Place to do an AFF course needed

Discussion in 'Sports, Adventure Training and Events' started by Bob_the_bulletproof, Mar 28, 2005.

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  1. Well i've finally saved up my pennies and tried static line jumps (3), now i want to learn to do it in style.

    Whilst i could take the time to go through the static line method of going to a 5 second delay etc. i've been told that it's safer/better to go for an AFF (Advanced free fall?) course, and that it costs about £800.

    While i can pay this sort of money (just), there has to be a cheaper method than doing it in Civvie street (UOTC not-quite-a-soldier).

    Any sugestions of where to go, or who to go to, or horror stories greatly appreciated.
  2. I wouldn't say 'safer' comes into it, as if you take the traditional route you'll clock up a lot more time doing your apprentiship on larger slower canopies before getting tempted onto something that may be too small or fast for you.

    AFF is of course the quickest method of getting you to Cat 8 and the reason it is so expensive is that it is altitude, instructor and briefing intensive. The other thing that AFF does is accentuate the fear of being low, as starting at 12,000 ft + and working your way down to 5000 ft will mean on that low cloudbase day when all the old and bold ex-static liners are happy to hop & pop off the door, you'll find yourself exiting freefall lower than you've ever done before.... but hey, that's what it's all about.

    The only way to get an AFF course on the semi-cheap is to get your Regt/Corps to sort you out an exped to somewhere sunny. You'll get the AFF done a little quicker and they normally charge very little over the cost of flights and accommodation. The RE, Air Corps and Paras normally have a couple of expeds a year although you'll have to check for free places if you are nothing to do with them.
  3. Starting the AFF Vs RAPS question will never lead to a straight yes or no answer, each has its own merits and drawbacks but if you have done a few jumps then you will probably already know them. They are different though nowadays AFF is the most common entry route into the sport. In my experience however, the decision is normally based upon what the student can afford.

    AFF is paid upfront but does not include the cost of rejumps if you fail a level, or the cost of the 10 consolidation jumps you have to do after you have done AFF to get your cat 8.

    In RAPS you pay one jump at a time, though progress is slower and running static line ops at most DZ's is a pain in the arrse so you wont get as many jumps in one day. The total amount you pay will probably be about the same as if you had paid to do AFF in the end. Hence why most people choose based upon what they can afford at the time.

    It costs about £800 if you do it at a military DZ with a military discount. Civvy DZ's will charge anything upto and including £1500 therefore doing it through the mil is the cheapest way. UOTC type bods attract mil rates at mil DZ's but bring your MOD90 to prove it.

    Mil DZ's in the UK are:

    Weston on the Green
    South Cerney

    Nethers is cheapest last time i checked but has a not unfounded reputation of being unfriendly to new people.

    Hope this helps. PM me if you need anymore help.

  4. The cheapest i've seen an AFF on offer was about 390 quid, and that didn't include the consolidation jumps you're right.

    The silver stars quote £1200 for civvie jumps and the RAF 1,350 (blood sucking leeches :p)

    Damn sure i've seen it for 800 inc the consolidation jumps somewhere.

    There's sweet FA chance of me getting shipped off somewhere sunny at the taxpayer's expense, unless i could tag along with a Sappers or loggies group, but i'm not sure how i'd hear of one of these.

    I've fired off emails to ask about pricing for the mil DZs, waiting on a response now. As an asside, i've never seen my Mod90, i've only seen one once. TA and OTC especially don't get issued them as a regular thing.
  5. hahahahahahaha :lol: i nearly choked when i read that!!

    No way in the UK would you get AFF at that price. AFF level 1 maybe, but definately no the whole AFF package.

    Those are the civvy prices, phone up and ask for the mil rates.

    Not in the UK you haven't. Nethers is the cheapest in the UK, £800 mil for AFF not including consols. They are doing it at cost for mil guys, when i did it AFF was £750. If you asked a civ AFF instructor to take you through for that much he would laugh you off of the DZ.

    not true, have done it a number of times, and know many others besides. Get on an exped and get funding from your capbadge/unit/divison etc. Costs are negligible if organised properly and thats even before you get CILOR.

    All AT parachuting expeds for all three services have to be cleared by the APA as part of the JSATFA submission. APA secretary holds a list of all planned expeds. Phone him and he will let you know. Most exped organisers will be happy to take you on as it spreads the cost of the instructors over more students making the exped cheaper overall.

    Get your CO or someone in authority in your chain of command to write something on headed paper to the effect you are a serving member of OTC/TA etc. This should be good enough for mil DZs as they give mil discount to every man and his dog nowadays.

    Good deed done for the day hurumph :roll:

  6. Cheers sprog, but i've NEVER been on an AT package with the army where i didn't foot the transport bill, not complaining, dirty cheap for what i get, but always had to pay for transport.

    You're right on the 390 one, i've just re read the link, looks like it's just level one. With the consolidation jumps costing a small fortune afterwards.

    The silver stars can drop the price of hte consolidation jumps from 30 to 22 quid, but while an 80 quid saving is nice, it's still 1100+

    Will keep searching, and phone the APA secretary.
  7. BtB It's all well and good snuffling around looking for the cheapest options, all good consumer stuff and all that, but the bottom line is that if you really want to do it you'll find a way. We've all been there. I started jumping as a civvy on a military DZ feeling very envious of the reletivley 'rich' squaddies who got their jumps for next to nothing and had money to spend in the bar of an evening.... they bought me a few beers and I got a crate in when I had to.... it's all part of the scene.

    If you start calling any DZ "blood sucking leeches" when it's a wonder that any DZ remains commercially viable in the UK and you'll loose friends you haven't even got yet.

    Remember there is no 'shame' attached to the traditional route to the top. If you are having so much trouble getting on an AFF course/exped you can afford, do like many have done before you, go the RAPS route. You learn better canopy handling skills and there are a lot more memorable jumps on your journey to cat 8. You should do what you can afford, enjoy every jump, enjoy the people you meet and learn more about yourself.
  8. Like PP said, Skydiving is an expensive sport if you want to do it bad enough you will find a way. If you are struggling to afford AFF then quite simply do RAPS. It spreads the payment of jumps over a longer period, and you become more knowledgable about the sport because you spend longer at the DZ as a student than if you were to do AFF.

    If you are baulking at the cost then now, then wait until you have to do rejumps, pay for pack jobs, rig hire, kit hire, beer fines, buying your own jumpsuit, WARP jumps, buying your own alti, buying your own rig etc the list goes on. Dont forget that once you have cat 8 you need to jump lots to stay current because your experience is so limited. Not jumping often for the first 100 jumps or so will mean that you wont progress and you are dangerous to yourself and others. Its a bit of a viscious circle as you always need to pour money in. AFF is only the start.

    So in short, from the sound of your situation either do RAPS or get a loan and blow it on skydiving like all good uni students do :D

    Excellent point. DZ owners run their operations with not a lot of profit, unless they are Tandem operations. DZ's dont make money fom fun jumpers, they get it from tandem jumpers. They could easily try and make a profit from fun jumpers by putting prices up but they dont because they are skydivers too and it would drive skydivers away to somewhere else. If you go around calling DZ operators 'blood sucking leaches' you will find yourself wondering why everyone is jumping except you and why noone talks to you at the bar.

    Dont forget that these are the people that are holding onto you in freefall and will save your life if you f*ck up or forget to pull.

    and dont do anything stupid.............. :lol:

  9. Ummmm, that's not what I meant at all!! :wink:
  10. The blood sucking leeches wasn't quite serious. Although thinking about it there's a real, if slim, chance of one of the blokes running these things visiting here. Ah well, blown my foot off already then.

    May have to reconsider the RAPS thing, but i've done 3 jumps on it, and due to time constraints have allowed them to lapse (6/7 months ago) so i'll have to go through the whole thing from scratch.

    As an aside when i went parachuting a girl got okayed for her first freefall after RAPS, but had some issues with her position and had a failry nasty malfunction. She lived, but i'd be lying if it didn't influence me to think about AFF more.

    To keep current i've a uni parachuting club, and netheravon isn't too far away for the occasional serious weekend of jumping, thier rates are quite reasonable from memory.

    Still awaiting costs from netheravon.
  11. You ought to consider your position from the very start. If you want to take the 'quick' route and leave it over 6 months between jumps you are going to find yourself 'qualified' but inexperienced and not current, which is not only going to make your skydiving erratic and unacceptable to others you jump with, but also mean that you aren't going to be the most confident canopy pilot. Not good news all round.

    RAPS will give you a better grounding in canopy work, suit your financial situation at the moment and maybe get you back to the DZ more often so you can keep current.

    If you are worried about the change from static line to freefall when all you have to do is exit, count and find the handle..... everyone is. But that's why you progress slowly. So you master each new art before you get put up for the next one. The exit, stability, the dummy pull, freefall, longer freefall, stability at terminal, instruments, turns etc. Every stage a little more difficult than the last and only progressing when you've mastered it. It has to be that way as you are on your own, but each lift you get better and better at your canopy handling so that by the time you get to cat 8, you may not be the best canopy pilot in the world, but you are normally a lot better and more experienced than the AFF guys at the same stage. One thing to remember is that more people get hurt under canopy than because the canopy didn't function correctly.

    So the girl had a problem and had a malfunction. What are you doing in the sport if you want SAFE? She made a mistake and she will have learned from it. It's a sport that really puts you in a position to find out a lot about yourself. It's called adventure training. It's supposed to be an adventure. With AFF thigs can still get a little wild but you have two instructors with you for the first few jumps and one for the rest, that's why it's so expensive. But expensive and quick are not always the best way if you can jump with the big boys but can't fly a canopy.
  12. Good points, will sleep on them
  13. Bob,

    Try checking these guys out First off these guys are some of the most experienced Skydiving Instructors you will find especially when it comes to teaching military personnel . They are offering courses at a great price at the moment... check them out!!


  14. Seen a few who have signed up to UK AFF and been dissapointed with there treatment by instructors with loads of students on the go and the weather!! (Sorry nowt to be done about that!!) which leads to frustration and very little forward penetration , ie 252 foil!!

    Strongly advise a trip to somwhere where the sun shines Costa Bravo, or USA, its not cheaper but you will get continuity with jumps and a holiday as well which if you decide that this sport aint for you you have at least had a bit of a holiday and sunburn thrown in!!

    Sure the Gunner team take waives and straives with them stateside on there training camps?

    Belive they call themselves the "Barron Knights"
  15. I know someone did AFF course in France - do you want me to get details?