SKYDIVING COURSESSkydiving Courses in South Africa
Initial Skydive Training
Learn to skydive at South Africa’s most scenic dropzone, Skydive Mossel Bay! Depending on how much time you have, how much cash you’ve got to spend, and how strong your nerves are, you have three options for your first skydiving course depending on which method of skydiving you prefer for your first jump: Tandem Jumping, Static Line Training (S/L), or Accelerated Free Fall Training (AFF).
These learn to skydive courses vary in that some are designed to give you a quick experience and introduction to skydiving while others start with full blown, first jump courses that will set you on the path to becoming a licensed skydiver.
Consider your options on the different courses. Think about the experience you’ll get out of each of these and your reasons for doing it. Then pick one of the courses. Whichever method you choose to expose yourself to the sport, we know you won’t regret it. You’ll have fun, broaden your horizons and shift your boundaries.
Tandem jumps are a very popular way to make your first jump. They allow the curious potential student to experience, first-hand, the thrills of skydiving without the stress of AFF or SL progression. The tandem skydive only requires about 30 minutes of ground preparation. Tandem jumping, by definition, consists of an experienced jumper called a “Tandem Instructor” and the passenger.
The tandem instructor rides on the back and wears an extra-large parachute system capable of carrying weights of up to 500 pounds; easily able to safely suspend two people. The passenger (or tandem progression student) wears a specially designed harness that attaches in four points to the front of the tandem instructor. A tandem freefall generally lasts between 30 and 50 seconds, followed by a four minute canopy ride to the ground. Tandem jumping provides an obvious advantage for the adventurous spirit who cannot adequately meet the physical or proficiency requirements for the S/L or AFF jumps.
By relying on Tandem Instructor’s skills, they will still be able to experience the thrill of skydiving. Although most people do the tandem skydive as once off thrill, it should be noted that the skills introduced during the ground and air instruction are real skydiving skills and can serve as an introduction to your skydiving career. Many people to the tandem in order to make up their minds whether they want to continue with either Static Line or AFF progression.
Body position instruction, pulling the handle, checking the parachute and steering down for the landing are all skills you will build on during Static Line or AFF progression.
Static Line Training (S/L)
This method has evolved over the last ~30 years from its military origins into a successful method for training sport parachutists. The student gets around 6 hours of ground training and is then taken to an altitude of about 3500 feet for the jump. The jump itself consists of a simple “poised” exit from the strut of a Cessna aircraft. As the student falls away from the plane, the main canopy is deployed by a “static line” attached to the aircraft. The student will experience about two to three seconds of falling as the parachute opens.
Subsequent S/L jumps require about 15 minutes of preparation. After 3 good static line jumps, the student will be trained to pull their ripcord for themselves. The student then does 5 more static line jumps where they demonstrate this ability by pulling a dummy ripcord as they leave the plane (the static line is still initiating the deployment). The student is then cleared to do their first actual freefall.
The first freefall is a 3 second delay freefall, where the student initiates the pull sequence immediately upon leaving the aircraft. Next is a 5 second delay jump. Subsequent jumps go to progressively higher altitudes with longer delays. After 16 freefalls, and meeting certain other basic requirements, the student completes the Static Line to Freefall Progression. The student is now on the same level as a graduate AFF student.
After graduating from the Student Progression program, the student enters a less structured educational program called the Intermediate Skills Programme (ISPs), where they jump with coaches to improve their skills and learn more advanced manoeuvres. After completing 7 ISP jumps they are ready for their A license. Once they have their A license they are free to jump with however they choose, within the dictates of good judgement and the guidelines of PASA’s Manual of Procedures (MOP’s).
Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)
The AFF program was instituted in 1982 as an “accelerated” learning process as compared to the traditional static line progression. The AFF program will give you a true taste of modern sport skydiving. The ground training is a bit more extensive than S/L because the student will be doing a 50 second freefall (that’s right!) on his/her very first jump. The student will exit the aircraft at 10,000-12,000 feet along with two AFF instructors who will assist the student during freefall. The instructors maintain grips on the student from the moment they leave the aircraft until opening, assisting the student as necessary to fall stable, perform practice ripcord pulls, monitor altitude, etc. The student then pulls his/her own ripcord at about 4000 ft.
The official PASA AFF program is a 10 level program. Levels 1, 2, & 3 require two AFF instructors to accompany the student. These dives concentrate on teaching basic safety skills such as altitude awareness, body position and stability during freefall and during the pull sequence and most importantly- successful ripcord pull. On level 3, the instructors will release the student in freefall for the first time, to fly completely on their own.
Levels 4, 5, 6, & 7 require only one freefall JM (less expensive) and teach the student air skills such as turns, forward movement and docking on other people, moving forward, “superman” exits from the plane, etc.
Levels 8, 9 & 10 are solo jumps with specific exercises.
Each AFF level is designed to take one jump, and requires about 45 minutes of training. After successfully performing the objectives of each level, the student moves on to the next level.
After graduating Level 10, the student enters a less structured educational program called the Intermediate Skills Programme (ISPs), where they jump with coaches to improve their skills and learn more advanced manoeuvres. Once they reach 25 jumps they are ready for their A license. Once they have their A license they are free to jump with however they choose, within the dictates of good judgement and the guidelines of PASA’s Manual of Procedures (MOP’s).
Further progression and training
Category II Training
After achieving the A license and Category 1 status, the jumper now moves off student status and becomes an intermediate jumper.
At this point the skydiver will choose one or more of the many skydiving courses to further his or her skydiving career. The next goal will be the category 2 and category 3 tests. These tests are license requirements and can be executed in any of the below disciplines:
Available courses for intermediate skydivers are:
- Formation Skydiving
- Artistic Events
- Canopy Formations
- Free-fall Style, Accuracy Landing and Paraski
Two more disciplines, Wing suiting and Canopy piloting requires more experience and can only be attempted after 200 or more jumps.