When deciding whether or not to get a skydiving license, there are a lot of issues to consider.

You want to know how much is it going to cost, where can you get one, what can do with a license, and is it safe.

It’s a lot to think about, but lucky for you, we compiled a list about getting your first UK skydiving license.

Let’s go over everything you need to know about getting a skydiving license in the UK including the cost, types, duration and more.

How much is a skydiving license in the UK?

skydiving in the uk
Photo by Amy Workman on Unsplash

In the UK, the cost of a level A skydiving license ranges from £875 – £1600. 

The cost of your license depends on which license you choose: an Accelerated Freefall (AFF) certificate or a Category System (CS) certificate.

An Accelerated Freefall certificate is likely to cost you around £1500, so if you don’t have this already, start saving now. 

Some have pointed out that many fail one or more levels and so had to repeat them. It is a good idea to budget in a few failed levels which will all cost a couple hundred pounds. So a revised budget might be closer to £2000 than £1500. 

The CS course costs significantly less than an AFF: £500 . The first weekend course costs 190 pounds with £35 for every subsequent flight. You need to do at least 25 jumps so this should cost around £875. Read about top skydiving places in the UK here.

As with the AFF, you may fail one or more jumps with CS. You may want to save at least £1000 just in case.

Also, if you don’t live near the skydiving centre, you may need to rent accommodation. Some centres offered reduced rates at local motels and B&B’s for skydiving trainees. Still, this may cost around £140 for the duration of the course.

The yearly membership license includes some liability insurance, but you may want to consider getting third party insurance as well, especially if you plan on skydiving abroad.

A yearly British Parachuting Association (BPA) membership for skydiving in the UK costs £110. There are also fees such as postage, so expect to pay closer to £150 than £110.

How long does it take to get a skydiving license UK?

Depending on which course you choose, getting a skydiving license in the UK can take a week or 2 months. 

With an AFF, it takes at least a week to complete the course. 

You may need to find accommodation for the duration of your training. You can also split up the course and do a few levels, take a month break, and come back to complete the course. 

Many people choose the AFF because of how quick and relatively painless it is.

The Category System takes quite a bit longer than AFF. It can take months because of the course structure. 

First, you need to do a weekend course which includes six hours of ground training before doing your first jump. 

two people tandem skydiving
A Tandem Skydive being performed by a licensed skydiver and an amateur. Photo Credit: CT Snow 2006

Do skydivers make money?

There are a few different ways professional skydivers make money. Doing tandem jumps is probably the most obvious way to make money as a skydiver. 

Skydivers can also make money by becoming skydiver instructors. Of course for this, you’ll have to do more certificates than an AFF or a CS. 

British Skydiving has made a helpful progression tree that can show you how to become an instructor. 

Another major way skydivers earn money is by taking part in competitions. For more information you can check out this helpful link or watch this video of a skydiving competition.

How much do licensed skydivers make?

Of course this varies a lot depending on where you live and work, what kind of jumps you are doing, etc., but in general, a professional tandem skydiver earns anywhere from 16,000 to 25,000 pounds per year in the UK. 

Often, a tandem skydiver earns 16 to 26 pounds per jump. If you do 10 jumps in a day, that’s at least 160 pounds, 800 in a week. 

If that sounds like way too little for someone jumping out of planes for a living, remember there are other ways skydivers can earn money. 

As stated before, they can do courses, competitions and extra jumps to earn more cash. One other major way skydivers earn money is by going abroad to vacation destinations where they can add a major sum to their incomes.

One skydiver in New Zealand for example, said he earns £60,000 per year, over double the amount a UK skydiver earns.

Another thing to think about when it comes to income is the weather. UK weather is notoriously bad for skydiving, so if a skydiver is paid by jumps or hourly, they may lose out on a lot of money come winter. 

How many jumps does it take to get skydive certified?

2 men skydiving
Photo by Kamil Pietrzak on Unsplash

This really depends on what kind of certificate you’re going for. To achieve an A-Level License, you will need to do at least 25 jumps. 

However, most people will do more. Trainees usually fail a few jumps. They often want to do a tandem jump before doing a solo jump or do practice jumps in a wind tunnel.

What’s more important than jump numbers is training and discipline. If you show that you are listening to your instructor and following their advice, it’s less likely that you will fail a jump.

25 jumps may seem like a lot, but remember, you’re doing this so you can get a license which helps you jump even more! It’s fun; not just work.

How dangerous is solo skydiving?

While every skydive has certain risks like weather, gear malfunctions, or plane problems, solo skydiving is relatively safe. 

Of course, you need to be adequately trained before doing a solo dive. I know us skydivers love the thrill of jumping, pun intended, into something without much thought, but good training and planning are essential to having a safe solo jump.

Statistically, solo jumps very rarely end badly, however, for AFF, around 1 in 200 ends in injury. However, there isn’t a reliable figure for the mortality rate for AFF. 

For CS, 1 in 250 jumps ends in injury, and 1 in 28,000 ends in death. 

Strangely, women have a higher injury rate (almost four times higher) than male skydivers. This anomaly has never been fully explained.

It’s very unlikely a skydiver dies from a solo jump as long as they have been trained properly, so just verify the safety stats of your skydiving institution. Sometimes they publish these stats online, especially if they are above the averages for injury or mortality.

If you’re still concerned about the safety of solo or tandem jumps, check out the BPA’s safety section.

What can you do as a Licensed Skydiver?

What you can and can’t do as a skydiver depends largely upon your license level. Level A skydivers MUST be flightline checked by a Level B License or above. They also need to have a hook knife whenever doing a jump. 

Once you get to Licence B, you have a lot more freedom. A Licence B skydiver can act as Jumpmaster and perform flightline checks. You’ll also have done double the amount of flights as a Licence A skydiver (50).

If you want to be a skydiving instructor, it’s going to take some time. You’ll have to get to level C and to do that, you’ll need to complete a total of 250 jumps and even more training. But after Licence C, you can be a basic instructor and after 800 jumps, you can become a tandem instructor.

tandem skydive
Photo Credit: Douglas S. Smith

Why should I become a Licensed Skydiver?

There’s lots that goes into becoming a solo skydiver: money, time, and lots of effort. But there’s also so much to gain from this spectacular death-defying sport. 

First of all, you’ll have the ride of your life every time you jump out of a plane. You’ll gain confidence from being highly skilled at an incredible sport. And maybe best of all, you’ll gain some life changing experiences.

The thrill of a solo skydive is unforgettable and priceless.