Skydiving in the Covid Era

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As the world is slowly easing out of lockdown dropzones are starting to open back up. But we know COVID-19 is a potentially deadly virus, very easily transmitted.

How can we resume skydiving as safely as possible?

What precautions would be sensible?

Skydive Perris, which was one of the first US Dropzones to close, is reopening on 30 May. Below is a list of the safeguards they are putting in place, having consulted with medical experts. Every DZ, country and area can make its own Coronavirus safety guidelines and they will vary – but this is a good basic list. Those of us wondering what skydiving will be like after lockdown can start to imagine managing the risk of Coronavirus like we manage every other area of our skydiving safety. Ultimately everyone will make their own choice whether/when to go to the DZ or stay home – but if we choose to skydive we can all take precautions to protect each other and our community as best we can…

OK, not that strict…

If there is one thing we like to do at Skydive Perris is to have fun.  So we decided to have a little fun with our announcement of re-opening.  The video below is comical satire and we won’t really be running you through the gauntlet that badly but we will have some rules and SOPs that need to be followed.  Please read them all below BEFORE coming to the dropzone.

Skydive Perris Re-Opening / COVID-19

Skydive Perris Re-Opening / COVID-19

Skydive Perris COVID-19 SOPs

Safety is always our top priority at Skydive Perris.  For this reason we were one of the first Skydiving Centers in the country to shut down operations because of COVID-19.  Since then more data has been gathered and new mandates released by our local and state governments. We have been carefully examining the new information and consulting with trusted medical professionals in our effort to develop a plan for how best to responsibly reopen while also maintaining the safest environment possible for all our jumpers.  With a little time, we are optimistically expecting to relax these procedures, hopefully returning to near normal in the not too distant future.

One of the things we love most about our skydiving family is that we are an incredibly diverse group.  This includes people who are immune compromised for a variety of reasons.   We want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible coming to Skydive Perris and loading up in an Otter together and making a jump.

As tired as some of us are of the phrase, “We’re in this together”, at the drop zone it’s always been true.  We would never want another jumper to pay the price for our bad decisions.  It’s one thing if we hurt ourselves but an entirely different thing if we hurt someone else.  We wear seatbelts in the plane to protect ourselves and everyone else.  We will be wearing face coverings and washing our hands more often for the same reason. 

Please help us to continue to make Skydive Perris the safest drop zone and facility it can be.  The following are the COVID-19 standard operating procedures we will be implementing.

Before coming to the DZ

Our first line of defense against COVID-19 is minimizing the likelihood that someone who has it comes to the airport.  Prior to coming to Skydive Perris please ask yourself:

  1. Have you been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?
  2. Have you tested positive for COVID-19?
  3. Do you now or have you in the last 14 days had any of the following symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, or loss of taste or smell?
  4. Have you traveled out of the country in the last 14 days?
  5. While at home, are you in frequent direct contact with individuals whose health is at high risk if they are exposed to COVID-19?  (This isn’t only about those of us at the DZ.)
  6. Have you been disregarding basic social distancing practices in your daily life, eg,  not wearing a mask in public and not staying at least 2 metres away from other individuals when possible?  If you haven’t been protecting yourself on a daily basis, you are more likely to have been exposed to the virus even if not showing any symptoms.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions please do not come to Skydive Perris at this time.

Medical Professionals who work with COVID-19 patients but are strictly protected while at work will be allowed on the premises even though they answered “Yes” to the first question.

Due to current state mandates and our DOD commitments during this time our facility will only be open to:

  • Skydivers doing ongoing and essential re-currency training
  • Patrons of the Perris Valley Skydiving School – RE-OPENING DAY TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • Patrons of Perris Indoor Skydiving – RE-OPENING DAY TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • Patrons of the Bomb Shelter Sports Bar and Grill
  • USUA Ultralight Pilots
  • Transient Pilots
  • The only spectators allowed on the premises are patrons of the above mentioned or those who accompany tandem skydivers and Indoor Skydiving customers.

When arriving at the DZ

Everyone coming to Skydive Perris will need to enter in the main parking lot by the wind tunnel.  As you walk out of the parking lot and through the airport entrance, you will be met by a staff member at a pre-screening check in station.     The staff member will ask the questions mentioned earlier and will take your temperature.  A “Yes” answer to any of questions or a temperature above 100 will be reason for not being allowed entry.

Each person who answers “No” to all the questions and who has a temperature of 100 or less will be allowed to enter Skydive Perris.  At that time, they will be given a wrist band allowing them entry for that day only.

In the event you arrive and there is no one at the pre-screening station, the manifest staff will do the temperature test, ask the questions and provide a wrist band if applicable.

Social distancing & personal sanitizing

Everyone will be required to wear a face covering while on the premises at all times.* The only time face coverings can be removed is when you are secluded and not speaking with others.


  • If you have to cough or sneeze do so tightly into your arm.   If you are frequently coughing or sneezing, you will be asked to leave the premises.
  • Please maintain a minimum distance of at least six feet from other individuals whenever possible.  This includes while you are packing.
  • While dirt diving please use common sense social distancing measures that everyone in your group is comfortable with.
  • Don’t do practice counts with hand contact, handshakes, high fives or fist bumps. 
  • Debrief skydives outside, not in small enclosed rooms.
  • No more than four people other than staff will be allowed in the manifest office at one time.  Please put money on your account prior to coming to the drop zone.
  • Please resist taking part in the loving, affectionate physical gestures we normally enjoy including hugs, kisses, high fives, fist bumps, etc.  (Sorry about this one)
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after every jump, prior to making any transactions at manifest, restaurant and wind tunnel and frequently throughout the day.
  • We will be spraying your gloves/hands with an alcohol-based spray before boarding the airplane.
  • When possible use a barrier such as a clean paper towel to prevent direct contact with shared surfaces including sinks, toilets, water fountains, door knobs, etc.

In addition please be sure to provide your own supply of protective equipment and sanitation items including facial coverings, hand sanitizer, sanitizing spray, disinfectant wipes and drinking water. This is the only way to be absolutely certain you always have what you need when you need it.

Aircraft protocol

Time spent together in tight quarters in the aircraft is the riskiest part of spreading the virus while skydiving. Facial coverings will help but will not completely eliminate the risk.  The higher quality the face covering and the longer it is worn the more protection it provides.  In addition we need to pay extra attention to how we conduct ourselves in the airplane.

  • Be completely geared up and in the loading area on a 5-minute call.
  • Wash your hands as shortly before boarding the aircraft as possible. 
  • If you wear gloves they need to be sprayed down with a sanitizing agent prior to boarding.
  • Wearing a face covering is required in the plane and loading area at all times.
  • Full-face helmets with the lenses closed are STRONGLY recommended.
  • If you are wearing a full-face helmet with the lens down during the ride to altitude you must also have a face covering.  You can lower or remove your face covering after the red light is on just before exiting the plane.
  • If you are wearing a face covering which will not fit under your full-face helmet (like the N95) it is ok to secure your helmet to your seatbelt for takeoff. When the red light comes on you can remove your face covering and put on your full-face helmet with the lens down.
  • If you are wearing an open-faced helmet you must keep the face covering on until the red light comes on.
  • Make sure your chosen face covering is not at risk of migrating in freefall and obstructing your vision, especially with a closed full-face helmet.
  • To encourage air circulation the aircraft door will be opened at 1500’ and left open as long as possible. Be extra aware that your pilot chutes are secure.  The door will stay open until the jumpers in the front of the plane closest to the pilot ask for it to be closed.
  • Only speak in the airplane if absolutely necessary.  Speaking increases the transmission of COVID-19 particles.  Speaking loudly exponentially increases the transmission of COVID-19 particles.
  • Do not do practice counts, handshakes, high fives, fist bumps, etc. in the plane.

Sanitizing procedures

In addition to the personal safety measures and aircraft protocols, we are also increasing our sanitizing procedures throughout the day as follows:

At the start of the day and during shut downs, each aircraft operating will be sprayed with FAA and EPA approved disinfectant.

  • At the start of each day the manifest office, Bombshelter, Perris Valley Skydiving School, video rooms, Perris Indoor Skydiving and other facilities will be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Counter tops, bathrooms, door handles, aircraft handles, seat belts, door frames, aircraft mock ups and all commonly touched surfaces throughout the facility will be cleaned each morning and frequently throughout the day.
  • Hand washing stations have been installed in the loading areas.
  • Hand sanitizing stations have been installed in many places across the dz.
  • Plastic separators have been installed in the rear of the aircraft cockpits as well as in the Manifest, School, Bomb Shelter and Perris Indoor Skydiving customer service counters.
  • No-touch faucets have been installed in the sinks in the bathrooms.
  • Use common sense social distancing when using the bathrooms.

Personal responsibility

Nothing is more important to us at Skydive Perris than knowing our jumpers, our family, trust that their safety is always our top priority.  We have worked for years to earn that trust and we want to earn it again now.  But there is nothing Skydive Perris can do to replace the behavioral measures each of us as individuals must take.  In the best interest of protecting yourself, your friends, families and communities please abide by all these procedures.  Please help us to hold ourselves and each other accountable.

Due to the increased safety protocols and staff needed to do all we can to fight the transmission of COVID-19, we are increasing the jump tickets to $30.

Contact tracing

If you discover that you have contracted COVID-19 and have been to Skydive Perris in the prior 14 days please contact us immediately.  We will follow up with contact tracing efforts by notifying other jumpers you were on the plane with that day.  Your name will not be released by Skydive Perris.

COVID-19 and skydiving

Skydiving is a contact sport.  Please understand that with all the precautions and safety measures we have taken it is not possible for us to guarantee you that you won’t be exposed to COVID-19.  By participating in skydiving you accept the risk and assume all responsibility to the exposure and risk of contracting COVID-19.

Skydive Perris and all associated entities and individuals cannot guarantee your protection.  If you cannot accept the risk despite all the safety measures we have taken then you should not participate in skydiving activities.

Landing at Perris
Image by Jules Photography

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