....10,500', 14,000', 20'000'...I don't get it? Why so many to choose from? What dictates what altitude you jump from? Why do other skydiving centers have different altitudes?
First you must understand the difference between MSL (Mean Sea Level) and AGL (Above Ground Level). Depending on skydiving centers, they can advertise in either MSL or AGL jump altitudes. Des Moines skydivers advertises in MSL.
MSL - The altitude at which you are relative to sea level.
AGL - The altitude at which you are relative to ground level.
Per the FAA, in unpressurized aircraft (all skydiving planes), jumpers must have supplemental oxygen at altitudes above 15,000' MSL. This is the highest altitude we can legally jump from without having to have oxygen available. Turbine aircraft are much powerful and can get to 14,000' MSL within about 15-20 minutes. The Cessna 182 flies much slower and takes about 20 minutes to get up to 10,500' MSL. It would simply take too much time and burn too much fuel for the 182 to get up to 14,000' MSL to make it practical.
The entire state of Iowa's elevation is above sea level. Sea level is referenced as zero feet MSL. The Winterset Airport is approximately 1,110' MSL. That means when the plane is on the ground at the Winterset Airport, the current altitude is 1,110' MSL.
Examples showing differences in MSL vs AGL:
Skydive Deland - Deland Airport, Florida
Airport Elevation - 79' MSL
Jump altitude - 13,000' AGL or 13,079' MSL
Des Moines Skydivers - Winterset Airport, Iowa
Airport Elevation - 1,110' MSL
Jump altitude - 13,000' AGL or 14,110' MSL
Mile Hi Skydiving - Longmont Airport, Colorado
Airport Elevation - 5,055' MSL
Jump altitude - 12,500' AGL or 17,055' MSL (waivered)
Here at Des Moines Skydivers, we offer three different aircraft and two different jump altitudes throughout the jump season. How do you know which one to choose? Well, turbine engine aircraft can climb to higher altitudes much quicker than a standard piston engine aircraft. Since turbine aircraft are larger, they can accommodate larger groups. Higher jump altitude means longer time in free-fall! All of our tandems are the same price so we always recommend jumping from a higher altitude simply because you get more for your money. If your schedule doesn't align with one of our turbine plane weekends, you can book your skydive on one of our Cessna 182 (10,500') weekends and still have just as much fun!
Aircraft safety: Our club owns the Cessna 182 that is flown on non-turbine weekends and all of the turbine aircraft are leased from Skydive Chicago, one of the largest dropzones in the world. Whether it be our own aircraft or one we are leasing, your safety is our top priority. Our 182 is maintained by Winterset Aviation and goes through a rigorous FAA mandated inspection every 100 hours of flight time.
See the bottom of the page for the aircraft schedule. For experienced jumpers, check out our experienced jumper pricing.
2023 Turbine Schedule
May 5-7 (Caravan)
May 19-21 (Caravan)
June 2-4 (Caravan)
June 16-18 (Caravan)
June 30-July 2 (Caravan)
July 14-16 (Twin Otter)
August 4-6 (Caravan)
August 18-20 (Caravan)
September 1-3 (Twin Otter)
September 15-17 (Caravan)
September 29-Oct 1 (Caravan)
October 13-15 (Caravan)