Are you dreaming of taking the plunge and feeling the rush of wind as you skydive but find yourself puzzled by the weight restrictions and what the experience is actually like? Fear not, skydiving aficionados and first timers! We’re breaking it down for you in a straightforward, no-fuss guide that will answer your burning questions and get you one step closer to that exhilarating leap from the skies.

How hard do you hit the ground when skydiving?

Let’s jump right into the details. For all the thrill-seekers out there, know that skydiving centers generally have a weight limit for tandem skydiving passengers—about 200-220 pounds for women and 230-250 pounds for men. But what if you tip the scales a bit more? Well, while there’s typically no minimum weight, there’s a minimum age how old do you have to be for skydiving: 18 years old in the US.

The Influence of Weight: Carrying an extra 100 pounds of combat gear can increase your descent by roughly 4 feet per second. A showy, equipment-free ‘Hollywood’ jump, on the other hand, might result in a landing with a velocity equivalent to falling from 5 feet without a parachute. Paratroopers commonly discard their heavy gear just before landing to lessen the speed of descent and the force upon impact.

Parachute Type Matters: Different parachutes have different rates of descent. For instance, some older models like the T-10C or MC1–1B, would bring us down faster compared to the slower descent of modern T-11s and MC1–1s, which can reduce the speed by an additional 3 to 4 feet per second.

Wind Conditions Can Change Things: Jumping into a strong 13-knot wind can add about 5 feet per second to your landing speed. That’s like dropping from 11 feet without a parachute, which can seriously hurt an inexperienced paratrooper.

The Technique of the Paratrooper: Expert paratroopers can lessen horizontal movement by ‘slipping’ into the wind just before hitting the ground, which involves venting air from one side of the canopy. Timing this right can shave off several feet per second from your horizontal speed, but if you do it wrong, your descent could speed up instead.

Temperature Effects: Landing on the warm ground can slow your descent due to updrafts, especially when the moon is waning gibbous, and the jump is at dusk. Conversely, jumps during colder ground temperatures, like before dawn during a waxing or crescent moon, can make the fall harder for paratroopers.

The Impact of Other Jumpers: Parachutes create a low-pressure zone overhead, which slows descent. If you’re directly above another jumper’s canopy, you might find yourself falling faster due to less air under your own parachute. One time, a paratrooper beneath me slipped too soon, causing a sudden and rapid descent. After narrowly avoiding a collision and a much harder landing than anticipated, let’s just say the adrenaline was high, and some stern words were exchanged once on the ground.

Can you skydive if you weigh 300 pounds?

In a word, yes. Gravity pulls us all toward Earth, while air resistance slows us down. The heavier you are, the faster you’ll fall, especially if you maintain a streamlined position. So if you and a feather drop from an airplane (hypothetically, of course), you’ll hit the ground first.

Can you skydive if you are overweight?

So, what if you’re not within the standard weight range? Most tandem sjydiving gear have a total weight limit of 500 lbs, which includes the instructor, student, and the gear itself (around 60 lbs). This is why restrictions mostly hover between 225 lbs and 275 lbs. Even if you’re a bit heavier, don’t write off skydiving just yet—some centers might accommodate you if they have the right equipment.

What is the heaviest weight to go skydiving?

Being overweight doesn’t automatically disqualify you from skydiving, provided you are within the specified weight limit and meet other criteria.

The majority of skydiving facilities in the US adhere strictly to weight restrictions. These restrictions typically set the limit at 240 lbs for solo skydiving and 220 lbs for tandem skydiving, including clothing and footwear.

Nevertheless, some centers may accommodate individuals weighing up to 275 lbs for tandem skydiving, but it’s subject to availability.

If you happen to be above the recommended weight, it’s important to notify the skydiving company in advance so that they can make the necessary preparations regarding the appropriate skydiving equipment, if possible.

Do heavier people fall faster skydiving?

In a word, yes. Gravity pulls us all toward Earth, while air resistance slows us down. The heavier you are, the faster you’ll fall, especially if you maintain a streamlined position. So if you and a feather drop from an airplane (hypothetically, of course), you’ll hit the ground first.

Can a 400-pound person skydive?

Roughly speaking, no. Here’s the deal: comfort is key. While tandem skydiving weight restrictions vary, ranging between 225 lbs and 275 lbs, being significantly overweight can affect your comfort, particularly once the parachute opens and you’re seated in the harness. Some have found it uncomfortable, but every effort is made to ensure a pleasant experience until touchdown.

Can I skydive at 260 pounds?

Yes, you can skydive at 260 pounds in some locations—though it may come with a surcharge and depends on certain factors. Always check with the skydiving company beforehand to see if they can accommodate you.


To conclude, skydiving is an adventure like no other, and understanding the basics—like weight limits and landing dynamics—is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re within the weight range or a bit over the limit, there are options out there for nearly everyone. So gear up, get informed, and get ready to soar. The sky awaits!