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There are a lot of questions we get time and again, one of them being “how old do you have to be to skydive?” Skydiving is seen as the ultimate extreme activity, so people are naturally very excited to experience it firsthand. With skydiving photos and videos all over the internet and TV, it is easy to develop an interest in the sport at any age. Even children see how fun it looks and want to give it a try, but there are age limits to making a skydive.
So at what age can you skydive? While children can skydive in some other countries, the minimum skydiving age in the United States is 18 years old. This age limit is based on restrictions by gear manufacturers and the United States Parachute Association (USPA). The USPA is an organization that works with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to regulate the sport of skydiving, and they have good reasons why you need to be 18 before you can skydive in the United States.
One of the primary reasons behind the age limit is the safety of the gear used for the skydive. The harness you wear on a skydive is adjustable, but only to a certain point – they are made to fit a limited range of adult body types. The harness must fit how it is supposed to, which is snug. Children and teens are often too small for the standard harness. There have even been situations where someone is the correct age to skydive but is too small or big to correctly fit in the harness (this is part of the reason behind a weight limit as well).
Liability is another reason why we require everyone to be at least 18 years old for their skydive. As is true of most extreme experiences, everyone who jumps needs to fill out a waiver before going up in the plane. When you jump with us, you will be filling out an assumption of risk, release of liability, and waiver of claims agreement. To legally fill out this document, you must be considered an adult by the government. (Don’t forget to bring your valid, government-issued photo ID with you!!)
We have been asked if parents can sign the legal documents for their children, but parental waivers have not proven sufficient under the law. Plus, children don’t often understand the inherent risks associated with skydiving (the brain not being fully developed and all that). While we take every precaution to mitigate the risks associated with skydiving as much as possible, we think everyone should be mature enough to decide for themselves if skydiving is something that they actually want to do.
On the flip side is this common question – can you be too old to make the leap? Nope! As a matter of fact, the oldest skydiver currently on record was 103 years and 259 days old when she made her most recent jump!
You’re never too old to skydive, but sometimes with age comes health issues, and those can present a problem. While there is no maximum age limit, if you have any health considerations that you are concerned may affect your skydive, then you should check in with your doctor before you jump. From birthdays to bucket lists, we have jumped with healthy adults of all ages!
If you’re not old enough to skydive out of a plane yet, there are other awesome options for the time being! Indoor skydiving (known as the wind tunnel in the skydiving community) is a really fun alternative.
There are four relatively close indoor skydiving locations to Wisconsin Skydiving Center. There’s an iFly in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and three iFly facilities in Illinois – Naperville, Rosemont, and Lincoln Park. Wind tunnels provide a great resource for simulating the feeling of freefall – so much so that skydivers opt for tunnel time to train and also just to play. Getting in the wind tunnel before your skydive can significantly help you build essential skills for your progression in the sport.
If you’re under the age limit, it can be straight-up frustrating to have to wait to make the leap, but it is absolutely worth waiting for! The anticipation will pay off and that first sweet jump will be a-m-a-z-i-n-g. You can even have your 18th birthday party with us (bring your student ID and we’ll give you a discounted rate too!). We can’t wait to jump with you! Already over 18? Let’s gooooo!
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