So you're ready to skydive, right? If you've never gone before there are a few things you may want to know so you are prepared for the jump. The skydiving equipment is typically supplied so that's one thing you won't have to worry about. Below you will find three common skydiving practices many first and repeat skydivers use.
The Tandem method is very popular because it's the quickest way to break into the exciting world of freefall skydiving. Most people use this method for their first jump. Most people love tandem skydiving because you don't have to go through extensive ground training before jumping out of the plane and you use specially designed skydiving equipment that attaches you to your instructor the whole time from jump to landing. The part of tandem skydiving for first-time jumpers is that you can really enjoy the jump knowing that someone else is there to make sure the parachute opens and that you land properly. Tandem skydiving has been available for a few decades and has maintained a remarkable safety record.
Static Line Training
Many Drop Zones offer Static-Line Programs which is a way for you to make your first jump solo. You wear your own skydiving equipment and it's generally the same price as a tandem skydive, although you'd need to check beforehand to make sure. Training typically start with the First Jump Course, which is a ground school that lasts approximately four to five hours. This skydive training course teaches you everything you'll need to know about safely operating the parachute system, including how to fly and land the parachute by yourself. Most skydiving facilities provide experienced instructors and jumpmasters to conduct your training, get you in your skydiving equipment, supervise you while in the airplane prior to the jump and to guide you to your landing at the drop zone. Static-Line jumpers often leap from the aircraft from approximately 3,500 ft. above the ground.
Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)
If you're interested in doing an accelerated freefall you will be exiting the aircraft at an altitude of about 11,000 - 14,000 ft and will freefall down to an altitude of about 5,000 ft. It will be your responsibility to pull the ripcord to deploy their main parachute. If you fail to pull the parachute on your own do not panic, your jumpmasters will be right there for you. If you pull the chute too low, you won't progress to the next level. AFF is both intense and demanding so you need to be sure you are up to the challenge. Whereas deploying your parachute will be the most important thing you will have to do, there are other things you must do as well in order to land safely on the ground. From Level One, you will be expected to maintain a good body position in your freefall (making sure you maintain stability), maintain altitude awareness, and maintain situational awareness (ensuring you can see the world around you as well as communicate with your jumpmasters) - while simultaneously performing exercises such as practicing pulling your ripcord.
Your AAF training begins in the Accelerated Freefall First Jump Course - a ground school that lasts approximately six or seven hours. In this course you will learn everything you need to know about safe operation of your parachute system as well as how to fly and land your parachute alone. At least two highly experienced Accelerated Freefall instructors will supervise your training, get you set up in your skydiving equipment, ride up in the aircraft with you, climb out of it at the same time as you, and jump from it with you so that they can assist and evaluate your freefall performance. After successful deployment of your main canopy a third instructor (via instructions by radio) will guide you until you land at the drop zone.
Happy skydiving and enjoy!
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