How Much Experience to Skydiving Instructors Have?

January 22, 2019 by Skydive California

How much experience do skydiving instructors have? Well, to even apply to take a tandem skydiving instructor course, potential instructors have to be card-carrying adults, with at least 500 parachute jumps, who have spent no less than three years in the sport, earned the highest-level sport skydiving license and already been teaching fellow sport skydivers a thing or two. They have to already have experienced at least one cutaway, so they’ve proven their ability to handle the scariest possible in-air situation and sorted it out with flying colors. They have to prove they’ve made at least 50 jumps within the previous 12 months and logged at least four hours in actual-factual freefall.

That’s pretty experienced, we’d have to say! Don’t you agree? Oh– and the required Class 3 medical evaluation ensures that the would-be instructor is fit as a fiddle, to boot!

Why Do People Wonder So Much About Skydiving Instructor Experience?

The fact is, however, that that’s only part of the question. It’s interesting to note that most people getting on a bus don’t check the driver’s license; that most folks boarding a plane don’t ask for the pilot’s paperwork; that it’s extremely unusual for someone to beeline for a train conductor to make sure his or her certification is in-date. That said: lots of first-time skydiving students are quite interested in the amount of experience that skydiving instructors have–especially the one they’re expecting to be strapped to for the jump. Perhaps it’s a function of the physical closeness of the instructor, or the one-on-one nature of the jump, or the utter novelty of the act of skydiving that inspires such keen attention to the details of certification.

Tandem Skydiving Instructor with Student

What’s Skydiving Instructor Training Like?

Even if you meet the long list of prerequisites above, there’s no guarantee that you’ll earn a tandem skydiving instructor rating. You’ve still got to prove yourself. There are plenty of flaming hoops to jump through before a hopeful young Padawan gets a fresh stamp on his or her license. (Metaphorical flaming hoops, that is. Actual flaming hoops usually put themselves out at terminal velocity. This has been tested.)

As you might imagine, tandem instructor rating courses aren’t particularly quick. Neither are they cheap. The course takes about a week of hard work, and it’s completed in multiple phases. The first phase starts in the classroom with a smorgasbord of theoretical topics (customer procedures; equipment; worst-case scenarios; emergencies). After that, it’s off to the sky. The program’s practical phase, given by a tandem instructor examiner, who rides in place of the tandem student, challenges the skills of the tandem candidate. What’s the challenge? Well: the examiner makes it his/her business to do everything wrong in freefall. It puts the student in the hot seat–the flying, tumbling hot seat–and teaches some crazy lessons right up-front.

Not every candidate passes. It’s ruff. Those who do? They’re good.

What Are the Skydiving Instructors Like at Skydive California?

Happy Tandem Skydiving Instructor with Student

Skydive California’s skydiving instructors are awesome indeed. Not only do they have both the experience and the hardcore training required to be licensed tandem skydiving instructors, they have resounding passion for the sport. Get this: our most experienced instructors have more than 10,000 jumps! That ain’t all, though. We don’t just hire numbers. We hired our team based on their sterling personalities, their attention to the details of customer experience and their genuine love of the sport. The difference is clear.

Want to meet these modern day superheroes? They want to meet you! Come down to Skydive California and take a close-up look at what true skydiving professionals look like at the top of their game. It’s a pretty cool thing indeed.

Related Article: Skydiving Instructor Spotlight: Tom Grayson 

Related Article: Instructor Spotlight: Cristin Brown – AFF Instructor