skydive license application

Want To Become A Licensed Skydiver?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Here Are 5 Pro Tips To Help You Reach Your Skydiving License Goal

Since waaaaay back in 1964 (that’s a record, for the state of Michigan!), Skydive Tecumseh has been introducing new jumpers to freefall and earn their skydiving license. Suffice it to say: When it comes to helping new jumpers take to the sky, we know what we’re talking about.

We understand that it’s a challenge. Of course, it’s a challenge! We also, however, understand your burning desire to fly. Everyone here–from our owner to our tandem instructors to our front-desk staff–gets where you’re coming from. After all, we’re all head-over-heels for the sport, too! Due in great part to that shared passion, we’re uniquely prepared to help you face the challenge of learning how to skydive. Here are our pro tips to help you nail that A-license with style. (Some of this stuff is gonna surprise you!)

1. Do a tandem skydive.

In all the years we’ve been teaching new jumpers, we’ve learned quite a few things about how this all, y’know, works. One of the keys is staging a new jumper’s introduction to skydiving in a procedural, thoughtful, and measured way. While it is indeed legal and possible to do your first skydive as an AFF student with your own parachute, we’ve found that it is a very rare student indeed who doesn’t benefit enormously from at least one tandem skydive. A tandem will introduce you to the equipment, give you a sneak peek at the aerial view and help you to anticipate what forces will be acting on your body on that necessarily-clench-inducing AFF level one.

2. Enroll in an AFF (“Accelerated Freefall”) first jump course.

Your AFF instruction will comprise classroom instruction as well as sky time. There’s a lot of material to cover, after all! Our best advice for new AFF students is to approach it like athletic training. Stay hydrated, eat clean, do your morning stretches, and arrive at the dropzone dressed for the gym. Bring water and snacks, and avoid highly caffeinated energy drinks. Trust us–you won’t need help staying alert in freefall.

3. Don’t let the weather deter you.

Bad weather? WhatEVER. When you’re a skydiver-in-training, you need all the dropzone time you can get, whether or not you’re in the hangar. Weather days are blessings in disguise for an AFF student. On the ground on a weather day, you can learn to pack parachutes in a super-chill, unhurried setting. You can connect to the community; ask all the questions that pop up; get to know some great mentors; listen to the war stories that will get you thinking about how you’ll respond to certain emergency situations. Plan to dedicate time to being at the dropzone, whether or not the weather looks bluebird. You’ll be glad you did.

4. Seek mentorship.

One of your first priorities in skydiving should be to find a mentor with whom you get along splendidly. This, of course, usually takes time–but a great mentor is worth her weight in gold. Having a person you trust can help move you along the steep early learning curve, and a great mentor’s astute advice and encouragement will reliably boost you through the tough days. A great mentor will also teach you how to be a great mentor, so you’ll be ready with that wisdom when the time comes for you to take the same responsibility for another “new kid.”

5. Review dive flows before you get to the dropzone.

It takes a little while to drive out to the dropzone. (Any dropzone, really–we need to be out in clear airspace so our beloved jumpers aren’t dodging 747s on the way down, y’know.) Here’s a pro tip: You can use that time to optimize your dropzone time. You can do plenty while you’re on the road! First off, you can visualize the dive flow for the AFF level(s) you’ll be doing that day. (Visualization greatly helps to reduce stress when it comes time to execute.) Secondly–and also importantly–you can expand the envelope of your knowledge. Try streaming an episode of Skydive Radio to expand your knowledge of the people, places, and events that drive the sport.

These tips all hang out under the same umbrella, of course: The umbrella of persistence. Getting that tandem done; showing up for the AFF course; hanging out at the dropzone; getting an experienced skydiver to guide you and keep you accountable; making use of your free time to help move you towards your goal…you see the theme, hey? At the end of the day, dogged persistence is what’s going to get you off the ground, in skydiving as in everything else in life. And we’ll be there to high-five you when it does.

Tandem Skydiver in freefall at Skydive Tecumseh

Great experience!! This was my third time doing a tandem jump but first time with Skydive Tecumseh. Being able to jump from 18,000 feet was awesome! Plane ride up is quick and comfortable. Instructors were friendly and professional. If you're thinking about...just do it!!

Tara Geror