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Learn to skydive with UoN Skydiving Club
How do I learn to skydive?

Getting Your Skydiving A-Licence

Your Skydiving BPA A-Licence is your key to the sky. Once you’ve got it you can then skydive solo anywhere in the world with minimal hassle. It tells Dropzones (what we call the place where we skydive) that you are competent to skydive out of a plane by yourself!

Now to get this coveted skydiving A-licence, you’ll need to complete a skydiving course, of which there are two in the UK that both lead to the exact same qualification and skydiving documents.

One is called AFF and the other is called RAPS.


The Ram-Air Progression System (RAPS) is our most popular course, due to its Pay-As-You-Jump nature. Firstly you  will do a day of ground training which covers all of the information and drills required for you to safely complete a skydive: this includes getting to know your equipment,  exiting the plane, how to fly your canopy, and how to react to a number of scenarios. You will be taught in classes with a maximum of 12 students. Weather permitting, you will do your first jump the following day – exciting!

Your first 5-10 jumps will be on a ‘static line’, until you can prove you are capable of pulling your parachute yourself. A static line is effectively a line attached to both your rig and the plane itself. When you jump out of the plane, after a few seconds the line becomes taught and will pull your parachute out of your rig – then it’s just up to you to put your training into practice by flying and landing your canopy. On your first 3 jumps you will having a helping hand to get you down safely via a radio in your helmet.

Altitude (ft)Level
3,500Static Line
3,500Dummy Ripcord Pulls
4,5005 second freefall delays
5,50010 second freefall delays
6,00015 second freefall delays
14,000Unstable exit
14,000Dive Exit and back loops
14,000Tracking & track turns
14,000A license qualifying jump


Our RAPS package allows you to get your first jump included in the cost of your ground school, with your 2nd jump half the price of a normal ticket. Groundschools are usually run on a Saturday, but it is up to you when you choose to jump (hence the pay-as-you-go system). We recommend however that you stay current and do not leave long periods in-between jumping, as this way you will not only progress quicker but be safer in the sky. 

 After your first jump, in order to get your A licence you need show your proficiency by passing all of the subsequent  stages of the course. Different jumps will ask you to meet different criteria, helping you to continually build on your skills and knowledge: we like to think of it as adding layers to a cake. To the left is a table of the stages of progression…

Note: Qualification usually takes between 16 and 25 jumps using this method. 

Watch Ellie’s static line jump here:


AFF stands for Accelerated Freefall, as it considered a faster and a more sure-fire way to become qualified without getting stuck.

You will still complete a ground school training (which is normally conducted on a Monday). This will cover a lot of the same things as RAPS training, although there will be differences too due to the nature of an AFF jump. 


Level Requirements
12 instructors holding whole time, practice touches
22 instructors, if going well 1 instructor will let go, practice touches, correcting body position
32 instructors, both will let go briefly to assess whether the student can stabilise themself and maintain heading
41 instructor, instructor will let go in free fall, 90 degree turns
51 instructor, 360 degree turns
61 instructor, solo exit (instructor not holding on) back loop, tracking
7Putting it all together – solo exit, back loop, turns and tracking 
8Hop & Pop, 5000-6000 ft. Student must do a solo dive exit (no instructor on jump), become stable and deploy their parachute within 10 secs. (Does not have to be completed straight after Level 7).
‘Consols’10 x solo consolidation jumps, no set criteria for these jumps
A License qualifying jumpConsol no.10 or Level 8 if left until last.


With AFF, you jump from 13,500ft (max altitude) from the very first jump. Furthermore, each AFF student is assigned 2 instructors who jump alongside them and assist them in their progression. In-air coaching offers both reassurance and live feedback, which is a particular benefit of this method and results in quick progression.


The course is split into 8 levels which you must pass before completing 10 solo consolidation jumps. (See table)


Unlike RAPS, you cannot pay per jump, but must instead pay for the course in full. This is one drawback of this method. However, once you have paid you still have the same freedom as in RAPS of being able to choose when you jump.

Watch Jasmine’s AFF Level 1 here:

The method by which you choose to learn to skydive really comes down to personal choice. Our members have successfully qualified via both methods, and some have even tried both. Either way you will have an awesome time,  and come away with the same qualification. Good luck!