If you’ve never made a jump before, the thought might have just occurred to you: how high are skydiving jumps?
In skydiving, altitude is everything. In general, the skydiving height equation is pretty simple: the higher the altitude you jump from, the longer you’ll get to experience that sweet, thrilling freefall!
But to answer the question, “how high are skydiving jumps?” In short, we’d say it depends on the type of skydiving you’re doing. If you’d like an answer a bit more in-depth than that, we would love to explain. You see, though the range of civilian skydiving exit altitudes can range anywhere from 3,000ft to 18,000ft (with military operations occurring from heights of up to 35,000ft), there are some skydiving industry standards across the board.
Average Skydiving Height
Because of aircraft restrictions at the majority of dropzones, the typical skydiving height is 10,000ft. At about two miles above the earth, a skydive from this altitude is still pretty impressive. In general, skydives from this height offer participants a freefall of around 30 seconds. The reason for the lower altitude has to do with the type of plane that is commonly flown at skydiving operations. The reliable Cessna 182 is truly the workhorse of the industry. It’s typically the first plane a dropzone can afford, and many love the experience they get with the added fun of climbing out on the strut. However, this plane is not able to safely fly much higher than 10,000ft.
Now, if you come across a dropzone with a turbine aircraft, you’ll see the typical skydiving height averaging somewhere between 13000-14000 feet. Skydives from this height offer participants a freefall that lasts anywhere from 45-60 seconds.
Low Altitude Skydiving a.k.a Hop-n-Pops
Some licensed skydivers actually prefer to jump from lower altitudes. This is particularly common with skydivers who want to focus on their canopy flight skills. These individuals prefer to spend their time beneath their parachutes practicing different maneuvers as opposed to experiencing freefall. This type of jump is often called a “hop-n-pop” because you “hop” out of the plan and “pop” your parachute. These types of jumps normally occur between 3,000ft and 5,500 feet.
High Altitude Skydiving
It is entirely possible to skydive from heights above 15,000 feet. Typically, these types of jumps are conducted by highly experienced skydivers as they attempt to build large formations. However, to complete a skydive above 15,000 feet, a jumper will need to use supplemental oxygen. Scientifically speaking, as you ascend to higher altitudes there is a steady fall in atmospheric pressure. As this happens, the oxygen molecules in the air are spread farther and farther apart. This means the oxygen content of each breath taken in is incrementally less. Simply speaking, in higher altitudes, the air is thinner. To avoid the altitude sickness that can occur with deficient oxygen, jumpers must have supplemental oxygen to participate in jumps above 15,000 feet.
Typical Skydiving Height at Skydive California
At Skydive California, we are lucky to have a Cessna 208 Caravan in our fleet. This bird is equipped with a powerful turboprop engine that can get our jumpers to 13,000 feet in about 15 minutes. Because of our aircraft’s capability, our typical skydiving height is right around 13,000feet.
Wanna see what all the hype about skydiving height is about? Visit us at Skydive California and see for yourself!