necessary for guests on the higher end of the allowable weight spectrum. In these situations, we must test out harness fit, and see the student demonstrate the strength to pick up their feet while in a seated position for landing.

It’s our responsibility as skydiving experts to assess potential safety concerns, and the last thing we want to do is make someone feel bad about their body. So, we want to explain the factors that influence our decisions.

So why is there a skydiving weight limit?

Tested Equipment Limits

The manufacturer of the skydiving equipment defines the limits for its use. For the equipment we use at CSC, the total weight of the tandem pair using the system must not exceed 500 pounds. (That means the weight of the student, plus the weight of the instructor, plus the weight of the gear combined). All the components and the final rig design goes through rigorous testing before released to the market and must receive at TSO (Technical Standard Order) from the Federal Aviation Administration. The weight limit helps keep tandem skydiving consistently operating within the known tested limits of the gear.

Tandem Harness Fit

When you make a tandem skydive, you are outfitted with a harness that is designed to adjust to fit a wide range of body types. But, there is a limit to how far straps and pads can go and stay properly secured. If we aren’t able to achieve a proper harness fit on the ground, it could cause catastrophic problems in the sky. Our height/weight chart offers one way to set expectations about who can safely use the tandem harness.

Parachute Performance Range

While it’s certainly more technical, parachutes are essentially a fancy arrangement of nylon and strings. Needless to say, there are limits to how well they can perform when pushed to the limits of weight suspended underneath. A proper deployment sequence and manageable flight is only possible with reasonable weight in the harness below it. The instructor’s ability to steer and control the parachute decreases the more weight it is carrying. The strength needed to “flare” the parachute (a maneuver essential to landing) increases substantially with a heavier passenger.

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Because both people must be considered when it comes to tandem jump weight, consider what must happen as the student gets bigger/heavier….the instructor must get smaller/lighter. Have you ever tried to steer a snow sled or kayak with someone nearly twice your size on the front? It’s not easy! Consider how much is being asked of a 150 pound instructor to control and land a parachute safely with a 245 pound passenger attached to his chest.

Physical Strength for Landing Position

There are several ways to perform a parachute landing, but the most consistently successful method involves the tandem student lifting his or her legs up in front of the body while in the seated position in the harness. This “legs up” position must be held for the final 5-10 seconds of flight, so it becomes less likely that feet and ankles touch down first, which could topple the tandem pair forward or put extreme strain on the lower limbs. This can be more difficult for people without the necessary core strength, or a belly that gets in the way. This limitation is simply more common for people falling outside the pre-approved sections of the height/weight chart.

Sometimes it helps to get an outside expert perspective on these types of issues, so we talked with our good friend Tom Noonan, the Director of the Tandem Skydiving Program for United Parachute Technologies. This is the company that manufactures the world’s best tandem skydiving systems, the gear we use at CSC. Tom helps manage the training of skydiving instructors, accountability to standards, and overseeing how tandem skydiving equipment is used all over the world. Tom visits CSC regularly to train our staff, to host standardization meetings for tandem instructor examiners, and sometimes, even to skydive for fun!

Bottom line: skydiving is an extreme sport. We like to have fun, and in some cases the risk simply becomes too great to make it enjoyable. Our safety approach is really about limiting risk factors as much as possible. Weight limit and body profile assessments are simply one of the ways we do that.

While other dropzones may have a different weight policy than we use at CSC, we hope this information helps answer many of the common questions about this issue.

Still have questions about being able to jump with us? Feel free to contact our Customer Care team to discuss this issue further.

prepare for your first chicago skydive

Becky Johns

Becky Johns

Becky Johns is a marketing professional in the outdoor industry. She is an experienced skydiver, AFF Instructor, and has made over 1,000 jumps since she got her license at CSC in 2011.

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What is the Skydiving Weight Limit?

The weight limit for tandem skydiving here at Skydive Monroe is 225lbs for men and 170lbs* for women, including clothing and shoes, to be measured on an official scale at check-in. If you’re frowning at how draconian that sounds, please don’t take offense: the weight restrictions for skydiving at Skydive Monroe haven’t been set because of any kind of prejudice. They’ve been set because the simple physics of our equipment demands it, and our dropzone is absolutely dedicated to safety.

skydiving height limit


skydiving weight limits

This is where the nitty gritty comes in and why there is a disparity between the maximum weight limits allowed between men and women – shape . A 5’6” individual weighing in at 200lbs will have a different body shape than an individual who is 6’3” weighing 200lbs. This isn’t black and white and through the years have found that the typical cut off point for women’s body mass index ratio is around 170lbs. We can host ladies who weigh more than 170lbs – but it’s dependent on height and health. Also, while we generally can host men weighing up to 225lbs, this isn’t a hard and fast rule for the same reasons. Not all men would be permitted to jump under the published weight restriction based on body shape.

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Based on the information above, if you are unsure if you qualify to make a tandem skydive, we invite you to make an appointment to come out to the dropzone to be sized in the harness to ensure that there is a good fit. We recognize that the issue of weight can be stigmatizing and we are sensitive to this. We will happily and professionally consult with you without making you feel bad or lesser than. Our priority is ensuring everyone feels safe.

As an added note, tandem harnesses only adjust to a certain point; past that, a tandem harness becomes not only tough to adjust within safe parameters, but also super uncomfortable to wear on the plane, in the air and suspended under the parachute. Your comfort is important as we want you to love the experience!


Parachutes are aviation equipment, pure and simple. Just like all the other tools that fly, they only operate safely under strict weight ranges. If the parachute’s weight limit is exceeded, the person (or, in the case of tandem skydiving, people ) using that parachute might end up in a dangerous downward situation: for example, dangerously fast deployments, snapped parachute lines and unacceptably speedy landings. It’s important to note that the maximum weight allowance takes into account the weight of the tandem instructor, tandem student and the gear itself.


what is the skydiving weight limit

If a parachute is designed to carry more weight, it necessarily has to be a bigger parachute — which weighs more, is bulkier and of course drives up costs. The weight restrictions published here are typical of the skydiving industry and the threshold for size and weight has been optimized as far as it can go using today’s best technology without it becoming inefficient.


Here’s some real talk to help frame the issue. If you did manage to find a dropzone that allowed you to make a skydive that exceeded the weight limit for skydiving safety and comfort, it probably wouldn’t be worth the effort. For all the reasons we explained above, it would be less comfortable, and more dangerous. If this would be your first time tandem skydiving, we think you agree that you deserve better!


We’ve jumped with many brand-new skydivers who used achieving the skydiving weight limit as one of their life goals — and nailed it. Skydiving ends up being a celebration of reaching these awesome goals and they often inspire us!

Ready to skydive? More questions? We’re happy to answer them. Give us a call and let’s see how we can help!

Skydiving Weight Limit: What You Must Know

Skydiving Weight Limit: What You Must Know

The skydive weight limit at every dropzone is not solely decided by the parachute center. Like many other rules and regulations of our sport, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the skydiving gear manufacturers are the shot callers. This is important, as the last thing we want is for any potential jumper to think we, meaning our industry or our individual skydiving dropzone, are being discriminatory. Weight limits are determined in the name of safety and comfort. Let’s take a look into the logistics of skydiving weight limits.

So, what is the weight limit for skydiving?

Tandem skydiving rigs and those designed for solo jumpers come with different weight limits. The tandem skydiving weight limit at Skydive OC is 225lbs. However, if you are over 200lbs there are a couple of factors that need to be considered in order to determine if the tandem harness will safely (and comfortably) fit you – including your height to weight proportion. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for clarification or additional information. If we can safely bring your dream of human flight to life, we will!

Skydiving age limit

Why do skydiving weight restrictions exist?

The weight requirement for skydiving is not in place to be exclusionary. Trust us, we wish everyone could experience the freedom of truly flying! For starters, the human race would be a much happier bunch. But, as the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Just like continuing to drive even though you’re exhausted, or trusting week-old leftovers (gross; do not eat them, especially before your jump with us), pushing the appropriate weight for skydiving gear is never a good idea. Need more than an adage to hammer home the point? Consider these no-good-very-bad-day scenarios:

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Buttery Openings > Slammers

Does the parachute hurt you when it opens? No! You should not experience pain when the canopy is deployed – but you probably will if your skydiving gear is not properly fitted. The easiest way to relay this uncomfortable message (because skydiving is truly incomparable), is when the seatbelt in your car restrains you from a sudden stop, but amplified. Hard openings (slammers) are potentially dangerous and can cause injury to you and your gear. Hard openings are sometimes even to blame for tearing the parachute, which isn’t fun for anyone! We prefer a nice, soft opening. Pure butter.

Soft Landings

Every time the canopy is deployed it creates wear and tear on the entire system. If the weight under the canopy is higher than is recommended, it can exponentially increase the wear rate of the gear, and potentially increase the chance of a malfunction.

Plus, pushing the limits of the gear by adding too much weight can make it more difficult for your tandem instructor to steer the canopy – therefore making it more difficult to get you safely back to our designated landing area. Now let’s say you make it back to the landing area . upon landing, your instructor has to flare the canopy in order to make the landing nice and soft. Flaring essentially means taking the handles, aka toggles, and pulling them straight down by the waist, arms fully extended, in a motion similar to that of a muscle up! This swift action allows the canopy to slow down, slightly pop up, and make for an oh-so-smooth landing. It’s the final, and yet one of the most critical, steps of the jump. Flaring increases in difficulty as weight increases.

skydiving landing

Why do other dropzones have different weight restrictions?

It’s true that most tandem gear has a limit of 500lbs. But that’s not just for the jumpers’ weight, it’s the net weight. Meaning the tandem instructor’s weight + the tandem student’s weight + the weight of the gear (50-60lbs – crazy, we know!) must not exceed 500lbs. That may sound like a lot, but it adds up super quick.

Does this mean I have to be super physically fit to skydive?

skydiving OC

Not at all. If we only catered to crossfit athletes, then 95% of our regular solo jumpers would bid the DZ farewell! Of course, we do take the overall proportionality of your body, and your weight, age, and relative physical fitness, into consideration before your jump. Freefalling through the sky is not for the faint of heart! Some core strength is required to lift your legs up for landing, and overall flexibility is needed for the duration of the skydive. If your health is a concern to you in any way, we recommend talking with your doctor ahead of making your booking.

So, to review. At Skydive OC, exclusion is out (and was never in), and safety is first (and always was). Maybe we’re biased, but our dropzone is an awesome place to just hangout and learn about the sport and our unique community, even if you aren’t jumping. And did we mention our views? Like our people, they’re second to none. Come see for yourself – let’s fly!

Source https://www.skydivecsc.com/blog/skydiving-weight-limit

Source https://skydivemonroe.com/blog/what-is-the-skydiving-weight-limit/

Source https://www.skydiveoc.com/about/articles/skydiving-weight-limit-what-you-must-know/

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