FAQS ABOUT BECOMING A LICENSED SKYDIVER:
Below is a brief overview of the skydiving licensing process that is offered at Skydive Palatka:
The course you will have to complete is called Accelerated Free-Fall (AFF). This program is designed to start a student immediately into freefall skydiving. You will start out with a first jump course (FJC), which takes about 6 hours and where you'll learn about topics such as basic safety procedures, equipment, body position in freefall, canopy deployment and control, aircraft procedures, and landing.
There are about 8 levels to the AFF course, each consists of one skydive and a set of maneuvers that you must complete before moving on to the next level. The first 3 levels are conducted with two instructors, and the remaining levels are done with one instructor. After successful completion of the AFF course, you will have the skills to skydive on your own under ‘self-supervision’. After 25 skydives, and completion of your A License Card and quiz(zes), you can apply for your A-License. You can watch the entire AFF progression on the USPA YouTube Channel.
It's important to keep in mind that AFF is based on a series of skills which you must demonstrate. Some students can complete AFF in less than the traditional 8 jumps, some students need more. Practicing freefall skills in the wind tunnel will highly improve your freefall abilities and the chances of you completing you AFF jumps faster and more confidently. At UF we are extremely fortunate to have THREE indoor skydiving facilities within 2 hours of Gainesville, iFLy Jacksonville, iFly Tampa and iFly Orlando.
What's a feasible "lowest figure" I could pay before I start doing solo jumps?
I know this isn't the answer you're looking for but, it is difficult to estimate. If you must have a number, I'll guess $2500, give or take $1000.
How much does skydive cost?
The typical cost at Skydive Palatka for a licensed skydiver can be anywhere from $18 to $27 per jump.
Tandem jumps can go from $150 to upwards of $300. See the tandem FAQs for how much a tandem at Skydive Palatka costs.
Skydiving students typically also have to consider the cost of renting gear if they do not own a rig. As a Falling Gator you can use the club’s equipment for free. Rentals for other skydivers are about $40 per jump, on top of the cost of the jump ticket. Typically, you can expect to spend about $6,000 - $10,000 in the first year you are in the sport, and slightly less for each following year. However, this figure is highly speculative and depends on many variables.
How old do I have to be to skydive?
In the United States, you must be at least 18 years of age to skydive.
Are there any physical requirements to skydive?
It is recommended by most drop zones that you be under 220lbs (100kg) due to equipment limitations.
Do I have to do a tandem for my first time or can I go solo?
You do not have to do a tandem before you go solo. Skydive Palatka allows you to do your first jump solo with the assistance of certified instructors. This will typically require you to sit in on a first jump course for a few hours on the day before you jump. See our overview of the licensing progression.
Does skydiving feel like a roller coaster?
Typically not. Skydiving is a thrill like no other, but most skydivers don't experience the "stomach drop" sensation found on many roller-coasters, because of the high wind-speeds experienced when exiting a plane. Novelty jumps from balloons and helicopters as well as BASE jumping do provide this sensation.
There are currently four different levels of licensing by the USPA.
After you complete your AFF course, you will be allowed to jump by yourself (unsupervised). However, you will still be in student status, and you will have to complete additional requirements to get your first skydiving license, the A license.
A License (25 skydives)
You may jump without supervision, pack your own main parachute, engage in basic group jumps, perform water jumps.
completed 25 jumps
completed all requirements listed on the USPA A License Proficiency Card
completed five group freefall skydives involving at least two participants
received the signature and official stamp on the USPA A License Proficiency Card or USPA A License Progression Card (ISP)
B License (50 skydives)
You are able to exercise all privileges of an A-license holder, perform night jumps, with 100 jumps are eligible for the USPA Coach Rating.
obtained a USPA A license
completed 50 jumps including: (a) accumulated at least 30 minutes of controlled freefall time (b) landed within ten meters of target center on ten jumps
aerial performance requirements, either: (a) demonstrated the ability to perform individual maneuvers (left 360, right 360, backloop, left 360, right 360, backloop) in freefall in 18 seconds or less (b) or successful completion of the planned formation(s) on ten group freefall jumps
documentation of live water landing training with full equipment in accordance with the procedures in the Skydiver's Information Manual
passed a written exam
C License (200 skydives)
You are able to exercise all privileges of a B-license holder, are eligible for the USPA Instructor rating (except USPA Tandem Instructor), participate in certain demonstration jumps, may ride as passenger on USPA Tandem Instructor training and rating renewal jumps.
met all current requirements for or hold a USPA B license
completed 200 jumps, including accumulating at least 60 minutes of controlled freefall time
landed within two meters of target center on 25 jumps
aerial performance requirements, either: (1) during freefall, perform in sequence within 18 seconds-a backloop, front loop, left 360-degree turn, right 360-degree turn, right barrel roll and left barrel roll (2) completed at least two points on an 8-way or larger random skydive
Passed a written exam
D License (500 skydives)
You are able to exercise all privileges of a C-license holder, are eligible for all USPA ratings.
met all current requirements for or hold a USPA C license
completed 500 jumps including accumulating at least three hours of controlled freefall time
made two night jumps (one solo and one in a group) with a freefall of at least 20 seconds (1) with verification of prior night-jump training from a USPA Instructor holding a USPA D license (2) with the advice of an S&TA, in accordance with USPA BSRs
Passed the written USPA D license exam