About the training

Parachute training can be started by anyone after meeting several requirements included in the regulations defined by the local Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Parachute training should be performed in a training center having an appropriate entry in the register of parachute training centers.

In most countries, it consists of two parts: theoretical training and practical training. Parachute training can be carried out using two popular methods.

Accelerated Freefall (AFF) method

Undoubtedly, this is the most effective method of parachute training. Usually, the course includes several hours of theoretical training. During this time, the student learns, first of all, the basics of safe parachute jumps, the construction of the equipment and the principles of its operation, emergency procedures along with their training on a properly prepared training station, aviation law, meteorology, and principles of moving in the air, exercises in the air and correct landing technique. Then, jumps are performed, during which the student completes the exercises with the assistance of the instructor. After completing all exercises and successfully passing the exam jump, the candidate becomes a student-jumper. From this moment on, the student can perform skydiving under the supervision of the instructor on the ground.

Static line method

It is the oldest method of parachute training. The theoretical training is almost the same as for the AFF method. However, the first jumps are made by the student from the plane flying at an altitude of 1000-1200 m. After separating from the plane, the parachute is opened with a rope attached to the plane. After making a few jumps with the rope opening the parachute for the student, and achieving the correct posture in flight while separating from the plane, a student will start jumping personally opening the parachute. As a result, with each jump, the student increases the deceleration and exercises body control. Training with this method takes approx. 35-50 jumps dependent on local regulations.

People looking for an adrenaline rush and unique sensations, as well as people looking for freedom and wanting to break away from daily life, often sign up for parachute training. The idea of what the jumps look like and what emotions they can provide can be a bad advisor in terms of the skills you need to obtain to perform jumps not only in a pleasant but above all safe way.

The first parachute jump is associated with amazing experiences, but also with a huge amount of stress. It raises doubts and concerns about whether everything will go according to plan: departure, jump, canopy opening, flight, approach to landing, and the landing itself. It often happens that a student under stress does not respond to the instructor’s commands, and the knowledge gained during theoretical training suddenly disappears … Bad decisions during flight may result in tragic consequences (including injuries or death). For this reason, proper training and the ability to deal with emotions and stress are key to the safe execution of jumps.

During the first independent jumps, the most important thing is communication between the instructor and the student. In some centers, instructors give auxiliary commands to students via radio transmission, however, this is not a commonality in some countries. The inability to communicate with the instructor means that the student-jumper is solely responsible for making decisions. The inability to communicate may result in a lack of situational awareness or knowledge, and be the contributing factor to an accident.

Each subsequent jump is gaining parachuter knowledge and skills in flight planning, behavior in emergencies, and technique. At the beginning of his adventure with jumping, he often, despite compulsory theoretical training, the jumper is not able to correctly make quick and right decisions and execute them. This may affect its safety (e.g. wrong approach planning, landing downwind, stalling during landing, incorrect alignment) and lead to injury.

Coming to the training center, the jumper is often unable to distinguish information that is crucial from that is of lesser importance during the training. The abundance of information provided during theoretical training may lead to a situation where the student focuses more on the correct performance of tasks that are not the most important from the safety point of view (e.g. controlling the canopy and trying to define the route to the landing point) not recognizing failures when emergency procedures must be used as soon as possible.

It is one of the factors that becomes a silent killer. The belief that one knows everything after theoretical training or after a few jumps in good conditions can lead to the deceptive conviction that everything will always be ‘easy.’ Such attitudes often lull even experienced instructors into complacency and become the cause of accidents. This is particularly dangerous when combined with trust in the reliability of equipment or automatic reserve parachute opening systems.

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