Based on a few different factors, skydiving has several altitudes that could be considered ‘standard’ – most of the time this is between ten thousand and fourteen thousand feet. While you could maths these into an average skydiving height, it is more informative to investigate some of the things that go into deciding how far up you go when you skydive.
The air gets thinner as you climb, and if you go high enough there is no longer enough oxygen in each breath to keep humans alive. This is why mountaineers need to take bottles of air up Everest (28,000ft) with them. Both aviation and skydiving rules dictate that if you go up over fifteen thousand feet in an unpressurized aircraft you need to have supplementary oxygen with you in the plane for everyone to breathe. While military types do this a lot for HALO jumps (High Altitude, Low Opening), the extra effort, expense, and fancy equipment needed for sport skydivers mean it is a thing saved for rare and special occasions.
It gets colder as you go up too – a few degrees for every thousand feet. Even if it is a toasty Summer day on the ground, it will be a touch chilly at 14’000ft (but don’t worry, you are not up there for long). Above this, it quickly gets too cold to remain very practical, and you would have to wear loads of extra clothes – making you too hot for everything other than when you are really high up. Our experienced staff is great at making sure you have the right amount of clothing for the best level of comfort. After all, they are going up there with you and also want to be suitably togged.
How high you can go depends on the skydiving plane you use. The most common is the Cessna 182 (kind of like a VW Beetle with wings) – a venerable workhorse of the skydiving industry for many decades. A 182 can get a handful of people up to ten thousand feet in about twenty minutes, but not any higher than that because it would take too long and burn way too much fuel. While 10,000ft is plenty high enough to skydive from (about 35 seconds of freefall), going higher is better. Here at Skydive Mossel Bay, we have invested in a Beechcraft King Air – a twin turbine-powered rocket ship that carries fourteen skydivers up to 14’000ft in half the time.
Our fleet of aircraft at Skydive Mossel Bay includes both Cessna 182s and the King Air. If you were to look around other dropzones in South Africa, you would find that we are alone in being able to offer you the opportunity to skydive from the maximum altitude of 14’000ft. And it’s at a price you’ll love. This gives you a full minute of freefall to really savour the experience and soak up the stunning visuals (before flying under a parachute for a few more minutes from about 5000ft).
When it comes to skydiving, higher is indeed better and we are very proud to be able to share our amazing sport with as many people as possible from the highest possible altitude for sport jumps. The height we offer for tandem skydiving is the same as that most often desired by professionals – giving jumpers the most possible time flying in the air without any additional complications. Whether you’re coming from Cape Town, Johannesburg, or from overseas, we have everything you need here at Skydive Mossel Bay to get the absolute most from your experience – the aircraft, the altitude, the attitude, and the very best scenery.