Accelerated Free Fall

Are you ready to get to achieve your goals of becoming a highly skilled skydiver as quickly as possible? If so, you may want to consider an accelerated free fall (AFF) program. Contrary to what many people believe, the accelerated in AFF is not meant to describe the speed at which you will be moving towards the earth. Instead, the term accelerated is used because of the speed at which a student will experience a solo free fall skydive. In fact, an AFF program is the fastest possible way in which anybody is able to skydive solo.

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Accelerated Free Fall Skydive Training

Accelerated Free Fall Skydive Training

Call 1-800-617-7948 Today!

Are you ready to get to achieve your goals of becoming a highly skilled skydiver as quickly as possible? If so, you may want to consider an accelerated free fall (AFF) program. Contrary to what many people believe, the accelerated in AFF is not meant to describe the speed at which you will be moving towards the earth. Instead, the term accelerated is used because of the speed at which a student will experience a solo free fall skydive. In fact, an AFF program is the fastest possible way in which anybody is able to skydive solo.

Accelerated Free Fall Skydive Training


The AFF skydiving course has been constructed for the purposes of getting students the most amount of real world skydiving experience as quickly as possible. In order to do this, a student will be immersed in an accelerated ground school before ever getting into the air. Once in the sky, a student is able to put all of the knowledge into real life action. Since its inception, the AFF program has been able to assist thousands of students in realizing their dreams of becoming a skydiver. With success stories across the globe, an accelerated free fall course is the best choice for prospective students with a little bit of ambition, but very little patience.

This accelerated introduction to the sport of skydiving does not mean that a student is unprepared for their first dive. The ground school for the Accelerated Free Fall program will be more extensive and a great deal more involved than a traditional program. The typical AFF ground school will total in at right around 5 hours worth of instruction and demonstration. This comprehensive look at skydiving will allow for a student to be fully prepared for their first solo free fall skydiving experience.

USPA AFF Training

This level of preparation leading up to the first free fall experience is imperative as the student will be experiencing a solo free fall right off the bat. This quick step is done with the thought that there is no better way to understand all that goes into a skydive than to simply just go ahead and do it. With a solo free fall experience already under a student’s belt, all of the instruction that comes after this first jump will be grounded in techniques and maneuvers that the student has already successfully accomplished. Just because a student has done it once, however, does not equate to proficiency. The ultimate goal of the accelerated free fall program is to allow a student skydiver to gain instruction that is grounded in experience. The result is that an individual will be able to go from novice to independent in the shortest amount of time possible.

The key in speeding up the independence of the solo skydive is in the fact that a student is provided with the utmost in individualized instruction throughout an AFF program. Traditional training programs are generally structured in a way that only allow for a group of multiple students to train with a single instructor. Not only does this type of training limit the amount of differentiated instruction, it also prohibits a student skydiver from initially performing solo free falls. In contrast, an accelerated free fall skydiving program allows for multiple instructors to be able to work with a single student. At the very least, each AFF course will have a single instructor guiding a single student through the first three jumps. This opens up a world of individualized teaching and customized technique work provides invaluable experience for a new skydiver.

Throughout the first few dives that a student will make in the accelerated free fall program, the instructor will utilize the harness hold training method. This aptly named training will require at least one instructor to physically hold on to the student throughout the free fall experience. Whereas non-licensed skydivers are only allowed to jump when attached to an instructor through the use of a harness, the harness hold training method involves nothing of the sort. This is done with the intention of allowing a student to experience the freedom of a free fall while under the close supervision of one or two instructors. When it is time to release the parachute, the student will deploy the main canopy. If, however, a student comes across some difficulty in doing so, the instructor will signal and, if need be, physically assist the student in deploying their canopy. In either case the instructor will continue to free fall for a short period before they too deploy their own main canopy.

After a student has proven proficiency in properly deploying their parachute, they will have moved on to what is known as a release dive. While the beginning of a release dive will look quite similar to the first few jumps a student makes, they are actually a mark of serious progression. The instructor will again have hold of the student through the first stage of the free fall, but at a predetermined time the student will be released. During this solo time, a student will be able to test their skills and improve the level of comfort in free fall. All the while, the instructor will be observing the student and making marks for progression as a student has certain responsibilities that must be completed.

A student will be asked to complete a predetermined list of actions and maneuvers throughout a solo free fall. Forward flips and 360 degree turns are just some of the skills that a student must achieve. Throughout this time the instructor will be watching from nearby. They may in fact be able to assist in showing a student proper form in performing a certain maneuver. Afterwards, a student and instructor will be able to debrief the dive experience. Oftentimes a student is recorded on video throughout the free fall. This provides a student and instructor with evidence and key points to work towards on future dives.

There is a reason that the accelerated free fall training course is the fastest and most successful way of learning how to skydive. The program utilizes a comprehensive 8 step process in order to ensure each and every student is provided with the tools and training necessary to realize their full potential as a skydiver.

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The 8 Levels of Accelerated Free Fall Training

AFF Level 1 – Category A


Certification starts with the first dive class. Also known as category A, this first experience in skydiving will be more than just an introduction. The ground school portion of accelerated free fall will already have provided students with a comprehensive look at everything that goes into skydiving. This knowledge base will prove to be incredibly useful in the first jump, or Category A. While working with at least one instructor, a student will be asked to complete a checklist of sorts in order to pass through to the next step.

The first skydive, and all subsequent dives throughout AFF programs will begin with skydiving equipment checks. The main pilot parachute, cutaway handle, and reserve ripcord must all be in the proper position. Another portion of the first dive that students must become well acquainted with is the aircraft procedures of a skydive. The instructors will be going through a litany of last minute procedures so a student must be sure to stay seated and pay attention. Now comes the part every student has been waiting for. Ground school should have prepared a student for a proper plane exit. The body positioning is very important as a student should have the left foot forward, pelvis forward, and head outside of the craft. Upon the actual exit, the student must remember, “Prop” – “Out” – “In” – “Out” – “Exit” and “ARCH”. These basic rules will become second nature in no time.

Each skydive will have a basic sequence. The will be a predetermined list that a student must follow through each and every one of their skydives. These required maneuvers will continually become more advanced as a student advances through accelerated free fall program, but the basics are always there. The first dive will consist of the following;

  • Checking the Canopy
    • Circle Of Awareness
    • 3 practice touches of the ripcord
    • Another short circle of awareness check is required every 3 to 5 seconds
    • Toe Taps
    • 5.5 – Wave-off – PULL
  • Checking the Canopy
    • Making sure it is there, making sure it is square, controlling and maneuvering
  • Canopy Control
    • 1/2 down in altitude be 1/2 way back to the airport.
    • Stay Upwind of the airport.
    • Landing pattern at 1,000 ft.
  • How to Land
    • Be sure to avoid obstacles and land into the wind
    • Body should have feet together and knees bent

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Accelerated Free Fall Levels

AFF Level 2 – Category B


The second skydive will be very similar to the first skydive that a student went through in Level 1. What the instructor is really looking for a student to key in on is in confidence and understanding of the process. An instructor will once again be holding onto the student skydiver from the exit through the free fall and onto the deployment of the parachute. With that in mind a student is being asked to do much of the same actions as they have already performed, simply with a bit more fluidity and confidence. Basic controlled movements are placed at a premium here. A student should approach this dive these goals in mind and under the understanding that this is their final dive before they are able to perform a solo free fall.

Flow of a “Category B” skydive:

    • The mandatory circle of awareness checks
    • 2 practice handle touch pulls & Toe Taps
    • A student will be asked to perform a left turn 90 degrees as well as to the right.
    • Student will perform a forward motion
    • Follow the canopy control and maintain same landings as before.

AFF Level 3 – Category C


The third level jump will begin much the same as the first and second with a quick review of all of the information. There are a number of different things about the third dive. Given that the instructing team deems a student ready, this dive will be the student’s first experience solo. Midway through the free fall, a student will be given full autonomy as the instructor releases their grip. The goals of this third dive will be to maintain control through the free fall and to perform an unassisted pull.

  • Flow of the “Category C” skydive:
    • Circle of awareness checks
    • 1 practice handle touch pulls, Toe Taps
    • 5.5 Wave-off and solo pull by 4,500 ft.
  • An advanced canopy control introduction will take place during the debrief.  This will include instructions on all of the following:
    • Collision avoidance
    • Braked turns
    • Rear riser control

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Accelerated Free Fall Coaching
Accelerated Free Fall Coaching

AFF Level 4 – Category D1


As with the previous lessons, Level 4, or “Category D1”, will begin with a review of everything covered so far. At the onset of the day, the instructor will show students how to properly conduct personal gear checks. There will also be a review of how to use all equipment. The goals of this fourth skydive will be for the student to be able to perform stable and controlled turns on heading. This fourth skydive will ask the student to complete a 90 degree turn to both the left and the right. The instructor will be there to guide the student through this as it is only the second free fall which a student will be performing solo.

  • Flow of the category D1 skydive:
    • Start with the basic circle of awareness check
    • The student will perform a 90 Left turn followed by a 90 Right turn.
    • Wave-off at 4,500 feet pull by 4,000 feet.

AFF Level 5 – Category D2


Also known as a “Category D2” skydive, Level 4 will begin with a review by the instructor of all previous information.  This marks the fifth total jump in AFF and the third which a student will be in free fall solo.  This means a student should be increasing their levels of autonomy in the sky.  The goals for this fifth dive will be for a student to perform full 360 degree turns.  Though this may sound intimidating at the onset, a 360 degree turn should be something of a small step at this point.  Having already completed a 90 degree spin on the previous dive, a student will have no issues with a full rotation.

  • Flow of the skydive:
    • COA while instructor release and immediately transition to the front
    • The student will have to perform a 360 Left turn for the instructor.  
    • Wave-off at 4,500 feet pull by 4,000 feet.
  • The debrief of the D2 dive will include an introduction to spotting in the air.

AFF Level 6 – Category E1


The Category E1 skydive will be the sixth level in AFF programs. The student will have already been performing free falls for a number of dives, so this will not be anything new. Again, the main thing throughout the AFF experience is confidence. With each progression should come a wind of excitement, but a student will also be looking towards their dive with a much more confident approach than the prior one. With that, a student will be asked to perform a front loop while in free fall. Think of this movement as a forward flip. A studetn will also practice what is known as tracking. This is done as a skydiver moves through free fall and is aware of other divers around them. It is important that a skydiver be able to keep a safe distance between themselves and other divers, and this will mark their first practice in doing so. Another first for the student in the E1 skydive will be that they are charged with the responsibility to indicate the aircraft progress across ground for spotting instruction.

  • Flow of the skydive for category E1:
    • The instructor will demonstrate a backroll and the student will attempt it for the first time.
    • The student will be able to do a front loop for the first time
    • Student performs Delta Track position while maintaining heading.
    • Wave-off at 4,500 feet and pull by 4,000 feet.

AFF Level 7 – Category E2


Though it is not the final jump, the category E2 jump is really a culmination of everything that a student has been working towards. This seventh jump will begin with a review of the bevy of information already covered, which may be more important than ever. A student will be asked to perform a front loop, back loop, 360 degree turns, and delta tracking.

  • The stated goals for a category E2 jump are
    • stable unassisted exit
    • Exhibit stability control
    • Tracking on heading
  • The Flow of the skydive:
    • Front loop, back loop, turn 360 degrees to the left, turn 360 degrees to the right.  
    • At 7,000 feet student performs delta track position while maintaining heading.
    • Wave-off at 4,000 feet and pull by 3,500 feet.

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Hop n’ Pop
Hop n’ Pop

AFF Level 8 – Final “Hop n’ Pop” Skydive


This final skydive will mark the fruition of all of the hard work that a student has been putting in. This final skydive in the AFF experience will allow for the most autonomy. A student must display that they are fully able to jump solo as they exit the craft at approximately 5,000 feet. The free fall is not really what is focused on here. Instead, a student will be asked to put everything together and perform a simple, solo skydive. Upon completion, a student and instructor will review the footage in a debrief. The student will then have completed the AFF course.

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