Why Are There Weight Limits For Skydiving?

The skydiving weight limit stops lots of people dead in their tracks when they first start looking at the idea of making their first jump. For tandem and AFF skydiving at Skydive Perris, the weight limit is 240 pounds. There are no exceptions, and you’ll be weighed when you arrive.

That sounds so harsh, doesn’t it?

Know this: We don’t enforce our skydiving weight limit out of prejudice. We do it because keeping a strict maximum weight to skydive is an absolutely essential part of keeping our operation as safe as possible. There is a weight limit for tandem skydiving for one simple reason: If we exceed the maximum amount of weight our parachutes are rated to carry, then everyone is put at serious risk: you, your instructor and everyone to whom your in-one-pieceness matters. Here’s why.

1. Aircraft Have Weight Limits–and When You Skydive, You’re Riding An Aircraft.

Parachutes, like all the other tools used in aviation, have strict weight ranges within which they are safely able to operate. If you exceed those weight ranges, you end up with a potentially dangerous situation on your hands. Imagine what would happen if you tried to land in an overloaded airplane (if you even managed to take off in the first place). Now imagine that landing gear is your legs. OUCH!

tandem student under canopy

photo by: Dennis Sattler

In skydiving, exceeding the weight range can have similarly catastrophic consequences. Deployments can get dangerously fast, parachute lines can break and landings can mean ankle-turning’ troubles for you and for your instructor. We‘re willing to risk none of that. Not at all.

Tandem skydiving harnesses, too, have size limits. They only adjust up to a certain point. After that point, these harnesses become a trial to put on and painfully constrictive to wear during a jump.

2. More Weight = Bigger Parachute.

Parachutes, by the way, are heavy in and of themselves, and adding to the amount of material only increases the load problem. The skydiving weight limit is by no means arbitrary; it’s the only way to solve this self-exaggerating problem and keep new jumpers (and our incredible pro team) as far from harm’s way as possible.

tandem skydiving in freefall at Skydive Perris

3. We Treat Our Professional Instructors As Valuable Resources And Friends.

Want to tackle a tough job? Try conducting many new skydivers each day from the airplane to the ground with grace, warmth and a careful eye on safety. Our professional tandem instructors are passionate about this work and do their very challenging job with aplomb. We show that we’re grateful for them every day by respecting the rules that allow them to stay safe in the sky. Tandem students over the skydiving weight limit create conditions that make a nice landing pretty much impossible.

tandem student within weight limit for landing

Don’t despair! If you really want to give skydiving a try–and we know you do–then make it a project to nudge that scale under the magic “240” number. The reward for your efforts will be immense: the whole world at your feet. And nobody will be celebrating your success with you more heartily than we will!

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