To be a licensed solo skydiver, you'll need to properly finish a series of 7-8 freefall training courses at your Napa Valley skydiving school. During your very first solo freefall, you'll be accompanied by two experienced skydiving trainers who will maintain contact with you throughout your jump. Your freefall classes involve a series of examinations designed to check your knowledge and freefall abilities, including things like body positioning, parachute control, use of emergency systems, and landing techniques. Each level of skydiving school training consists of in-flight training alongside experienced skydive masters.
On the first three jumps in the Accelerated FreeFall (AFF) Program, the student is accompanied by two instructors that hold on to the trainee until the trainee releases their own parachute. "Harness Hold Training" is a technique used during these few dives to ensure the student's security while in free fall. After the student's have released their parachutes and begin to descend, the instructors will also deploy and land separately.
Students in the AFF program are obligated to release their parachutes at an altitude of 5,500 feet. In the case that the student does not release their parachute at the correct AGL, the instructors will attempt to use hand signals to advise the student to release the canopy. Normally, the hand signals are sufficient to remind the student jumper to pull their parachute, but if they still do not take action, the instructor will try to position the student's hand on the pilot chute pull. If the student continues to be nonresponsive, the coach will release the chute for them. Student gear has additional "pull" handles installed and instructors can deploy the student's parachute any time they seem to be at risk. The student's safety is always our most important factor to consider.
When the trainee gains the freedom to deploy their own parachute, they can confirm to our instructors that they've comprehended the basic flying skills required to dive alone. Through a progression of release dives, during which the instructor may or may not assist, the student is instructed to jump alone. As this is crucial to learn to dive and for safety, it is vital that the student be fully knowledgeable in basic freefall maneuvering.
The safety of the Accelerated FreeFall course is unquestioned. Every trainer has a minimum altitude or "hard deck" at which they MUST release their own parachute. This guarantees the safety of the instructor and fellow divers. Each parachute is equipped with a reserve chute in the event a student arrives at elevation and their pilot chute has not been deployed. The AAD (Automatic Activation Device) reacts immediately, launching the reserve to give the student ample landing time. Although the AAD feature is scarcely used, each student's safety is of utmost importance and it functions as a vital precaution.
Napa Valley Skydiving's Accelerated Freefall Certification program uses consecutive levels that improve each individual skill as the lesson proceeds. In the beginning, trainers have the opportunity to use hand signals to correct the student's body position during the fall, and subsequent instruction to correct form after the dive, ensuring a comprehensive building of proper body mechanics as the instructors freefall with the student. Following the first levels, a student is paired to one instructor for one on one individual learning. This learning consists of demonstration of freefall positions, turns, flips, regaining balance from instability and body movement. Every trainee will be asked to perform the learned motions during flight with his or her trainer.
As soon as the student has passed all "Targeted Learning Objectives" (TLOs,) the instructor is then able to validate that all requirements have been met. Airborne instructors are not the only coaches helping trainees at Napa Valley Skydiving. There are also dropzone staff who stay in radio contact with the student while they are flying their canopy. In case of radio failure, however, it is crucial that the student knows the basic skills of flying under canopy.
A USPA application to sign up is given to each AFF trainee. Napa Valley Skydiving encourages all students to sign up before their certification program has ended. Begin earning your A License! Call Napa Valley Skydiving at 707-690-0640 right now!