AFF Jumps Outline
The AFF program is designed to set the foundations that will lead you to earning your A License. Skydiving centers may have their own variations of the AFF program, although all USPA Certified Training Centers will have a similar mainframe and skill progression requirements from category A to E. Have in mind that your instructor is your ultimate guide, no matter what knowledge you may acquire here or elsewhere, you should always follow your instructors guidance and adhere to their safety protocols.
Let’s take a look at what is the main structure of the AFF Jumps.
On every AFF jump you’ll go through the same main sequence. Jump briefing, Skydive Jump, Debriefing.
Purpose and Importance
The jump briefing is conducted by an AFF instructor, usually the same instructor that will be jumping with you. The objective here is to provide you with the necessary knowledge and instructions for a safe and successful AFF Jump. In a jump briefing we’ll go over all the necessary knowledge for that skydive like, jump plan, body positions, winds, etc. Your instructor may also include some quizzing on emergency protocols, safety procedures, and other critical general knowledge about skydiving. An effective AFF jump briefing sets the stage for a successful and enjoyable skydiving experience. It equips you with the knowledge and confidence you need to execute the planned jump and handle any emergencies.
During the jump briefing you’ll be trained on the following topics.
- Equipment overview
- Wind direction, speed and how it will affect your jump
- Emergency procedures
- Jump plan and procedures during each phase of the jump
The AFF Jump
Every AFF has the same structure, which consists of the following phases:
- Exiting the airplane
- Performing a circle of awareness (Check horizon, check altimeter, check w/ instructors)
- Performing the specific trained maneuvers for that jump
- Maintain altitude awareness
- Parachute Deployment
- Canopy visual check and controllability check
- Flying the parachute at the proper airspace according to briefing
- Fly the landing pattern and landing
Throughout your AFF jumps progression most of this structure remains the same, except for phase #3. As you accumulate flying skills, jumps get more challenging and require more advanced maneuvers.
Most skydive instructors choose to have a camera mounted on their helmet to record your performance and assist with the debrief.
After you leave your parachute for repack, usually you’ll be going straight to your debriefing session and the first step is usually you describing your jump. This gives your instructor a very good idea of your mental awareness during the skydive you just made. After that the instructor will provide you with his(her) own impression of the jump, followed by the video review.
After reviewing your performance you’ll discuss what was good, what needs improvement and will set the goals for your next skydive.
AFF Jump Sequence and Details
The AFF program consists of a minimum of 8 jumps. Although most of the students graduate with 8 jumps, it is not uncommon for a jumper to repeat some of the jumps in order to build the necessary skills foundation to progress through the program.
The following description of the jumps are intended for you to have a general explanation. More detailed and specific training will be provided for each jump category according to the most current USPA A-License Progression Checklist, which will involve other important aspects of the skydive, with special attention to skills related to parachute controlling techniques.
AFF Jump 1 – Acclimate to the Skydive Environment
- Skills set: Category A
- In this first jump you’ll be harnessed to an experienced instructor.
- Your primary focus is on maintaining reasonable arch body position, checking your altimeter and initiate the parachute deployment
- After deployment your instructor will help you with the necessary canopy checks, as well as to airspace orientation, wind direction and canopy flying all the way until your landing.
AFF Jump 2 – Introduction to Solo Freefall
- Skills set: Category B&C
- On jump #2 you’ll be using your own parachute and will have two instructors with you one on each side, to help with stability and provide real time instructions
- You’ll practice and demonstrate how to use your upper body (arms) to control heading while in freefall and how to use you legs to drive your body forward
- The focus of this jump is: Maintain altitude awareness, initiate parachute deployment within 500 feet from correct altitude, maintain correct body position, and learn how your arms and legs feel in freefall. Under canopy you should demonstrate basic airspace awareness, prompt responsiveness to the radio instructions and reasonable landing with radio assistance
AFF Jump 3 – Release Jump
- Skills set: Category C
- On jump #3 you’ll have to opportunity to get rid of your training wheels (instructors)
- After learning how to use your upper body to control heading, if you demonstrate a satisfying freefall controllability, your instructors will release you for a few seconds. A lot of your training from now on will be focused on improving visual awareness and how to use visual references while in freefall
- The focus on this jump is: Demonstrate a satisfying stable exit, constant altitude awareness, solo parachute deployment at the correct altitude, proper body position and demonstrating stability to fly with a single instructor. Under canopy you should demonstrate better airspace awareness, fly a satisfactory landing pattern and landing with minimal radio assistance.
AFF Jump 4 – Solo Heading Control and Stability
- Skills set: Category D
- Jump #4 will give you the first opportunity to exit the airplane with a single instructor
- After demonstrating freefall stability and control you’re ready to be more independent. Your instructor will release you as soon as he is confident of your freefall stability and your maneuvers will consist the same ones of jump #2. But no training wheels at this time!
- The focus on this jump is: Stable exit within 5 seconds, constant altitude awareness, solo parachute deployment at the correct altitude, proper body position and to demonstrate the necessary skills to start and stop turns and forward movement, with a certain level of accuracy by using visual references, and without your instructor’s interference. Under canopy you should demonstrate good airspace awareness, less radio assistance, prompt responsiveness to the radio instructions, and final landing with minimal radio assistance. Other maneuvers under the canopy might be added by your instructor for this jump.
AFF Jump 5 – Advanced Heading Control and Stability
- Skills set: Category D
- Depending on your progression so far this can be your first solo exit
- Now that you know how to start and stop a turn, let’s induce some 360 degree turns. Your instructor will not be holding you for this, a good visual and spatial orientation is paramount
- The focus on this jump is: Unassisted stable exit within 5 seconds, constant altitude awareness, solo parachute deployment at the correct altitude, proper body position and to demonstrate the necessary skills to start and stop 360 degree turns and forward movement, with a certain level of accuracy by using visual references, and without your instructor’s interference. Under canopy you should demonstrate good airspace awareness, less radio assistance, prompt responsiveness to the radio instructions, and final landing with minimal radio assistance. Other maneuvers under the canopy might be added by your instructor for this jump
AFF Jump 6 – Stability Recovery Jumps
- Skills set: Category E
- Time for some flips! This is the jump that you’ll demonstrate your ability to do a solo exit from the airplane
- Since you’ve been flying stable so far, we want you to practice how to recover stability while in freefall. The way to accomplish this is by inducing unstable maneuvers like backflips, frontflips and barrel rolls, followed by a recover to a stable position
- The focus on this jump is: Solo stable exit within 5 seconds, constant altitude awareness, parachute deployment at the correct altitude, proper body position and to demonstrate the necessary skills to induce instability and recover to a stable position within 5 seconds. Under canopy you should demonstrate improved airspace awareness, minimal radio assistance throughout the entire canopy flight
AFF Jump 7 – Bringing it all together
- Skills set: Category E
- This is your opportunity to demonstrate everything that you have learned so far
- We want to see you bringing all your skills on this jump, showing a good exit, good spacial and altitude awareness, ability to show the basic body flying maneuvers learned and how to lose and revolver stability
- The focus on this jump is: Solo stable exit within 5 seconds, constant altitude awareness, parachute deployment at the correct altitude, proper body position and to demonstrate the necessary skills to be cleared to freefall without direct supervision. Under canopy you should demonstrate good airspace awareness, minimal radio assistance throughout the entire canopy flight followed by an unassisted landing
Jump 8 – Solo jump without freefall supervision
- Skills set: Category D
- Time to graduate from AFF.
- The focus on this jump is: Demonstrate a solo skydive without direct freefall supervision. Maintaining constant altitude awareness, parachute deployment at the correct altitude. Under canopy you should demonstrate good airspace awareness, no radio assistance throughout the entire canopy flight and landing.
After successfully completing these jumps and graduating from the AFF program, you’ll typically be ready to move on to solo jumps with minimal instructor supervision, continuing to refine your skills and gain more confidence in the air. Take a few solo jumps to relax and have some fun, the focus on all the skills necessary to become a fully independent skydiver by earning your A License.
To register and request a date for your AFF Ground School, please take the time to fill out the information below.