How to carry out a solo sky dive without pursuing the full course


We don't have a lot of travel inspired movies in bollywood, but ZNMD has been quite a blockbuster and I would be lying if I would say that it wasn't something that inspired me to go all out and not just perform a tandem dive, but do a course and carry out a solo dive.

Photo of How to carry out a solo sky dive without pursuing the full course 1/3 by Pratiti Ahluwalia

The issue with doing it in India or most countries is that you can only get a tandem jump without taking the full course and the whole course requires a lot of money and time and is not even available at most places. So I looked for a different option while planning my trip to Europe and came across the this incredible opportunity in which if you desire to experience something more adventurous than a tandem jump, but you’re not sure whether you want to attend the whole AFF course, so you go for something known as the IFF (Introduction to free fall).

What is AFF?

AFF, which stands for accelerated freefall, is a method of skydiving instruction which has been developed in the USA to enable people to take full advantage of one to one training and learning during freefall. Accelerated Freefall courses are one of the most popular programs and are a great way to learn how to skydive. AFF is the training program of choice to go from non-skydiver to certified-skydiver.

The AFF training program includes ground school, pre-jump training, seven levels of advancement, and all the required equipment. AFF is a progression course, and advancement to the next level is only upon fulfilment of performance objectives of the previous level.

The AFF program caters not only for the person who wishes to graduate and become a skydiver, but also provides an opportunity for those people who would like to make one freefall descent in a safe and controlled environment – AFF Level 1, also known as IFF in some institutes.

What an IFF program consists of?

1. First, you attend an intense ground school. Here you learn the basics of free fall and flying the canopy.

2. Once you finish the ground school, you attend your first AFF course jump. Assisted by two instructors you perform several movements influencing free fall. Once the parachute opens, an instructor on the ground will advise you how to land via walkie-talkie.

Now personally, I would recommend that you take part in a tandem jump from 4,000 meters before carrying out an IFF jump. Your instructor will show you the basic body movements to control free fall. This helps with your first solo dive because you will know what to expect and it's important to know the feeling of free fall before you carry out a solo.

My personal experience

I did my IFF course from an institute, JUMP TANDEM in Prostejov, Czech Republic. After a lot of research, I have realised these courses are being offered only in certain European countries like England, Spain, Czech Republic, etc.

The jumps were carried out only on the weekends, so we reached the jump school by Thursday morning. Our ground school started on the same day in which we were taught about altitude awareness, stable body position, and deployment. We also had lectures on how to use the equipment, how to carry out proper parachute deployment and landing, etc

Photo of How to carry out a solo sky dive without pursuing the full course 2/3 by Pratiti Ahluwalia
Lessons on deployment of parachute
Photo of How to carry out a solo sky dive without pursuing the full course 3/3 by Pratiti Ahluwalia
Study material

We were the only students from outside the country who didn't know the local language, so were given an English speaking instructor, Chris who btw, is awesome. After a grinding session, he treated us with a delicious Carbonara for dinner.

My amazing instructor, Chris

Photo of JUMP-TANDEM s.r.o., Letecká, Prostějov, Czechia by Pratiti Ahluwalia

The next day was our jump day, and we were excited beyond words can express. We started with some revision in the morning and then got ready for our Tandem jump.

The tandem jump was amazing, and I really didn't realise what even happened during my first jump. We reached 4500 metres and everyone started jumping one after the other. Once in air, Chris made me practice some of the moves and hand signals. All I could feel was air rushing into my face and then he deployed the parachute and we landed.

Maybe if I hadn't experienced a solo dive, I would've been going gaga about the tandem jump. But I am so glad that I did, because it was so much more than a tandem jump.

My solo dive was scheduled in the afternoon, so I came back down and got ready for the solo dive. This time, I had to wear the parachute, check if everything was right or not and then get it vetted by Chris.

The last check before the solo dive

Photo of How to carry out a solo sky dive without pursuing the full course by Pratiti Ahluwalia

You don't really realise how the ground would look like from 4500 metres up in the sky, but when you reach that height, everything seems so tiny. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't scared, but the whole excitement was overpowering the fear that I was feeling.

I did my initial checks along with my two instructors by my side, and then just jumped, without really thinking anything. Once in air, they both were by my side, until I deployed my parachute. This time, I could feel each and every second that I was in the air. First of all, I was already prepared for the air rush and secondly, when you have the controls, your mind actually starts pumping that adrenaline to make you survive. I guess that is what is different when it comes to a solo, because now, your life is actually in your hands whereas, in a tandem dive, your mind is just lazy as you are depending on someone else.

Once my parachute was deployed safely, I had to land on my own with some instructions from Chris through a walkie talkie. We were already told during our classes that most accidents that take place in sky diving is during the parachute deployment phase, so you have to be alert and stick to whatever you've studied.

I landed safely (actually it was quite a good landing) and very happily. Being a person who has done a few adventure sports before, I can very easily say that none of it even come close to sky diving. It was a moment that is ingrained in my mind, because all I could feel was pure happiness.

So, go ahead, gather up that courage and jump your heart away! :)