AFF Student Learning to Skydive at Skydive Orange in VA

Learn to Skydive FAQ

Answers to Your Questions

Interested in learning to skydive, but have questions? Our learn to skydive FAQ page is designed to answer the most commonly asked questions we receive from student skydivers.

Please review the questions and answers below prior to beginning your training program. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to contact us. Our team would be happy to answer your questions!

Learn to Skydive FAQs

Is there a weight limit for AFF?

Students interested in participating in our ISP /AFF (accelerated freefall) course, must weigh no more than 225 lbs. If you are concerned about your weight, please call  us at 703-759-3483 to discuss whether we can accommodate you.

What are the requirements to receive an "A" License?

To earn an “A” license, you must complete 25 freefall skydives and accumulate a total of 19 minutes in freefall.

How does Accelerated Free Fall Work?

The Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) program is a multi-jump training syllabus which incorporates ground school training and seven skydives (levels) made with an instructor. Advancement from one level to the next requires the skydive student to satisfactorily demonstrate skills during free fall. The objective of AFF is to gradually teach anyone off the street (who meets the minimum requirements) and train them to become a safe and independent solo skydiver.

Am I required to make a tandem skydive in order to participate in AFF?

No. Making a tandem skydive is not a requirement in order to enroll in the AFF course. However, it’s recommended as the principles of body position and the experience of preparing to exit does prepare skydiving students for AFF. Also, tandem serves as an excellent introduction to allow skydiving candidates whether they enjoy the sport and wish to make the financial commitment to explore it.

If I enroll in AFF, how often should I be jumping?

At a minimum, one skydive every 30 days. Jumping outside of this window will require AFF students to repeat the last successfully completed skydive. The name of the game with learning to skydive is to “stay current.” Like any activity, staying actively engaged with an activity allows for skills progression.

What is required to attain an A license?

A minimum of 25 jumps is required to attain an A license. If the student has completed a tandem skydive, the tandem is included in this 25 jump requirement.

How long does it take to complete an AFF course?

The truth is, it depends on you. Some people have completed the course through the course of eight months while others have completed it in as quickly as two to three weekends. Weather, budget and time all factor in to students completing the AFF course expeditiously.

Is learning to skydive difficult?

The challenge of learning to skydive is different for different people, but with commitment, success is attainable. The number one cause for skydivers struggling through the program is due to a lack of preparation. Visualizing the necessary objectives and practicing prior to making your AFF jump will increase success greatly.

How do I land the parachute if I've never skydived before?

All AFF skydiving students will be wearing a wireless radio which will allow our ground crew to give step by step instructions to correctly fly a landing pattern and to help initiate the flare sequence for an easy landing.

Are the weather restrictions for licensed skydivers different than the restrictions for AFF students?

Yes. This can be frustrating for students learning to skydive who are grounded (usually on a wind hold) as others jump and have a great time. As skydivers become more experienced, restrictions are lifted. Don’t get frustrated as this is for your safety. A wise skydiver once said, “It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground.”

What should I wear?

All AFF students will be outfitted with a jumpsuit which will cover your clothing. Please do not wear anything bulky and dress appropriately to match the ground temperatures outside. On colder days, wear layers and avoid wearing bulky jackets. Closed toe shoes (sneakers) are ideal. Don’t wear anything that could potentially fall off your feet. Boots or steel-toe boots are also not recommended.

Who may participate in AFF?

You must be at least 18 years old, reasonably fit, weigh no more than 225 lbs. and able to pull control handles with at least 22 pounds of downward force from overhead to arms fully down.

Can I get video or photos of my AFF skydives?

Yes, you can get video or still photographs of your AFF jumps for an additional cost. Please indicate that you would like video or stills when scheduling your skydive.

What time of the day does AFF start?

Start time for AFF students is 8 a.m. on weekends, April through November, and 9 a.m. on weekends December through March. Please CALL for weekday AFF start times. For all AFF jumps, please remember to call and schedule in advance of your arrival.

If enrolling in the first jump course for AFF, will I jump on the same day?

Yes, you will jump the same day (weather permitting). The first part of the day is spent going through a First Jump Course (FJC).  The course is a series of lectures, demonstrations, and training activities to prepare you for your first jump. It is an extremely thorough course and takes about 6-8 hours to complete.  After successfully meeting all of the training objectives, you will be able to do your first jump that same day. Please factor in a full day at the dropzone when you come to participate in the FJC.

What equipment is supplied for the AFF program?

You will be supplied with all of the equipment you need for the first several AFF jumps. This includes an altimeter, jumpsuit, helmet, goggles, wireless radio and a parachute system.  Eventually, you will need to buy your own helmet, goggles, altimeter, and a log book.

What do I need to bring for the AFF course?

You will need comfortable clothing including appropriate footwear and fluids to stay hydrated throughout the day. Each person making a skydive MUST bring a government-issued identification to jump. Please note, there are NO EXCEPTIONS on this policy. 

May I bring my personal GoPro and wear it during my AFF jumps?

No. Personal cameras are not permitted as it is not permitted by the USPA (no one with less than 200 jumps is permitted ot jump with a camera). The reasons are safety related and include:

  • Can cause entanglement with parachute lines
  • Could blind your instructor on opening
  • Distracts you and your instructor from the jump. Particularly for AFF, Students need to focus on their own tasks for the jump and not add a distraction. Further, there is a slim chance of getting any useful footage without proper video training when falling at 120MPH..
  • We don’t even allow our most experienced tandem instructors to be distracted with the handcams some other drop zones are so eager to let their instructors wear.  No good can come from distracting your instructor with a camera.
Are there any strength or physical requirements in order to participate in AFF?

While you don’t need to be super athletic to skydive, you need to be in reasonable physical condition.  In particular, you need enough strength to be able to pull the steering controls of your parachute or other handles from a completely extended position over your head to all the way down past your waist, which requires at least 22 pounds of force.  This ensures that you can control your parachute and/or operate emergency handles in the event of a malfunction. If you have a medical condition including but not limited to heart or orthopedic problems, we may need a letter from your physician saying it’s OK for you to jump.

The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

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