Good weather for a skydive

How will the weather effect my skydive?

The weather is one of the few things that in life we cannot control, unfortunately it is a major factor when it comes to skydiving.   WHY and HOW?

The British Parachute Association (BPA) have set out some rules for the parachute centres in the UK (all of whom are affiliated with the BPA and therefore abide by their rules)

1. Visibility:  To exit an aircraft you must be able to see the ground – importantly the landing area of the drop zone.

2. Wind speed: Due to speeds that the parachutes can operate and how wind speed effects landing of parachutes the maximum wind speed that the BPA allow for safe parachuting is 20 knots. This includes gusts – which are usually unpredictable. If the wind ever goes above 20 knots then we must wait 20mins to monitor and if it goes over again the clock starts again and we must wait another 20 minutes.

This means that yes you can jump if it is cloudy with spaces, very high cloud above exit height or very thin layers that you can see through – but if the cloud is low and thick, without gaps then this would be deemed unsafe. Having gone through big black clouds I can assure you this is both very unpleasant and a little scary. The big black clouds are usually full of ice/water and if you imagine how one drawers a rain drop – spike bit upwards falling onto spikey bits of ice is not particularly comfortable! With regards to wind, speeding along under a parachute at 40 knots is quite exhilarating but trying to land a parachute in those conditions is potentially dangerous, and maximises the risk of injury. Yes you can jump in rain – however I refer you back to the shape of raindrops, and the cloud cover that brings rain…. Not nice!

3.Safety: All the above comes under safety in fact everything in skydiving is about safety but I felt the need to list it! If the weather is unpredictable, there have been warnings or the aircraft is being effected by the weather the drop zones in the UK will always er on the side of caution!  It is not just your safety at risk but anyone jumping with you besides the paperwork for anything other than a happy successful skydive is horrific!

In the UK the weather can change within hours, one minute it can be raining cats and dogs and the next it is blazing sunshine with not a cloud in site.  This is why when you book your jump we try to ensure that you are prepared to be at the drop zone the whole day.  It is rare that a drop zone will cancel you, unless the forecast is so awful they know that you will not jump.  If you are unsure you are welcome to call the drop zone the day before however:

Do remember skydivers are forever optimists about the weather, we have all sat hopefully at a drop zone all day watching the sky looking for that blue patch that we could just give a try….