So you want to learn to jump out of a plane, huh? Now you’ve made the decision to learn to skydive the first step is easy, and that is to attend our First Time Jump (FTJ) course, which usually runs every two weeks. You can either choose to do the basic FTJ course which includes ground school and one static line jump from 3,500ft or the deluxe package which includes the ground school and three static line jumps. The course schedule is that you do ground school on the Saturday and then do your first jump on Sunday morning. When you sign up, everything is included; training, equipment rental, repacking and all course materials. It’s your job to bring your enthusiasm and excitement.
During the course the instructor will explain the options you have after you’ve completed the FTJ course, which is either Student Progression or Accelerated Freefall (AFF). Skydive Robertson provides both learning options so it’s up to you to decide after talking to your instructor. Student Progression and AFF cost approximately the same but the progression option includes more jumps so you’ll be at the dropzone more often meaning you’ll be soaking up more skydiving experiences from other jumpers, and maybe learn to pack. There are fewer AFF levels and you’ll be done quicker once completed, but each level is more expensive as you’ll have instructors jumping with you so retakes cost more. Each AFF level is from the top, which at Robertson is 11,000ft. Yes, you go straight to 11,000ft and jump into the blue.
What you will learn
At the start of the FTJ course you’ll receive some background on sport parachuting and what you can expect in the future. You’ll learn how important safety is to the sport and why discipline is critical. You’ll learn that fear is natural, and how to overcome this fear to enjoy your jumps, and that jumping regularly helps maintain progress and subdue fear.
You’ll learn about your logbook, airfield, club and sport rules plus the different sport disciplines; formation skydiving, artistic events and wingsuiting, plus canopy disciplines; CRW and swooping. But understand this is all about jumping out of a plane, not from buildings, antennas, spans, or the Earth, or as you might know it, BASE jumping.
Static line is the traditional method of making a first jump and is still the most affordable. This method has evolved over the last thirty years from its military origins into a tried and tested method for training skydivers. Ground training lasts 8 to 9 hours from 08h30 on Saturday mornings dependant on group size. This is followed by a flight to 3500ft for your first jump, weather and aircraft permitting. The class prepares you for everything you need to know about canopy control, landing, emergency procedures and safety checks. Only the feeling of a first skydive is beyond the instructor’s ability to explain! Excitement, anticipation, fear, focus, commitment – and looking good in front of your friends – all combine as you find yourself poised in the door of our single engine Cessna aircraft. As you fall away from the aircraft, the main canopy deploys by means of the static line attached to the aircraft. You will experience approximately 2 to 3 seconds of freefall while the parachute opens.
As the course progresses you learn more and more about safe jumping and sport parachuting. Here is a brief list of what to expect to learn.
- How to manifest and pay for jumps
- Put on a parachute container correctly and make sure it fits
- Board the aircraft in the correct manner
- Move in the aircraft safely with due care for your equipment and reserve handle
- Check your equipment prior to exiting the plane
- Exit the plane correctly in the stable, arched position
- Count out loudly at the correct speed
- Check your main canopy deployment and, if necessary, carry out the correct reserve drill
- Control your parachute correctly
- Land your parachute correctly
- Know what to do in case of a hazardous landing or dragging
- Gather your parachute up properly and carry all equipment back to the packing area
- Take due care when moving on the airfield particularly when crossing runways
- Report back to the Jumpmaster for a debriefing and to get you signed off in your logbook to be authorised for the next jump
Once you’ve successfully completed the FTJ course you can come and jump whenever you like so you’ll learn how to find out what your next training jumps will be and how to make them happen.
- Valid government issued ID (Drivers License, South African ID, Passport)
- 18 years of age or older (or 16 with parental consent + one of the parents MUST be there and have a valid photo ID)
- Under 100 kg
- Runners/Tackies (no boots with hooks for the laces)
- Dress for the weather as normally it is 10C colder at altitude than it is on the ground
Download the following forms, complete and hand in on arrival at the dropzone
Each course cost includes full membership of Skydive Robertson for three months and membership of the Parachute Association of South Africa (PASA) for one year. All course bookings require a R500 non-refundable deposit to secure your spot. As a student you will require a refresher briefing if you leave more than a month between jumps, so it’s important to keep jumping both to stay current and to improve your skills.