First Time Jumpers

In the early 1960’s, sport parachuting (for enjoyment only) was considered very risky.  The parachutes used were left over from the military and were called “round” parachutes.  The failure rate of these older, round chutes was high.  Additionally, parachutists had no means of steering them to a successful landing, causing them to land in trees or powerlines.  Today, parachute gear has evolved to create a much safer experience.  Parachutes are now square in shape and are more like a flying wing, giving the parachutist below full control as they steer.  Even the descent rate can be adjusted to a minimum speed during landing, making tip-toe stand-up landings common-place.

Let’s say you decide to make a parachute jump.  The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of an experience you want as the methods and options are vastly different.  Let’s look at three common methods of parachute jumping available at Skyranch.


This is not just a jump!  This is an actual course; when you are done, you will officially be a skydiver!  You are the student and there is material that you must comprehend and retain.  Nearly 80% of our guests at Skyranch simply desire a wonderful first-time jump experience without the pressure of jumping alone, and this is the best way to accomplish it.  The jump includes some free fall and a smooth, on-target landing.  If you elect to make your first jump a Tandem jump, you will be paired with one of our expert Tandem instructors who will guide you through the course material and answer all of your questions.  There is no testing and the training is much more abbreviated as you are in essence a passenger on this jump and minimal action on your part will be required.  Expect to watch a few videos and take about 30 minutes of pre-jump instruction.

During the jump, you are physically connected to the instructor by a harness.  You can rest easy knowing that no matter what you do, you are attached to a professional and the outcome will be good.  You also get to enjoy the scenic airplane ride, exit, freefall and of course the spectacular parachute ride back to the landing area.  During the parachute ride, you will be invited by your instructor to take the parachute’s steering toggles and try “driving” it yourself.  Tandem is the safest method of jumping worldwide with accidents and fatalities being extremely remote.  All Tandem jumps are protected by both an emergency reserve chute as well as an automatic activation device as a backup (meaning that the parachute will deploy on its own in the unlikely event that the ripcord is not pulled).

If you’re wanting to jump, just to say you did it, Tandem Jump Course is the method for you.  Jump altitude, aircraft and amount of freefall time are easily customizable so you can easily select a package that is right for you.

Weight Limit: 230 lbs



The Static Line Course is a comprehensive course that ends with you making a “solo” jump.  Students are required to understand the entire parachute system and be able to solve any problems that may occur while in the air; the student jumps alone and assumes responsibility for all functions of their parachute. While malfunctions are very rare, they do occur in approximately 1 out of every 400 jumps at Skyranch.  Students must exemplify their understanding of the parachute and its emergency back-up system within seconds in the event of a malfunction.

The jump altitude for this course is much lower than for that of the Tandem program, typically around 5,200 feet.  The term “Static Line” means that you are tethered to the jump plane in such a way that as you fall away from the plane, your main parachute is automatically pulled out for you.  Once your parachute is open, you will be in charge of making a canopy assessment, finding the airport, determining your landing area and guiding the chute back to the approved landing area for a safe land.

Because of the dangers associated with making a solo parachute jump, Static Line course applicants are required to make a Tandem jump as a prerequisite to the course.  The Tandem jump is educational in nature and designed to acquaint you with the parachute-steering process.  Your Tandem instructor will evaluate your basic awareness, physical limitations and ability to follow instructions.  Static Line jumpers should be physically fit with an emphasis on upper-body strength in order to qualify for this course.  In the event that an applicant cannot demonstrate an above-average sense of awareness and ability to pass the qualification jump, they will not be allowed to continue to the full Static Line course curriculum.

Static Line Course is a full day of training.



This course closely reflects the Static Line course.  An AFF applicant will be required to make one Tandem qualification jump prior to beginning the AFF course. See the above explanation in Static Line course for more information regarding the Tandem qualification jump as a pre requisite to the AFF course.  The AFF course lasts one full day.  Once your Tandem qualification jump and your ground school training are complete, you will board an aircraft with two instructors. Upon exit, you will not be physically tethered to either instructor.  You will be wearing your own gear and your objective is to maintain stability and awareness while in freefall.  Your two AFF instructors will be on each side of you in free-fall for this process and will ensure that your main parachute is deployed at the proper altitude.

Note:  The two AFF instructors will only be present during the plane ride, exit and the long free-fall.  Once your main parachute is open, you are on your own! Students must operate their parachute in autonomy through landing.  AFF is the most expensive and time consuming method of learning to jump.  It involves a longer ground school, more instructors and more equipment.  The only advantage an AFF holds against a Static Line Course is its provision for new students to experience a prolonged, solo free-fall session while under an instructor’s supervision.