Now that you're hooked, you need to get thoroughly trained. It's not cheap, but it's worth it. Besides, there are more expensive sports. There are four levels of licensing, Class A to Class D.
Class A is the novice level. 20 free fall jumps are required, a written exam and thorough knowledge of your equipment. Class B is the intermediate level. A minimum of 50 free fall jumps are required and a written exam. Class C is the advanced level. It requires at least 300 jumps with over 20 minutes of free fall time and a written exam. To receive your Class D master level license, you must complete another 200 jumps. At this point you're spending more time in the sky than on the ground.
You don't need to become a master skydiver. With a Class A license you will be qualified to parachuting at sites around the world.
You're ready to buy equipment. The best advice is to talk with your instructor. There are many different types of parachutes. Beginner chutes are larger and more stable. The more advance designs provide a faster and more maneuverable chute or canopy. You can find used equipment, but it must be in great shape. Before you buy thoroughly research the right equipment for you.
I'm Never Coming Down
Once you've reached expert status you may want to look into more daring jumps like Relative Work or Formation Skydiving, Skysurfing or Skyboarding, and Base Jumping.
- Formation Skydiving is when 2 or more jumpers create various formations during free fall.
- "Skysurfing" or "Skyboarding" entails jumping with a board like a snowboard attached to your feet. It allows the jumper to perform aerial maneuvers and stunts. Skysurfing classes and videos are available, but hard to find. Check out Skydive Space Center.
- Base Jumping is jumping off of fixed objects such as buildings and bridges. Base Jumping is best known for it's illegal jumps. It's fairly common to hear of a jumper being arrested for going off a building illegally. Keep in mind that negative press can be detrimental to the whole sport.
- Don't just follow anthers lead, educate yourself on every aspect of skydiving, the correct procedures, equipment, etc.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Don't buy any equipment on a whim. Know exactly what you want and need.
- Don't take any mind-altering drugs before hand. Your first jump should be enough to blow your mind.
- As in most sports stay cool, calm and collected.
- You'll go through lots of temperature changes during your jump. It's important to dress appropriately and be in good physical condition.
- You will be given a back up or reserve parachute. FAA regulations require that the reserve parachute be packed within the last 120 days.
- Automatic Activation Device (AAD) and a Reserve Static Line (RSL) are 2 additional safety devices that can be used. Find out if your school provides these.
Certain medicines and health conditions may be effected by skydiving and the altitude. Consult your doctor before you book your skydiving adventure.