Getting your skydiving certification is the only way to legally and safely skydive on your own.  Once you’ve completed certification, you will have your A license, which will allow you to buy or rent you own gear and jump on your own from any drop zone.

Before you begin your skydiving certification, it’s a good idea to go on a tandem skydive first in order to experience what it is like to jump out of a plane from a high altitude.  In a tandem skydive, you will be strapped to a certified skydive instructor the entire time.  Basically, you’re just along for the ride! This is a great way to get a taste of what it’s like to go skydiving and see if it’s really for you.     

After you’ve experienced a tandem jump and you’re ready for more, there are two primary programs to take towards skydiving certification: Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) or Static Line/IAD.  Each has its own strengths and weakness which are highlighted below, but both end with receiving your A license!

Static Line/IAD

Static line and IAD (Instructor Assisted Deployment) are the oldest and most traditional training methods for learning how to skydive.  Both offer a similar experience by allowing the student jumper to leave the plane by themselves with the parachute being automatically deployed either by a static line attached to the plane or by an instructor.

Static Line/IAD courses begin with ground training which consists of lessons on body position, canopy flight, possible malfunctions, emergency scenarios, proper landing, and other skills that will need to be learned before the first jump.  After your ground training is complete, you will go through a series of static line jumps until your instructors feel you are ready to jump and deploy your own parachute.

Benefits: This type of certification tack is usually cheaper than AFF.  It also offers the student a chance to become comfortable leaving the place on their own before they experience their first free fall.

Drawbacks: May take longer to complete your certification.  Free fall isn’t experienced until around the 6th jump.  

Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)

AFF offers a quicker path to earning your certification by allowing the student to experience freefall and deploy their own parachute on the first jump.

AFF courses begin much like the Static Line course, with ground training in essential tasks and safety.  On your first jump after ground training you will be assisted by two certified instructors.  They will hold onto you via harnesses and help you with deploying your parachute for the first time if needed.  You will then progress through more jumps, each with less assistance from your instructors until you’re finally able to jump on your own.

Benefits: The quickest and most popular way to earn your skydiving certification.

Drawbacks: More expensive than other training methods.

No matter which path you take on your road to skydiving certification, it is guaranteed to be a thrilling and heart-pounding ride like nothing you’ve ever experienced before!