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Published: November 15, 2016
Skydiving weather conditions can make or break your big day...
In our books, there is no bigger bummer than the cancellation of a skydive when the weather conditions for skydiving aren't agreeable. Especially if you've spent a lot of time daydreaming about it; being nervous about it; imagining the pictures; researching the equipment and the dropzone...you want to just get up there and do it already. Getting the sad, slow head-shake and starting the conversation about rescheduling is not in line with what you'd pictured for the day. Gosh darnit.
To help alleviate that frustrated feeling, it helps to understand where a cancellation comes from due to inclement skydiving weather conditions. Knowing what we look for as far as weather - from a skydiving perspective - will help you set the right expectations. Here's what you need to know.
1. Ground Fog
If your skydive is canceled, it'll almost certainly be canceled because of some kind of cloud. This makes perfect sense. After all: if the tandem instructor can't see the landing area from the plane, he or she is going to have serious trouble getting you both safely to the ground.
Ground fog might not look thick from where you're standing on the ground, but think about it: if you can see the landing area from where you're standing ten feet away from it but you have a little trouble seeing the tree line at 150 feet, then how clear will the landing be from over ten thousand feet up, with a bunch more fog stacked on top?
If your jump has been canceled due to fog, it's likely because the pilot has radioed down to manifest and told them it's a no-go. Luckily, ground fog often clears fairly quickly and we can wait it out; if not, just go with the flow and reschedule.
2. Low Cloud Ceilings
Even if it's clear on the ground, look up: If there are clouds above you, they might well be a jump-preventing problem. Just like our notes on fog, if there are clouds between the plane and the ground and they're low enough and thick enough, they make skydiving much more dangerous than it should be--so, for everyone's good, we stay on the ground.
Rain, of course, comes from clouds--and we've already established how clouds can get in the way of a skydive. Even if those clouds are high enough to make it safely underneath, however, the cancellation can come if it's raining. Why? Because holy slow loris, rain is painful. Skydiving in the rain isn't just wet and cold. It feels like being pelted by pushpins being blown into your face and body at 120mph. Not our idea of a good time, and it's probably not yours.
Aside from clouds, wind is the biggest offender when it comes to skydiving cancellations. When the wind is blowing too hard on the ground, it can actually cause parachutes to fly backward. It also causes dangerous turbulence in that all-important space close to the ground. It can even aggressively re-inflate parachutes on the ground, sending tandem instructors and their students tumbling as if dragged by a racing drogue gone mad. Because we care about the safety of our staff and customers, we don't send up planes in those conditions; it's just not worth it.
Does weather look suspect on a day you've planned to jump? Here's what to do: call ahead and speak with someone at the skydiving center. If jumps are definitely canceled, you likely won't have to make the call: you'll be notified by e-mail, text or a phone call.
Our rule of thumb is led by this: It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the sky than in the sky wishing you were on the ground. We want your jump to be awesome, so we'll be here, ready with our biggest smiles, when the weather improves!
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