On a beautiful day, looking up towards the sky, one can’t help but wonder what it would feel like to play amidst the ‘perfectly puffy’ white clouds. Can I lay on a cloud? Is it cushy and plush like a pillow? Or is it wispy and misty? We are human – we can’t contain our inquisitive minds! And with your tandem skydive on the horizon, you might think you’ll finally get your “silly” questions answered, right? Not so fast, wide-eyed explorer! The aviation and skydiving industry follows strict rules when it comes to skydiving on cloudy or rainy days … and they may prevent you from skydiving altogether.
So, can you skydive on a cloudy or rainy day? The answer is mostly no, but it depends on a few things (which we will get into below). Most adventure seekers understand that jumping is not possible in the rain, but are a bit confused when it comes to canceling due to cloud cover. Here, we’ll let you in on how we make judgment calls pertaining to clouds and rain on the day of your skydive.
Sorry to be a buzzkill, but clouds actually aren’t “puffy” at all. They are very similar to the fog you may see when you’re driving down the road. And if you’ve ever driven through thick fog, you know how much it can hinder your visibility. Skydivers navigate visually, therefore, we need to be able to see the ground and the people around us at all times.
You cannot skydive through clouds because it’s unwise and actually ILLEGAL. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets forth rules and requirements that skydiving dropzones in the United States must follow. One of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) states that no person may conduct a parachute operation into a cloud or when the flight visibility is obstructed. Violations of the FARs are federal offenses. It is the responsibility of the individual jumpers and the aircraft pilot to make sure there is a clear view of the dropzone.
We know that the flight visibility will be obstructed based on the altitude of the clouds and the distance between them. Luckily, we can measure this through multiple aviation weather reports such as AWOS. If clouds appear while in the air, the jumpers and pilot will decide if they should circle to wait for clouds to clear or if they should ride the plane back down.
The reason we wait for clouds to clear or cut our losses and land is not to crush your childhood dreams, it’s to keep you safe! We need to be able to see the ground for landing and see other jumpers or aircraft around us. When conditions are unsafe, there is a risk of a mid-air collision with other skydivers, or you can land off the dropzone.
Not all clouds are bad though. They can add to the magic of an amazing view, and there is nothing more incredible than falling past a “puffy”. As long as there is visibility, a little cloud action here and there is a-ok!
When it starts raining at Skydive Carolina, we stop operating – plain and simple. And trust us, you do not want to skydive in the rain. Jumping through the rain can be painful, like flying through a sky full of needles. Pretty uncomfortable to say the least.
We know you are excited to skydive with us, and we are thrilled to have you too! If you have a long drive to get to the dropzone, we ask that you call for a weather update before heading out. Keep in mind that weather can be extremely unpredictable, so this report may change as you make your trek to the DZ.
There are three key weather factors that may interrupt your skydiving plans: heavy clouds, rain, and wind. At Skydive Carolina, there is an exception if the cloud cover is above an altitude of 10,000 feet. Even if it is looking to be a cloudy day, there is still hope! For rain, winds in excess of 20 mph, or winds at upper altitude are high, though, we cease operations. A bummer at the time, to be sure, but trust and believe you’d thank us later! It’s always better to be on the ground and wish you were in the sky, than to be in the sky and wish you were on the ground!!
If weather is looking unfavorable, you have the option to wait it out at our on-site Blue Sky Cafe in hopes that conditions change, or you can opt to reschedule your jump. At Skydive Carolina, you have one year to reschedule your jump or transfer your jump to someone else.
Is the weather suitable for an epic skydive today? Come jump with us at Skydive Carolina! Blue skies, y’all!
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