Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of your BPA A licence and you are effectively a qualified skydiver. What’s next in this amazing new world you’ve discovered? Well, flying with your buddies would be pretty awesome wouldn’t it? Sure it would! So what’s the next step to get you flying like Bodhi and Utah in a Point Break style? The qualification you’re aiming for now is called FS1 - the FS stands for formation skydiving and the 1 simply means it’s the first stage. FS1 teaches you how to safely fly in the same piece of sky as other jumpers. You’ll learn how to increase and decrease your fall rate, move forwards and backwards, move laterally (side sliding) and perform turns in a more powerful way than you learned during your AFF (because for hecks sake, you’re now a real skydiver!). You will be taught how to approach other jumpers in a controlled manner and move away from them quickly and efficiently (tracking) before you deploy your
parachute. You will need to show clear altitude awareness throughout. Once you’ve proved you’ve mastered all these skills individually, the final piece is to demonstrate them all in two formation skydives (a 3 way - you and two others, and a 4 way - you and three others, including your coach) Some people whizz through the skills in perhaps 5 or 6 jumps, other people take quite a few more, but the thing to remember is that the whole learning process for FS1 is brilliant fun and every jump adds more experience to your fledgling skydiving career. Some people opt to hone their skills in the wind tunnel before, or during their FS coaching jumps. It’s definitely not a requirement, but just 10 mins in the tunnel in one session is roughly equivalent to 12 skydives. As you don’t have to worry about any of the elements of a skydive, you can have your coach standing right in front of you, and be able to crank out lots of learning in one session, the tunnel can be a very efficient learning tool.
When you’ve achieved FS1, the formation skydiving world is your oyster (slow is steady, it’ll take a few more jumps to take part in larger formations). You can now start jumping with your FS1 qualified friends and, much like when you learn to drive once you have your licence, you will now really learn how to skydive. You can take part in small group jumps, join a Scrambles competition (ask an instructor what this is - it’s possibly the most fun you can have with your clothes on!), take part in the annual Speed 8 Nationals, or even consider putting together a rookie (beginner) formation skydiving team. Imagine, it’s 8 o’clock on a warm summer evening, you’re on the sunset load with a few of your closest friends, the door opens, the green light comes on and suddenly you’re all in free-tfall together. Just you and your friends experiencing the most amazing sun set, geeking at each other with huge smiles on your faces...
Published on May 4, 2016