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(1) What are the legal considerations for skydiving into clouds? I see many skydivers did fall into and out clouds in online videos. However, the clouds are mostly scattered or thin-layered. How about in widespread hard-IMC, say OVC 008?

(2) What about maintaining the actual safety? How does a skydiver maintain attitude and stable position in IMC and not disoriented? and separation from other traffic?

EDIT: The legal consideration of my context is within US, but open to legal regulations worldwide.

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  • $\begingroup$ The part belonging to Aviation is about the conditions required for a pilot to legally release skydivers. The rest is off-topic. IMC may not be the criteria taken into consideration, and this may vary by country, You may consider adjusting your post. $\endgroup$ – mins Jan 2 '16 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ A skydiver shares airspace with the aviation world. It is worth knowing the responsibilities of both the pilots of the jump airplanes and the skydivers. $\endgroup$ – skyoasis Jan 3 '16 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ In scandinavia, we do jump through clouds, as long as the base is high enough for clear sight, at separation (still freefall), for deployment of parachute, and canopy flight. cloud base in 4000 feet is the normal minimum, although you can actually exit the plane from lower altitudes as well. All jumpers are required to have a flying canopy at 2000 feet at least, meaning you should know your canopy's opening time/distance. I normally deploy at 3000 feet, and have a fully functional parachute between 2500 and 2000 $\endgroup$ – KjetilNordin Dec 6 '16 at 16:45
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It is not legal to conduct skydiving into clouds, atleast in US. From 14 CFR §105.17 Flight visibility and clearance from cloud requirements:

No person may conduct a parachute operation, and no pilot in command of an aircraft may allow a parachute operation to be conducted from that aircraft—

(a) Into or through a cloud, or

(b) When the flight visibility or the distance from any cloud is less than that prescribed in the following table:

Skydiving


Is it safe? Probably. The chances of mid-air collision are pretty small, but they can happen as is does with aircraft. Midair collisions between skydivers and between aircraft and skydivers are rare, but not unheard of. There has also been reports of near misses between aircraft and skydivers through clouds. So, its better to be safe.

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Is it legal? No. Skydiving is a VFR operation, FAA regulations ( assuming the USA ) clearly say no jumping through clouds. Few jump planes are IFR equipped to get up there anyway.

Is it safe? Yes. Done it plenty of times myself on partly overcast days. The chances of hitting another aircraft in freefall are miniscule, and skydivers basically have no chance to see and avoid an aircraft anyway - the speeds and angles are too high. The pilot announces what's happening to other traffic and it's over in a minute. Determining the exit point with >50% cloud cover is not easy but GPS has largely eliminated that issue.

Flying a parachute through cottonball-cumulus clouds happens, it's kinda boring. Going around tall formations is much more interesting but doesn't really qualify as "into". If the weather systems are strong enough to affect a parachute's handling you won't find any canopies up there as everyone is in the local bar.

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  • $\begingroup$ Downvote because of, 1) the statements which amount to admission and condoning of action in violation of safety-based aviation regulations, and 2) statements that such actions are safe despite listing some of the very real risks associated with such violations, however miniscule such risks may or may not be. This post provides a good case study in some of the hazardous attitudes in aviation. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Jan 16 '17 at 18:29

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