Note that many of the skydiving drop zones in California and Texas (and in various other locations) are members of the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Therefore, these facilities are expected to strictly adhere to USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements as well as the safety guidelines set down by parachute manufacturers.
Owing to that, to skydive in California or Texas, you are expected to be at least 18 years old (or 16 with the permission of a parent or guardian), and must carry either a Class 1, 2 or 3 FAA medical certificate, and a USPA recommended medical statement or a certificate of physical fitness for skydiving from a licensed doctor.
One unique thing about skydiving is the diverse age groups it attracts. This isn’t like other action sports where the participants tend to sway largely toward younger demographics. 98 year-old Sara Simmonds recently became the oldest person ever to complete a dive in the state of Louisiana.
While skydiving might not feel like a workout to a healthy young person, it can have a totally different effect on a person in their 80s. And for anyone pursuing a license, that toll can be heightened due to the repetition of skydives. That said, people of all ages try skydiving and enjoy it.
To ensure that you have the best experience, it is imperative to make sure you are quite agile and healthy. You will also need to be able to arch into the belly – to – earth position during skydive and be able to relax in that position so you can remain stable in freefall.
Also note that you will have to climb the stairs into the plane, be comfortable with the impact of landing and flexible enough to control the parachute’s steering toggles, which are located above the head. Also have it in mind that skydiving happens in the blink of an eye. Immediately you’re up and out of the plane, the freefall takes less than a minute. Indeed it can feel like an eternity when you’re razor-focused on the task at hand.
In the United States, tandem instructors are known to provide instructions in real time, and you will need to be able to appropriately react. Also note that you need the ability to listen, maintain that knowledge, and act on it especially when pursuing a skydiving license. You will be given a set of tasks to complete for each jump, and you will also need to remember these tasks and how to act in an emergency situation.
Whether you agree or disagree, skydiving is an intense sport that is not without risks. Everyone who comes to do a skydive, regardless of age, is expected to be of sound mind to acknowledge the risks involved and feel comfortable with their decision to jump. If you – or your Grandpa – meet all the skydiving requirements, then this is a sport to enjoy.
How to Earn a Skydiving License in California
California possesses a diverse history of one-of-a-kind activities, from surfing the Pacific to cruising Route 66. Skydiving without doubts makes a natural fit for the locale, as well as providing a great way to view the area’s gorgeous topography. To earn a skydiving license in California, here are few steps to consider.
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Checkout the scene
Have it in mind that the first jump is a total blur for practically everyone. You can expect your ground-bound body to be overloaded by the new feelings, so it is nice to dodge the sensory overload by doing a tandem skydive just before the beginning of your course. With that you can get a better idea of the landing area, the pattern, the way things look from the air — and you will be much better prepared to handle the job of getting down under your own parachute.
Get your AFF (Accelerated Free Fall)
Note that before you get to jump without hooking up your harness to an instructor, you need to get behind a desk and get some learning in ground school. Have it in mind that it is in the classroom, not in the air, that you will learn all about the skydiving equipment used when jumping solo, how to operate it and what to do when things don’t go quite according to plan.
This classroom lesson tend to last for 4 – 6 hours, and will cover every aspect of skydiving and prepare you to make an assisted jump under the direct supervision of certified USPA AFF/IAD instructors.
Once you have completed your instructor – assisted freefalls, it is time to take the next big step to jumping completely unaided. This simply means completing the remainder of your 25 student jumps without your instructor. During this stage, you will practice the skills you’ve learned so far.
You must have been carefully prepared by your instructor to be responsible for yourself and to be able to plan your own jumps. Once you have your license, you will be qualified to jump without any instructor supervision.
Keep learning and practicing skydiving
Always remember that staying current in the sport is crucial to making the most out of your skydiving license. You will have it peachy if you learn at a reputable drop zone because the coaches and mentors will ensure you grasp the instruction.
How to Earn a Skydiving License in Texas
Blue skies, breezes and full – throttle free falls: Licensed skydivers in the rest of the country spend a lot of time daydreaming about Texas skylines. Here are basic steps to take when looking to earn a Skydiving license in Texas.
Have it in mind that your first tandem skydive is a great introduction to the basic body position required for skydiving as well as the plane ride and aircraft exit. A tandem skydive is optional before you begin ground school for the AFF program, however it is highly recommended because it will help you get conversant with the feeling of freefall.
Most AFF program in Texas begins with a 4 – 6 hour ground school that covers the theoretical and practical training necessary to prepare you for your first solo skydive, including skydiving equipment, aircraft procedures, freefall manoeuvres, canopy deployment and control, and dealing with malfunctions if they occur. Ground school will teach you the essentials to a safe skydive before you get in the air.
Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)
Note that once you have met all the requirements in ground school, you are ready to make that first jump with your own parachute. At first, two AFF instructors are expected to hold onto you in the air to assist you with a stable exit, freefall and parachute deployment, while another instructor will be on the ground to help guide you through landing your parachute via radio communication.
As you progress through the 7 – jump AFF program, you will learn a wide range of freefall manoeuvres, such as turns and forward motions, front flips and barrel rolls, as well as the technical aspects of your skydiving equipment, parachute packing, aircraft spotting, winds and weather conditions, and canopy flight.
Coaching and Student Progression
Have it in mind that the final portion of your skydiving training in Texas prepares you for more advanced freefall skills with the help of a coach (jumps 8 to 13) as well as the remaining solo jumps (jumps 14 to 25) required to get your skydiving license.
Earn your “A” license
In Texas, the “A” license is the first license level you can achieve in skydiving, which is issued by the United States Parachute Association (USPA) and requires a minimum of 25 skydives. Once you have earned your “A” license, you no longer need to jump with an instructor or coach.
Note that at the end of your program, you will be ready to perform your “A” license check dive and will officially graduate from the student program. At this point you will be a licensed skydiver, which allows you to jump in groups with other licensed skydivers almost anywhere in the world.
While jumping is optional, landing is absolutely mandatory, and the skydiving industry has had many years to work out criteria to make sure everyone in the sky is as safe as possible. Just like it was stated above, most of the skydiving drop zones in California and Texas are members of the United States Parachute Association (USPA).
As such, these facilities adhere to USPA’s Basic Safety Requirements as well as the safety guidelines set down by the parachute manufacturers. By law, people in the U.S. can’t sign up to complete skydive until they’re 18. But there is no maximum skydiving age limit, meaning anyone in good health can jump, even into their 80s and 90s.
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