I'm a licensed skydiver! Now what?

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Earning your A License is an incredible achievement. It’s one that takes drive, determination and focus, but it’s also a goal you’ve achieved that had someone to help guide your way, answer your questions and tell you what comes next; but what about after the big “A” stamp is on your forehead and you’ve gotten heaps of congratulations? 

One of the greatest things about skydiving is the variety of ways you can go and enjoy our world, but that’s also one of the things that can make it more than a little intimidating. Once you’ve been released into the big blue, it’s easy to feel the need to pick a discipline or direction in the sport quickly, but the truth is, you’ve got all the time in the world! 

Some of the best things that you can start to focus on as a newly minted jumper don’t require you to decide if you need to buy a belly suit with grippers or form fitting freestyle outfit, and will build skills that will serve you well for your entire skydiving career.

Canopy Courses 

But wait… I literally just finished doing all of my training, and you’re telling me I need more face time with an instructor? The short answer, yes.

Canopy courses in modern skydiving are, well they are simply a must. From now until the end of your career, your canopy skills will determine not only when you should and shouldn’t jump, but be the difference between learning to safely navigate more challenging conditions and higher performance equipment, or learning to navigate the healthcare system. 

Beginning canopy courses are designed specifically to help build up a foundation of knowledge and skills that each and every canopy pilot needs to help safely operate within our sport. These courses will help expand your ability to fly your parachute in a variety of environments and conditions while also effectively working within the traffic pattern environment in a safe, consistent manner. They will help increase your awareness not only within the normal environment of the dropzone, but help to safely deal with off-field landings and all the potential hazards you may be faced with.

Canopy courses will help you build the skills needed for consistent landings in a variety of conditions, building up the skills you will need to cope with normal, crosswind and downwind landings each and every time. A canopy course will also help to sharpen one of the most important skills of all; your ability to know when conditions are beyond your ability, even if loads are still turning.

Mentors and Load Organizers

Mentors and load organizers aren’t just there to get people to manifest and jump. These folks are there to help show you the in-roads to all the different facets of sport skydiving. These are the folks you go to for ideas! It’s the load organizer working with newer jumpers that will ask you what may or may not interest you, and either hit the skies with you, or pair you up with like minded jumpers with similar interests. 

No idea what type of jump you want to make? It’s that load organizer or mentor working with newer jumpers that’s going to get you in the air, giving you firsthand experience with some of the options open to you and then let you decide! It’s those same folks that are going to tell you that the 8-way you were just invited on may be a bit out of your range, but get you on load that will build up your abilities to take on that 8-way soon.

Skills Camps and Dropzone Special Events

Often skills camps are a fantastic way to build up your confidence and abilities in a given discipline and help to aim you in a direction you’ll have a real passion for. From the very beginnings of formation skydiving, to freestyle and freeflying, these camps are your opportunities to really dig into the minds of jumpers with real lessons to pass on.

With dropzone special events like Safety Day, boogies, and even after hour events and get-togethers, these are not simply opportunities to pick up new skills, tricks and tips, but they are the perfect opportunity to get to know staff and sport jumpers alike, hearing their stories, learning their passions, and helping give you options and ideas with the potential to help shape a long, passionate and incredibly rewarding time in our sport.

The best part of being a newer jumper? You don’t have to choose! Each and every facet of skydiving is open to you with proper training and preparation. You don’t have to just fly belly. You don’t have to label yourself a freeflyer. You don’t have to just focus on accuracy... you get to try it all! 

Now, get out there and JUMP!  Blue Skies!

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith is CEO/President, and Guest Relations Associate at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. He has owned and operated the business since 2000. He has been skydiving since 1994, and in addition to leading the CSC Team, is currently an instructor, videographer and pilot for CSC.

Topics: Licensed