Skydiving is a thrilling sport that combines the pure rush of adrenaline with the serene experience of floating through the sky. While skydiving and defying gravity is exciting, it’s also a discipline that requires proper training, skill, and an unwavering commitment to safety. One of the cornerstones of this commitment is the system of skydiving licenses, each signifying a level of proficiency and safety awareness. Let’s dive into what these licenses entail and why they’re so crucial for those who dream of defying gravity.

TLDR: After completing the necessary training, aspiring skydivers are awarded an A License. This is more than just a beginner’s badge; it’s a testament to the jumper’s ability to skydive safely without the need for supervision. The moment you clutch that A License in your hand, you’re no longer a student watching from the sidelines. You’re a certified skydiver with the fundamental skills to explore the sky on your own terms.

Skydiving is a skill that constantly evolves. The B License comes next and represents a significant step up from the A License. To earn it, you need at least 50 skydives under your belt and a minimum of 30 minutes of controlled freefall time. This license indicates that you’ve honed your abilities and are ready to handle more complex maneuvers and situations.

With 200 jumps and a full hour of freefall experience required, the C License is a badge of honor in the skydiving community. By this point, you’ve not only mastered the foundations of skydiving but also embraced more intricate aspects of the sport. The C License is proof of your advanced skills and experience, opening the door to even more challenging and rewarding jumps.

The D License is the culmination of a skydiver’s dedication to the sport. It requires an impressive 500 jumps and a staggering 3 hours of freefall time. This is where you join the ranks of the elite with the credentials to showcase your broad and deep understanding of skydiving. With a D License, you’ve demonstrated that you can handle the most demanding and complex skydiving scenarios.

What types of skydiving licenses are there?

The journey of skydiving is not just about the adrenaline rush—it’s about embracing a discipline that demands skill, safety, and knowledge. For those new to the sport and seasoned jumpers alike, skydiving licenses are crucial milestones that represent the height of achievement in this high-flying pursuit. Simplified and accessible, let’s explore the different skydiving licenses and what it takes to earn these coveted wings of freedom.

Skydiving A license

Every skydiver’s story begins with the A License, the very first acknowledgment of your ability to soar through the skies solo. It’s not just a piece of paper; it’s a declaration of your understanding of the fundamentals—from equipment to emergency procedures. To proudly hold an A License, you must complete at least 25 jumps, pass both written and oral exams, and meet other specific requirements set by the United States Parachute Association (USPA). It’s your ticket to packing your own parachute, joining group jumps, and splashing down near the water, marking the thrilling start of your skydiving adventure.

Skydiving B license

Once you’ve tasted the freedom of the skies with your A License, it’s natural to crave more. The B License is your next step, requiring at least 50 skydives and demonstrating a more profound experience base. It’s about proving your finesse in freefall and your precision in landing, along with documented water landing training and advanced canopy piloting skills. With a B License, you’re not just free to jump on your own; you’re qualified to lead as a USPA coach, even guiding others on their nocturnal jumps after 100 dives.

Skydiving C license

A C License pushes you further, demanding 200 jumps and a solid hour of freefall mastery. Here, you’re not just performing turns and rolls; you’re coordinating with larger teams, hitting precision targets, and taking on the responsibility of potentially training others. The C License is more than a progression—it’s proof of your commitment and capability to take on advanced skydiving challenges.

Skydiving D license

The D License is the pinnacle of skydiving achievement, reserved for those with an impressive 500 jumps and a depth of expertise that sets them apart. With this license, you are the epitome of what it means to be an elite skydiver. You’ve spent hours in freefall, pushed your boundaries with night jumps, and shown exceptional formation skydiving skills. It’s not just about the number of jumps; it’s about a breadth of experience that has you respected and recognized as a master of the skies, ready for any USPA instructor ratings.

How much does it cost to get a skydiving license in the U.S.?

For many, the dream of soaring through the skies begins with a tandem jump, strapped securely to an instructor. But if you’re looking to take that leap on your own, the first question on your mind might be about the investment required. Here’s a straightforward look at what it takes, in time, effort, and, yes, dollars, to obtain your ‘A’ skydiving license in the U.S.

Understanding the Costs: From Ground School to Solo Jumps

The initial step towards your skydiving license is ground school, where you’ll learn all about the equipment, safety measures, and what being licensed means. At many skydiving centers, like Chicagoland Skydiving Center’s Freefall University, this foundational course is either free or offered at $150 for a private session.

Following ground school, you’ll translate what you learned into practice, starting with a couple of tandem training jumps. These aren’t your average joyrides; they’re interactive lessons where you’ll learn maneuvers, altitude monitoring, and parachute deployment—all in mid-air.

Budgeting for Your License: The Numbers Breakdown

The financial journey to earning your ‘A’ License starts to climb with these training jumps. Although costs can vary, it’s likely you’ll spend a few hundred dollars per jump. Once you’re ready for the specific license training, the numbers add up as follows:

7 accelerated freefall (AFF) jumps at around $1,400

6 coached jumps totaling roughly $900

2 “hop and pop” jumps for about $150

10 or more student solo jumps, adding up to $750 or more

So, what’s the total? You’re looking at upwards of $3,200 to achieve your ‘A’ License, not including the additional costs that might pop up along the way.

Covering All Angles: The Extras

Skydiving isn’t a straight shot. There are recurrency training if you take a break, equipment rentals until you’re ready to buy your own gear, and annual fees to maintain USPA membership. These can range from $70 to over $220 for training and $78 to $66 annually (or a one-time $2,500 lifetime membership) for the USPA.

Can you make money as a skydiver?

Skydiving isn’t just a thrilling hobby; it can also be a career. Tandem instructors, coaches, and videographers are just some of the roles that can net you anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000 annually. Like any profession, factors such as location, experience, and jump numbers affect earnings.

How many skydivers are licensed in the world?

The United States Parachute Association (USPA) serves as the hub for skydiving activity worldwide, with an impressive roster of about 41,000 members. This number is more than a statistic; it represents a vibrant community of individuals who have turned their skyward dreams into reality.

Conclusion

Whether you’re based in the Southeast or any other part of the world, becoming a licensed skydiver is about more than just the jumps—it’s about the people you meet along the way. Joining the ranks of licensed skydivers means entering a unique, growing family that spans continents. If you’re considering taking the plunge, know that you’ll be part of a community that performs, executes, and helps others experience the remarkable feeling of flight. So, whether you’re taking on this journey for personal achievement or the social aspect, the world of skydiving welcomes you with open arms and open skies.