Learning To Skydive – Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

To skydive or not to skydive, that is the question! Society will tell you that you’re completely nuts for even thinking about it! After all – isn’t learning to skydive associated with people going through an existential crisis? If you’ve ever visited a dropzone, you’ll find this isn’t exactly the case. There’s a lot of people who take up skydiving who are perfectly normal who work your average 9 to 5.

This article is designed to serve as a true behind the scenes look of what you need to know about learning to skydive.

Tandem Skydiving – The Gateway to Learning How to Skydive

Chances are if you’ve made a tandem skydive, your imagination has opened up to the idea of wanting to experience more of what you felt during your first tandem jump that rocked your world! The feelings of adrenaline, anticipation, excitement, freedom, peace, and happiness all wrapped into one event is addictive, and yes, you can do more of it! People who skydive regularly are not immortal! They all started exactly where you did with jump number one.

A tandem student smiling while making a tandem skydive

If you’re interested in skydiving or learning to skydive, making a tandem skydive is a great entry point to the sport as it will give you a taste of whether you’ll like the activity or not. It is not a requirement to make a tandem skydive first, but it is highly recommended.

If you’ve made a tandem skydive already or are a person who knows in their heart and soul that skydiving is their destiny, then there’s a term you’ll want to familiarize yourself with and it’s known as AFF (Accelerated Free Fall).

What is Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)?

Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) is the most common skydiving method used in civilian skydiving throughout the world. Often referred to as ‘AFF’, this method of training allows a skydiving candidate to experience free fall from the very first jump. AFF is comprised of seven skydives that are progressive – with each jump, you learn a new skill. Once a skydiving student graduates from AFF, they are cleared for self-supervision.

To be self-supervised means that you are now proficient to skydive by yourself! You can get on an airplane, exit, free fall and land without the help of an instructor, but you’ll quickly learn that skydiving by yourself can get a little old. The fun is jumping with others and to do that, you’ll need to attain your A-license which requires a minimum of 25 jumps (this includes any tandems you’ve made and your AFF training).

Paraclete Student Program (PSP)

Skydive Paraclete XP offers an AFF program, but you could say we’ve taken the training to another level! Our student program is based on the AFF training method, but we’ve put it on steroids! Because Skydive Paraclete XP has its own wind tunnel (the largest in the United States), we have incorporated this incredible tool to strengthen the confidence and skills of our students. The worlds best civilian competition teams and military special force units train in this tunnel to improve their skills – we believe our students should have that same access!

An AFF student flying in the Paraclete XP wind tunnel

With humility, you could say that our learn to skydive training program is the equivalent of going to an Ivy League university as our instructors and tools are some of the best in the skydiving world.

Learning To Skydive FAQs

In this section, we’re going to address the most common questions we receive about learning to skydive from the activity itself to the questions that your spouse or parents are going to want to know as you begin this crazy “phase” you’re going through!

How dangerous is learning to skydive?

Statistically speaking, learning to skydive has never been safer than it is today due to better equipment, better instructor training and the introduction of indoor skydiving which rapidly increases the learning curve. Is learning to skydive free from risk? No. You can be killed doing this activity. (We don’t want to sugarcoat this).

Is learning to skydive hard?

Learning to skydive is not difficult, but it can vary from participant to participant. Age, flexibility, fitness and hand-eye coordination are variables that factor into an individuals performance when learning to skydive. The introduction of indoor skydiving (wind tunnel training) has greatly helped those that have felt challenged to quickly adopt the necessary body position for stable free fall.

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How often must I jump when learning to skydive?

If your goal is to become a skydiver, you’ll need time (usually on the weekends) and some patience (weather will be an issue throughout your training). In order to stay “current”, you’ll need to make a jump once every 30 days. Failure to jump within this time period will require skydiving students to repeat the last successfully completed level during their training.

A new skydiver in free fall at Skydive Paraclete XP

How much does learning to skydive cost?

The costs associated with learning to skydive will vary from one dropzone to another. Some training programs are only seven jumps while others, like the Paraclete Student Program, is more comprehensive and involves 18 jumps. Depending on the program, the price for training usually varies between $1500 and $3000 US dollars.

Do I need to purchase any equipment when learning to skydive?

It’s standard at most skydiving operations that all equipment be provided to the student throughout their training. This equipment includes a helmet, goggles, altimeter, jumpsuit, and the parachute system. Some students can opt to buy their own goggles and an altimeter for their own use throughout their training if they prefer.

How quickly can I fly in a wingsuit after learning to skydive?

Flying in a wingsuit has attracted many people to the sport as the visuals and feeling of true flight is remarkable – however, your journey to flying in a wingsuit isn’t rapid. Skydivers wishing to fly in a wingsuit must accumulate a minimum of 200 jumps (verified with a logbook), have a USPA C-license and have participated in a First Flight Course.

Flying in a wingsuit presents more risk and requires a high level of proficiency which can only be built from experience.

What Is Static Line Skydiving?

Prior to the 90s, the most common learning method was static line. Static line is still used today, but is not as prevalent to AFF because it doesn’t involve free fall (the part everyone loves). A static line is attached to a skydiving student’s parachute and the plane. When the student exits the aircraft, the parachute is deployed immediately.

Learning to skydive is one of the most fun and exciting adventures and it’s progressed a long way from the scary barnstorming days of Fandango (if you learn to skydive, watching this movie is a rite of passage).

Should you have any questions, feel free to call us. If you know you’re ready to begin your journey, click here to schedule your first jump course!

Learning To Skydive – Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

To skydive or not to skydive, that is the question! Society will tell you that you’re completely nuts for even thinking about it! After all – isn’t learning to skydive associated with people going through an existential crisis? If you’ve ever visited a dropzone, you’ll find this isn’t exactly the case. There’s a lot of people who take up skydiving who are perfectly normal who work your average 9 to 5.

This article is designed to serve as a true behind the scenes look of what you need to know about learning to skydive.

Tandem Skydiving – The Gateway to Learning How to Skydive

Chances are if you’ve made a tandem skydive, your imagination has opened up to the idea of wanting to experience more of what you felt during your first tandem jump that rocked your world! The feelings of adrenaline, anticipation, excitement, freedom, peace, and happiness all wrapped into one event is addictive, and yes, you can do more of it! People who skydive regularly are not immortal! They all started exactly where you did with jump number one.

A tandem student smiling while making a tandem skydive

If you’re interested in skydiving or learning to skydive, making a tandem skydive is a great entry point to the sport as it will give you a taste of whether you’ll like the activity or not. It is not a requirement to make a tandem skydive first, but it is highly recommended.

If you’ve made a tandem skydive already or are a person who knows in their heart and soul that skydiving is their destiny, then there’s a term you’ll want to familiarize yourself with and it’s known as AFF (Accelerated Free Fall).

What is Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)?

Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) is the most common skydiving method used in civilian skydiving throughout the world. Often referred to as ‘AFF’, this method of training allows a skydiving candidate to experience free fall from the very first jump. AFF is comprised of seven skydives that are progressive – with each jump, you learn a new skill. Once a skydiving student graduates from AFF, they are cleared for self-supervision.

To be self-supervised means that you are now proficient to skydive by yourself! You can get on an airplane, exit, free fall and land without the help of an instructor, but you’ll quickly learn that skydiving by yourself can get a little old. The fun is jumping with others and to do that, you’ll need to attain your A-license which requires a minimum of 25 jumps (this includes any tandems you’ve made and your AFF training).

Paraclete Student Program (PSP)

Skydive Paraclete XP offers an AFF program, but you could say we’ve taken the training to another level! Our student program is based on the AFF training method, but we’ve put it on steroids! Because Skydive Paraclete XP has its own wind tunnel (the largest in the United States), we have incorporated this incredible tool to strengthen the confidence and skills of our students. The worlds best civilian competition teams and military special force units train in this tunnel to improve their skills – we believe our students should have that same access!

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An AFF student flying in the Paraclete XP wind tunnel

With humility, you could say that our learn to skydive training program is the equivalent of going to an Ivy League university as our instructors and tools are some of the best in the skydiving world.

Learning To Skydive FAQs

In this section, we’re going to address the most common questions we receive about learning to skydive from the activity itself to the questions that your spouse or parents are going to want to know as you begin this crazy “phase” you’re going through!

How dangerous is learning to skydive?

Statistically speaking, learning to skydive has never been safer than it is today due to better equipment, better instructor training and the introduction of indoor skydiving which rapidly increases the learning curve. Is learning to skydive free from risk? No. You can be killed doing this activity. (We don’t want to sugarcoat this).

Is learning to skydive hard?

Learning to skydive is not difficult, but it can vary from participant to participant. Age, flexibility, fitness and hand-eye coordination are variables that factor into an individuals performance when learning to skydive. The introduction of indoor skydiving (wind tunnel training) has greatly helped those that have felt challenged to quickly adopt the necessary body position for stable free fall.

How often must I jump when learning to skydive?

If your goal is to become a skydiver, you’ll need time (usually on the weekends) and some patience (weather will be an issue throughout your training). In order to stay “current”, you’ll need to make a jump once every 30 days. Failure to jump within this time period will require skydiving students to repeat the last successfully completed level during their training.

A new skydiver in free fall at Skydive Paraclete XP

How much does learning to skydive cost?

The costs associated with learning to skydive will vary from one dropzone to another. Some training programs are only seven jumps while others, like the Paraclete Student Program, is more comprehensive and involves 18 jumps. Depending on the program, the price for training usually varies between $1500 and $3000 US dollars.

Do I need to purchase any equipment when learning to skydive?

It’s standard at most skydiving operations that all equipment be provided to the student throughout their training. This equipment includes a helmet, goggles, altimeter, jumpsuit, and the parachute system. Some students can opt to buy their own goggles and an altimeter for their own use throughout their training if they prefer.

How quickly can I fly in a wingsuit after learning to skydive?

Flying in a wingsuit has attracted many people to the sport as the visuals and feeling of true flight is remarkable – however, your journey to flying in a wingsuit isn’t rapid. Skydivers wishing to fly in a wingsuit must accumulate a minimum of 200 jumps (verified with a logbook), have a USPA C-license and have participated in a First Flight Course.

Flying in a wingsuit presents more risk and requires a high level of proficiency which can only be built from experience.

What Is Static Line Skydiving?

Prior to the 90s, the most common learning method was static line. Static line is still used today, but is not as prevalent to AFF because it doesn’t involve free fall (the part everyone loves). A static line is attached to a skydiving student’s parachute and the plane. When the student exits the aircraft, the parachute is deployed immediately.

Learning to skydive is one of the most fun and exciting adventures and it’s progressed a long way from the scary barnstorming days of Fandango (if you learn to skydive, watching this movie is a rite of passage).

Should you have any questions, feel free to call us. If you know you’re ready to begin your journey, click here to schedule your first jump course!

THE HISTORY OF SKYDIVING

Leo’s (we call him Leo around here) quote is one of the most popular in skydiving history. Though he made this statement back in the 1480’s, he touched on the spirit that resonates with anyone who has ever jumped. Skydiving does change the way you look at the world.

Though Leonardo eloquently made that famous statement and put together a beautiful sketch of a triangular parachute, he’s not the original mack daddy of skydiving. Just as the Chinese manufacture nearly everything we enjoy today, they got to skydiving first. The history of skydiving dates as far back as the 1100’s when depictions of early parachutes have been discovered, but it’s not clear whether these drawings ever made into a reality and test jumped.

Countless people have drawn parachutes and daydreamed of jumping them, but Andre’ Jacques Garnerin is credited as the world’s first skydiver (and test jumper). Monsieur Garnering made the first documented parachute jump from a balloon approximately 2,000′ over Paris (and you think they call today’s skydivers crazy). Not only did he jump, but he survived and would go on to make many more jumps! It’s ironic that Garnerin died in a construction accident when he was hit by a wooden beam while making a balloon in Paris on 18 August 1823.

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SKYDIVING AND THE MILITARY

While man has always been enamored with flying, skydiving was never a ‘thing’ that many people participated in (for obvious reasons) until military arms of government began seeing value in helping save the lives of pilots shot down during a war. World War I propelled the use of parachutes into the world.

In 1917, U.S. Army General Billy Mitchell suggested the use of parachute troops to enable soldiers to get to otherwise unreachable areas, with the Italian military credited with the first combat jump in 1918.

In 1933, the Soviets staged the first mass parachute drop when they dropped 62 parachutists from three bombers. They greatly expanded their parachute units and in 1936 dropped 1,800. Parachute regiments became commonplace in World War II, and many armies still retain their parachuting arms to this day.

With parachutes used so much in war, their development was accelerated. When the war ended, the parachutes became available for non-military use, helping to bring parachuting to the masses.

IMPORTANT DATES IN SKYDIVING HISTORY

1100 – Drawings of parachutes by the Chinese.

1495 – Leonardo Da Vinci draws his famous conical parachute

1797 – The first skydiver. Andre’ Jacques Garnerin makes a jump from 2000.’

1908 & 1919 – Leo Stevens (1908) and Floyd Smith (1919) both claim the invention of the first independent parachute mounted on an individual.

1944 – Major airborne infiltration by the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions into German occupied France.

1945 – 600 Parachutists of the United States 11th Airborne Division rescue over 2.100 U.S., British and Dutch prisoners, hours before they are scheduled to be killed by their Japanese captors, at Los Banos, the Philippines, in perhaps the most successful rescue of hostages in history.

1951 – First ever World Parachuting Championships held in Yugoslavia. Pierre Lard of France was the first men’s champion, and countrywoman Monique Laroche was the first women’s world champ.

1956 – First US Parachuting Team competes in the 3rd World Championships hosted in Moscow.

1957 – The first sport (non-military use) parachute is designed by Jacques Istel. The parachute was based on Bernouilli’s principle of physics. The parachute is made with zero porosity (Zero P) cloth.

1958 – Sport parachutes are tested from jet aircraft for the first time in El Centro, California.

1959 – First civilian parachuting school opens in Orange, Massachusetts. The school is still in existence today and is now called Jumptown.

1960 – The amazing (and skydiving hero) Col. Joseph A Kittinger of the USAF, jumps from a balloon 102,800 feet above the earth to set the record for the highest jump ever made. The record would stand until 2012 when Felix Baumgartner would make the leap from 128,000 feet with the Red Bull Stratos Project.

1962 – For the first time, the World Parachuting Championships are hosted in Orange, Mass. The US Army’s James Arender wins gold on home turf. The victory was contested by the Russians as they were unable to get in their final jump due to mechanical issues of their aircraft.

1965 – Lee Guilfoyle makes a test jump on a parachute that’s more like a wing as opposed to a round parachute. The design would be called the Barish Sailwing. This early design would transform the sport with the transition of round to ram-air parachutes.

Early 1970’s – Relative Work (RW) starts to gain popularity with skydivers jumping with each other and building quick formations.

Mid 70’s – The square parachute (it’s a rectangle) starts to pass the round parachute in popularity within civilian circles. The military continues to use round.

1982 – The three ring release system is invented by Bill Booth. The three ring system allows for the rapid release of a malfunctioning main parachute; a valuable invention when time and altitude is of the essence!

1983 – Tandem Skydiving is invented by Ted Strong. This invention would revolutionize the industry allowing for more commercial operations to exist by offering skydiving to the general public.

1991 – Helmut Cloth invents the first reliable automatic activation device (AAD) known today as the CYPRES (CYbernetic Parachute RElease System). The CYPRES is a small computer system installed into a skydiver’s container (backpack) and reads attitude and speed. The device deploys a reserve parachute if a skydiver crosses 750 feet at high speed. This device has saved thousands of lives!

MODERN DAY SKYDIVING

Today, skydiving has never been safer due to so much advancement in technology from the 1940’s onwards. While the main components of skydiving equipment are much the same, subtle refinements have led the way to new disciplines of the sport. With the introduction of wind tunnels globally, skydiving has entered into a new era of flight.

Gone are the days of falling. Today, it’s falling vertically, horizontally, seated or blazing the skies in a wing suit… with your friends.

Source https://skydiveparacletexp.com/2019/02/26/learn-skydiving/

Source https://skydiveparacletexp.com/2019/02/26/learn-skydiving/

Source https://wisconsinskydivingcenter.com/blog/the-history-of-skydiving/

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