May 6, 2012, 8:40 AM
Post #1 of 20
Questions AFF vs SL
I've been following this forum for some after doing my tandem jump last year here in the Netherlands. Now that I decided to get licenced this summer I figured it would be time to also sign up here.
I am pretty convinced to take the AFF way after gathering the information to make my choice. Yesterday however, I was at some local DZ to taste the atmosphere and watch some jumps and landings. I was approached by (probably) the DZO and I explained that I was interested in learning to jump. This DZ only the offered static-line method and he tried convincing me that static-line was the best way to go because it was cheaper and after only 5 static line jumps you're licenced and ready to go. You would still have a lot of mony left to make a lot more jumps for the cost of AFF. He then had to leave.
This left me slightly confused. He made it seem that after 5 SL jumps, you can go any DZ, jump with or without static line from any height. I didn't get to confirm this.
So is this true? (I would think you are not that expierenced in freefall because your chute openens rather quick after exit using SL).
(I realize most of you are probably not from the Netherlands.. but the organisation putting up the rules here doesn't actually clearly mention on their website what you get to do after graduating SL school.)
Another thing I was wondering about is the tandem jump I made last year. Would that also count as a jump in my jump-logbook when I get one when I start learning?
Hi! We do static line courses at my home DZ. The course is divided in 2 parts, first part is with a static line. The number of jumps you do on a static line might differ slightly from what we do. We have 3 levels, first level is just a stable exit, second is you have to simulate a pull, the last level is pulling out a dummy ripcord. You need 2 subsequent positive jumps to get to next level. Thus the minimal static jumps you have to do is 6.
Second part is the freefall part. We use the same system of levels: 5 second delay, then 7,10,15,20,30. The last jumps on this plan are instructor assisted jumps which are designed to teach the student to jump with others.
After the plan is complete you have the A-licence which gives you the right too purchase your own equipment and jump in optional hight.
Again, this might differ slightly from what they do in the Netherlands.
But to answer your question. No, you after staticline is complete you are still a freefall student. You can go to other DZ and proceed with the plan there. But you are still subject to the restrictions as a student.
Also the S/L course is more difficult and harder than AFF. S/L has a higher number of quitters per student than AFF
(This post was edited by stian on May 6, 2012, 10:51 AM)
How could you safely jump from 4000 meters when you have never experienced anything close to terminal velocity?
Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking. It really seems like after those 5 levels you need (quite) some more progressive training. First more static line jumps maybe and after that dummy ripcords and increased delays. And indeed, I guess there isn't a "wrong" way, just different ways Thanks.
@ stian: Thanks for your elaborate answer. That makes a lot more sense and I would imagine it's about the same in this region. Why do you think S/L course is more difficult? I would imagine the mental pressure being more intense during AFF because you have a lot to learn in a relative short period of time and probably have more objectives to complete during the jump.
@ IanHarrop: That was indeed the website I already studied for information because that's where it should be. Thanks anyway though! It's only partially and vaguely explained on this website. I'll try to translate: "If you, after finishing groundschool, made 5 jumps, you will get your S/L licence. This means you can start to freefall. This is of course only allowed when you are ready for it. "...
So yeah, how is "freefall" defined in this context and what does "when you are ready for it" mean and who determines that..
Anyway.. I've pretty much got my mind set on AFF. I like how it's more individualized and shaped like a "crash-course" (hope it won't end that way though). I also would like to recieve the in-air corrections and having the ability to pull right from the first jump.
I'll most likely be arranging this sometime soon. In the meantime however I'm looking forward to any further replies. Thanks!
Thanks for your elaborate answer. That makes a lot more sense and I would imagine it's about the same in this region. Why do you think S/L course is more difficult? I would imagine the mental pressure being more intense during AFF because you have a lot to learn in a relative short period of time and probably have more objectives to complete during the jump.
Having gone through S/L progression and being a Static line instructor I can say that S/L is mentally more challenging because you are left to yourself. Once you complete the progression with your dummy pulls, you will have to jump out of plane by yourself and pull by yourself. This is the mentally most challenging part. In my experience 9/10 people quit during that phase, they make one or two manual jumps(where the pull themselves) and never show up again. During AFF you will have one or two instructors in the air with you until you are proficient enough to go alone. S/L it's all on you. I also think you get a greater feeling of accomplishment pulling through static line, and jumping in small club will make you a better skydiver as whole, you will learn spotting, and you will have way more time under canopy than AFF Students giving you more experience. You will not be scared to jump from 1000m, unlike AFF students...
If you have any trouble, go to a wind tunnel for 10 minutes and let them know what you are doing, this will boost your self confidence and you won't have to worry about pulling unstable.
Yes S/L is a course designed too educate a mass of people. The Student must be very proactive. AFF students are allways looked after by an instructor. The students also get comfartable in freefall very quickly, this is probably why AFF students stick around longer. The first jumps are scary as hell and you don't really fall in love with the sport untill you get some freefall time. In S/L I find that the people who get too 10-15 second delay generally will stick around, but as you can see that is a long way on the progresion plan. That being said I allways get the impression that AFF is very Crash course ish. We often get visits from AFF students who can't pack, don't want too jump low and lack the understanding regarding winds, spotting and planning jump runs
So the Con in S/L is that you are left too yourself alot. The Pro is that you get a much more thorough education if you are proactive. We teach students too pack early, You become the master of stable exits , you get comfartable when jumping from low heights and you learn a bunch of other stuff which AFF students seem to miss out on
Both programs have benefits and both have drawbacks.
SL costs less than AFF. SL has a slower learning curve than AFF (I think this is a benefit, some see it as a drawback). SL focuses MUCH more on canopy control at the early levels (again, I see this as a benefit). If you have low clouds, you can often still do hop n pops and AFF students will be stuck on the ground. SL is often less expensive.
AFF focuses much more on freefall skills. AFF has the benefit of an instructor that can physically help you while in freefall. AFF normally has a faster progression.
No matter what method you take.... You will most likely consider it to be the best method.
I learned SL and have instructor ratings in SL, AFF, and Tandem. If I had a child that wanted to learn to jump... This is the program they would go through (If I didn't have a tunnel near me):
1. 2 Tandem jumps with me. This would teach them basic freefall position and freefall turns, pulling and canopy control and pattern. This would also let them experience skydiving and decide if they want to continue.
2. 5 Static line jumps working on deployment and canopy control.
3. AFF starting at level 4/5.
4. 10 hop n pops to work on canopy control.
If there was a tunnel..... All the above steps would still be there, but I would add 30 mins of tunnel at step 2.
I would like to add one thing to what others are saying about being "left alone" after the initial static line and practice pulls. You generally wont be completely left alone. On your first free fall, 5 and possibly 10 second delays a coach will be in the plane with you, and will watch your exit and freefall. Once you get past these jumps you should have a coach jumping with you. The coach is not there to hold your hand and help you, but will be in the air with you watching what you are doing, to let you know what you did right and wrong once you get back on the ground.
And I do agree with what the others have said about S/L students more self confident jumpers.
After you do 3 by-the-book SL jumps in a row, you progress to fake-pulling your own canopy (called dummy pulls). You need to do this correctly twice in a row.
You need to do 5 SL jumps in any case before freefalling. Most people take one or more extra jumps before they finish their dummy pulls but since these jumps are like EUR 32 each, no biggie.
Provided you are at a DZ that offers the SL progression jumps (Texel AFAIK does not, nor Rotterdam), you can progress to freefall without having to pay for AFF. See, when we are convinced you can pull by yourself, within 24hrs of the last dummy you can now go up for your first freefall jump, usually this is a 10 secs freefall jump, from 5000ft-ish. Do this correctly and up you go, ending up at 12000ft/ 60 sec freefall jumps after a couple jumps.
Each jump, you generally only pay for the altitude you go to and the equipment hire. You don't pay an instructor to jump with you. Hence the much lower price per jump.
By the time you've paid that EUR 1300~ you would have paid for AFF, you will have made a good numer of jumps more if you go the static line route. Which is why it is a much cheaper progression.
The SL license by itself isn't that useful by the way, only if you want to wear the military wing. With just the ground course plus a SL jump or two, you would be good to jump on another Dutch DZ that offers SL (not all of them do). It's just that usually you pay for at least 5 SL jumps with the course so why switch DZs so soon, doesn't make much sense. But you could. Anyway after the SL license you want to make sure you progress to 9000ft/12000ft and pass the stability tests, because that would clear you to jump at any Dutch DZ, whether they offer SL or not.
@ ibx: It makes sense why that would be more challenging now, thanks. You do indeed have to do things on your own. If I look at my personality however, I prefer the (in-air) guidance above doing the freefall bit by myself after those S/L jumps. I can imagine you'll get a great sense of accomplishement though and it's clear there are certain benefits when compared to AFF.
@ stian: I like your comparison. As I mentioned, I think I prefer the course to be more individualized. I'm also probably not thát proactive and I like the idea of a instructor keeping a watch during all phases of learning. It makes sense that you might miss some things going with AFF. I do like theory, understanding how exactly things work, being able to pack...
@ Ron: Thanks for the clear comparison! My image is really starting to shape up completely. I like your course outline. It's a nice mixture of both courses.
@ justme12001: That makes sense. I wondered already about who would give you feedback on how you during your progressing there.
@ dragon2: Thanks for the info! Nice to know there's more Dutch peoply hanging around, it makes it easier as well to answer my initial question.
I made my tandemjump on Texel last august and last weekend I went to DZ Oostwold (Skydiveblauwstad), close to where I live. (I don't think that DZ is (yet) in the database here?)
Your description is pretty clear to me. An instructor would determine if you pass the stability tests?
I like to have all the information I need to make choices like this. I tend to gather, then doubt for a while and eventually compare everything as much as I can, make up my mind and go for it! (So far this topic has broadened my view, which is great).
One thing's for sure, I'm gonna get that license this summer, one way or another!
I would like to add a bit more of my experience to this thread, not to change anyone’s mind but to leave the information here for someone that might search on this topic in the future.
I am not knocking AFF either.
For reasons that are not important to this thread I did 2 AFF, 2 SL, 1 AFF, 2 SL, 4 AFF, and quit AFF. I quit because flexibility in my lower back and strength in my lower back, prohibited me from sustaining a good arch during the 50 seconds of free fall. C2 jump instructor’s comments were like, “You did fine for about 10 or 15 seconds and then your arch got lazy”. Try as I might I could not do better, at that time. Jan 4 was my last AFF jump. SL from then on was my plan.
Through the winter I worked on my back. In late March our local DZ was open and I quickly was cleared for free fall. 3 five second jumps, 2 ten second jumps, and I could hold heading and be stable. Doing 3 five second jumps instead of 2, didn’t seem as bad to me as repeating an AFF jump. As Ron mentioned it might take longer. I need longer and to be a slower pace, as I am an older student. SL has fit me very well. I love the challenge of being by myself trying to get it right. I also provide some entertainment for the other jumpers as they put me out, chuckle a bit, and keep climbing up.
One more note, the SL exits between AFF jumps did one thing I didn’t expect. I was able to exit a LOT better for my next AFF jumps. It took me some practice to get my head in the game the instant I was falling. SL was good practice for that.
Sorry to bump this but I thought I'd let you know I've made up my mind (Thanks for all the info!)
I'll be going with AFF on DZ Texel, NL around 15th of July. Who knows, I might meet one of you guys there.
It'll be great anyway, I can't wait!
Good luck with AFF! I can't wait to hear what you thought of your first jump.
I too had to decide between S/L and AFF. I personally went AFF and I never did a tandem or any tunnel. I just jumped in with both feet. I studied the SIMS just to have a BETTER UNDERSTANDING of what would be taught in my ground school. I personally am very happy with my decision and feel that AFF is a better program for myself. I don't know if it would be for other people who want to get into the sport and I really feel that it really is a personal choice for everyone. That's just my noob opinion and what I had done to make my first jump.
I made this thread some time ago but it helped me sort some things out, so thanks again!
However now I'd like to announce that my AFF is only 4 days away at this point, so I'll be starting 15th of July.
Tomorrow I will be visiting the windtunnel in Roosendaal here in the Netherlands to get some practice in advance.
I started up a weblog where I will write down all my experiences regarding the tunnel and of course the whole AFF-training. The first post is already there and covers an introduction and why I made the decision to get into skydiving!
Jul 11, 2012, 4:44 PM
Post #20 of 20
Re: [Adriaan22] AFF up in couple of days!
[In reply to]
You slready have the weather on your side for the first couple of days, and I'm sure the windtunnel will give you great convidence. A tandem is fun, but doing it yourself is even better. have faith in these crazy bastards jumping with you. After all, they're all you CAN trust at that point.