The United States Parachute Association (USPA) issues licenses to skydivers. There are four levels of licenses: A, B, C, and D.
To get an “A” license the skydiving student must make at least 25 skydives, completing various skills in freefall and under canopy along the way. Fly Free Skydiving offers three training programs that will enable you to get an “A” license: IAD, Tandem, and AFF. A student may transition between all of the three methods at any time.
IAD Training Method
IAD training consists of 13 skydives that introduce the student to basic survival skills of the sport. The first five jumps are with the instructor deploying the students parachute upon exiting the aircraft. The next 8 skydives are made from progressively higher altitudes, with the student deploying his/her own parachute after a certain amount of time. For example, in jump 6 the student deploys his/her own parachute within 5 seconds of exiting the plane. In jumps 7 and 8, the student delays 10 seconds before opening the parachute. Jumps 9 and 10 have a 15 second delay, and jumps 11-13 have a 30 second delay. So as you can see, within 10 jumps the student has nearly as much freefall as the other training methods, at a greatly reduced cost. See the price list below for more details.
Tandem Progression Training Method
The tandem progression is an excellent option for tandem students who get hooked on skydiving and decide to get a license. It consists of 3 tandem skydives, each of which require different skills to be acquired. After 3 tandems have been completed successfully, the student then transitions into the AFF program at level 4 with one instructor. See the price list below for more details.
AFF Training Program
The AFF program is the fastest way to for someone to learn the basic freefall skills. The AFF program consists of 7 jumps, each one building upon skills learned in the previous jumps. The first 3 jumps are made with two AFF instructors, and the last 4 jumps are made with only one AFF instructor. All of these jumps are made from 10,500 feet while wearing your own parachute system. See the price list below for more details.
Once the basic skydive training has been completed via one or more of the above methods, the student then moves on to the coached phase of his/her training. There are 5 coach jumps that teach front flips, back flips, barrel rolls, forward and backward movement, varying your fall rate, group exits, swooping and tracking. These skydives are required of all students and cost $90 each.
Solo Practice Jumps
After completing the coached phase, the skydiving student must then make a series of solo practice jumps to perfect his/her skills and prepare for the “A” license check dive, until a minimum of 24 skydives are completed.
The “A” license check dive is the culmination of the skydiving students training. This skydive includes a series of maneuvers during freefall that must be completed with an instructor within a certain amount of time.
Since each skydive has a particular task associated with it that must be completed, it is not uncommon for skydiving students to need more than 25 jumps to get an “A” license. Every jump counts toward the 25 minimum; however, if a task is not completed successfully the jump will need to be repeated before the student can move forward. This is to ensure that everyone has the necessary skills to deal with any situation that may arise during a skydive. Proper training is crucial for the safe enjoyment of our wonderful sport.
Two other items required during the students training are a packing class and membership in the United States Parachute Association. Each skydiver is required to properly pack his/her own parachute and then jump that pack job. Don’t worry, we won’t let you jump something that is unsafe to jump. You will be given plenty of opportunity to watch parachutes being packed, practice packing with supervision, and finally, packing on your own parachute. You will grow to hate packing as much as every other skydiver.
USPA membership is required of every skydiver in order to jump at most drop zones through out the United States. The USPA issues skydiving licenses and ratings that can be taken to other drop zones, providing proof of your competence and training. USPA membership includes a subscription to Parachutist, a full color monthly magazine for skydivers. It also includes third party liability insurance. To learn more about the benefits of joining the USPA click here.
Once all the items above have been completed the skydiving student will be issued an “A” License. The chart below summarizes the requirements and their associated costs.