A Guide to Going from Tandem to Solo Skydiving in El Paso, TX

March 15, 2018 12:12 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Skydiving is an activity many people say they want to do at least once, but not everybody does. For the people who do take up skydiving, they have to start out making tandem jumps with an instructor; however, training and practice eventually allows many tandem skydivers to transition to solo skydiving.

There are several reasons why you may want to jump solo. It could be that your friends are all solo jumpers and you would like nothing more than to join in on the action without having to be attached to someone else. Maybe solo skydiving has been your goal all along, so after a few tandem skydives, the time has come to cut the cord (from jumping tandem, that is). Or, you feel that skydiving is your calling, be it recreationally or professionally.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you go from tandem to solo skydiving in El Paso, TX.

Fundamental tandem skydives

To begin your journey to going solo, you are required to make two tandem skydives within a 30-day period. Before your second tandem skydive, let your instructor know you want to transition to jumping on your own. When they know you are interested in advancing, they will brief you on important additional items. You’ll work on solo basics with the help of your instructor, such as making turns during free fall, learning altitude awareness and reading an altimeter, practicing deployment procedures and controlling the canopy.

Accelerated free fall progression

You get to start your accelerated free fall progression (AFP) course after you’ve passed your two tandem skydives. AFP gets you closer to solo jumping, which consists of ground training and seven levels of skydiving—each level equals one jump—with an instructor. You must pass each AFP level, demonstrating skills and specific tasks before moving to each new level. But first, there’s ground training.

Ground training

Skydive training on the ground is crucial to safety and learning. Taking approximately four to six hours to complete, ground training, also called First Jump Course (FJC), involves a USPA qualified instructor teaching you the ins and outs of your gear, gear terminology and functions of individual components and how everything works together. You will learn the basics of body flight in free fall and the safe way to maneuver your canopy to the target landing area. You’ll also learn about the malfunctions you could encounter and what to do in certain situations. Pass the FJC and you’re cleared to take the first jump with your own parachute!

Accelerated free fall jumps

There are seven levels of AFP jumps—your instructor will brief you on the requirements for each level. You and your instructor will exit the plane from 13,000 feet—they will hold onto you in the early levels—followed by a series of tasks to be completed throughout your jump. Each level teaches new skills, so don’t worry if you don’t pass every level the first time. Pass all seven AFP levels and you’re cleared for solo status! Don’t forget to apply for your A license.

Feel free to contact Skydive El Paso to learn more about solo skydiving in El Paso, TX!

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