AFF is the most effective
method of learning to

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Military Expedition - May 2013

This was a British Army Adventurous Training expedition organised by the Royal Engineers.  John helped to train and jump with the sixteen A...

How to learn?

Gary Marshall executes a full flare landing

The way in which you choose to learn depends on  how serious you are about learning to skydive. We appreciate that no one is sure if they will like it or not until they’ve tried it, but there is a real difference between a Charity jump/Tandem and Accelerated Free Fall (AFF).

The AFF program started some years ago in the USA, it was regarded at first as a high risk method of teaching, mainly because the students were taken to maximum altitude on their first jump and given a high performance parachute. It has however developed into the safest way to learn and the majority of skydivers today started jumping on an AFF course, it is now an internationally recognised system used by most professional skydiving instructors. The beauty of the system is that it can be adapted to suit the pace and needs of the individual student.  AFF is a great way to learn and is lots of fun because your first jump is a whole 50 seconds of freefall with two instructors holding on to you. Of course you will be nervous, but don’t forget every jumper, no matter how experienced, started as a student, so we know how you feel.

All your jumps are recorded on video, it is an ideal Learn to Skydivecoaching aid and allows the instructor to debrief you properly after each jump. At the end of the trip we give you all your video footage so you can show your friends back home. Just imagine how thrilling it’s going to be and the sense of achievement you’re going to feel?

The golden rule is that we never progress the student faster than they want to or beyond their capabilities. Out of the 8 jumps on the course the first 3 levels require two instructors to jump with you. The next 4 levels need only one instructor and the last level is a solo ‘exit and pull’. The whole thing is about confidence and gradually learning to overcome the initial, quite natural, fear factor.

It is also important that a student learns all they can about handling their parachute and landing it safely. It is a sophisticated flying machine and using it simply as a decelerator will not guarantee a good landing in all conditions, so great importance is placed upon canopy handling skills.

The AFF Course in Detail

The AFF program is divided into 8 levels which a student could graduate from in 8 jumps. Each level is progressively more challenging and uses the skills learnt in previous levels to progress safely..

  • Level 1 – You leave the plane at 15000 feet with two instructors, you check your altitude and look to your instructors for any corrective signals. You then perform three practice pulls so that you are confident that you know what to do at pull time. It is then free time, an opportunity to improve your body position and monitor your altitude. At 6000 ft you signal that you are going to pull and deploy your main parachute. The canopy ride is just amazing, with plenty of time to demonstrate safe canopy control right down to your smooth landing.
  • Level 2 – You jump with two instructors, once out of the plane you check your altimeter and perform two practice pulls. One of your instructors may release you briefly and once more you begin the pull sequence at 6000 feet, deploy your main canopy and practice your canopy control before completing your landing.
  • Level 3 – Still two instructors, this time only one practice pull , both your instructors will release their grip  and you will be flying completely on your own. A solo pull by 5000ft, a smooth landing and you are ready for Level 4.
  • Level 4 – You only need one instructor now. After the exit your instructor releases you and you complete some turns, he will be flying right next to you ready to help with signals if required. We want to see a more accurate landing by the time you get to level 4.
  • Level 5 – One instructor and he will release you so you can perform 360 degree turns on heading and some forward movement. Wave off and pull at 5000ft. This time your landing pattern should be carried out without any radio signals..
  • Level 6 – One instructor and your first solo dive exit, in freefall you will attempt a backloop and a tracking exercise. Tracking is a manoeuvre in which you alter your body position to achieve maximum forward movement and is used to separate skydivers so they have clear airspace in which to deploy their canopies.
  • Level 7 – On this skydive you put together all the skills you’ve learnt on the previous levels. One instructor, dive exit, a backloop, 2 x 360 degree turns, track, track turn, wave off and pull by 5000ft. It may sound like a lot now but most students complete all the exercises with time to spare! This is the real test of the skills you have learnt.
  • Level 8 – This time you leave the aircraft on your own dispatched by your AFF instructor at 5000ft. The object of this skydive is to be stable and pull within 10 seconds.

It should be mentioned that whilst each level has “Learning Objectives”, these are guides and the program may be altered to suit the individual student.

After completing the 8 levels you have graduated from the AFF program. You now need to complete 10 solo consolidation jumps after which you can apply for your British Parachute Association ‘A’ licence (Internationally recognised) and become an Intermediate Parachutist. This allows you to jump anywhere in the world without the direct supervision of an instructor and you are a skydiver in your own right!

  • Prices
    All our FF courses include the
    cost of kit hire, ground training,
    in-air instruction, briefing
    /debriefing, parachute packing
    and high quality video.