Hoping to go skydiving, but unsure if you’re old enough (or young enough)?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Throwing ourselves out of a plane isn’t exactly as common as driving a car, so skydiving age limits can seem a bit of a mystery!
So how old do you have to be skydive? You need to be 18 years old to undertake a solo skydiving course. However, certain airfields do accept tandem jumpers as young as 7 years old. There is no upper age limit for tandem jumpers – there’s even a skydiving club for jumpers over 90!
While that’s the quick answer, I’ve included plenty more information below. Including locations, tips, weight limits, and things to know for younger/older jumpers.
Sound good? Then let’s dive in!
Skydiving Under 18 Years Old
One of the most popular questions is whether people can bring their kids skydiving.
In other words, my kids just saw the latest Mission Impossible movie, and now they’re obsessed.
Can Children Go Skydiving?
The answer yes, kids absolutely can go skydiving, down to a minimum of 7 years old (height/weight dependant). However, this takes the right airfield to do it in. Within the USA I believe there’s only one airfield approved to have child skydivers by the FAA, and that’s located in Western Colorado.
Outside of the US, most English-speaking countries (UK, Australia, New Zealand) allows kids under 18 to go skydiving with a tandem instructor. Again – this depends entirely on the airfield, it can be a rare thing to find.
If you’re having trouble finding a child-friendly drop zone online, I recommend calling any dropzone and asking them directly. Skydive centers tend to be well connected to each other.
Of course, all of this refers to tandem jumping. This is where you’re strapped to a supremely qualified skydiver, and you’re just along for the ride.
Can Children Go Skydiving… Solo?
If you’re talking about skydiving on your own, then the answer is unfortunately no. There’s so many reasons why, including weight limitations (you can’t be too light), gear limitations, and, of course, your Mum would go crazy.
However, in the UK you can go solo skydiving from 16 years old, with parental consent.
Concerns for Kid Jumpers
When it comes to taking a youngster skydiving, safety is always the #1 concern.
I’ve touched on this much more in other articles, but skydiving is incredibly safe.
Especially tandem skydiving. Most reported skydiving injuries are from experienced jumpers trying to push the limits. When it comes to simple, basic jumps that strictly follow all protocols, it’s extremely safe.
In fact, you’re much more likely to be injured on the drive to the airfield, rather than from skydiving.
Aside from safety, the other main concern is whether your child would really enjoy it. All I can say is that you know your kids best. If they love adventure and aren’t afraid to push the boat out, skydiving can be an incredible experience for them. Not only in terms of fun, but one which will give them a ton of confidence and pride (especially if Mum or Dad is doing it too!).
The Maximum Skydiving Age
One of the amazing things about skydiving is that is relatively easy. All movements while in the sky are gentle – the only real ‘active’ part of the whole thing is the landing. (Aside from handling the chafing when your parachute opens).
This is why there’s no maximum age for tandem skydiving. Absolutely none. The only requirement, generally, is that your health is up to scratch. That means no heart, blood pressure, or other serious medical conditions. As long as you’re able to lift your legs up in-front of you while seated, you’ll probably be able to tandem skydive.
Solo skydiving courses tend to have a maximum age of 49. This is true for both static line ## and AFF ## courses. However, exceptions can be made at the airfield – if you prove you’re fit and healthy enough.
Amazing Older Jumpers
There’s some incredible people out there in the world – a bunch of which are skydiving well into their golden years.
Here’s Dilys Price showing us how it’s done at 82 years old!
In fact, there’s even skydiving clubs for jumpers over 60, 70, 80, and there’s even a club for skydivers over 90!
Here’s one of my favorite ads from them:
Concerns for Older Jumpers
If you or an older loved one are considering to take the plunge, literally, then here are the most common concerns:
- Mobility. No acrobatics are needed – only the strength to lift up your legs. Try sitting on the edge of a seat, and lifting your legs straight up in-front of you. This is the landing position, and you’ll need to hold it for a good dozen or so seconds.
- Injuries. The only common skydiving injuries for tandem jumpers tend to be from a stray hand or foot during landing. Having the confidence to stick to the instructors direction (and not put out a stray limb) is all that’s needed.
- Wind. No, not that wind! The ease of a jump highly depends on how windy of a day it is. If you let the airfield know you’re an older jumper in advance, they can hold off your jump until there’s a suitably calm day to make things easier for you.
- Uncertain? If you’re unsure, the best bet is just to give the drop zone a call. They’ll advise you on whether or not to come down. Once there, they’ll walk through a questionnaire with you and do some basic movements to make sure you’re all set for a jump.
Skydiving Weight Limits
Now while we’re talking about limits – unfortunately – parachutes have a limit too!
Maximum Weight for Skydiving
Being too heavy, or even too light, can cause issues. Not because that parachute would ever rip (they’re strong enough to hold up a small car), but because they can be hard to fly.
Too heavy of a load (especially with a tandem jump) becomes harder to control. You also lose altitude at a faster rate, which makes landing a bit tricky. For this reason, most dropzones have a 220lb (100kg) limit for jumpers. This is fully clothed – including your shoes!
Tandem skydive limits are a bit more lenient, going up to 260lbs. However, they may charge a little extra for this as it may take specialist equipment and the right instructor.
Minimum Skydiving Weight
On the other hand, being too light can be an issue too. Having too little load can mean the parachute hardly descends! For solo jumping, there’s often a minimum weight limit of 8 stone and a height limit of 4ft 11.
I’ve personally seen the light weight issue a ton of times. For some reason, skydiving at our university was super popular with short girls.
My theory is that the shorter you are, the less scared of heights you must be – since you’re always closer to the ground!
Sometimes these girls would be so light they’d take forever to finally come back down. Our plane of jumpers would all have landed, when we realized that one of the girls wasn’t there. Looking up, we’d always spot her still high up in the sky! She took what felt like twice as long to eventually come down (talk about getting your money’s worth).
Most lightweight solo jumpers solve this by wearing a weight belt, and eventually graduating to their own much smaller canopy.
Skydiving isn’t something that everyone just does – so there’s often some confusion around it.
Particularly with age and weight limits. I hope this article has helped clear things up for you.
At the end of the day, your best bet is to call the dropzone you’d jump at and ask them directly. They’ll guide you through their own specific protocols and age/weight limits.
If this content has helped you, please do check out some of our other articles below!
Thanks for reading, and happy jumping.