How to Get Your Skydiving License

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to Get Your Skydiving License

If you just recently learned that skydiving is an actual sport you can do (as opposed to a one-time ride in the sky), you might be equally surprised to discover that it’s quite an organized one, to boot. Beyond the one-of jump, getting your skydiving license can start you on the path of solo skydiving or even a life-long profession. In this article, we’ll try to assuage your bafflement and break down what will happen after you officially become a solo skydiver–getting your A, B, C and D licenses–and what rights and privileges each license will grant you. (Spoiler: Your tandem skydiving certificate won’t get you under your own parachute, so it’s time to get crackin’.)

Skydiving Certification Levels: The Basics

The USPA (United States Parachute Association) is the regulatory body that governs our sport. This hallowed organization sets out the requirements to skydive both tandem and not-tandem, and it grants skydivers the licenses that serve as official documentation that a certain set of experience and skills have been attained by the holder. Hot tip: The only way to become a licensed skydiver is to start working on these licenses.

Each license level serves both as a goal to be accomplished and as a roadmap to the skill set and knowledge to attain a specified level of safety in increasingly complex jumping environments (which equals out to fun, really!).

how to get your skydiving license | Skydive San Marcos

Step One: The A License

The A License is the first of the skydive license levels. It’s the license that every jumper must demonstrate before they’re allowed to jump without supervision, pack their own main parachute, take part in basic group jumps and refer to themselves as a “skydiver” without derision.

An A-license holder must show that s/he has:

  1. completed 25 jumps
  2. completed all requirements listed on the USPA A License Proficiency Card
  3. completed five group freefall skydives involving at least two participants, and
  4. passed a written test

After all that’s done and dusted, the new licensee will get an official signature and stamp on her/his logbook, which is then validated by sending it along to USPA Headquarters for logging. It won’t be long until the official card arrives in the mail. (Oh happy day indeed!)

Step Two: The B License

B-license holders are leveling up from that A. They get to perform jumps at night! Once they’ve logged 100 jumps, they’re eligible to help other new jumpers by signing up for a class to take their USPA Coach Rating.

A B-license holder must show that s/he has:

  1. obtained a USPA A license
  2. completed 50 jumps, over the course of which s/he has accumulated at least 30 minutes of controlled freefall time and landed within 33 feet of a target center for ten jumps
  3. shown a coach that s/he can perform certain aerial performance requirements
  4. completed water landing training, and
  5. passed a written exam

Hot tip: A lot of super-fun skydiving “boogies” require participants to demonstrate B licenses in order to register, so it’s a big deal to get that B in your wallet.

Step Three: The C License

Once you have a C license, you’re really moving up in the skydiving world. A C-license holder can go for a USPA Instructor rating (except tandem instructor) and participate in certain kinds of demonstration jumps.

A C-license holder must show that s/he has:

  1. obtained a USPA B license
  2. completed 200 jumps, over the course of which at least 60 minutes of controlled freefall time and 25 high-accuracy landings have been accumulated
  3. demonstrated several even more complicated aerial performance requirements to a coach, and
  4. passed a written exam

Skydive Licenses | Skydive San Marcos

The Cherry On Top: The D License

The USPA D license is the highest of the skydive license levels on offer. D-licensees are able to exercise all privileges of a C-license holder, of course, and are eligible for all USPA ratings. They’re also welcome to apply to be tandem instructors–a sacred responsibility, indeed.

A D-license holder must show that s/he has:

  1. obtained a USPA C license
  2. completed 500 jumps (wow, right?!), accumulating at least three hours of controlled freefall time
  3. logged two night jumps, and
  4. passed a written exam

If all this sounds like an enormous undertaking, it most certainly is. That said: It’s incredibly rewarding. Getting your skydiving license is totally worth it. Most people find that skydiving certification cost is disproportionately low compared to the immense rewards of solo skydiving.

Curious how to get your skydiving license? We’d love to answer your questions. Don’t be shy! Reach out to us today.