How long does it take to get your AFF or A-License?

So you're interested in learning to skydive solo (AFF or Accelerated Free Fall) or getting your A-license, which allows you to skydive solo at any DZ.  If you haven't already started either program, chances are, you're wondering how long it will take. The answer is simple:  It's up to you. 

AFF is progression-based, which means you must accomplish certain skills to move on. In our experience, the more frequently you jump, the better your chances of progressing. It's like any sport; the more you play, the better you get. 

AFF student after successfully pulling his parachute

FAST-TRACKING SKYDIVING SOLO

AFF IN A WEEK:

If you have the time and the desire, it's entirely possible IF

  • you have a week to dedicate to getting your AFF
  • you progress through each jump (12 total)
  • the weather cooperates

This is how an AFF-in-a-week schedule could look:

  • Sunday: Ground school at 9 a.m., AFF tandem, Cat A jump
  • Monday: (jumping starts at 1:00), Cat B,  Cat C1
  • Tuesday (closed) study what you've learned, review expectations for upcoming jumps
  • Wednesday: Cat C2, D1, 
  • Thursday: Cat D2, E1
  • Friday, Cat E2, E3
  • Saturday Cat F1 and Graduation Hop n' Pop

A-LICENSE IN TWO WEEKS

This may seem impossible, but last season, we had a student get his AFF AND A-License in 10 days. Is that the norm? No. Can it be done? Yes, but it's kind of extraordinary.

An A-License requires a total of 25 jumps, and all of your AFF jumps count towards that number. You do have additional skills that you must master with a coach. Once you have mastered those additional skills and have 25 jumps, you will need to pass a written test.

AFF student exiting plane with AFF Instructors

AFF OR A-LICENSE AT A MORE RELAXED PACE

If you don't have a week or two to dedicate to an AFF or A-license program, no worries! Again, it's all about you, your schedule, your progression and your comfort level. We have students that take a month, all season or a year or more to get their A-license. That said, the more time you take, the greater the odds of having to repeat jumps. So here are some tips to keep you progressing, and help you make the most of your experience, time and budget.

  • If possible, do some weekday jumps. We open at 1:00 for skydiving on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It's usually less crowded, you'll have a more time to spend with your instructor, and you could get more jumps in. 
  • Don't let too much time lapse between jumps. Your comfort in the sky, muscle memory and reflexes improve with frequency. You could do an AFF jump once a month, but it will be harder for you to progress than if you could jump with more frequency. 
  • PLEASE NOTE: It is a United States Parachute Association regulation that if you are an AFF student and have not jumped in 30 days or more, you have to repeat the last class. If you have completed the AFF but don't have your A-license, and have not jumped in 30 days or longer, you will need to have an AFF instructor accompany you for one jump, also known as a recurrency jump. This is all about your safety and that of the other skydivers that are in the air with you.

 

GIVE YOURSELF A HEAD START

Before class and before each new jump, get familiar with the terminology, what is expected and what it should look like. Talk this over with your instructor, but you can also do your homework. The USPA has a great resource for this: A YouTube Channel with videos for every jump in the USPA A License Progression, including free fall and canopy skills. They also offer practice quizzes for Cat A through Cat H on their website.

We love our AFF and A-license students and we want to see them succeed! If you'd like more information on our AFF and A-License courses and pricing, visit the AFF page on our website. Of course, if you have any questions about how to successfully and safely learn to skydive solo, we're here to help. Give us a call at 800-990-5509. 

Celebrating an AFF graduate