What’s possible these days is amazing.
We can fly in a plane. Jump out and soar through the air. Pop a parachute, and glide back to earth.
But can we jump in the rain?
In short, no. The FFA require any skydives to be made in clear visibility. The rain in your eyes at 120mph makes things a little less than clear! Skydiving in the rain can happen due to a turn of weather though, so I’ve covered just how that rain feels when falling or under parachute.
I’ve had the fortunate – or unfortunate – experience of skydiving in the rain, so let me share what it’s like!
My Experience of Skydiving In The Rain
I’m from Scotland, one of the rainiest countries in the world. So it’s no surprise that we get the odd turn of bad weather from time to time!
When jumping a cloudy day, the weather started to turn down below. Visibility on the ground was good, though there was a cloud layer higher up. We jumped from 10,000ft, and proceeded to skydive through that cloud.
Flying through a cloud is amazing, but it also hurts! Clouds are a big packet of moisture in the sky, moisture that hits you like miniature needles when you’re falling at 120mph.
However, it didn’t stop there.
After we got through the cloud and I thought I’d be able to see again, I was still getting smacked with rain. Not as harshly this time (since it’s already going downwards), but still enough to make visibility near impossible. A blurry look at my altimeter made me see I was approaching the yellow zone, so I pulled chute.
Thankfully, standard altimeters have colored sections (yellow is ‘you probably want a parachute about now’, red is ‘DEAR LORD what are you doing’)
What followed was a soaking wet glide down. Picture putting yourself into a washing machine for a couple of minutes, then having cold air and water blown at you for another 10. Not fun!
Thankfully the fact it was a skydive overrules any negative feeling, but I wouldn’t rush back for another rainy jump. Not to mention the difficulty it added to landing, and extra hazard if anything was to go wrong.
Why Skydiving In The Rain Is Illegal
Okay, so it’s not totally illegal, but it is against the FAA rules.
You can see the full FAA rules here.
Going against this guidance can void any insurance which, in combination with the increased risk of bad conditions, probably isn’t a good idea.
This also goes against ‘Visual Flight Rules’, which is a general pilot’s requirement that can also apply to skydivers. Basically, we should have good visibility for 3 miles. In addition, be at least 500 ft below / 1,000 ft above, or 2,000 ft horizontally from a cloud. Flying into a rainstorm makes all this pretty difficult!
What Does Skydiving In The Rain Feel Like?
I touched on what rain feels like above, but here’s a quick rundown. Skydiving in the rain feels like…
- Needles In Your Face. As incredible as skydiving is, you’ve got a lot to focus on and need to stay alert. Having a constant barrage of water needles doesn’t help too much.
- Hard To See (Full Face Helmets Help + Hinder). If I was to even gently spray water from a bottle at your face, you’d find it pretty hard to see! Now imagine that while flying downwards at 120mph. Yes, you can wear a glass motorbike-like helmet, but these can hinder you just as much once they’re covered in droplets.
- It’s Not Like In The Movies. If there’s one thing movies love, it’s drama. Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than jumping into a thunderstorm. It puts about as many red flags up as you can think of. Don’t worry, though. You can shrug that off in your 5 minute jump sequence filled with dialogue! (Totally not possible)
What Does Skydiving Into A Cloud Feel Like?
I’d say that skydiving through a cloud is entirely different to skydiving in the rain.
Both clouds and rain mean you’re suddenly soaking wet and being attacked by needle-like water, but there’s one distinct difference. A cloud ends.
As long as it’s a narrow cloud, I love skydiving through them. From above you can see it coming, as well as all the other clouds sitting at that altitude. Going through it is pretty uncomfortable and disorientating, sure. But then you come out the other side!
For me, falling out the bottom of a cloud is like magic. Suddenly you can see the whole world again! It’s always a novelty and one that reminds me of how crazy it is that we’re flying through the air. So while clouds are a little sore, pretty wet, and can be disorientating, they’re also kinda fun.
Unlike jumping in the rain, which is just battling with miserable conditions until you’ve landed are back in the hanger!
What Does Parachuting In The Rain Feel Like?
The last common question people have is about being under canopy in the rain.
I’m not going to lie – it sucks!
Normally, parachuting is amazing. I love the views, the peace and quiet, and the fun of gliding around with the odd swoop.
The rain ruins all that. You can’t see anything, the peace is ruined by your barrage of swearing, and you just want to get back to ground as soon as you can.
Hanging under a parachute in the rain is like being hung out to dry, only to be sprayed down with a hose. For 10 minutes. You may think that the canopy would be like a massive umbrella, but you need to remember you’re flying forward. All that rain is coming right into your face.
On top of that, rain makes your landing that much harder. This is one of the trickier parts of skydiving normally, and is where any injuries tend to happen. Not being able to see, using soaking wet controls, and probably cold hands, all doesn’t add up to much good.
At least you can do a sweet slide along the grass, though!
Skydiving is an amazing sport, and it’s truly the best in great weather conditions.
Rain can put a real downer on things. That’s not to say it doesn’t make skydiving worth it… but it’s pretty close.
Don’t forget that afterwards not only are you soaking wet, but so is all of your equipment. A parachute is no small piece of material, and it all needs dried out.
I hope this short article has answered any questions you have about skydiving in the rain! If you’re preparing to head to a drop zone soon, be sure to check out our related articles below.
Thanks for reading, and happy jumping.