I was in the same situation as you when I decided I might want to go through AFF. Did a tandem in 2004 then again in 2007. Started AFF in 2009 and got my license in 2010, I did not do another tandem before AFF.
If I were you I would take a look at the online ground school (the URL below) to educate yourself on the things you need to know in order to learn to skydive. If it is still something you think you might want to do go sign up for actual ground school at the nearest drop zone. After ground school your instructor(s) should have a good read on you and whether or not they think you should do a tandem before your first AFF jump. Also ask them about it and what they did. Everyone is different and progresses at their own rate.
Skydiving is expensive, there is no way around it. It would definitely be cheaper to go straight to AFF without doing another tandem. Before you make that decision, however, be sure to ask yourself "is my life less important than the money it will take to ensure my safety?" If you have to do another tandem, so what, it will just prepare you more for your first AFF.
Also, it is very normal to be nervous and terrified for your first AFF jump so expect to be when you are in the door
I have a little more than a half hour in the Orlando tunnel and during discussions with experienced skydivers that I have had they have all said that the tunnels very closely replicate the freefall experience which is why a tunnel is such an equally good training tool for the newbies as well as old pros. Think about signing up for an overnight tunnel camp where substantial discounts may be available. A 15 minute block of time still may seem expensive but one gets the freefall experience of about 15 skydive flights in about an hour with less anxiety if that is a problem. iFLY Orlando has a camp Sat night Aug 23 but I'm not sure there are any vacancies even although a few cancelled. Looks like there might be an opening at 12:00 am or 1:00 am for last minute reservations. No matter where one goes to fly in a tunnel it is REAL FUN + great training.
It's been about a year since I've done a tandem skydive (only have done two in my life) and I am looking to start my FJC in September.
I feel like the fear has really built back up so I'm wondering if I should do another tandem to shake it off, or just go into the FJC and start class A aff jump?
Do the tunnel. Tell them you'll be an AFF student in September. The basic belly skills will pay off enormously in AFF.
I would say NOT to make another tandem. It's a security blanket you'll have to shrug off eventually. Part of your fear is ignorance of what will happen and what you'll need to do on your first AFF jump. Taking the class should help you focus, clear up any misconceptions, and calm down.
When you do make that first jump, spend your spare time on the plane visualizing yourself doing all your freefall tasks perfectly, again and again. This is the technique used by world champions to stay focused for their jumps. Rid yourself of any "what if I screw up?" thoughts. Focus strictly on visualizing everything going perfectly.
I will throw out a big core dump being a newer jumper having started last September (well, second time). For starters, I would definitely analyze the cost of skydiving. It is very expensive as you know. If in the long run you can't afford it, why put yourself through the hassle. Just do a tandem jump now and then. Ok, assuming you can afford some reasonable level of jumping ...
I did some wind tunnel time before my AFF1. I was doing stuff way beyond what would be required in AFF1: turns, grips, side slides, burble hopping, practice pulls, COA's, having the coach wrestle me like an unbalanced AFF instructor, etc. When I did my AFF1, I had confidence that I could arch and be stable. That really helped.
Regarding fear, it varies a lot by individual, but I think the vast majority have a lot of fear up front - you are not alone. I have close to 400 jumps now and I still feel it on the drive to the DZ, on the plane, etc. But the more jumps I make, the more it goes down and I can deal with it. Especially with multiple jumps on the same day.
That said, and you probably experienced this one with tandem, the fear is about the event that hasn't happened. The event itself is a blast. It is like a big amusement park thrill ride you have never ridden. You are nervous in line, but the ride is a blast, and you run as fast as you can to get back in line. Only to experience fear again, albeit a little less each time. I would not let it hold you back. There is nothing like skydiving. You are jumping out of an airplane - there are some self-preservation instincts involved of course!
I did not do a tandem jump, but I don't think that is such a bad idea. True eventually you have to do it on your own and face the music, but one warm-up tandem jump say the day before your AFF class seems like a reasonable idea to me. Although if it is one or the other, no brainer - invest in the AFF jump.
Side note: I made 112 skydives a little over thirty years ago, so I had some prior experience. Otherwise I would have done a tandem methinks.
Aug 30, 2014, 5:35 AM
Post #12 of 13
Re: [JohnMitchell] Should I tandem or not?
[In reply to]
I did a tandem only to "remove the new-factor" from skydiving. It helped. All I had to do was fall the first time. AFF had a lot going on and I wanted to make sure I didn't have to mix novelty with performance.
Fuck the tunnel go skydive. AFF is scary but very rewarding. If skydiving is exciting to you don't waste your limited funds in a wind tunnel unless you are directed so by your instructor after ground school or after your initial AFF jumps. Tunnels are great for honing flying skills and have great value toward fixing free fall issues but you wont know what they are if any until you go for it. Wind tunnels ain't free fall. Choose your dz ask about their student safety and history . AFF instruction is very safe and the instructors are there to help you have a successful skydive under any circumstances. Just my 2 cents.