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I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions.

 

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Kirkk0herra

Feb 17, 2014, 6:21 AM
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I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. Can't Post

Hello,

I'm a new member of this forum. I'm a 34 years old dive instructor from Finland and it's been my dream for sometime now to change the depths for blue skies. It does scare me a bit, though. Maybe it's being a dive instructor that immediately brings all the horror scenarios with a student to my mind. Except this time I'm the student in an unfamiliar environment.

My plan is to do the AFF + 30 or so jumps in Spain in early June. Before going there I'll do 10 x 1min in a local wind tunnel just to get feeling of things. I know it's not required or same thing as an actual jump but I figured it might boost my survival odds by having at least some experience about freefall, body positions and how to move in mid air.

I figured I'll do the 30 or so additional jumps on top of the course just to get a little more experience. I feel doing a course of anything and then returning to it, to do it 'for real' after a pause is a recipe for a disaster. Feel free to comment my plan.

Then couple of questions, if I may. Does anyone know anything about this place http://www.skydivespain.com/ ? That's the place I have in mind.

Can I use this kind of helmet for skydiving? I just got one for Christmas. http://www.dalescycles.com/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/661_comp_black_helmet.jpg

Anything else I should know about at this stage? Thanks in advance. Smile


shropshire  (C License)

Feb 17, 2014, 6:35 AM
Post #2 of 35 (3851 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.dalescycles.com/...omp_black_helmet.jpg


Unfortunately, a lot of places will not let you jump as a student with a full face helmet.


PixieUK  (A License)

Feb 17, 2014, 9:07 AM
Post #3 of 35 (3711 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your post seems an odd mixture of knowledge and confusion (why would anyone buy a cycle helmet for skydiving? Why would you do a skydiving course, then stop jumping?). I suspect this is a troll post but will answer as though you are genuine.

No, you will not be permitted to jump with that helmet at Skydive Spain. As a student all the gear you need including jumpsuit, open face helmet, goggles, altimeter, student rig will be supplied.

Tunnel time may help with your body position and your stability, assuming you don't succumb to sensory overload when you actually jump. You will have 2 instructors with you in free fall for at least your first 3 jumps anyway so they will assist with your stability by getting you into the right position. They will only let go of you if they think you are already stable and will give you hand signals to help. The ground school training is extremely thorough - if you can absorb everything they tell you, it is possible to progress very rapidly through the AFF levels.

Landing area at Skydive Spain is unusual in that it is only in an East - West direction or West - East direction, regardless of what the wind is doing due to extreme hazards to the North and South of the landing area. The prevailing winds mean that this usually still allows for downwind or only slightly crosswind landings but you must land in the direction of the arrow, regardless of the windsock. All of this will be explained in great detail at your briefings.

If you are out in Spain for a week, then it would be possible to get your A licence in that time. That is a UK style A-licence which allows you to jump solo. If you want to jump with other people, you will need to do your FS1 coached jumps as well, which will then get you to the equivalent stage of a US A-licence, where you can jump with others who have at least that minimum standard.


Kirkk0herra

Feb 17, 2014, 10:05 AM
Post #4 of 35 (3629 views)
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Re: [PixieUK] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

PixieUK wrote:
Your post seems an odd mixture of knowledge and confusion (why would anyone buy a cycle helmet for skydiving? Why would you do a skydiving course, then stop jumping?). I suspect this is a troll post but will answer as though you are genuine.

English is my second language so forgive me if something is lost in translation. I got the helmet for mountain biking, I just thought maybe it can be used for skydiving as well. By stopping I meant a pause in skydiving. If I gotta work very hard for -say- 4 months I might not be able to jump at all during that time. And if a person has only done the bare bone basic stuff once and has that 4 month gap and then goes back to do 'a real' solo jump, chances are a lot of stuff has been forgotten.

We're looking at 2-3 weeks in Spain. So time might not be the problem, money might.


(This post was edited by Kirkk0herra on Feb 17, 2014, 10:11 AM)


catfishhunter  (D 28796)

Feb 17, 2014, 3:40 PM
Post #5 of 35 (3449 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

There are lots of trolls so you have to have thick skin when you get here and ask the same questions that have been asked a thousand times but if you can handle that jumping is going to be a breeze. :)

The tunnel will help with the free fall but it will have very little to do with your survival odds. That will come from the training you receive from your instructors.

Being an instructor yourself will help IF you remember all the things you hate about your students and DON'T do that to your instructors.

Have fun and post a follow up and don't be afraid to ask questions but try to search and see if it has already been asked and answered.


shift  (A License)

Feb 17, 2014, 8:09 PM
Post #6 of 35 (3309 views)
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Re: [catfishhunter] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you got a great plan. Tunnel time is a great resource for anyone, not just new jumpers. Also, getting more experience before taking a break is a good idea.

As for equipment, skydive spain will probably have everything you need included in the cost of your AFF course. Call them and make sure.


ianyapxw

Feb 18, 2014, 1:48 AM
Post #7 of 35 (3243 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, it might be a good idea to mention to your tunnel instructor you're planning on doing AFF. They might be able to help focus your learning.


Kirkk0herra

Feb 18, 2014, 2:39 AM
Post #8 of 35 (3228 views)
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Re: [ianyapxw] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

ianyapxw wrote:
Also, it might be a good idea to mention to your tunnel instructor you're planning on doing AFF. They might be able to help focus your learning.

That's a good point! I'll keep that in mind.

I'm still a bit confused if the AFF + 30 jumps gets me an A-licence or not. What's involved in getting a FS1 Pixie mentioned? If I can catch a ride up in the sky am I allowed to jump only solo without FS1?

If someone has a clear chart of all of these stages with them explained, I'd appreciate one. And thanks for all the answers! Smile


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Feb 18, 2014, 6:44 AM
Post #9 of 35 (3128 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kirkk0herra wrote:
ianyapxw wrote:
Also, it might be a good idea to mention to your tunnel instructor you're planning on doing AFF. They might be able to help focus your learning.

That's a good point! I'll keep that in mind.

I'm still a bit confused if the AFF + 30 jumps gets me an A-licence or not. What's involved in getting a FS1 Pixie mentioned? If I can catch a ride up in the sky am I allowed to jump only solo without FS1?

If someone has a clear chart of all of these stages with them explained, I'd appreciate one. And thanks for all the answers! Smile

Different countries have different rules. Pixie is in Britain, and they have fairly restrictive rules for students/beginners.

You should probably contact a local DZ and make sure the license you get in Spain will be valid in Finland, or that you would be able to get a valid Finnish license (is there such a thing?) with whatever you get in Spain.
They would also be able to answer any questions about what you can and cannot do with any license you get.
The instructors in Spain may well be able to answer that too. They often train people from places with "less than ideal" weather.

The tunnel instructors or operators might be able to answer those questions too. Many (but not all) are skydivers too. If they don't have the answers, they should be able to point you in the right direction.


Blis  (Student)

Feb 18, 2014, 9:20 AM
Post #10 of 35 (3077 views)
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

wolfriverjoe wrote:
Kirkk0herra wrote:
ianyapxw wrote:
Also, it might be a good idea to mention to your tunnel instructor you're planning on doing AFF. They might be able to help focus your learning.

That's a good point! I'll keep that in mind.

I'm still a bit confused if the AFF + 30 jumps gets me an A-licence or not. What's involved in getting a FS1 Pixie mentioned? If I can catch a ride up in the sky am I allowed to jump only solo without FS1?

If someone has a clear chart of all of these stages with them explained, I'd appreciate one. And thanks for all the answers! Smile

Different countries have different rules. Pixie is in Britain, and they have fairly restrictive rules for students/beginners.

You should probably contact a local DZ and make sure the license you get in Spain will be valid in Finland, or that you would be able to get a valid Finnish license (is there such a thing?) with whatever you get in Spain.
They would also be able to answer any questions about what you can and cannot do with any license you get.
The instructors in Spain may well be able to answer that too. They often train people from places with "less than ideal" weather.

The tunnel instructors or operators might be able to answer those questions too. Many (but not all) are skydivers too. If they don't have the answers, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

I'm fairly sure that completing AFF in spain gets you A-license in finland...


PixieUK  (A License)

Feb 19, 2014, 3:45 PM
Post #11 of 35 (2871 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

To answer your question about the A licence and FS1:

http://www.bpa.org.uk/...after-bpa-a-licence/

BPA A-licence requires a minimum of 18 jumps. 8 AFF levels, each of which must be passed, which may take more than one jump per level, then 10 consolidation solo jumps (no instructor jumps with you but an instructor will check your kit in the plane and tell you when to jump). Once you have qualified, you may jump solo, or with a coach, or with one other person who has at least a C licence at the Chief Instructors discretion.

In order to jump with other people at A or B licence level, you must also pass the FS1 (Formation Skydiving) course. There are no set number of jumps to do for this - you need to pass a series of skills and will be signed off for each skill by the coach. A specific FS1 course usually covers about 10 jumps, several one-to-one coached jumps then at least one 3-way jump and at least one 4-way jump (with coaches /experienced skydivers).

This is different to the US A-licence system where a minimum of 25 jumps are required and several of those are coached jumps which then allows you to jump with other people.

Skydive Spain operates the BPA A licence system then adds FS1 coached jumps if you want as a separate course or as individual jumps (I have done 1 FS coached jump with them and am going back out in March to do more - the weather in the UK is still rubbish Tongue).

Check out their website for comprehensive details:
http://www.skydivespain.com/...ienced/formation.htm

So your 30 jumps could just about cover A licence and FS1 but you would need to pass every level pretty much first time, which is a lot of pressure to put yourself under.

For the time that you are out there, if the weather is good, you should easily be able to fit in 35+ jumps so perhaps consider doing your A licence, then a couple of FS1 coached jumps then some solos to practice those skills, then a couple more coached jumps and do it that way. I chose to do my CH2 (canopy handling) before worrying about FS1 - the way I see it, once you've jumped out of the plane, playing with other people is optional, landing isn't! So I focused on my flying and landing skills first SmileSmile


Kirkk0herra

Mar 6, 2014, 4:07 AM
Post #12 of 35 (2491 views)
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Re: [PixieUK] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for all the replies. I'm gonna do CH2 instead of FS1. When do you need FS1? Is it needed for simultaneous exit or is it needed if there's other people up in the sky?

And for that helmet, are there skydiving specific helmets or can I use my brand new BMX helmet after the course [gopro in mind]? Maybe remove the visor from it. Maybe I'm just cheap and out of cupboard space but I don't want to buy several helmets and mounts if I switch between snowboarding / mountain biking / other sports. Unless it doesn't work because of aerodynamics or for other reasons.


mattjw916  (D License)

Mar 6, 2014, 9:01 AM
Post #13 of 35 (2389 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

that is not a good helmet for skydiving


skydivecat  (C License)

Mar 6, 2014, 9:52 AM
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

I do not jump in Europe so I will let someone more familiar with the licenses over there answer that question.

There are skydiving specific helmets and jumping your BMX helmet is not a good option. While you are a student the dropzone will provide a helmet for you on all jumps. Go, start learning, and ASK YOU INSTRUCTORS what type of helmet would work best for you and for them if you want to buy your own. This is the number one piece of advice we can give you because the people teaching you have the only opinions that matter. Here on the internet they are a dime a dozen and what is allowed accepted one place may not be the same at another.

I wouldn't even be thinking about the gopro/mounts yet either, you are getting way ahead of yourself. Most dropzones that I jump at require a 200 jump minimum before you can jump a camera. If you use the search function at the top right of this page you can find the answers to a lot of questions regarding this.

Go, enroll, start jumping, start learning, ask questions, but do it from your instructors. Try not to get ahead of yourself and try to keep perspective as to what is important (learning to safely skydive vs gopro mounts and lower costs). Hope this helps, good luck!


(This post was edited by skydivecat on Mar 6, 2014, 9:55 AM)


ridebmxbikes  (D 33588)

Mar 6, 2014, 10:38 AM
Post #15 of 35 (2319 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

If its a fullface bmx it probably won't work. They make way better fullfaces for skydiving. If you have a open face bmx/snowboard helmet it could work, just bring it by the dz and show it to the instructors. The worst they will say is no.


PixieUK  (A License)

Mar 7, 2014, 3:59 PM
Post #16 of 35 (2139 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kirkk0herra wrote:
Thank you for all the replies. I'm gonna do CH2 instead of FS1. When do you need FS1? Is it needed for simultaneous exit or is it needed if there's other people up in the sky?

And for that helmet, are there skydiving specific helmets or can I use my brand new BMX helmet after the course [gopro in mind]? Maybe remove the visor from it. Maybe I'm just cheap and out of cupboard space but I don't want to buy several helmets and mounts if I switch between snowboarding / mountain biking / other sports. Unless it doesn't work because of aerodynamics or for other reasons.

In the UK, FS1 is needed if you want to jump out of the plane with other people at the same time to do formations or if you want to jump with a friend who doesn't have at least a C licence. You would need to check with dropzones in other countries what they require. You can jump solo once you have your A licence without needing FS1.

Also, in the UK, you cannot jump with a GoPro or other camera until you have at least a C licence (200 jumps, FS1 plus all the other qualifications required for a B licence) and even then, it is at the Chief Instructor's discretion at each dropzone. Again, you would need to check at the specific dropzone where you plan to jump.

I doubt you'd be allowed to jump with that helmet, certainly not before qualifying. I know what you mean about a helmet for each sport - I have one for cycling, one for rock-climbing, one for skydiving.... The way I view it, my skull is incredibly important to me and keeping my brains inside it, is a very high priority Tongue If that means another 50-100 on a helmet specific to the sport, then so be it. In the overall cost of skydiving, that is going to be one of your cheaper purchases, lol.


Kirkk0herra

Mar 8, 2014, 2:54 PM
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Re: [PixieUK] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the replies, once again. We'll sort out the rest once we're actually there.

As for the camera I totally understand the limitations. Being a dive instructor we have same kind of rules. But 200 seems a bit harsh for a thing that's mounted on top of your helmet and doesn't tie your hands operating it nor make you focus on the thing. In scuba diving amateur with a camera can get into trouble by entanglement or losing buoyancy while trying to take a shot, dropping it and by making a foolish recovery attempt etc. Still cameras are widely ok on fun dives if you're certified diver even with just 10 dives. But I'm not going to fight over it, just saying.


(This post was edited by Kirkk0herra on Mar 8, 2014, 2:55 PM)


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 8, 2014, 3:19 PM
Post #18 of 35 (1999 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kirkk0herra wrote:
Thanks for the replies, once again. We'll sort out the rest once we're actually there.

As for the camera I totally understand the limitations. Being a dive instructor we have same kind of rules. But 200 seems a bit harsh for a thing that's mounted on top of your helmet and doesn't tie your hands operating it nor make you focus on the thing. In scuba diving amateur with a camera can get into trouble by entanglement or losing buoyancy while trying to take a shot, dropping it and by making a foolish recovery attempt etc. Still cameras are widely ok on fun dives if you're certified diver even with just 10 dives. But I'm not going to fight over it, just saying.


How many minutes of Scuba stuff are IN 10 dives...probably about 300?

200 jumps is around 200 minutes...YOU SCUBA guys DO get it! Wink


Kirkk0herra

Mar 8, 2014, 3:31 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was more like referring to the fact that while jumping you don't operate the camera and it doesn't hinder your ability to perform. It's stuck on your helmet and that's it. While diving you have to operate the camera, compensate for buoyancy etc. In general pay a lot of attention to the camera and that creates a safety hazard among inexperienced divers.


Trafficdiver  (C 39999)

Mar 8, 2014, 3:57 PM
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

How are you going to handle it when it catches on your buddies PC because you cant fly well enough not to slam your head into his side?


Joellercoaster  (D 105792)

Mar 9, 2014, 1:01 AM
Post #21 of 35 (1888 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kirkk0herra wrote:
I was more like referring to the fact that while jumping you don't operate the camera and it doesn't hinder your ability to perform. It's stuck on your helmet and that's it.

The reason for the skydiving rule is that this has repeatedly been shown not to be true. Enough people have said "I'll just turn it on and forget it" and then flown into a fence or whatever that we know there is some effect on attention.

And since things can happen very quickly, it's considered a bad idea for newer skydivers to have something that impairs their focus and levels of attention to the job.

I know it seems like a lot at this point in time, but 200 is not very many skydives (as someone pointed out upthread, that's maybe 3 hours of freefall total).

It's a good rule.


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Mar 9, 2014, 5:51 AM
Post #22 of 35 (1851 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kirkk0herra wrote:
I was more like referring to the fact that while jumping you don't operate the camera and it doesn't hinder your ability to perform. It's stuck on your helmet and that's it. While diving you have to operate the camera, compensate for buoyancy etc. In general pay a lot of attention to the camera and that creates a safety hazard among inexperienced divers.

Right.

Why would skydivers be any different than Scuba divers?

There's an entire forum dedicated to Photography and Video. There are 2 "sticky" threads at the top of it. They both have a wealth of info on new jumpers and cameras.


Kirkk0herra

Mar 9, 2014, 4:04 PM
Post #23 of 35 (1744 views)
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Re: [Trafficdiver] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a good point and I don't have an answer, maybe by keeping adequate space between us?. Both diving and skydiving are inherently dangerous sports. The presence of a camera as a contributing factor can be debated. Usually -at least underwater- it's seldom the rookies who do stupid stuff and get into trouble, 9 times out of ten it's the seasoned veterans who push the envelope and run out of luck. But like I said previously, I'm ok with the rules. I'm a rookie. I'm not here to come up with new rules. I do as I am told. Period.


manseman  (D License)

Mar 10, 2014, 2:22 AM
Post #24 of 35 (1663 views)
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Re: [Kirkk0herra] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kirkk0herra wrote:
But 200 seems a bit harsh for a thing that's mounted on top of your helmet and doesn't tie your hands operating it nor make you focus on the thing.

It does take a bit of focus. Both in the air and while preparing for the jump, on the ground and in the plane before exiting. Make a few jumps and then let us know if you feel that you have any focus to spare in any of those situations.


ianyapxw

Mar 10, 2014, 3:11 AM
Post #25 of 35 (1647 views)
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Re: [manseman] I'm about to sign up for an AFF course. Beginner questions. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think your post is off.

He might be legitimately ready before 200 flights to fly with a camera, or he might think he's ready before 200 flights though he isn't. Simply stating
Quote:
make a few jumps and then let us know if you feel that you have focus to spare
isn't the way to convince him.

To Kirkk0herra, there are a variety of reasons, such as snag hazard or awareness. A jumper can focus too much on getting the shot and losing track of other jumpers or the altitude.

edit: at the end of the day, standards are not set by us. It is set by people who are (supposedly) knowledgeable and experienced and act in our best interest. The true reason(s) will only be known by them, everything else is just bits and pieces we hear.


(This post was edited by ianyapxw on Mar 10, 2014, 3:13 AM)


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