Accelerated freefall

© Tony Danbury (Wales_Gibbons/Flickr)

This course involves intensive ground school training where you will learn:

• How your parachute equipment works and how check and fit it.
• How to board and exit the aircraft.
• The correct body position to make a safe, solo and stable exit
• How to recognise the airfield and land your parachute.
• How to deal with any unforeseen situations or emergencies.

Level 1

Your first real skydive. You will jump with two instructors holding onto you and keeping you in control. They will assess your body position as you fall and give the appropriate hand signals required to make sure your position is correct. You will practice pulling your ripcord, maintaining stability and altitude awareness. You will deploy your own modern ‘square’ parachute at 5500 feet after approximately 45 seconds in free fall. They will help with this if you don’t get it right the first time!

Level 2

Very similar to level one in most respects. If your instructors are happy with your progress, one instructor will release and fly in front of you. You will also practice turning and more altitude awareness. You will again deploy you main parachute at 5500 feet.

Level 3

You will again be jumping with two instructors, however, once they are happy with your skills they will both release their grip on you and fly close at hand. You will then be falling under your own control for the first time. You will practice ‘hovering’ on the spot, maintain a heading and altitude awareness. Deployment will again be at 5500 feet.

Level 4

From now on there will be one instructor jumping with you. You will practice 90 degree turns on your own, altitude awareness, and maintain your new found stability as you fall at around 120mph with your instructor right next to you! Finally, you will deploy your main parachute at 5500 feet.

Level 5

On this level you will perform alternate 360 degree turns in both directions, and practice foward movement across the sky. Deployment is at 4500 feet.

Level 6

Now you really are learning! You will perform a solo ‘dive exit’ as you leave the plane head-first diving out of the door toward the rear of the aircraft. Then you will be required to perform a ‘back loop’ – this is the skydiving version of a back somersault. The aim of the back loop is to throw you unstable and show your instructor that you can regain stability at freefall speeds. Next, you will practice ‘tracking’, this is fast horizontal movement across the sky -an essential skill in skydiving. Deployment is at 4500 feet.

Level 7

This is where you bring together all of your new found skills in preparation for jumping alone. After a solo exit your instructor will accompany you as you perform a back loop, alternate turns, and tracking with a turn included. You must maintain good stability throughout and pull at 4500 feet.

Level 8

This is the final jump level and you will be dispatched and watched by your instructor from the plane. You must exit the aircraft solo at 6000ft, get stable and pull within 5 seconds. After this you have finished your training and move onto consolidation.

What next?

There are 10 solo jumps to be completed after level eight known as consol jumps. They are designed to build confidence and allow you to practice your new skills. This is where the real fun begins and you can try out lots of different exits and moves in freefall.