The AFF program was instituted in 1982 as an "accelerated" learning process as compared to the traditional static line progression. The AFF program will give you a true taste of modern sport skydiving.
The ground training is a bit more extensive than S/L (~5 hours) because the student will be doing a 50 second freefall (that's right!) on his/her very first jump. The student will exit the aircraft at10,000-12,000 feet along with two AFF Jumpmasters (JM) who will assist the student during freefall. The jumpmasters maintain grips on the student from the moment they leave the aircraft until opening, assisting the student as necessary to fall stable, perform practice ripcord pulls, monitor altitude, etc. The student then pulls his/her own ripcord at about 4000 ft.
The AFF program is a 7 level program. Levels 1, 2, & 3 require two freefall Jumpmasters to accompany the student. These dives concentrate on teaching basic safety skills such as altitude awareness, body position, stability during freefall and during the pull sequence, and most importantly- successful ripcord pull. On level 3, the JMs will release the student in freefall for the first time, to fly completely on their own.
Levels 4, 5, 6, & 7 require only one freefall JM (less $$) and teach the student air skills such as turns, forward movement and docking on other people, frontloops, backloops, "superman" exits from the plane, etc.
Each AFF level is designed to take one jump, and requires about 45 minutes of training. After successfully performing the objectives of each level, the student moves on to the next level.
After graduating Level 7, the student enters a more free format stage called "Level 8" where they practice and hone their skills by themselves and in small groups until they obtain 20 freefalls and qualify for their A license.