Why Do Skydivers Wear Helmets?

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Skydiving helmets are primarily worn to protect our noggin’ … and to look awesome, because helmets are cool! There are a lot of bits and pieces of skydiving equipment, and the helmet is an integral part. Why do skydivers wear helmets? There’s actually a few reasons: comfort, cameras, and style, which all come after the big kahuna of skydiving: SAFETY!

why skydivers wear helmt


Falling through the sky at terminal velocity is FAST and LOUD! Ya know when you open a car window while driving down the interstate and it gets so loud that you have to blast the music to hear it at all and still only end up hearing every other word? Multiply that by two and that’s freefall. You may be thinking that sounds brutal! It really isn’t, and on your first jump the sound of the wind rushing by will be the last thing on your mind. 

Helmets cover our ears and therefore, decrease the sound of the wind whipping by us. For whatever reason, people tend to think better when there is not overwhelming sound – think about how you lower the car radio when you’re trying to parallel park! Being able to cover our ears with the helmet is ideal for student jumpers. Going through the student progression of learning how to skydive is super awesome, but it can be a little stressful. Being able to mitigate the overstimulation from the sound of the wind will allow the student to focus more clearly on the task at hand: completing the skydive! 

On a more stylish note: by the end of a jumping weekend, anyone who has a lick of hair on their head will have it knotted like no other. Helmets help to keep our luscious locks secure and in place to avoid maximum knottage! (Wondering how to wear your hair skydiving? We’ve got ya covered!)


Meet Jack. Local Oklahoma Skydiver Earns Awards.

The cameras that fun-jumpers (licensed skydivers) and videographers wear are most often located on their helmets! These cameras are either fastened to the top of the helmet or are mounted on the chin, both are ideal spots to capture the perfect shot. 

Can you bring your own GoPro as a tandem student? Nope. Leave it to the professionals!  


Skydivers are a flamboyant bunch and we love to express ourselves through our gear. Some of us color coordinate our helmets to our container (backpack) or choose our helmet based on our favorite color. Our community has some pretty incredible artists that turn helmets into gorgeous artifacts! It is common to slap stickers from dropzones we’ve visited, local watering holes, or causes we support all over our head protectors too. Average people wear their hearts on their sleeves, but we skydivers wear them on our heads! 


This may come as a shock to most, but many skydiving helmets are actually not impact-rated. (Cue the gasps!!!) In actuality, there are very few instances that an impact-rated helmet is necessary in the sport and we’re typically able to avoid these situations. In the safety sense, we wear skydiving helmets to avoid bonking our heads on the aircraft or getting whacked in the head by the rogue leg or hand of another jumper in freefall.

Another safety feature of wearing a helmet as a licensed jumper is the inclusion of an audible altimeter. We wear an analog or digital altimeter on our wrist to keep track of what altitude we’re at. An audible altimeter, or a “ditter,” is worn in the part of the helmet that covers the ear. Ditters are designed to beep at pre-set altitudes to alert you in the event you’re unable to clearly see your wrist-mounted altimeter. Audibles are a super handy tool used by most licensed skydivers. 

What about Accelerated Freefall students? We’re glad you asked! AFF students are required to wear helmets. We sport some very fashionable Pro-Tec helmets for our students (think: skateboarding helmet) that are impact-rated. Similar to the idea of adding a camera to a helmet, student helmets are designed to hold a radio, like a walkie talkie. The radio is in place to communicate with you once your parachute has opened, so an instructor can talk you back down to earth. 

  • Do tandem students wear helmets? Actually, no. Tandem students are only permitted to wear frap hats, which are soft, old-school helmets. We want to avoid the hard-helmeted head of the student smashing the face of the tandem instructor, which would be a no good, very bad time for everyone. In the aircraft, tandem instructors will skillfully direct you in a way that ensures no head-butting the airplane! 

Open Face Helmet VS Full Face Helmet

skydiving helmet

Students are required to wear an open face helmet. This allows the student and instructor(s) to more easily communicate, since your entire mouth and eyes will be very visible. Open face helmets do not cover your eyes, so wearing this type of helmet requires that goggles be worn. 

Full face helmets are the most common style of helmet among licensed jumpers, although some still prefer to feel the rush of the wind on their face! The full face helmet looks like a sleeker motorcycle helmet that wraps around the entire head and has a clear shield over the face, typically made of polycarbonate. 

Where Should I Buy A Skydiving Helmet?

The most important piece of advice we can give you when it comes to shopping for skydiving gear is to talk with other trusted jumpers or a dealer (like us!) and to ask questions! Try on gear that you are interested in when you can – if your pal has the type of helmet you’re after, ask to see if it fits you properly before searching for your own! We are so proud to be dealers for a plethora of awesome skydiving brands. Skydiving equipment is sold in abundance, and we’re happy to guide you in any way we can; whether that be buying through us, new, or used. 

Get your HEAD in the game and book your skydive today! We can’t wait to have you.  

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