Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Earliest age to start skydiving in all states

 

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accel

May 20, 2009, 1:43 AM
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Earliest age to start skydiving in all states Can't Post

I'm doing some research and would appreciate some advice.

Is there a single place/document that shows the earliest ages people are allowed to start skydiving in every US state. I know USPA says 16 with parental consent, subject to state and school policy. Some then say 18.

Is it already broken down by state? (by school would probably be too much to ask I guess)

The next one I'll be looking for is each Canadian province.

Any help appreciated.


councilman24  (D 8631)

May 20, 2009, 5:49 AM
Post #2 of 47 (6051 views)
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

There are few if any state laws on skydiving. (there have been a couple of attempts pushed by grieving parents, some may have made it) And there are no federal laws concerning age.

It's all a matter of civil liability. In most cases minors signing a wavier of liability is not enforcable and parents can't sign a wavier for their children. This leaves the drop zone operators with out the protection of the wavier they usually have. So most operators choose to only take adults capaable of entering into a contract, usually 18.

USPA's recommendation of 16 is not based on liability or any other basis in law but is based on maturity needed to handle the sport.

So, no it's not by state. There are a few drop zones (I think maybe not anymore) that will take a 16 year old. In most cases 18. Some younger jumpes you may have heard about were/are the children of dropzone owners.


ufk22  (D 16168)

May 20, 2009, 6:21 AM
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Depends on whether your dad owns a KingAir....


riggerrob  (D 14840)

May 20, 2009, 7:14 AM
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In Canada, there are no provincial laws defining how young you can start skydiving.
In most provinces, the age of majority (old enough to sign a waiver) is 18 or nineteen.
While 16 year olds may be able to skydive - if a parent signs a waiver - that does not hold up in court in the long run.
Some day I will tell you about a sixteen year old girl who broke her back skydiving, then - successfully - sued DZO Joe Chow. The stories I heard - years later - from a third source were not complimentary to the girl.
In the end, the decision is made by Canadian drop zone owners as to whether the profit is worth the risk.
Most Canadian DZs ask students to wait until they are old enough to sign a waiver.


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

May 20, 2009, 7:19 AM
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Re: [riggerrob] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

I would take issue with Rob's last statement. Most Canadian dropzones take students in at age 16. The CSPA prohibits under 16 and reccomends 18.


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

May 20, 2009, 3:57 PM
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi accel,

Here is Oregon there are three dz's. One will take someone at 16 and the other two are at 18.

JerryBaumchen

PS) No state regs/laws/etc that I have ever heard of.


sdctlc  (D 16437)

May 20, 2009, 7:27 PM
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Re: [ufk22] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Depends on whether your dad owns a KingAir....

I was thinking about Charlie Mullins as soon as i read the thread title! I don't remember exactly his age but he was pretty young...

Scott C.


Andy9o8  (D License)

May 20, 2009, 9:11 PM
Post #8 of 47 (5777 views)
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

You know those really whiny kids people bring to the DZ? Get them started as early as possible.


Canadianfella  (D 29227)

May 20, 2009, 9:16 PM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

I disagree there Andrew... Although I haven't been to EVERY dropzone in Canada, I've been to a fair number and read through most websites. In my experience and research, 18 or 19 is when you can start... unless you're in quebec, in which case you can do a tandem at 14 with parental consent.

Most dropzones, as rob states, go by the ol' waiver rule... legal age of majority to enter a contract or you can't jump because the waiver is void otherwise.


accel

Jun 9, 2009, 2:01 AM
Post #10 of 47 (5471 views)
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Re: [councilman24] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd like to thank everyone for some great comments and input.

councilman24
made some excellent points and I just want to clarify one thing you said...

Quote:
.....and parents can't sign a wavier for their children.
As I understand it, parents and legal guardians can sign waivers for the minors they are responsible for and these are legally admissable (I'm not a lawyer but I am a parent) otherwise schools and other organsations who take kids away canoeing or climbing or on other 'hazardous' activities couldn't operate (I know, don't beat me up on the definition of hazardous, its not mine).

Not meaning to be picky, but you didn't really mean to say that did you? There isn't some dark legal concept somewhere that we don't generally know about is there? having said that, riggerrob in his post said something similar about a parental consent signature 'not holding up in court'. Does anyone have any links to anything which gives details about this? If there are really any precedents, most grateful to receive them.

JerryBaumchen makes a good point about 'shop around and if you work at it, you may find it'. Thats interesting that Oregon dropzones are 33% for 16yrs and above and 66% for 18yrs and above. I wonder how the other states break down and whether Oregon is representative? (I know, too small a group to apply that to all 50 states but its a start...)

CanadianFella highlights the individuality of Quebec province, and its worth noting that the 14 year old jumping perspective also fits with Australia (14 minimum, and right now trialling a waiver system to reduce the age to, well, no lower limit but just based on parental consent and a written application by the child to the Director of Safety). The rest of the Canadian rules in respect of lower age limit seem to be similar to USA.

This is just trying to summarise the situation so far and clarify a couple of points. Once again, sincere thanks to everyone for input and more data will be appreciated.


(This post was edited by accel on Jun 9, 2009, 2:50 AM)


councilman24  (D 8631)

Jun 9, 2009, 5:32 AM
Post #11 of 47 (5449 views)
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Where's lawrocket when you need him?

Sure they can sign it. But, as I understand it parents cannot waive a child's right to sue the DZ. I expect this varies somewhat from state to state. I'd think most school 'waviers' are really permissions for the child to participate with the organization acting in loco parentis. I also expect that many organizations or businesses that allow children to participate in hazardous activities base on a wavier may not be quite as 'legally concious' as DZ's. "Cannot sign it" ment cannot sign it with any effect.Tongue

Ooooo, latin and all sorts of stuff. He MUST know what he's talking about. Naaa, I make this shit up as I go.Wink Really!


MakeItHappen

Jun 9, 2009, 6:03 AM
Post #12 of 47 (5443 views)
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'd like to thank everyone for some great comments and input.

councilman24
made some excellent points and I just want to clarify one thing you said...

Quote:
.....and parents can't sign a wavier for their children.
As I understand it, parents and legal guardians can sign waivers for the minors they are responsible for and these are legally admissable (I'm not a lawyer but I am a parent) otherwise schools and other organsations who take kids away canoeing or climbing or on other 'hazardous' activities couldn't operate (I know, don't beat me up on the definition of hazardous, its not mine).

Not meaning to be picky, but you didn't really mean to say that did you? There isn't some dark legal concept somewhere that we don't generally know about is there? having said that, riggerrob in his post said something similar about a parental consent signature 'not holding up in court'. Does anyone have any links to anything which gives details about this? If there are really any precedents, most grateful to receive them.

The school waivers usually are the parent(s) entering into a hold harmless agreement. They cannot sue.
But that contract says nothing about the kid suing.

There was a (non skydiving) lawsuit a few years ago where the kid sued the parents and the place he got hurt at.
I *think* the rules are such that the kid has to wait until he's 18 (or age of majority) before he can sue. I do not know how that works with the statute of limitations either.

You'll also find that 'parental consent' becomes very sticky when the parents are divorced. The situation where "Mommy gives consent, Dad objects, kid gets hurt" can make things very bad. I recall some (non-skydiving) lawsuit on this one too.

Sorry I don't have links to those lawsuits. Google may be your friend or a lawyer friend that can search case law for it.

You'll get better answers by calling attorneys or using the online lawyer help websites.

.


(This post was edited by MakeItHappen on Jun 9, 2009, 6:04 AM)


brettski74  (C 3197)

Jun 9, 2009, 6:26 AM
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Re: [Canadianfella] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In my experience and research, 18 or 19 is when you can start... unless you're in quebec, in which case you can do a tandem at 14 with parental consent.

There are other dropzones in Canada outside of Quebec that will take people at 16 or 17 years old with parental consent. I don't think that I could say this about all dropzones, but certainly I've jumped at dropzones in Ontario and Alberta that will do so.


erdnarob  (D 364)

Jun 9, 2009, 8:52 AM
Post #14 of 47 (5401 views)
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Just for comparison purpose, generally in Canada the age of majority (18 years old) is recommended by the CSPA in order to skydive or do a tandem as a passenger. In Quebec (not the same kind of law than the rest of Canada) with parents consent people of 16 are able to do skydiving. Amazingly, in Ontario the age to buy alcoholic beverages is 19. But on the other hand in Canada the age to fly an airplane solo is 15 while you need to be 17 to get your pilot licence. In all provinces you can also drive a car alone at 16 and have your driver's permit as well. Just try to see any logic on that. That's what happens when government try to rule something. It takes a rule for everybody despite that some people above the age of majority will never be able to drive a car properly especially during the winter.


accel

Aug 7, 2009, 2:07 AM
Post #15 of 47 (5138 views)
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Re: [erdnarob] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

So far it looks like;

USA - min age 16, preferred 18. Shop around, you may or may not find places (so far, in Oregon we know of one) who will let you jump at 16.
Canada - Quebec min age for tandem 14, other provinces 16, but preferred 18. Shop around and ask individual DZs.

All of the above are only with explicit parental consent.

Age limits seem to be driven by national laws, and not usually by state or provincial laws (except Quebec), but more by legal precedent and whether waivers are likely to be held up in respect of whether parents or minors are able to sue after an injury while taking part in the sport.

Just summarising the current situation from all inputs. Please feel free to propose an edit to this.

It would also be useful and interesting to hear any province or state updates here in this thread.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Aug 7, 2009, 4:03 AM
Post #16 of 47 (5129 views)
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In the USA, age limits are state laws, not national.
Age of majority varies from state to state...with most states being 18 years of age.

With respect to signing waivers, anybody can sign anything. How it affects legal rights in that state is something else.

Age of consent in your state is 18? If you accept a waiver for a 16-yr-old signed by the parents, you are hanging your balls out on a limb just waiting to get them cut off in court.


accel

Aug 7, 2009, 5:03 AM
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Re: [popsjumper] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi popsjumper

Are you certain that age for jumping is governed by state laws? Especially when USPA says its minimum age for skydiving is 16 (with parental consent). Would it be able to do that in the face of multiple state laws?

There's a lot of heresay around and I'm just trying to research the facts.


(This post was edited by accel on Aug 7, 2009, 5:12 AM)


Andy9o8  (D License)

Aug 7, 2009, 6:15 AM
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Re: [accel] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hi popsjumper

Are you certain that age for jumping is governed by state laws? .

Pops is correct. In the US, the age limits would be governed by state laws, not federal.


(This post was edited by Andy9o8 on Aug 7, 2009, 6:18 AM)


accel

Aug 30, 2009, 5:15 PM
Post #19 of 47 (4878 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to Pops and Andy for putting me straight on that point. It's surely appreciated.


TonyJ  (D 24244)

Aug 30, 2009, 6:00 PM
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http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:RTLLJxlB9sgJ:caselaw.findlaw.com/data2/floridastatecases/12_2008/sc07-1739.pdf+parental+waiver+consent+florida+4+wheeler&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us


accel

Aug 31, 2009, 2:37 AM
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Re: [TonyJ] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

TonyJ
Thanks for taking the time to find and post this reference from Florida Supreme Court.

It seems to clearly summarize the situation in Florida. There is a lot to think about in this document and it's very instructive regarding the issues.

Although the document does cite Michigan and New Jersey law, my open question is "to what extent does each State derive its own view and therefore what consideration is attached to decisions from other States Supreme Courts".

I'm still interested in getting to the base of whether every state has an 18 year old/Adult jumping policy forced by law/precedent, or whether some States don't.


TonyJ  (D 24244)

Aug 31, 2009, 4:01 PM
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i remember a discussion when the court ruled... thats the only reason i knew about the case... later tony


Tomcat933  (A 56241)

Aug 31, 2009, 8:52 PM
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Re: [TonyJ] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

Now, I'm not saying i think its a good idea, or that i would actually want it to happen, because it would stop being cool the instant a kid got hurt, but think about how good kids would be by the time they were twenty if tons of kids were getting into the sport at thirteen or fourteen. Imagine if teenagers could go to freefall summer camp. Talk about being a ninth grade badass. Don't yell at me, I am well aware that the coolness factor isn't worth even one kid getting hurt.


JoeyH  (No License)

Feb 28, 2013, 9:57 AM
Post #24 of 47 (3404 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Hi popsjumper

Are you certain that age for jumping is governed by state laws? .

Pops is correct. In the US, the age limits would be governed by state laws, not federal.
actually (not trying to sound like a smartass) there are not state laws governing it. All age limits are USPA "recommendation." It is enforced by the fact that USPA drop zones can get shut down by USPA or lose sponsorship. That is why I was able to do my tandem at age 6 and start AFF at 12. All recommendation no laws :)


Premier NWFlyer  (D License)

Feb 28, 2013, 10:06 AM
Post #25 of 47 (3392 views)
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Re: [JoeyH] Earliest age to start skydiving in all states [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Hi popsjumper

Are you certain that age for jumping is governed by state laws? .

Pops is correct. In the US, the age limits would be governed by state laws, not federal.
actually (not trying to sound like a smartass) there are not state laws governing it. All age limits are USPA "recommendation." It is enforced by the fact that USPA drop zones can get shut down by USPA or lose sponsorship. That is why I was able to do my tandem at age 6 and start AFF at 12. All recommendation no laws :)

Well, really it's about the state laws regarding what kinds of rights parents.guardians can and cannot sign away for their minor children - not specific to skydiving, of course, but skydiving waivers fall under that umbrella.

There's been a million threads about skydiving in the US under the age of 18, which have debated this issue ad nauseum. What it comes down to is that most dropzones these days have decided it's just not worth taking the additional potential legal risk of allowing a minor to skydive.

(BTW, the person you're contradicting is a lawyer, so I'd trust what he has to say on this topic) Wink


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Feb 28, 2013, 10:06 AM)


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