Making any type of skydive is an amazing experience, but learning how to skydive alone is rewarding on a whole ’nother level! People usually have some notion of what to expect when they make a tandem skydive, but most do not know: how many tandem jumps before solo is permissible, understand how to get into solo skydiving, or have a sense of what solo skydiving really entails. Let’s dive into the long and short of how to skydive alone!
But First, Let’s Go on a Tandem
So you know (or are pretty sure) that you’re going to love skydiving, and you’re ready to make the leap. We love that enthusiastic attitude! We want to make sure that we’re setting you up for success, so before you can begin to learn how to skydive, we require that you make a tandem skydive first. Already jumped with us? Great! That counts as your prerequisite tandem jump.
The reason that you need to make a tandem skydive before starting your student progression is that jumping out of a plane is an overwhelmingly awesome and incomparable experience and, as land dwellers, it feels rather unnatural. The super-surge of adrenaline many people experience can make it hard to process what’s actually going on and learn at the same time. By completing a tandem skydive first, you’re exposed to the skydiving process while you’re strapped to an instructor, which helps you begin to build the essential knowledge base that you will use going forward into your student jumps.
How Many Tandem Jumps Before Solo?
First Jump Course (Of Course!)
Once you’ve made your tandem skydive, the first step to solo skydiving is to schedule a First Jump Course (FJC, for short). The FJC starts with ground school, which typically lasts around six hours, with the plan being that you will make your first jump after that, weather permitting. We typically schedule FJCs one weekday (Thursday or Friday) and one weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) per week. The First Jump Course will teach you all of the basic skydiving information you’ll need to know before making your jump.
You can make your FJC reservation in person at the DZ, over the phone, or on our website. On your first day of skydiving school, you’ll check-in for the class in the gift shop, and once you’re settled with waivers and payment, you’ll head over to our student classroom to start your FJC. Yesssss!
What time is it? Jump time!
Making your first student jump is a huge accomplishment, and it is also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to skydiving.
Our skydiving school follows a program called Accelerated Freefall (AFF), which includes eight prescribed freefall objectives that you will need to accomplish. Before moving on to the next objective, you must demonstrate that you can safely and adequately perform the required maneuvers and protocols. Sometimes mastery requires that you repeat jumps, and that is totally normal; no shame.
Your first jump will be with two AFF instructors holding on to each side of you. After a few jumps, they will give you more freedom in the sky. Then you will progress to jumping with just one AFF instructor. When you deploy your parachute, your instructors can’t be there with you anymore, so you will have a walkie-talkie radio in your helmet and someone on the ground will help to talk you safely down.
Cleared for Solo Skydiving
After you’ve proven that you have the freefall and parachute skills necessary to skydive safely by yourself, then you are cleared for solos!
When you’re on solo status, you are still considered a student, so there are restrictions like not being able to jump with anyone that is not a coach. But being a solo student means that you can make jumps on your own to work on the skills you need to get your A license.
In order to achieve your A license, which is the first of four skydiving license levels, there is a list of requirements that must be met. You must have at least 25 skydives (all of your tandem and student jumps count toward this number), and a completed proficiency card documenting that you can perform specific maneuvers in freefall and under the parachute.
Be a Part of our Community
We love our students at Skydive New England, and we’re always so excited to have new people join our family. Skydiving is so much more than a sport; it is a welcoming, mega fun, international community. When you’re jumping here, you can set up a tent or stay in one of our bunkhouses and hangout for a while. We plan events and bands for many weekends during the summer, and almost always have bonfires down front.
At Skydive New England, we have everything you need to make a solo skydive and become a licensed skydiver: top-of-the-line gear, highly experienced and credentialed instructors, and first-class facilities. Check out some commonly asked AFF questions and then come jump with us! Blue skies!