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Bgross

First jump: Tandem or AFF?

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Naturally there is a small chance that I’ll hate the whole thing. However, there seem to be a lot of you who managed not to run screaming from the LZ after your first landing.
So I’m wondering if my thinking is flawed?

The AFF 1 costs about twice what the Tandem costs, but IF the sport turns out to be anything like what I imagine, is skipping the Tandem “honeymoon” and starting with AFF an alternative?

My budget won’t allow a “fast track” AFF schedule, but starting there makes sense. I think?

A bit of background: I’m retired, in good health, and I’ve been riding motorcycles on the street for decades. (Yeah, the laws of physics and safety always take first place over thrills.)

What say ye?
B. Gross

100% of old people die

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Bgross

Naturally there is a small chance that I’ll hate the whole thing. However, there seem to be a lot of you who managed not to run screaming from the LZ after your first landing.
So I’m wondering if my thinking is flawed?

The AFF 1 costs about twice what the Tandem costs, but IF the sport turns out to be anything like what I imagine, is skipping the Tandem “honeymoon” and starting with AFF an alternative?

My budget won’t allow a “fast track” AFF schedule, but starting there makes sense. I think?

A bit of background: I’m retired, in good health, and I’ve been riding motorcycles on the street for decades. (Yeah, the laws of physics and safety always take first place over thrills.)

What say ye?



The difference in cost between a tandem and AFF jump is pocket change compared to what you would spend as a licensed jumper. For the first 200 jumps, a reasonable amount to spend is $10,000 - 20,000 depending on gear selection. $10k is the bare minimal with crappy gear. So having said that, I'd do the tandem first. It may make you a bit more comfortable with the AFF1 once you start it. At my DZ, AFF students used to be required to do a tandem jump first (they dont have to anymore though).

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Depends on the DZ. My DZ has what's called 'tandem progression'. So do some others.

2 tandems, with performance goals/requirements, 10 min in the tunnel, then on to 'real' AFF. I think those requirements include a good arch during freefall, altitude awareness and pulling the drogue release, controlled turns to a heading, canopy control, landing pattern and flare timing, and a few other things (not an instructor, not sure on that).

You can learn a lot doing a tandem, if the instructor and DZ treat it as a lesson, not a ride.

If nothing else, doing a tandem first gets the whole "Holy Crap!!!! I just jumped out of a plane" sensory overload out of the way. It's really common to not remember much from the first jump.

Best choice would be to call the DZ and see what they say.

I see you are out in LA. Perris and Elsinore are good places.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Bgross

Seems like my original idea was... incomplete.

Thanks for the responses & input.
I’ll start with a Tandem and squeeze all I can from the experience before moving on to AFF.

Time to go loiter in Elsinore.



Specifically tell your instructor that you intend to do AFF so the tandem can be more than just a ride. The instructor should show you how to deploy the main parachute (and you should do it), you should have your own altimeter, and the instructor should have briefed you on hand signals. You should also be allowed to control the canopy above 2000'.

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Westerly

***Seems like my original idea was... incomplete.

Thanks for the responses & input.
I’ll start with a Tandem and squeeze all I can from the experience before moving on to AFF.

Time to go loiter in Elsinore.



Specifically tell your instructor that you intend to do AFF so the tandem can be more than just a ride. The instructor should show you how to deploy the main parachute (and you should do it), you should have your own altimeter, and the instructor should have briefed you on hand signals. You should also be allowed to control the canopy above 2000'.

Thanks.
I’ll include those questions on my list when I go to investigate/compare between the two nearby DZs.
B. Gross

100% of old people die

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massis

sounds like a REALLY expensive AFF?

Tandem is €220 here, and AFF-1 is €230...



Well, we HAVE been talking about a return visit to Belgium....
We cross the pond a couple times a year and the idea of jumping over there has been considered. However, my patient bride has a bad shoulder which sadly eliminates her participation.
I’ll keep travel and skydiving separate, at least for now.

Locally the Tandems are $179-199 (with ‘specials’ @$149).
AFF1 are $329-349.

Photos/videos are additional.
B. Gross

100% of old people die

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I did AFF for my first jump. I had a pretty good basic knowledge of what would be involved in the landing....landing pattern, keep flying speed, flare as you land...which gave me confidence to do that in on own for the first time.

I am pretty sure everyone would benefit from at least one tandem before landing solo....but MANY have done their first landing "solo". Static Line training has existed for decades and was the first jump for everyone for a long time. But also, a lot of those jumped round parachutes.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Bgross

***sounds like a REALLY expensive AFF?

Tandem is €220 here, and AFF-1 is €230...



Well, we HAVE been talking about a return visit to Belgium....
We cross the pond a couple times a year and the idea of jumping over there has been considered. However, my patient bride has a bad shoulder which sadly eliminates her participation.
I’ll keep travel and skydiving separate, at least for now.

Locally the Tandems are $179-199 (with ‘specials’ @$149).
AFF1 are $329-349.

Photos/videos are additional.

photos €60, video €80 additional iirc.

Also: I would advise everyone to do a tandem first, because you can enjoy the view and the experience and have lots of time under canopy and not a single worry in the world.

Compared to a tandem, your AFF lvl 1 is hard work, you're focussing on tasks at hand, doing your drills, and will be down on the ground before you fully realise you jumped out of an airplane.

My AFF lvl 1 was awesome, and I really enjoyed it and all jumps since, but none of them had that same wow factor as my tandem...

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Just because you asked this question the answer should be obvious. Spoiler alert - it's AFF.

It's like saying you're interested in becoming a pilot and want advice on whether to learn about it by taking a flying lesson or a ride as a passenger on an airliner. Sure you get basic safety training (crash position, emergency exits etc) but it's training on how to be a passenger not a pilot.
"Now, why do witches burn?"
"...because they're made of... wood?"
"Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?"
"Build a bridge out of her."

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For what it's worth (rookie jumper speaking), I recommend doing a tandem first, and NOT wearing an altimeter and deploying. Soak in the experience. It can be very overwhelming and disorienting. Even if you do a tandem but you deploy, you will likely "miss out" on most of your jump (at least the freefall) because you will be too distracted reading your altitude and remembering what you need to do. What pushed me to finish AFF was the memory of that first tandem where I could just enjoy the view and have fun. Not to say AFF jumps were not fun in their own way, but they are more focused on accomplishing goals, and they can be hard work. Let yourself relax and truly enjoy a jump before you dedicate the next 24 jumps and a few thousand dollars to completing AFF.
Max Peck
What's the point of having top secret code names, fellas, if we ain't gonna use 'em?

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AtrusBatleth

For what it's worth (rookie jumper speaking), I recommend doing a tandem first, and NOT wearing an altimeter and deploying. Soak in the experience. It can be very overwhelming and disorienting. Even if you do a tandem but you deploy, you will likely "miss out" on most of your jump (at least the freefall) because you will be too distracted reading your altitude and remembering what you need to do. What pushed me to finish AFF was the memory of that first tandem where I could just enjoy the view and have fun. Not to say AFF jumps were not fun in their own way, but they are more focused on accomplishing goals, and they can be hard work. Let yourself relax and truly enjoy a jump before you dedicate the next 24 jumps and a few thousand dollars to completing AFF.



Thanks Max for your input, I did not start this thread but have learned much from it. I am just about to do my first jump and have decided to do one or even two tandems for just these kinds of reasons. I am very nervous about having the abilities to do an AFF jump first time out. I almost think the tandem jumps should be required, but understand I could be wrong and will come back to this thread after my first jump. This board has answered a lot of my questions and helped me overcome my fears so thanks to all of you for that!
Mark P. Zanghetti
‘Don’t for one second long for who you were, but recklessly pursue who you can become.’ … We can learn from the past but we can’t get it back.”

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Bgross

Naturally there is a small chance that I’ll hate the whole thing. However, there seem to be a lot of you who managed not to run screaming from the LZ after your first landing.
So I’m wondering if my thinking is flawed?

The AFF 1 costs about twice what the Tandem costs, but IF the sport turns out to be anything like what I imagine, is skipping the Tandem “honeymoon” and starting with AFF an alternative?

My budget won’t allow a “fast track” AFF schedule, but starting there makes sense. I think?

A bit of background: I’m retired, in good health, and I’ve been riding motorcycles on the street for decades. (Yeah, the laws of physics and safety always take first place over thrills.)

What say ye?



Thanks for starting this thread! I am in a similar situation and have learned much from what has been posted.
Mark P. Zanghetti
‘Don’t for one second long for who you were, but recklessly pursue who you can become.’ … We can learn from the past but we can’t get it back.”

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