The AFF (Accelerated Freefall) First Jump Course is intended to provide each student with the necessary skills to safely complete their first solo skydive. During the first AFF skydive (Category A), two instructors jump with the student, holding on to the student until the student deploys their own parachute. The AFF instructors have no physical connection to the student other than their grip on the student. As the instructors freefall with the student, they are able to correct the student′s body position and other problems during freefall by communicating with the student using hand signals in free fall and debriefing the student after the jump. Once the student’s parachute is deployed the instructors fall away and deploy their own canopies. Shortly after the instructors land, they begin parachute communications with the student utilizing radio communication until the student lands.
The free fall is not faster than other styles, but instead, the method for learning the sport of skydiving is accelerated.
Deployment of the main canopy is generally 5500 ft AGL. If the student experiences trouble in the deployment of their parachute, the instructors first use hand signals to remind the student to ″Pull.″ If the student still experiences trouble, the instructors will assist their student by physically placing student′s hand on the pilot chute, but if the student still has trouble, the instructor will deploy the canopy for the student. The instructor has the prerogative to pull the student’s main canopy at any time the student appears to be in danger. During the canopy descent, the student will have radio contact with ground personnel who assist the student with maneuvers under their parachute; however the student must have the skills for a solo landing in case they are unable to hear the radio.
Although the class at the University only includes the training and execution for a Category A skydive, many of our students choose to continue jumping, and all are encouraged to do so! The United States Parachute Association protocol for training students is called the ″Integrated Student Program″ (ISP). The ISP is separated into ″Categories″, each with ″Targeted Learning Objectives″ (TLOs) that must be met before the student progresses to the next level.
Categories A through E are the instructional jumps where the student must be accompanied with a USPA-rated AFF Instructor. Some categories require more than one jump to complete, and most students take 7 jumps to complete Categories A-E.. After Category E, students are cleared to self-supervision. Categories F, G and H are completed with the assistance of a UPSA-rated Coach. Once the student has completed 25 skydives, and has their A license requirements signed off by an instructor or coach, they must perform an A-License Check Dive with an Instructor. Now they are eligible for their A license and are no longer a student. While a license is not required to jump legally, the USPA license will allow the skydiver to travel to other USPA drop zones and use their license to prove they have the skills required to jump.