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Skydiving License: How long does it take to get?
Getting your skydiving license is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Once you have your skydiving license, a whole new world of opportunity opens up!
There is no specific time frame to learn to skydive and getting your skydiving license. Some people get it within a couple of weeks of starting jumping, while others may take longer. It really depends on how many jumps you get in and how quickly you want to progress.
Here are some of the factors that affect how long it takes to get your skydiving license:
How Many Jumps?
Learning to skydive, like learning to do anything, takes time. How quickly you progress will depend on how much time you’re willing to spend at the skydiving center – and how many jumps you want to get in while you’re there.
Before you even start jumping, you’ll need to complete ground training, which takes 6-8 hours and covers everything you need to know about flying your body and controlling your parachute.
Each jump you do is designed to teach you a new skill, so you’ll have more training before each jump. Then, there’s the jump itself – that takes around 15-20 minutes for the climb to altitude, around 1 minute in freefall and 5 minutes flying down.
Finally, you’ve got your post-jump debrief; so the whole thing takes around an hour per jump. When you consider that each jump takes quite a bit of energy out of you, you probably don’t want to be doing too many more than 4 jumps per day. On the basis that you’ll need to complete a minimum of 18 jumps (depending on the system you use to learn), you can work out how many days you’ll need as a minimum.
Weather Dependent Sport
Ours is a weather dependent sport. We’re pretty much ruled by the weather; when it’s good, it’s glorious and we jump to our heart’s content! But if pesky clouds start to come in, or worse still, it starts to rain, we can’t jump at all. Sad times!
That means that there are some days where we don’t get any jumps in. There are days where we’ll jump around the weather, waiting for those breaks where we do have wall to wall blue skies. Some days, we jump from dawn til dusk (and those days are the best!).
As a student skydiver, you’re even more weather affected. That’s because we have certain limits, like wind speeds, in which even the pros can’t jump – and those limits are lower for students because you’re less experienced.
If you are stuck on the ground for any reason, you can still learn. A lot of skydiving is about muscle memory and drilling things like the emergency procedures that we need to know off by heart. Grabbing some time in the hangar to go through those things in your head or with an instructor is a good use of bad-weather time.
Skydiving License Cost
Skydiving’s not a cheap sport, we won’t lie… We get that you’re making a big investment and depending on your financial situation, you might want to take your time, doing a couple of jumps a week rather than smashing them all out in one go.
Some students do one jump at a time, some save and do several at once. So it really is up to you and your budget. The benefit of doing them more quickly is that you’ll find it easier to remember your improvement points and to make the necessary changes. But if you do want to take it a bit slower, don’t worry – our instructors will make sure you receive a brief before every jump. Plus, as we said above, there’s lots to learn on the ground, too.
Age and agility
You’ll find that things like your age and fitness levels will have an effect on how long it takes to get your skydiving license.
It’s a bit of a running joke that skydiving’s “just falling”. The reality is that it’s much more than that! In order to “fall” in a stable position and to successfully land on the ground under your parachute, you need to play an active part in getting your body in the right place and handling your equipment.
That’s why skydiving is a genuine sport. People compete as skydivers against one another. They work in skydiving as a full-time job. Those who jump can viably call themselves athletes because skydiving takes as much agility and fitness as going for a run or playing squash.
If you’re of a more sports-like disposition, you may find you have more endurance and can do more jumps per day and still be top of your game. You might find it easier to grasp things like the body position you need to stay stable in freefall. That can mean, in some cases, that you progress more quickly.
On the flip side, if you’re less fit, you may not find those things quite so straightforward and have to spend longer working on them.
Essentially, everyone progresses at their own pace – and that’s just fine! Skydiving isn’t just a great sport, it’s a great community and way of life. You’ll love getting to know your fellow jumpers and spending time on the dropzone, so there’s no need to rush! You’ll get your skydiving license at a rate that makes sense for you.
So what are you waiting for? Find out more about learning to skydive and book online with us today!
How Long Does a Skydiving License Last?
You did it! You’ve driven to the DZ (almost) every weekend, waited out weather, learned how to pack a parachute, and skydived solo. YOU ARE NOW A LICENSED skydiver, and most instructors will say, “You’ve earned your license to learn.” Earning your license is a big goal and dreams come true. But if you’ve just begun, what happens next?
The “A” License Is just the Beginning
Once you earn your license, there is a whole new world of opportunities. However, a skydiving license is like a gym membership. You will only get results if you go! The first step in maximizing your financial investment to this sport is to make a commitment to keep showing up, continue to discover the many great disciplines , events and camps, continue to be safe, as well as create a life-long community of incredible people that share the passion of the sky.
Licenses and Skydiving Currency
Each skydiving license has a unique set of requirements to achieve, and each offers a distinctive set of privileges. Along with those privileges also comes responsibility with skydiving currency. This is primarily for safety as techniques, house rules, or equipment changes may occur in short periods of time. Skydiving currency is also important as things happen faster and being sharp on procedures helps with dealing with any out of the ordinary circumstances.
So how long does a skydiving license last?
Here’s a quick snapshot of the United States Parachute Association recommendations which we follow at Skydive Carolina:
SKYDIVING CURRENCY CHART*
|LICENSE HELD||NOT JUMPED IN||TO GET CURRENT|
|Student Status (no license, NOT cleared for self-supervision||X > 30 Days||Repeat most recent level with AFF 1|
|Student Status (no license, cleared for self-supervision)||30 Days > x < 60 Days||Refresher training and Coach Jump|
|Student Status (no license, cleared for self-supervision)||x ≥ 60 Days||Refresher training and Jump with AFF 1|
|A License||x ≥ 60 Days||Refresher training and Jump with Coach or AFF 1|
|B License||x ≥ 90 Days||Refresher training and Jump with Coach or AFF 1|
|C License||x ≥ 180 Days||Refresher training and Jump with Coach or AFF|
|D License||730 Days > x ≥ 180 Days||Refresher training and Jump with Coach or AFF|
*This Skydiving Currency Chart is a guideline. Skydive Carolina reserves the right to act within their discretion regarding the safety means to make a currency jump.
When you’re ready to get current again, you will need to bring your logbook to verify your experience, date and location of your last jump. If you most recent jump was not at Skydive Carolina, we will verify with the dropzone of your most recent jump. Also be prepared to renew (if you haven’t already) your USPA Membership as that is a must-do to jump at Skydive Carolina!
What If I Haven’t Jumped in Years?
If you’re a jumper who hasn’t jumped in 5 or 10+ years, you are still considered a licensed skydiver – even if you have an A, B, C, or D license. However, you will need to call our office to schedule time with an instructor as we consider long layoffs on a case-by-case basis to get back within our skydiving currency requirements.
You could say that a skydiving license lasts within our recommended currency requirements before you need to take next steps getting back into the sky again. Even though the table recommends a few months in between jumps, the more you jump, the more you learn, discover and start to conquer the fear. Long layoffs almost feels like starting over and may be overwhelming. That’s why the intention of skydiving currency is to keep you safe and on top of your game.
At Skydive Carolina, your safety and longevity in the sport is our priority. If you’re feeling a bit burnt, we recommend reading our article How to Beat the Burnout which outlines goal setting to inspire next steps in the sport.
Do you need to get current? Give us a call and we’ll be ready to welcome you back to the skies!
Ready to Solo Skydive? Skydiving License Requirements Explained
Many first-time skydivers make the mistake of thinking they’ll be jumping out of an airplane alone. but that’s not how it works.
Any novice’s first few plunges will be tandem jumps , where you’re safely strapped to a certified tandem jump instructor. But how many tandem jumps do you need before going solo?
In this post, we’re talking about solo skydiving requirements: everything you need to know to become a licensed skydiver and freefall solo from any dropzone in the world.
Understanding the Tiers of Skydiving Licensing
After you’ve made a few tandem jumps and caught the skydiving bug, you’ll want to study up on the varying levels of skydiving licensing.
Just like any expert invests hours-upon-hours of work mastering their craft, so too do certified skydivers. They go through rigorous levels of schooling and application to earn higher and higher ranks of skydiving status.
There are four tiers of skydiving licensing , including skydiving A through D licenses, each with more advanced instruction.
Good news though. For you to go solo, you’ll only need a USPA A License.
Solo Skydiving Certification Requirements
Generally speaking, your USPA A License requirements aren’t too extensive when compared to some of the more advanced levels of jump school (like getting your tandem instructor license !)— but it still requires a lot of studying, training and focus to achieve.
You’ll have to take some skydiving classes and learn the basics, such as:
- Your skydiving equipment – Including all about your harness, parachutes, etc.
- How to properly exit the aircraft and land
- Proper body positioning and movement during freefall – This includes controlling your degree of turn, barrel rolls, front flips and backflips
- Canopy skills – how to control your parachute during the descent and landing
- Emergency procedures – what to do if something goes wrong.
Here’s a sneak peek of the USPA’s A License Proficiency Card .
Specific skydiving requirements like on the card include:
- “Above 2,500 feet, perform a maximum-performance 90-degree toggle turn, followed immediately by a turn of at least 180 degrees in the opposite direction (two times)”
- “Using an aviation winds aloft forecast, select the correct exit and opening point.”
- “Change or adjust a main closing loop.”
- “Jump and deploy while stable within five seconds after exit from 3,500 feet AGL.”
And that’s just a taste. For how many jumps you need to skydive alone, plus more, let’s look at what the United States Parachute Association lists as its solo skydiving requirements:
- Complete all requirements laid out by the USPA A License Proficiency Card
- Complete a minimum of 25 freefall skydives (including tandems)
- Make five skydives with one or more other people
- Pass the USPA written and oral exams
- Get skydiving license stamped by the USPA
That’s right. You’ll take classes, perform graded challenges and have to take a written exam before you can freefall by yourself. You will also need an active USPA membership for any license to remain current.
HOW TO SKYDIVE SOLO: CLASSES
You’re probably curious about the solo skydiving classes you’ll need to achieve licensed status. You’ll begin with a ground school course and including instruction on equipment, parachute packing, and flight regulations.
Then, you’re ready for the sky. Your in-air classes are going to vary based on the skydiving center you choose, but if you enroll in the Freefall University here at CSC with our experienced instructors , they can take you through the 7 levels of AFF (Accelerated Freefall) training jumps to learn how to solo skydive. Click each link for a video!
- . Achieve stability, pull on your own and land safely.
- Stable exit, two turns and stable pull.
- Stable exit, unassisted heading control and stable solo pull.
- Stable floating exit, controlled turns, altitude awareness and unassisted pull.
- Solo exit, gain stability unassisted, delta track on instructor’s heading and unassisted pull.
- Unassisted floater exit, circle of awareness, practice touch and barrel roll initiation.
- Diving exit, circle of awareness, practice touch and initiate back loop.
In addition to these observed 1-on-1 jumps with USPA coaches, you’ll leave with the smarts and skills you need to take your written exam and apply for your USPA A license with confidence.
Ready to Go Solo?
If you’re ready for solo skydiving, you’re in luck. Our Chicagoland Skydiving Freefall University (Freefall U) can get you trained and certified in no time.
Click the link above to see our course dates and enroll today.
Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.
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