Frequently Asked Accelerated Freefall (AFF) Questions
Do I need a reservation?
Yes, you need to make a reservation so our Staff is ready to begin your AFF training when you arrive. We are available to start your AFF training on the day of your choosing. You will need to arrive at Skydive Sebastian during the early morning to allow time for completion of your ground school training prior to your first student skydive. You may join others who are starting at the same time as you but we will commence your ground school on an individual basis regardless of whether there are other students on the same day. All of our instructors are full-time staff available every day at the Skydiving Center and will see you through your AFF course as a team effort.
What are the Physical Requirements?
You do need to be in good health to do the AFF program. Less than 220lbs (100 kg) and be able to jump off a table or chair, land-tuck-and-roll on your own. If you have any physical limitations, then please let us know.
What do I learn in the Ground School Course?
Your ground school will last approximately 6 hours, varying somewhat with your abilities, and is conducted by one of our AFF rated instructors. You'll be introduced to all aspects of skydiving. Your instructor will explain and demonstrate the equipment you will use during your student skydives and will thoroughly acquaint you with the manner in which you will utilize all your skydiving equipment including your "rig" which contains both your main and reserve canopies, your altimeter and a radio system which your AFF instructors will use to communicate canopy flight instructions while you are piloting your canopy after freefall.
You'll be taught all of the normal procedures for exiting the aircraft in a safe and stable manner with two AFF instructors accompanying you during your exit and throughout your freefall. You'll learn the proper body position to maintain during freefall, enabling you to fly your body in a stable and confident manner. Your instructors will familiarize you with a number of hand signals they will use to coach you during your freefall.
Ground school will cover all required emergency procedures and all the fundamentals of piloting your canopy for a safe and accurate landing at the drop zone.
When you have completed ground school, your instructor will give you a written test to make sure you understood everything you were taught.
You will be ready for your first student skydive. The ground school experience elevates your confidence, enhances your excited anticipation of your first AFF skydive and greatly reduces any nervousness you might be feeling. You'll find that the knowledge and understanding you gain from ground school has already started transforming you into a skydiver, heightening your eagerness to put your new found knowledge to the test.
How long does it take to complete AFF training?
Generally speaking and weather permitting, you can complete all of the required AFF skydives in 3 to 5 days.
You are not required, however, to complete your AFF skydives in such a concentrated fashion unless that is your preference. You must, however, complete successive student skydives within 30 days following your preceding student skydive. The less time you allow to elapse between student skydives the more you retain from your previous jumps allowing you to progress more effectively and to better adapt mentally to your new sport. If more than 30 days expire between jumps you will be required to step back one level.
I'm nervous, what if I panic or forget what to do during a student skydive?
It's normal to be nervous during your first tandem skydive as well as during your progression through AFF training.
Although each person handles it in different ways, most everyone experiences nervousness to one degree or another. It's normal and it will decline as you become more familiar with the sport and your skills increase.
Your instructor(s) are at your side throughout your AFF skydives and they will be certain that you are confident and capable before they advance you to more complex maneuvers. If you forget a maneuver or lose stability during freefall they are close at your side and will direct you with hand signals and help you restore any lost stability.
As with all things in life, knowledge breeds confidence and dispels the fear of the unknown.
How hard is it to land properly and in the right place?
We often hear people remark that landing properly causes them the most doubt.
You won't have any problem finding your way "home". When you exit the aircraft, your exit has been coordinated with the location of the airport and the prevailing winds. You'll find yourself under an open canopy with the airport within easy flight. Your instructors will communicate with you via a two way radio attached to your harness and will coach you in making the proper turns to approach the airport for an accurate landing. As you approach the ground they'll give you verbal guidance regarding setting your position to land and your landing techinique. You won't feel like you're up there alone.
You'll receive plenty of instruction concerning proper landing techinique and it is really one of the easier things to learn when you begin skydiving. Many first jump students land in a standing position on their first jump and while others find themselves landing in a sitting position but their landings are generally soft ones accompanied by a lot of laughter and the excitement of having completed their 1st student skydive.
What if the canopy doesn't open?
Your "rig" contains two parachutes, a main parachute and a reserve parachute. Although the main parachute is highly dependable and is carefully "packed", all skydivers are reassured by the presence of their reserve parachute. Your reserve parachute, which is packed by an FAA certified rigger, is designed to provide the highest level of reliability possible.
During your ground training you are taught to recognize and react to every kind of parachute malfunction and learn every procedure for deploying your reserve parachute.
Sometimes people wonder what will happen if "they can't open" their parachute. All of our student "rigs" are equipped with Automated Activation Devices (AADs), which automatically deploy your reserve parachute if you freefall past a certain altitude and have not deployed a parachute.
When I finish the AFF course do I start skydiving on my own?
You can start skydiving on your own and will.
You will, however, want to obtain your A license which is the first level of a licensed skydiver ( licenses range from the A license to the D license) recognized by the United States Parachute Association. The requirements to obtain your A license include performing coached jumps with qualified coaches; learning to pack your own parachute; completion of a specified number of jumps including your AFF training skydives and a demonstration of your abilities in freefall, in the aircraft and under canopy. Once you have demonstrated the required proficiencies you will be qualified to receive your A license.
As you spend more time skydiving your skills will continue to advance entitling you to the higher license ratings.
One of the most interesting aspects of skydiving is that you will never stop learning. Seasoned skydivers with thousands of skydives are still striving to improve their skills and to learn new and different skydiving disciplines. Skydiving offers virtually unlimited challenges. You'll never get bored and you'll never cease to discover new excitement with each new skill you master.
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