Can You Skydive Through Clouds?

Can You Skydive Through Clouds?

Published: July 31, 2022

The desire to touch a cloud probably starts when most of us are young children. Looking up at the sky, clouds just look so fluffy and soft - there is something so enticing about them! Then you grow up and learn that clouds are merely condensed water vapor and you realize the sad truth that being inside a cloud would simply feel like going outside on a foggy day.

However, the allure is still alive and well for many because people ask us all the time if they can skydive through clouds! A lot of people view a skydive as the perfect opportunity to finally touch that ever-elusive cloud. But, alas, we don't skydive through clouds. The logical follow up question, then, is how can you skydive in cloudy weather? And the answer is, we can't!

Skydiving is a super weather-dependent activity ... and, with that, weather holds have entered the chat. (Boo!)

Skydiving Weather

Weathering the Weather Holds

A "weather hold" is what we call it when we have to stop skydiving for a period of time due to weather that is not conducive for skydiving. Unfortunately, we experience these weather holds pretty frequently - every skydiving dropzone does - on the plus side, though, they are often brief and pass through quickly.

Common weather conditions that interfere with skydiving are fog, clouds, wind, and rain. Fog and clouds are problematic for skydiving, because they limit visibility. When you're jumping out of a plane and there are clouds or fog below you, it can be difficult to see planes, birds, other skydivers, and where you're supposed to land - all very important things to see!!

Wind is a huge factor as to whether we skydive or not. When you're flying the parachute, you're at the will of the wind to an extent. When the wind is very strong or gusty, then it is hard to predict what the winds will be doing when we're landing. We need to feel comfortable with what the winds are doing so you don't sail off to Oz!

Lastly, rain can affect visibility and gear performance but, perhaps most significantly, it's super painful to jump in rain! Imagine yourself falling through the sky at 120 mph with hundreds of tiny water droplets pelting your face ... not fun.

Cloud Clearance Requirements

Skydiving through a cloud isn't just unsafe, but it's actually illegal! According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), skydivers need to stay the same distance from clouds that private pilots do. The table below is from Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 105.17, and shows the adequate distance that we need to maintain from clouds while at different altitudes on our skydive.

skydiving when cloudy

Altitude

Flight Visibility

(statute miles)

Distance from Clouds

1,200 feet or less above the surface regardless of the MSL altitude

3

500 feet below

1,000 feet above

2,000 feet horizontal

More than 1,200 feet above the surface but less than 10,000 feet MSL

3

500 feet below

1,000 feet above

2,000 feet horizontal

More than 1,200 feet above the surface and at or above 10,000 feet MSL

5

1,000 feet below

1,000 feet above

1 mile horizontal

Clouds Will Be Clouds

While we can't skydive through clouds, we can skydive below clouds or sometimes even in between clouds. How do we know when the sky is clear enough to jump? Well, usually the pilot tells us. They can check the satellite, forecasts, and local automated weather observation systems, ask other pilots flying around and, of course, look up at the sky with their own two eyes to make their best judgment from the ground. When we think that we'll be able to skydive, then we'll try for it. Most of the time we make the right call, but occasionally we won't get as much altitude as we were predicting we would get, and we either have to circle around to look for "holes" or get out lower than we expected ... or, worst case, ride the plane back down.

Blue Skies, Baby

Skydiving OC Experience

Aside from being unsafe and illegal (which are obviously two very strong deterrents), skydiving through a cloud also isn't that interesting. Instead of the glorious and puffy balls of softness we want them to be, clouds are basically just thick fog.

One of the many wonderful parts of making a skydive is seeing that once-in-a-lifetime 10,000 ft perspective. If you spent most of your jump in clouds, then you would be missing out on some seriously amazing views. On a nice clear day, we can see Assawoman Bay, Assateague Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Ocean City coastline. Much more breathtaking than the inside of a cloud!

Skydiving might not be the solution for your cloud-touching aspirations, but it is absolutely the best. day. ever! Come jump and see for yourself.

The view was gorgeous!

» Alicia Boyer | Read More Testimonials

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