Hello, future skydiver (that has a nice ring doesn’t it?). If you’ve landed on this page, it’s likely you’ve got a dream that’s starting to occupy your thoughts – you want to become a skydiver! If that’s you, you’ve come to the right corner of the interwebs because we’ve got some great info to share which highlights the expectations, time and financial commitment required to make your dream a reality. Are you ready to begin your journey? Read on!
Becoming a skydiver is one of the most rewarding endeavors an individual can pursue. Skydiving will build your confidence, build admiration from your peers and you will become part of a tight-knit tribe passionate about living life to its fullest. The rewards are great, but there are sacrifices that every person needs to make to get there. The sacrifice is time and money. Actually, it’s a lot of time and a lot of money, but all can be overcome if you’re committed to making your dream come true.
Before you decide to go all-in on becoming a skydiver, it’s important to set the right expectations for what’s ahead. The first thing to know is that your progress in the early stages of learning will be slow. You will need patience as weather limitations are part of the sport and the weather restrictions for skydiving students are more stringent than for licensed skydivers.
If you’ve spent any time on YouTube or have watched any of Tom Cruise’s action movies then you’ve seen how incredible wingsuiting is – it’s the closest thing to natural flight. Today, wingsuiting is the primary attraction for new skydivers, but the truth is, it takes a lot of time before you can ever put one on. For most skydivers, it takes about two years of skydiving before they have built the skillset and made the appropriate amount of jumps to enroll in a First Flight School. You’ve got to accumulate 200 jumps before that’s possible. Some newer skydivers can easily make 200 jumps in a year, but the average usually makes between 50 and 100 jumps. If your goal is to fly in a wingsuit after one year, it’s easier to do this if you learn to skydive at the start of the skydiving season (spring) than midsummer.
Each year hundreds of skydivers enter the world of wingsuiting, but as in all things rewarding, you’ve got to literally earn your wings.
Becoming a skydiver requires a time commitment especially in the early stages of learning to skydive. It’s likely you’ll be learning to jump on the weekends and it will usually take up an entire weekend day. If you’re wishing to progress more quickly, you’ll want to give up that Sunday as well. It doesn’t sound so bad, but you need to commit to this for months as skydiving is much like learning to drive – the more you do it, the more comfortable and proficient you get. Making a single skydive every other weekend is a surefire way for you to leave the sport early as you need to build momentum and confidence. Jumping irregularly doesn’t generate momentum and your confidence will go through ups and downs.
When learning to skydive, it’s a requirement to make at least one jump every 30 days in order to avoid going “uncurrent.” If you become uncurrent it means you’ll need to repeat the last successful training jump made which adds to the cost of your training.
Unless you have the ability to commit most of your weekends, (or if your job allows weekdays), it’s best to not begin this journey until you’ve got the time to see the dream through.
Learning to skydive and then actively participating in the sport will require a good chunk of your disposable income, but that doesn’t mean you need to be rich in order to become a skydiver. There are many ways to subsidize your skydiving by also working at the dropzone as a packer. Learning to pack and then packing to others can be very lucrative and usually paves the way to offset training expenses. Of course, this requires yet more time at the dropzone. In this next section, we’ll dig into the details of what it costs to become a skydiver.
There isn’t any one set price on the cost of getting into skydiving, but there are distinct phases throughout the learning journey that will have various costs. In this section, we will walk you through the steps and the corresponding prices you can expect to pay at each step.
Even if you absolutely know you want to become a skydiver, it’s important to make a tandem skydive first. This is your first litmus test for you to figure out if you think this is really for you. This is an important first step because skydiving compares to nothing else. Some people who think they will hate the experience end up loving it and vice versa.
|Wednesday - Tandem Skydive||$199.00||Book|
|Thursday - Tandem Skydive||$199.00||Book|
|Friday - Tandem Skydive||$239.00||Book|
|Saturday - Tandem Skydive||$239.00||Book|
|Sunday - Tandem Skydive||$239.00||Book|
Once you’ve completed your tandem skydive and you’ve determined that you
then it’s time to enroll in the AFP (Accelerated Freefall Progression) program. AFP is essentially the learn to skydive training program that will take you from off the street and build the needed skill set towards becoming an A-licensed skydiver. In skydiving the first license everyone tries to attain is the A (there is also a B, C, and D license which are earned based on different jump requirements and skills). The benefit of the A-license is it allows you to jump with other licensed skydivers which is where the fun really begins!
| AFP Level 1 - Introduction to free fall. |
First Jump Course (6 hr ground school) followed by a skydive.
| AFP - Level 2 |
Forward movement and team turns
| AFP - Level 3 |
Release dive - straight down flight
| AFP - Level 4 |
Upper body turns - 90 Degree
| AFP - Level 5 |
Upper body turns - 180° & 360°
| AFP - Level 6 |
Diving exit, back loops and flat tracking
| AFP - Level 7 |
Floater exit, front loops and flat tracking
| AFP - Level 8 |
180° mirrored knee turns
| AFP - Level 9 |
360° two point turns
| AFP - Level 10 |
Fall rate exercise
| AFP - Level 11 |
Turns to "no reach" shoulder docks and track
| AFP - Level 12 |
Accordion arm docks and side body sequential
| AFP - Level 13 |
Dynamic exit, barrel rolls, orbit, track
| AFP - Level 14 |
5 second delay
| AFP - Level 15 |
5 second delay
| AFP - Level 16 |
Challenge dive / A - license check dive
| Jumps 17-25 |
Rate includes lift ticket and rental gear. Price is per jump.
|AFP Package||Regular Cost||Package Deal|
| AFP Phase 1 Package - Includes AFP Levels 1-8 |
Must Be Paid in Full. Payment Is Non-Refundable.
| AFP Phase 2 Package - Includes AFP Levels 9-16 |
Must Be Paid in Full. Payment Is Non-Refundable.
Once you’ve completed the AFP program (a total of 16 jumps), you are now cleared for “solo supervision” which means you’re able to jump alone (Jumps 17-25 above). While this new independence is awesome, you’ll quickly learn that it gets old real quick to jump solo all of the time. You’ll want to jump with others, so you’ll want to begin preparing for your A License exam and “jump test” which serves as your in-air proficiency test with an instructor. The minimum jump requirement to test for the A-license is 25 jumps. If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely you’ll want to start purchasing some essential gear:
You’ll want to be buying used gear, but there is some equipment you’ll want to buy brand new.
All items listed are available for purchase or order at the Skydive Carolina Training Center.
|New Equipment to Buy||Price|
|Altimeter - Alti-2 Altimaster Galaxy Altimeter||$169|
|Full Face Helmet - Cookie G3||$379|
|Gloves - Tackified Gloves||$20|
Once you’ve earned your A, you’ll be eager to purchase your own equipment, but the rule of thumb is to never buy new gear at this stage. As a newbie in the sport, you’ll quickly outgrow the newbie gear and get into gear suited to your interests within skydiving (there are lots of different disciplines), so your first gear purchase should be second hand. Once you’ve got between 100 and 150 jumps then you’ll be ready for a new parachute and container system.
Below is a list of used gear. Prices are approximate and will vary based on equipment type and age of gear. This itemized list is to serve as an approximate guide for budgeting purposes.
|Used Gear Pricing Table||Price|
|Jumpsuit - Bev Suit||$250|
|Automatic Activation Device (AAD) - CYPRES||$1000|
|Parachute - Performance Design Silhouette||$1400|
|Harness Container - Sun Path Javelin||$1600|
You’ve got the training and you’ve got the gear – now it’s time to jump and jump a lot! Your expense is now tied to your flight to altitude – $28 per jump!
We hope this has helped you consider the major factors associated with becoming a skydiver! If after reading all of that and you’re still ready to go, then click on the button below to begin your journey!
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