Understanding Skydiving Weather

Skydive LangarExperienced Skydivers, Tandem skydive

Skydiving is a sport dependent on certain weather conditions being fulfilled to make it safe. For us in the UK, ‘good weather’ can seem harder to find than other popular skydiving locations like the USA… but we have a lot more jumpable days here than you might think! And, being open 364 days a year (every day except Christmas Day), we’re well positioned to make the most of the good weather when it’s here.

The aim of this post is to help to explain skydiving weather and help you to understand what weather is good for jumping, and what is not.

Skydiving weather rules

Skydiving in the UK is overseen by British Skydiving, who have set eleven ‘conditions’ which must be met for skydiving to take place. Weather is one of these.

According to the British Skydiving Operations Manual, skydiving may only happen ‘When weather conditions are suitable’. So let’s explore what that means in more detail.

Blue skies over Langar, by Alex Potter

Wind and skydiving

Wind is one consideration for skydiving. If the wind is above a certain wind speed, it falls outside of what we consider to be safe and we cannot jump.

There are different wind limits for student skydivers vs experienced skydivers and these limits are clearly laid out in the British Skydiving manual. We as a drop zone are monitoring the wind speeds at all times using an anemometer and will apply a ‘weather hold’ in cases where the wind is too high generally, or more specific jump limitations if the wind affects certain groups.

Cloud and visibility

It’s important for us to have good visibility for skydiving. This includes the visibility we have of our intended landing area from the point of exit, and the visibility we have around the airfield for our aircraft to fly.

Cloud height also plays a role in this. If there is cloud but it is much higher than our exit altitude, it might appear to be a ‘cloudy day’ but be safe for us to jump. Conversely, it might seem like the cloud is quite patchy and there could even be blue sky emerging through the gaps, but we may still not be jumping because the visibility overall is not where we need it to be.

As with wind, we are continually monitoring the cloud and visibility conditions and weather holds are applied if the conditions become unsuitable.

Bad weather day, by Chris Cook

What is a weather hold?

A ‘weather hold’ is the term we use to describe the suspension of skydiving for a period of time due to unsuitable weather conditions.

Weather holds inevitably happen from time to time and we appreciate they can be frustrating. We want to jump as much as you do but when the conditions are unsuitable, we do have to wait until a time when they become suitable again so that we can be safe.

Weather holds might only be applied for a short time, for example if cloud comes in temporarily, we will hold until it improves. In situations where our information suggests a longer weather delay can be expected, we may suggest our fun jumpers take some time off site and return later in the day when we expect jumping to recommence, or for tandem skydivers, we may advise you to stay at home until a time later in the day, or to call us before setting off.

On some occasions, our weather forecasts may suggest weather conditions so poor that we ‘call’ jumping for the day – meaning we decide to finish early as the weather is not going to improve. If we have this information in advance and we feel confident in it, we may advise visiting jumpers such as tandem skydivers the day before and suggest you reschedule your booking for a day when the weather looks better.

When is the best time to go skydiving?

The reality of the British weather is that it’s actually very difficult for us to say one month/week/day is going to be better than any other. You might imagine that summer months (July, August, September) are better and while this is often true, we also do a lot of jumping outside of these. In fact, the winter months can be very good to us (though earlier sunsets mean we can’t jump quite as late into the evening as we do in the summer).

The benefit of choosing Skydive Langar for your jumps is that we have three very fast aircraft and an awesome team of very keen staff who will get you in the air at any available opportunity. We’re open every day except Christmas Day.

What weather forecasts do skydivers use?

There are various weather forecasting apps / websites used by skydivers. Metcheck, Meteoblue and Windy are quite popular but even these can disagree with one another.

To add to this, Langar is situated in an area where we can see weather conditions differ significantly from what’s around us. The only thing we can guarantee is that you definitely won’t jump if you’re not here… and if we think it’s worth rescheduling, we’ll let you know.