Published: July 12, 2016
So you've just found out there's a tandem skydiving weight limit. That doesn't seem fair. Why is there a weight limit to skydive?
At Skydive North Florida, we often get this question, and we hear you! Though we love what we do and want everyone to experience the incredible sensation of human flight, there are some practicalities to consider when it comes to the two critical stages of a skydive: the deployment and the landing.
This is the bit at the end of freefall, when your instructor releases your parachute and you decelerate to a speed that's safe to prepare for a landing. These few seconds put the most strain on the equipment than at any other point during the skydive.
Think about having to make a sudden stop in a car. Now think about having to stop quickly with the whole family and your suitcases in the back. Consider the difference in how it feels as compared to when it's just you. There's a harder lurch forward, a grinding you feel through your foot from the brakes, or even a final shudder when you come to a standstill.
During the deployment, you slow from approximately 120 mph downwards speed to approximately 20 mph. That's a lot of energy and strong forces being put through the equipment.
To make sure the equipment is ready for these forces, the Federal Aviation Authority tests it. When it meets approval, they issue it an equipment safety rating called a 'TSO'. These ratings come with a 'maximum suspended weight' which includes everything from you and your instructor to every piece of skydiving gear under the parachute. If you exceed this weight, equipment is more likely to tear or break.
Serious stuff, right? So serious that these weights are backed up by Federal law.
The landing impact under a parachute is often equated as 'similar to the force of jumping from a four-foot wall'. You'll feel it, but there's not much to it.
However, if you jump from a four-foot wall with a heavy backpack, it's a different story - you're going to feel that in your knees. The same applies to increasing the weight under a parachute.
The more weight involved in a landing, the harder the impact will be. This increases the chance of injury, but it's also harder work on our instructors jumping all day - and we care about both of your well being!
Skydiving has become more risk averse because of the efforts we put into making it so. We don't want to exclude anybody, we love taking you for your first skydive and creating those memories - but safety always comes first which is why Skydive North Florida along with most dropzones strictly enforces a skydive weight limit.
We're committed to keeping you informed. To find out more about our skydiving weight requirements, you can check out our FAQs.
Still have questions? Get in touch!