Progressive Free Fall
After the first introductory jump, students wishing to progress to solo and more advanced skydiving go through a series of several more jumps. This "P.F.F." course consists of several "Levels".
Level 1: The First Jump described in the previous page is normally done from 8000 feet with a freefall of 25 seconds. The chute is activated by one of the instructors. At Grand Bend, Level 1 is normally done as your second jump. The exit altitude is 10,500 feet which permits 40 seconds of freefall. You'll be able to make corrections to your body position as indicated by the instructors; you'll have time to practise the coordinated movements to activate your parachute. When the "opening altitude" of 4000' is reached, you'll activate your parachute. The descent and landing are similar to the First Jump, with steering instructions provided by radio.
Levels 2-5: On these four skydives you usually only need to have one instructor. You'll learn how to "fly" your body in freefall and will practise the basic mechanics of doing controlled turns and even try a backloop! Your performance can be video'd for feedback and fault correction. You'll be exiting at 10,500 feet or higher and activating the chute at about 3500' so the freefall will be about 45 seconds. Again, you'll have a radio for steering assistance but you will start learning to steer and land on your own.
Solo! Finally - skydiving on your own, usually by about your seventh jump. You'll need some supervision from instructors and coaches as you learn new techniques, but many of your next few jumps will be solo freefalls as you practise the skills you've learned during the P.F.F. course. After a few more jumps you'll have qualified for your first of several "licences" which are recognized world-wide as evidence of your proficiency in the sport.
Most people gradually purchase items of their own equipment, usually starting with an altimeter, a jumpsuit, goggles and/or a helmet. The rental fee will be less if you use some of your own equipment and lower still when you learn to pack the main parachute. The next big "jump", so to speak in jump prices comes when you buy your own parachute equipment. We encourage you to do so if you plan to keep jumping and we'll help you find an appropriate set of gear. Most people start out buying used equipment (there's nothing wrong with a "used" parachute!) and then eventually invest in new gear after a year or two in the sport. Expect to pay at least $3000 for a complete set of used equipment and as much as $7000 for all-new gear.