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Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)

The Route To Earning Your Skydiving License

Accelerated Free Fall (AFF)

For sheer excitement and high-speed fun, no sport comes close to skydiving. Fortunately, this life-changing adrenaline sport is not as extreme or intimidating as it may seem. Our Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) training allows a person to become a licensed skydiver through a structured program at the individual’s own pace. Students are not required to do a tandem skydive prior to beginning the AFF program, however many prefer to experience free fall for the first time via tandem.

The program starts with a 4–6-hour ground school, followed by a series of jumps in which two instructors exit the aircraft holding onto the student in free fall and assisting the student with landing his/her own parachute via radio. Unlike tandem skydiving, students are not attached to their instructors. After demonstrating sufficient proficiency, students progress to supervised solo jumps and work on specific skillsets throughout the program, with instructors providing in-air learned hand signals during free fall. A minimum of 25 jumps is required to earn a USPA skydiving license.

Our AFF program is designed so you have the option to pay as you go (per jump) or prepay and save!

General Info

  • AFF is a skills-based assessment program. You must exhibit the skill to progress to the next level.
  • AFF is a self-paced program: the more often you jump, the faster you progress.
  • Licensed skydivers are a welcoming community like no other; we look forward to you joining our “Sky Family”!
  • Start Skydiving has experienced instructors, meticulously maintained equipment and aircraft, and facilities to enable a safe and efficient learning environment.


  • AFF is a self-paced program: the more often you jump, the faster you progress.
  • Student skydivers must jump every 30 days to remain current.
  • If you have not jumped in the last 30 days, you will be required to complete the First Jump Course again.
  • The AFF program can be completed in as little as 2 weeks but depends on the student’s availability and commitment. Most students take a month or more on a part-time basis to complete the program.


    • Pricing includes all rental equipment (parachute, goggles, jumpsuit, altimeter, and instruction).
    • Parachute packing is included for each jump.
    • You can pay as you go per jump…
    • …OR you can prepay for the first nine jumps and save 10% on this portion.
    • …OR you can prepay for the FULL program and save 20% on the entire package.
    • Pricing does not include First Jump Course, packing class, or USPA membership.

The Jumps

  • There are NO tandem skydives in this program, however any tandem skydives you have made count toward the 25 jump requirement for your USPA A license.
  • All training jumps are considered “solo”, assisted by one or more non-attached instructor(s).
  • The USPA A License: requires a minimum of 25 jumps.

USPA Membership

  • All students are required to join the USPA to get an A License.
  • Membership details are here.



($4,215 TOTAL)

  • Pay at the time of each jump



($4,035 TOTAL)

  • Pay the first 1/2-ish (through category E-3) up front. ($1,487)
  • Save 10% Off (Normally $1,801)
  • Pay-as-you-go after category E-3
  • Pay individually for any repeat jumps
  • Must use by end of season



($3,372 TOTAL)

  • Commit to yourself and save 20%!
  • Pay for the program in full
  • Pay individually for any repeat jumps
  • MOST students who utlimately earn their licenses choose this program
  • Must use by end of season

Are you a detail-oriented person?

See below

Learn How to Skydive Solo (AFF) with Jump Institute, the only school of its kind in the Midwest

Welcome to the Jump Institute at Start Skydiving!

We provide the finest skydiving instruction in the country through our Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) program. All of our instructors and coaches are USPA Certified. They are dedicated to teaching you how to skydive solo using the most current training methods and equipment. We train more skydivers than any facility in the Midwest, stop by and find out why we receive FIVE STARS from our past students.

If this is a once in a lifetime jump or the beginning of an exciting skydiving journey. Start Skydiving and the Jump Institute have a program for you. Our state of the art equipment, highly trained instructors and first class facilities will provide you with an experience you will never forget. On the day of your skydive plan on spending the entire day at Start Skydiving. Weather such as high winds, low clouds and rain may cause delays. We make every effort to accommodate our customers for the times they schedule, but occasionally there are delays beyond our control.

You must be at least 18 years old or older in order to participate in the AFF program.

You must also weigh less than 235 lbs.

Accelerated Free Fall

From your first AFF jump, you will experience first-hand the indescribable feeling of human flight.

The AFF ″First Jump Course″ is intended to provide each student at Start Skydiving with the necessary skills to safely complete their first solo skydive.

The United States Parachute Association protocol for training students is called the ″Integrated Student Program″ (ISP). The ISP is separated into ″Categories″, each with ″Targeted Learning Objectives″ (TLOs) that must be met before the student progresses to the next level.

The Jump Institute which is the training school of Start Skydiving classifies our jumps by category letter. Categories A through E are the instructional jumps where the student must be accompanied with an appropriately rated Jump Institute instructor. Our AFF program has 7 jumps, but there are only 5 letters between A and E, categories require more than one jump to complete. After Category E, students are cleared to self supervise. Categories F, G, and H are completed with the assistance of a rated Jump Institute Coach. Once the student has completed 25 skydives, and has their A license requirements signed off by an instructor or coach, they must perform an A License Check Dive with an Instructor. Now they are eligible for their A license and are no longer a student. While a license is not required to jump legally, the USPA license will allow the skydiver to travel to other USPA drop zones and use their license to prove they have the skills required to jump.

The Program

During the AFF program, two instructors jump with the student during their first three AFF jumps. On the initial category skydives, our instructors hold on to the student until the student deploys their own parachute. Hence, this method is called ″Harness Hold Training.″ Our AFF instructors have no physical connection to the student other than their grip on the student, so once the student’s parachute is deployed the instructors fly away and deploy their own canopies.

Deployment of the main canopy for students in the AFF program is generally 5,500 feet AGL. If the student experiences trouble in the deployment of their parachute, our instructors first use hand signals to remind the student to ″Pull.″ If the student still experiences trouble, our instructors will assist their student by physically placing student′s hand on the pilot chute, but if the student still has trouble, the instructor will deploy the canopy for the student. The instructor has the prerogative to pull the student’s main canopy at any time the student appears to be in danger. Extra ″pull″ handles are installed on student gear giving additional access for instructors.

Once the student has proven they can deploy their own parachute on the first few jumps, the student will be released on subsequent category skydives and will have the opportunity to prove to our instructors that they have the basic flying skills required to skydive without assistance. On release skydives there is a possibility an instructor may not be able to dock and assist at pull time, so it is important that the student has already learned the skills required to pull on their own.

Instructors on all AFF categories have a hard deck where they must pull their own parachute and save their own life. If they have not been able to assist their student by this altitude, the student rig is equipped with an ″Automatic Activation Device (AAD)″ that will fire the reserve parachute if the student passes the activation altitude at free fall speeds. While it is extremely rare that a student will have an AAD activation, this final level of protection protects the student as much as possible from the consequences of being out of control or not being able to deploy their own parachute.

As the instructors free fall with the student, they are able to correct student′s body position and other problems during free fall by communicating with the student with hand signals in free fall and debriefing the student and conducting corrective training after the jump. Later categories only require one instructor and involve the student learning to perform aerial maneuvers such as turns, forward movement, flips, and fall rate control. The purpose of the maneuvers are to prove to the student and instructor that the student can perform a disorienting maneuver causing intentional instability followed by regaining control. Each AFF skydive at Start Skydiving is progressive in nature, building on skills previously learned.

Our instructors determine when the student has passed the requirements or ″Targeted Learning Objectives (TLOs)″ for each level. During the AFF jumps, the student will have radio contact with ground personnel who direct student with maneuvers under their parachute; however the student must have the skills for a solo landing in case the radio fails.

All AFF Students will be given an application and encouraged to join the USPA before making their Category C skydive.

Accelerated Free Fall First Jump Course (aka, AFF FJC): $100 (4-8 hours of ground school training)
AFF Cat-A Jump: $259 per jump
AFF FJC + Cat-A Jump College/University Discount: $10 off per college/university student
AFF FJC + Cat-A Jump Military Discount: $30 off per active duty or retired military service member

Book your AFF Category A First Jump Course now!

Accelerated Free Fall Training: Categories B through E

AFF Cat-B (Leg extension and heading control): $259 per jump ($20 discount when purchased on the same day Cat-A jump is successfully completed!)

AFF Cat-C1 (First two-instructor release-dive): $259 per jump
AFF Cat-C2 (First solo-instructor release-dive): $189 per jump
AFF Cat-D1 (Right and left 90-degree turns): $189 per jump
AFF Cat-D2 (Right and left 180 and 360-degree turns): $189 per jump
AFF Category E-1 (Right and left barrel-rolls): $189 per jump
AFF Category E-2 (Back-loops and front-loops): $189 per jump
AFF Category E-3 (First unsupervised solo free fall jump): $79 per jump

Cat-B to E-3 (Eight AFF Jumps) Package: ONLY $1487! YOU SAVE 10% ($165)! (Must be purchased within 30 days of passing Cat-A before performing Cat-B.)

Coach Jumps: Categories F through H5

Coach Category F-1 (Tracking): $159 per jump

Coach Category F-2 (Tracking): $159 per jump
Coach Category F-3 (5,500′ clear-and-pull): $79 per jump
Coach Category F-4 (3,500′ clear-and-pull): $79 per jump
Coach Category G-1 (Forward and backward movement): $159 per jump
Coach Category G-2 (Forward and backward movement with docking): $159 per jump
Coach Category G-3 (Downward and upward movement and fall rate control): $159 per jump
Coach Category G-4 (Down and up with forward movement to dock): $159 per jump
Coach Category H-1 (Diving and swooping): $159 per jump
Coach Category H-2 (Diving and swooping): $159 per jump
Coach Category H-3 (Diving and swooping): $159 per jump
Coach Category H-4 (Diving and swooping): $159 per jump

Continued-Education Coach Jumps
Advanced Belly-Flying Body Position: $159 per jump
Center-point knee-turns with a coach: $159 per jump
Side-sliding with a coach: $159 per jump 

Any repeat coach jumps in addition to the jumps listed above: $159 per jump 

Self-supervised solo student skydives: $79 per jump

A-License Checkout-Dive
Before you are signed off as successfully meeting the requirements to earn your USPA A-License you must successfully perform an A-License Checkout-Dive with a USPA-rated AFF-Instructor: $189 per jump.

Professional Parachute Packing Class: $80 minimum for the first four hours, plus $20 per hour thereafter (paid directly to experienced packers; not included in any package pricing)

Total price for all jumps if you pay a la carte: $4,325 (does not include First Jump Course or packing class)

FJC to A-License (25 Jumps) Package

We offer our popular AFF to A-License program that includes all 25 jumps: nine AFF jumps in Categories A through E-3, twelve coach jumps in Categories F-1 through H-4, three continued education coach jumps, and one A-License Checkout-Dive for ONLY $3,460!!! (20% SAVINGS)

Package must be prepaid in full upfront within 30 days of passing your AFF Cat-A jump and before performing your Cat-B jump. The amount paid for the most recent AFF Cat-A jump that was successfully passed within 30 days of performing the AFF Cat-B jump may be prorated off this package price. Payment for this package is not transferable and is not refundable after acquisition of an A license. Jumps in this package are only valid during the current skydiving season during which the purchase was paid and will be forfeited thereafter. Any repeated jumps will be charged at their respective regular prices. 

When pursuing your A-license, we strongly recommend performing at least two skydives per week until you earn your license. This will result in a better learning curve and faster progression. We have suggested several different program schedules below that we recommend for our students who wish to earn their A-license. We recommend the compressed programs be performed during late July or early August when the weather is the most predictable for student jumping. Please keep in mind that all aspects of the weather affect your ability to jump. We strongly recommend the three month summer program or the two week program as they provide the most leeway for any weather that may prevent you from jumping.

FJC to A-License in Three Months Summer Program
The first jump course and Cat-A jump should be performed within the first week of June and then at least two jumps should be performed every week thereafter through the last week of August until you earn your A-license. The summer months are the best weather months for jumping. 

Example Two-Week (14-Day) A-License Program
Wednesday: FJC (by appointment only)
Thursday: Cat A & B
Friday: Cat C1 & C2
Saturday: Cat D1 & D2
Sunday: Cat E1-3
Monday: Cat F1 & F2
Wednesday: Packing Class
Thursday: Cat F3 & F4
Friday: Cat G1 & G2
Saturday: Cat G3 & G4
Sunday: Cat H1 & H2
Monday: Cat H3 & H4
Thursday: Advanced Body Position & Knee-Turns
Friday: Side-Slides & A-License Checkout-Dive 

Example Nine-Day A-License Program
Wednesday: FJC (by appointment only)
Thursday: Cat A, B, & C-1
Friday: Cat C-2, D-1, & D-2
Saturday: Cat E1-3
Sunday: Cat F1-4
Monday: Cat G1-4
Wednesday: Packing Class
Thursday: Cat H1-4
Friday: Advanced Body Position, Knee-Turns, Side-Slides, & A-License Checkout-Dive 

Example Eight-Day A-License Program
Wednesday: FJC (by appointment only), Cat-A, & B
Thursday: Cat C-1, C-2, D-1, & D-2
Friday: Cat E1-3
Saturday: Cat F1-4
Sunday: Cat G1-4
Monday: Cat H1-4
Wednesday: Packing Class
Thursday: Advanced Body Position, Knee-Turns, Side-Slides, & A-License Checkout-Dive 

Example Alternate Eight-Day A-License Program
Wednesday: FJC (by appointment only)
Thursday: Cat A, B, C1, & C2
Friday: Cat D1, D2, & E1-3
Saturday: Cat F1-4
Sunday: Cat G1-4
Monday: Cat H1-4
Wednesday: Packing Class
Thursday: Advanced Body Position, Knee-Turns, Side-Slides, & A-License Checkout-Dive 

Example Seven-Day A-License Program
Wednesday: FJC (by appointment only), Cat A, B, C1, & C2
Thursday: Cat D1, D2, & E1-3
Friday: Cat F1-4
Saturday: Cat G1-4
Sunday: Cat H1-4
Monday: Advanced Body Position, Knee-Turns, Side-Slides, & A-License Checkout-Dive
Tuesday: Packing Class 

Example Alternate Seven-Day A-License Program
Wednesday: FJC & Packing Class
Thursday: Cat A, B, C1, & C2
Friday: Cat D1, D2, & E1-3
Saturday: Cat F1-4
Sunday: Cat G1-4
Monday: Cat H1-4
Wednesday: Advanced Body Position, Knee-Turns, Side-Slides, & A-License Checkout-Dive

While you may pursue your A-license at any rate that you wish, you must perform at least one skydive every 30 days in order to stay current and continue to progress. Waiting past 30 days will result in you needing to repeat the previous completed category. Waiting over four months will result in you needing to repeat the entire first jump course again and then starting back off at Cat-D or the previous category that was most recently completed if Cat-D was never completed.
Start Skydiving Refund Terms and Conditions
*IMPORTANT* Please click on this link to read our policy on refunds.




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AFF Training Pricing