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Learning to Skydive Solo: AFF Basics

Updated: May 13, 2023

There's much involved when enrolling in the Accelerated Freefall course. This post walks you through what to expect when studying to become a skydiver.

Learning to skydive with The Skydive School
The Skydive School | Australia's Leading Learn to Skydive Solo Skydiving Centre

Attending Skydive School

Going to skydive school is a big deal. It's not something to be taken lightly, nor is it something to fret about. Enrolling with The Skydive School ensures you'll learn to skydive with some of Australia's most skilled and passionate skydivers. Not only that, but you'll also be introduced to Western Australia's longest-standing skydive community and dropzone: Hillman Farm Skydiving Club Inc.

Your study comprises several stages. Keep reading to get to know what's involved with learning to skydive solo with The Skydive School at Hillman Farm Airport.

Student exits aircraft with jumpmaster holding on
The Skydive School | Study Skydiving | Aircraft Exit

First Jump Course Online Home-Study Guide

Where & When: Location of your choice before your AFF course start date.

Once you've enrolled and paid your deposit you'll be sent a link to the Online First Jump Course Home-Study Guide . This 10-stage online skydive course covers lots of important information about skydiving, dropzones, and the Australia Parachute Federation. It also covers some vital safety information, which will also be drilled into you in the classroom. You must complete this online FJC course before you show up to The Skydive School at Hillman Farm. Please allow three hours for the online skydive course. You will be quizzed at the end of each stage.

Student demonstrates an arch as two instructors evaluate
The Skydive School | Learning to Skydive Solo | Stage One | Practise Arch at Plane

First Jump Course In-Classroom

Where & When: Hillman Farm Airport, Western Australia on a confirmed Thursday (will vary student to student).

This is it! This is a big day of learning and doing. The in-class First Jump Course begins after School Assembly at 8:30am on most Thursdays. Bring your A-game, a big smile and spare undies. We keep classes small (only two new students each Thursday) so you'll get ample attention and the opportunity to soak up the knowledge, ask questions, and practise the procedures. The First Jump Course In-Classroom takes approximately six - eight hours so expect a long first day. At the end of the class time, you'll take a written exam, which will be reviewed by your instructor. There are no promises, but it's possible to do your level one jump after your exam.

three people skydive over farmland in Darkan, Western Australia
The Skydive School | Learn to Skydive | Stage One Freefall

AFF Level One

Where & When: Hillman Farm Airport, WA at the discretion of your instructor.

Level one (also called stage one) is all about awareness. The main lessons here are awareness of your body, your gear, and your surroundings while two instructors (called Jump-Master 1 and Jump-Master 2, kind of like Thing 1 and Thing 2) hold on to you during exit and freefall. Once your parachute is deployed, you'll fly yourself back to the dropzone as JM 1 guides you via radio. We could write a whole bunch of words for each level but video killed the scribe so let's watch and learn. Here's stage one:

AFF Level Two

Where & When: Hillman Farm Airport, WA after level one, at the discretion of your instructor.

Let's face it, level two, and every skydive after, is also about awareness. This time the focus is on your arms and legs. Of course, you must also maintain awareness of your height by checking your altitude via your "alti", which is skydiver lingo for altimeter. Let's see it in action:

AFF Level Three

Where & When: Hillman Farm Airport, WA after level two, at the discretion of your instructor.

Level three sees you putting your newfound skills to use and adding new ones, such as maintaining a heading. Jump-master 2 will let go and fly in front of you. Your job now is to stay steady while maintaining awareness, as always. Check it out:

AFF Level Four

Where & When: Have a guess.

Oh yeah, level four is upon you and by now you're feeling mighty chuffed with yourself. JM 2 is off helping another student so it's just you and JM 1. You're such a badass in the air that JM1 lets go; now you can really fly. Let's see what level four looks like:

AFF Level Five

Where & When: Hillman Farm Airport after you nail level four.

Stage five lets you show off a little with some 360-degree turns and forward movement to dock onto your instructor. Stay cool up there and you'll proceed to level six. Have a look at our video for AFF stage five:

AFF Level Six

Where & When: Same place, same rules: instructor's discretion.

This is your time to shine with a solo exit. This means you instructor will not be holding you as you leave the plane - you're on your own until you both level out. Then, you'll sharpen your new skills: turns, forward movement, docking, height awareness, and a stable deployment under the watchful eye of your kickass instructor. Have a gander:

AFF Level Seven

Where & When: Yep, that's right. Same place, same progression rules.

After another solo exit, skydive school gets a little wild. Your instructor will demonstrate a backflip, then it's your turn to tuck and chuck yourself backwards. Don't worry, arch and you'll be stable on your belly again. You'll also get a good intro into horizontal movement with "tracking". Let's see how it looks:

AFF Level Eight

Where & When: The Skydive School at Hillman Farm when you are ready and able.

Get ready, this is a big one! When you get to stage eight, you'll have a go at spotting with your jumpmaster. Spotting is when you visually check where the dropzone is and if you're happy with "the spot", you can jump out of the plane. Once stable and you locate your instructor, you'll perform some fast and slow falling, which will add more skills to your repertoire. And let's not forget more tracking! Oh yeah, bring it on. Check out stage eight on Youtube:

AFF Level Nine

Where & When: Hillman Farm, where else? When you've demonstrated you're a total badass.

Here it is, stage nine and your first of two hop n' pops. You'll exit the aircraft at 5500 feet and pull your parachute by 4500 feet. It's a rush and many experienced skydivers do hop n' pops as a way to hone their canopy flying skills. This is a good time for you to also work on your piloting and landing accuracy. Take a peek at how it's done:

AFF Level Ten

Where & When: The Skydive School at Hillman Farm on the last day of your AFF Learn to Skydive Solo course. Yew!

You've done it once, now another hop n' pop (and you'll be hooked). This time you'll be required to confirm the spot. Once your instructor is happy with your choice of spot, you'll exit the aircraft at 4500 ft and deploy by 3500 feet. Watch and learn:

So, whaddya think? Think you have what it takes to skydive solo? Of course, you do! Have any questions? Hit us up. We're more than happy to educate.

Before you go! Please subscribe to our YouTube channel . See you at the DROPZONE!

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