What is Accelerated Free Fall?
Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) is the most common training method used in the skydiving industry today. It is not the only training method, but is the most preferred as it allows individuals the opportunity to experience free fall from jump number one.
The AFF method of training has students jumping from 13,500 feet with two certified instructors holding onto the student’s harness offering stability while the student demonstrates different skills. This can be compared to a person learning to swim with floaties. As competency progresses, instructors will let go of the student and eventually the training will involve one instructor in free fall as opposed to two.
At Skydive New England, we offer AFF first jump course which includes practice sessions, tips & instructions. AFF training begins with a six-hour ground school. Because the student will be wearing their own parachute and experiencing free fall, the training is comprehensive and covers aircraft safety, free fall body position, emergency procedures and landing procedures. Weather permitting, the first jump is usually made after the ground school has been completed.
Below is an example of what the first jump looks like. The terms highlighted during the video are the skill objectives for Jump #1 or Category A and are taught during the ground school.
The AFF program is comprised of 8 training jumps with each jump progressively adding to the new skydiver’s skill set. As you will learn, skydiving is much more than simply falling. The program will teach different control inputs for flight which include:
- controlled turns in free fall
- moving forwards and backward in free fall
- tracking (flying across the sky)
- adjusting fall rate speeds
- learning group exits
- flying the parachute with accuracy
What Happens After AFF?
Once students have graduated from the AFF program, they are cleared for solo supervision. Solo supervision means students now have the skills to exit an aircraft on their own and land safely. While this is a huge achievement, there’s more to learn and even more fun to be had. The AFF program sets the foundational skills, but more skills are required in order to jump with other skydivers and jump at other dropzones. In order to jump with others, the next step is earning an A license.
A- License Requirements
The requirements to earn an A-license are:
a. completed 25 jumps
b. completed all requirements listed on the USPA A License Proficiency Card
c. completed five group freefall skydives involving at least two participants
d. received the signature and official stamp on the USPA A License Proficiency Card or USPA A License Progression Card (ISP) which validates the A license for a 60-day time limit following the completion of the card
e. The completed and signed USPA A License Proficiency Card or USPA A License Progression Card must be validated within 60-days of completion by sending the card to USPA Headquarters. Once validated, USPA will issue a license number that becomes a permanent record of the member.
f. passed the USPA-developed written and oral USPA A-license exams conducted by a current USPA I, I/E, S&TA, or USPA Board member.