do we observe weather, understand it and forecast it?
skydiving is a sport governed by the weather. Skydivers need
to have an understanding of the weather –if the weather
is no good, then we cannot skydive! To gain an understanding
of the weather, we can look at forecasts, satellite pictures
and other predicting methods. The pilot will also be able
to tell us what strength the winds are at certain heights.
However, no one owns a crystal ball and even the experts can
be proved wrong from time to time. During the freefall part
of the skydive we are subject to being pushed in whatever
direction the wind is going even though you may not notice
it. The strength and direction of the wind affects the run
in, spotting and amount of time left between groups on exit.
Whilst under canopy we are even more subject to the wind direction
and strength and therefore we have to adjust our landing patterns
to compensate for this.
to do when the weather is bad
the cold UK winter you may be able to get some jumps in, but
be warned as it will be cold. However, there are other skydiving
related activities you can do to keep busy. If you are new
to the sport then ask at the DZ about learning to pack. You
will then find that when you purchase your own equipment you
will save money on packing. Also, for your licenses you will
need to get certain briefs, eg jumpmaster brief, flight line
checking brief. If you are really interested in the equipment
side of parachuting you might even look into doing a rigging
qualification like your Approved packers which allows you
to pack reserve parachutes. Other alternatives are a trip
to the wind tunnel, or a skydiving trip abroad, there are
many boogies in Europe over the British winter and this is
also a good way to stay current whilst experiencing new aircraft
and jumping at new DZ’s.
weather (warm up, stretch, insulation, thermal clothes)
it is possible to skydive in cold weather, however as you
might expect, you may want to wrap up to keep yourself warm.
There are jumpsuit manufacturers that specifically make thermal
suits or ‘warm wear’ to wear underneath your normal
jumpsuit to keep your body warm. Some skydivers suggest wearing
silk inners inside their gloves, or even surgeons gloves,
in order to keep their fingers warm. It is especially important
to keep your fingers warm as losing sensation may cause you
trouble when finding the toggle when it comes to pull time.
Full face helmets are warmer than open, however the BPA enforces
a 50 jump limit with B License. Other alternatives are neck
warmers made from fleece material. In addition to protective
clothing, you may find it beneficial to warm up and stretch
your body before skydiving. As well as improving your arch,
or reducing the risk of pulling a muscle in freefall manoeuvres,
this will warm your body for the skydive.
The BPA Operations manual states the following about cloud
“Parachutists may not leave the aircraft if, at the
point of exit, the ground between the opening point and the
intended landing area is not visible.”
It also states that the minimum flight visibility must be
at least 5 km.
Skydiving in the rain or through a rain cloud is not considered
a very nice experience as it stings your face. Usually, if
there are rain clouds in the sky, the wind may also be over
limits and there will not be visibility of the DZ from jump
BPA regulations state that the maximum ground speed limits
for student skydivers is 15 knots and for intermediate and
experienced skydivers the maximum is 20 knots. The BPA Operations
manual also says the following:
“Suspension of parachuting will be ordered for the designations
of parachutists concerned after two gusts above the limit
have taken place within five minutes. After parachuting has
been suspended it will not be resumed for at least thirty
minutes during which time no gusts above the limit have occurred.”