Operating a seasonal business in Michigan in a sport that is relatively sensitive to weather is not for the faint of heart.
Our skydive season runs April through October with April, May, September and October being the most unpredictable and June, July and August being somewhat (hopefully) tranquil.
For experienced skydivers participating in the sport frequently this can be aggravating but if the weather isn’t good today or this weekend no problem they will just come out tomorrow or next weekend. For infrequent jumpers or those fulfilling a bucket list item rescheduling to jump once or maybe several times to eventually jump out of an airplane can be annoying.
Making the decision to cancel jumping due to weather is not a fun or easy job. For the owners or drop zone Safety Advisor cancelling based on a forecast that ends up being erroneous is embarrassing in the face of eager jumpers. Once management has made the decision to cancel, Manifest has the job of calling scheduled jumpers to serve up the bad news and hopefully reschedule everyone to jump another day.
If the type of weather causing the cancellation is a no brainer like low cloud cover or rain the decision is much easier than cancelling on a beautiful Summer day where the winds are mostly jump-able but gusting periodically. These conditions are the most dangerous because we can’t see the wind. Catching a 25 mph gust of wind 30 feet from the ground can collapse the parachute causing serious injury. High winds can carry jumpers away from the airport where the ground is not favorable for landing parachutes.
The good news is that through the good and bad weather we typically always average the same amount of jumping every year. Because the season is seven months long we can make ourselves available whenever the weather is good and as long as everyone is patient and somewhat flexible we can jump eventually.
Making the decision to cancel jump operations is done solely in the interest of safety. There is nothing good that comes from an injury at the drop zone that could have been prevented by simply jumping on a different day. If you are affected by Mother Nature on jump day take comfort in knowing that management has made this decision to unsure your participation in the greatest sport on Earth is amazing and as safe as possible.
See you at the drop zone,