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What Makes a Good Skydiving Instructor?


Curtis Posted by: Curtis White 10 months ago

The decision to jump out of an airplane is not one that most people make lightly. It’s a pretty high-stakes commitment, and knowing you’re in good hands is a big part of being able to take that leap of faith. 

Having a good skydiving instructor certainly makes the jump a bit easier to tackle. But how do you know you’ve got a good instructor? What does a skydiving instructor do that can help you figure out if you made the right choice? 

Understanding skydiving instructor requirements, personalities, and experience levels makes it a little simpler to navigate the emotions of your first skydive

So what makes you a professional skydiver? Read on to find out how we ensure our instructors at Skydive New England are the most professional the sport has to offer. 

Skydive Instructor Requirements and Qualifications

First and foremost, a skydiver must meet the required qualifications before they can even think about becoming an instructor. And the list of requirements is no joke. Becoming a skydiving instructor is a huge investment of both time and money. 

skydive instructor requirements

That means that right off the bat, you know your instructor wants to be there. If they’re willing to put in the effort it takes to become an instructor, they have a level of dedication and training that you can trust. What skills are important for skydiving instructors, you ask? As mandated by the USPA, tandem instructor requirements include:

  • Logging at least 500 jumps
  • Earning a USPA D license
  • Accruing a minimum of 3 years experience in the sport
  • Possessing a current FAA Class III Flight Medical Certificate
  • Completing the USPA tandem instructor rating certification program

And that list just skims the surface. It doesn’t account for the hours of studying and practicing that go into preparing to meet those requirements. Your instructor has certainly earned the privilege of taking you on your first skydive! 

Safety First

All skydiving instructors are taught how to be as safe as possible. But the best ones make safety their number one priority. 

Good skydiving instructors want one thing on every jump: to get their students back to the ground in the same condition they left it. The great thing about skydiving is that you don’t have to try very hard to make it fun. So that leaves safety as the only thing your instructor really needs to focus on. 

Safety procedures are at the center of almost all the training that instructors go through. They learn how to avoid dangerous situations and how to react to them. The skydiving instructor course runs through every scenario you could think of (and then some) and teaches candidates how to effectively handle each situation. 

Instructors even have their own manual that contains the most up-to-date research and procedures for every aspect of their job. Safety starts and ends on the ground, and each and every skydive instructor is prepared for any situation they might find themselves in. 

Communication is Key

Unlike that scene in Point Break, skydivers can’t actually talk to each other in freefall. But that doesn’t mean communication isn’t an important part of skydiving – especially between a student and instructor. 

A good instructor has to be able to teach their students how to do something completely unnatural: throw themselves out of a flying airplane. This requires a unique blend of communication skills. The most obvious is the ability to clearly explain the procedures and requirements of the skydive. Instructors have to make sure every student understands how to safely participate in every part of the jump. 

But beyond that, a great skydiving instructor is a source of moral support! Communication can’t be all technical. There are a lot of emotions that come with a first skydive, and skydiving instructors have to be able to put their students at ease. 

Skydiving should be more fun than scary, and a good skydive instructor knows how to make that happen! 

Cool as a Cucumber

Skydiving can be stressful. We don’t have to tell you that – you’re busy preparing for your first jump! But even instructors can sometimes end up in stressful situations. Jumping out of an airplane isn’t exactly your typical 9 to 5. 

A good instructor knows how to handle pressure. They’ve trained their brains to slow down when everything else is flying by. They have the ability to stick to logic when most people would clam up. 

Through extensive training, experience, and even some natural talent, the very best skydiving instructors make high-stakes situations seem like a walk in the park. 

Choosing the Right Dropzone

Okay, so you understand a little bit more about good instructors. But how do you pick a dropzone for your first skydive?? Well, you actually already have all the tools you need. Sure, the general environment at a dropzone is important, but it’s really the instructors that make the experience. 

Our instructors at Skydive New England are chosen specifically for their excellence in the qualities that make a good instructor. We’re so confident in our team that every single one of our instructors has their own profile on our team page. The proof is in writing: all of our professional instructors are the best! 

Get to know your future instructor before you even shake their hand! You can learn about their experience, highlight who they are, and what they love about skydiving. Then come meet our team and prepare for takeoff!!

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