Average Length of Time to Get Skydiving License

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Average Length of Time to Get Skydiving License

Getting a skydiving license is a unique journey that allows you the freedom of flying through the sky totally solo or with friends! Your skydiving license is the key that unlocks the door to a whole new world that you maybe never even knew existed. You’ll gain access to an amazing community, super awesome events, and unlimited learning – the sky is your oyster!

While there is no specific length of time it takes to learn to solo skydive, there is an average.

AFF student at Skydive Carolina about to exit the plan with the instructor.

How Many Jumps Does it Take to Get Your AFF?

The Accelerated Freefall Program (AFF) is your rapid path to a skydiving license. This immersive 19-jump course equips you with the essential skills necessary to skydive independently. The program focuses on enhancing your freefall and canopy handling capabilities, leading you towards safe solo and group skydives. Upon finishing the AFF program, you will undertake additional solo jumps to fulfill the 25-jump requirement of the United States Parachute Association (USPA) for an ‘A’ license.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Skydiving License on Average?

On average, a skydiving license is usually obtained within a month’s time. It really just depends on how many jumps you can get in and how quickly you are able to progress. Here are some of the factors that impact the amount of time it takes to get your skydiving license:

1. Time Commitment

Skydiving in general is a huge time commitment; skydiving as a student is an even bigger time commitment. Between waiting to get on a load, training before the jump, doing the jump, and debriefing after the jump … the time it takes to do one student jump could take hours! Not to mention, the ground course alone can last all day. This isn’t to turn you away, but to show you how dedicated we are to the safety of each individual involved in the jump and to ensure you are fully prepared to have a successful solo skydive. As a student, you could complete between one and four jumps in a day (depending on operations).

Most dropzones follow the Integrated Student Program (ISP) provided by the USPA, but dropzones do have the freedom to add additional requirements on top of the approved student program as they please. The additional training or jump requirements beyond the AFF program have the potential to extend the time needed to earn your skydiving license. At Skydive Carolina, we offer one of the most comprehensive skydive training programs in the United States with two phases.

aff student deploys parachute learning to skydive

2. Weather

Skydiving is highly weather-dependent. Adverse conditions can lead to safety hazards which can delay or even cancel jumps. For student skydivers, the fair weather window is much smaller than that of a licensed skydiver – more so in terms of winds and wind gusts. This can extend the overall duration of your training progression.

3. Your Schedule

We all have lives, jobs, families, friends … and so on! It can be hard to coordinate life in general, especially something that requires a lot of time commitment, like skydiving. The dropzone has its own operating hours and student jumps can only be performed in the daylight with good weather so it leaves little wiggle room. Getting your skydiving license may require you to temporarily re-prioritize your life due to the small window of time available for you to actually get some jumps in. This can be difficult for some and is a big reason why people take longer than usual to complete their skydiving license.

4. Cost

Skydiving ain’t cheap! Getting your skydiving license is a big investment and, depending on your financial situation, the cost alone could delay your progression. Some students prefer to just do one jump at a time while some like to save a bit of money in order to do multiple jumps in a day – both scenarios are normal. It all depends on what you are comfortable spending – besides, there’s plenty to learn on the ground, too! We promise it’ll all be worth it.

aff student works towards earning skydiving license

5. Individual Progression

Your age, agility, or performance may impact the amount of time it takes you to earn your license. Getting your skydiving license takes quite a bit of skill (mentally, physically, and emotionally). You may find that the skydive itself is pretty strenuous and want to pace yourself as you progress. OR you may be a natural at nailing the body position and landing, seeing each jump as even more inspiration to keep jumping. If that’s your truth, we say go for it!

Keep in mind that the AFF course is exactly that, a course, and you are a student. Just like every other student, there is a potential to fail. If you fail a jump, you will be required to repeat the jump until you pass, which will delay your individual progression. Don’t get discouraged though, our instructors have a knack for helping guide our students toward success!

6. Recurrency Jumps

While we encourage our students to complete the student program at their own pace, there is a bit of a time restraint as far as staying current goes. For students, the USPA requires that a jump be made within 30 days or the student must either repeat the jump under the direct supervision of an appropriately-rated USPA Instructor, or may be required to retake the course all over again (depending on how long it’s been). This usually is decided by the dropzone’s Safety and Training Advisor (S&TA).

Getting your skydiving license isn’t a race and everyone progresses at their own pace, which is totally fine! What’s important is that you are taking the time to soak up all the information you need in order to be a safe and happy skydiver. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey, keep an open mind, and embrace every opportunity – no need to rush!

Ready to start your solo skydiving journey? Book your AFF course today with Skydive Carolina! Blue skies.

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