Need help with your booking? Telephone 01722 442967

How fast will you go?

Terminal Velocity Calculator

What is terminal velocity

When it comes to the exhilarating world of skydiving, understanding the concept of terminal velocity is crucial. Terminal velocity is the maximum constant velocity that a falling object can achieve when the drag forces acting against it are equal to the gravitational force pulling it downward. This phenomenon occurs when the net force acting on the object becomes zero, resulting in a balanced state between the opposing forces.

As an object initially falls, its speed increases, and so does the force of air resistance. Eventually, a point is reached where the increasing drag force counteracts the gravitational force, causing the net force to become zero. At this point, the object achieves a constant velocity known as terminal velocity. It’s important to note that terminal velocity is different for various objects due to differences in size, shape, and mass.

In skydiving it is the maximum speed that a skydiver can reach whilst jumping during the freefall part of the skydive itself. This speed is determined by a balance between the air resistance and the force of gravity acting on the skydiver as they fall. As the skydiver falls, the air resistance increases and eventually balances the gravitational force, this balance results in a constant speed or terminal velocity.

For a skydiver falling in a stable position and orientation, the terminal velocity is normally around 120-140 mph. Understanding terminal velocity is important for skydivers, as it determines the maximum speed they will reach and helps them plan their jumps and landings safely.



freefall customer shot

Skydiving Speed

The speed of skydiving varies greatly depending on several factors, these include the skydiver’s body position, the jump altitude, and the drag of their equipment.

At lower altitudes, skydivers tend to fall faster due to the reduced air resistance. As they approach terminal velocity, the air resistance increases and eventually balances the gravitational force, leading to a constant speed.  Skydivers use their body position to control their speed, when in the standard spread eagle position they will fall slower than in a head down position, this is because of the increased air resistance produced by the body shape.

The speed of the skydivers descent will also depend on the skydiver’s equipment, such as their jumpsuit and parachute. Different jumpsuits and parachutes have different drag coefficients, all of which affect the terminal velocity.

Tandem skydive customer in freefall smiling at camera

Calculating terminal velocity

Terminal velocity can be calculated using a complex formula that takes into account the mass of the skydiver and the area, or the proportion of their body that is acted upon by air resistance as they fall.

The formula is Vt = (2 * m * g) / (p * A * Cd)

This formula comprises of :

  • Vt = Terminal velocity
  • m = Mass of the skydiver
  • g = Acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s^2 at sea level)
  • p = Density of air
  • A = Area of the object, normally determined by the skydiver’s body position
  • Cd = Drag coefficient (this depends on the shape of the object and the roughness of its surface)

The larger the skydiver’s mass, the cross-sectional area, and the drag coefficient, the slower the terminal velocity will be. Conversely, if the skydiver’s mass is smaller, their cross-sectional area is smaller, or their drag coefficient is lower, their terminal velocity will be higher.

They have developed a terminal velocity calculator that takes into account crucial parameters such as projected area, drag coefficient, gravitational force, air densities, and more.

By inputting the relevant data, such as the area of the object, its shape, the density of the fluid (air), and the acceleration due to gravity, the calculator predicts the point at which the skydiver will reach terminal velocity during freefall. This information is vital for skydivers and instructors to plan and execute safe jumps.

Customer parachute ride

Useful Guides

Learn More about Skydiving

Skydive FAQ
  • Skydiver facing cameraman in freefall with blue sky
    The Ultimate Tandem Skydiving Guide: Experiencing the Thrill with GoSkydive

    Skydiving is the ultimate experience and is considered by many of our customers as the thrill of a lifetime!

  • A Leap Above the Rest: Why GoSkydive is the Ultimate Dropzone Choice

    Skydiving is an exhilarating adventure sport that involves jumping out of an aircraft and free-falling through the sky before deploying a parachute. If you're looking for a useful guide for skydiving in the UK, here are some essential steps and considerations to help you get started.

  • Soaring into the Sky: What to Expect When Skydiving with GoSkydive

    Skydiving is an exhilarating adventure that promises a rush of adrenaline and an unforgettable experience. If you're planning to take the plunge and embark on a skydiving journey, look no further than GoSkydive.

  • Choosing the Perfect Moment: A Guide to Deciding When to Skydive

    In the realm of skydiving, timing can transform a great adventure into an extraordinary one. But how do you pinpoint that perfect moment to leap into the skies? Our latest blog post serves as your compass, guiding you through the factors that influence this decision. From weather conditions to personal milestones, we'll help you weigh all aspects and make an informed choice. Get ready to elevate your experience as we dive into the art of choosing the ideal moment for a skydiving journey that will leave you breathless

  • Customers hugging at GoSkydive having completed their jump
    Unleash the Adventure: The Complete Guide to Buying a Skydive Gift Voucher

    Gift-giving reaches new heights with the exhilarating choice of a skydiving adventure. Imagine the look of awe and excitement on their face when they unwrap a skydiving gift voucher – a ticket to defy gravity and embrace a rush of pure adrenaline. In our latest blog post, we unravel the art of presenting the ultimate gift of thrill. From selecting the right package to ensuring a seamless booking process, we'll guide you through every step. Elevate your gifting game and create memories that soar beyond imagination with a skydive gift voucher.

  • A charity skydiver in freefall
    Taking the Leap for a Cause: The Ultimate Guide to Charity Skydiving Adventures

    Skydiving can be life changing, why not change someone else's at the same time. Your guide to skydiving for charity.

  • Booking a Skydive Direct with GoSkydive: An Unforgettable Adventure

    Are you an adrenaline junkie looking for the ultimate adventure? Skydiving is an exhilarating experience that allows you to soar through the sky and experience an adrenaline rush like no other.