HALO Jumps are nothing like a typical skydive. They are high altitude low opening jumps that require more planning and equipment than a normal jump. The skydiving aircraft has to go much higher, often above 30,000 feet, and oxygen equipment is required due to the thin air at extremely high altitudes.
Some drop zones offer HALOs to beginners and amateurs, but they’re usually offered as tandem jumps accompanied by licensed and experienced instructors who have done it hundreds of times. They are not only trained in the physics and mechanics of the jumps, they’re also medically certified by FAA standards to perform such jumps.
Experienced skydivers who meet the requirments below can perform solo HALO jumps. Being a licensed skydiver just gives you more jump options in general, so the higher your license the more types of jump experiences you can have. The number of jumps you have and the level of jump training you get as you go through the various levels of certification ensures your safety, so enjoy the process and learn as much as you can.
HALO skydiving offers more time in freefall and more canopy time considering the jump altitude. You can expect freefall to last about 2 minutes or more, depending on your exit altitude.
HALO Jump Requirements
High altitude jumps are inherently more dangerous than typical skydiving, so there are certain requirements that must be met before a HALO is authorized as solo:
USPA C License
Having a USPA C license (or an equivalent of such) indicates that you’ve completed at least 200 jumps and have gotten enough jump experience to know how to handle various situations and dangers that may arise. As HALO is more risky than other jumps, you’re going to need that experience to make your jump safe and enjoyable.
FAA class 3 medical certificiate
The FAA Class 3 medical certificate is pretty much like a pilot fitness certificate. You’ll have to meet certain physical fitness to be able to perform under pressure. This type of license is good for about 5 years (2 years if you’re over 40 years old).
The air pressure at that high of an altitude is so low that there’s hardly any oxygen. This means you’ll need an oxygen bottle of some sort.
Because you’re going to be wearing an oxygen mask, you’ll need to make sure you don’t have facial hair that will interfere with a good seal. Some types of mustache may be okay if they don’t interfere with the oxygen mask seal.
Because you’ll be going much higher, the temperature will be much colder. Make sure you wear warm layers but don’t bulk up. Contact your drop zone operators for advice.
Arrive early so that you can get through your checklist before boarding the jump aircraft. You’ll also need to have the resident rigger inspect your rig and make sure the parachute is packed property, both main canopy and reserve canopy.
Give yourself the whole day to experience this, even if you’re doing a singe HALO jump. You’ll want to enjoy every part of the process: the prep, the flight up, the jump, and the wind down. You’ll no doubt be full of adrenaline after the experience and want to allow for all that to wear down before heading out of the drop zone.
HALO Jump Cost and Fees
HALO jumps require more manpower, special equipment (supplemental oxygen), and a more robust skydiving aircraft to carry out, so the fees associated are much higher than a regular solo jump. Depending on the exit altitude you want to exit at, the fees will vary. Generally a HALO jump will cost anywhere between $1,500 to $5,000 or more. It all depends on what package you purchase at the jump location you’ve selected.
Call your skydiving center to find out the specifics of packages offered.