Licensed Skydiver Canopy Policy

April 28, 2014 (Updated January 8, 2015)

To all licensed skydivers:

Subject:  Canopy Size and Wing Loading Limits Policy

Skydive Snohomish has earned a reputation for professionalism, and established a culture that places a high value on safety.  We have been fortunate to have the support of an amazing, licensed skydiver community, and we will continue to emphasize and strengthen our commitment to professionalism and safety.

In staying true with our central values here at Skydive Snohomish, a policy has been implemented to provide guidance and establish Canopy Size and Wing Loading Limits.  Considerable collaboration, data, and analysis have gone into the policy development over the past year.  This policy takes into consideration data gathered from many sources including the USPA Fatality Reports, existing canopy size and wing loading limits observed domestically and internationally, canopy manufacturer and designer recommendations, consultation with skydivers and S&TAs in our local community and elsewhere.

The policy represents the culmination of that extensive research and collaboration, and is designed to provide reasonable limits appropriate for various experience levels.  We believe in a process driven, skill and experience-based canopy downsizing progression, and urge us all to reaffirm the commitment to a never ending pursuit of canopy piloting knowledge and skill.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I welcome the opportunity to discuss or clarify the policy further, or help in any way I can to further the knowledge and skill within our community.

Thank you.


Jordan McElderry
Skydive Snohomish




Skydive Snohomish Canopy Size and Wing Loading Limits Policy


Less than 1000 skydives:
  • Our intent is to improve the level of safety in our sport by providing guidance for appropriate canopy progression, based on adequate experience-based skill development.
  • FULLY ELLIPTICAL CANOPY REQUIRES 300 JUMPS and a C LICENSE or the Foreign equivalent
  • Acceptable canopy size and wing loading limits have been defined in the following chart. These limits are non-negotiable below 1,000 jumps.
  • ** Currency requirements based on canopy size or wing loading
Experience Currency in previous 12 months** Minimum canopy size Maximum wing load
200-300 50 135 1.35
301-400 50 135 1.4
401-500 100 135 1.45
501-600 100 120 1.5
601-700 200 120 1.55
701-800 200 120 1.6
801-900 200 110 1.65
901-1000 250 100 1.7
1000+* 250 100* 1.7+*

Canopies marketed as size xx9 will be rounded up 1 sq.ft.

(E.g. Safire 149 will be considered a 150)


More than 1000 skydives:
  • * Exceeding a wing loading of 1.7 or a minimum canopy size of 100 square feet will only be allowed the approval of an S&TA after an evaluation of verifiable experience. The following must be completed and on file prior to exceeding these limits:
  • ** Currency requirements based on canopy size or wing loading


All jumpers regardless of wing loading or minimum canopy size will be expected to perform the following on every jump or these privileges may be revoked:

  • Promote a smooth flow of traffic
    • Establish and maintain vertical canopy separation
    • Establish and maintain horizontal separation
    • Fly a predictable pattern
    • Follow the landing direction set by the first person down
  • Perform turns at an appropriate altitude
  • Land safely within the designated landing area
  • Perform consistent stand up landings
Group Member: U.S. Parachute Association
© Skydive Snohomish 2019
Group Member: U.S. Parachute Association U.S. Parachute Association Training Center
© Skydive Snohomish 2019