The average cost of a tandem skydive across the industry nationwide is between $250-300. So why is skydiving so expensive? This may seem like a lot of money but the profit margin in the average skydiving business is less than 10%. Skydiving and any aviation-based business for that matter, is just plain expensive to operate. We work hard to offer competitive prices to give customers the best experience at a fair price. Here are some of the largest costs involved:


You’ve probably guessed that buying an airplane is expensive, that’s a no-brainer. A large jump plane can cost more than a million dollars. 

In addition to the purchase price, expensive aircraft and equipment need to be insured. Monthly premiums are at an all-time high and climbing. Why? The value of aircraft has been going up in recent years, making them more expensive to insure. Incidents in the private sector are common and large-scale natural disasters take out entire fleets of aircraft. The Boeing 747 Max and other commercial airline crashes also had a huge impact on insurance premiums.

Repairs and maintenance to aircraft are also costly. All aircraft are on a maintenance schedule. Every 100 hours flown requires an inspection. Inspections, even if no repairs need to be done as a result, can cost more than $15,000. Something as small as a new tire can cost more than $900. Every part must be approved by the FAA and all work must be done by certified Aircraft Mechanics, all of which carries a higher price tag. 

Two skydiving airplanes parked side by side.


Fuel is one of the major expenses in a skydiving operation. Turbine engines are fueled by JetA. This is more costly than Avgas or gasoline for your car. In addition, a twin engine aircraft burns more than 30 gallons of fuel flying a single load of jumpers. That can add up to more than 900 gallons of fuel in one day!


Skydiving operations require a large crew to operate efficiently and safely. Office Manager, Customer Service Representatives, Manifest Specialists, Accounting/Bookkeeping/HR Department, Marketing Team, Video Editors, Parachute Packers, Tandem Instructors, Videographers, AFF/ATP Instructors, Coaches, Ground Crew, Operations Manager, Safety & Training Advisors, Aircraft Mechanics and Pilots. We work hard to offer competitive pay for our valued staff. Having experienced and knowledgeable tandem instructors is of the utmost important as they are providing a service that is essentially life-saving. Tandem Instructors have to make a minimum of 500 jumps and obtain a Coach Rating from the USPA before they can take the course to become a Tandem Instructor. The approximate investment prior to taking the course is over $14,000, the course itself is another $2000. They have invested a lot of money in training and education to become licensed in this specialized, life-saving activity, so it’s important they be compensated accordingly.

The Skydive Midwest staff standing in front of a twin otter airplane.


Skydiving equipment is expensive to purchase and maintain. We buy our equipment from the best manufactures in the industry. It’s life-saving after all, so it’s no time to be cheap. All repairs must be done by a FAA Certified Rigger. We also have to pay for surveillance cameras and security systems to protect the equipment from theft. 

Kazu Oyama performing equipment maintenance at skydive midwest.


At the end of the day your (approximate) $250 payment covers: 

The fuel costs associated with your seat and your instructor’s seat on the airplane
The instructor’s pay
The use and maintenance of the tandem equipment
The use and maintenance cost of the aircraft
Everyday business expenses/overhead – utilities, office staff payroll, pilot pay, advertising, training, building/hangar rents, supplies and more.)

After the above expenses, there isn’t much left over. They skydiving business is truly a labor of love. Though there are lots of skydiving deals out there advertising a cheap skydive, just remember to read the fine print and know exactly what you’ll be getting for that price. You tend to get what you pay for. Check out our deals, with no hidden fees or costs and let us help you have the best experience ever.


Book your ultimate aerial adventure today!