Learn to Skydive
Skydiving is about FLYING, not falling... we are "exiting" a plane (usually at 14,000ft), "flying" our body in the sky for about a minute down to about 3,000ft, then "deploying" our parachutes and "flying" them around, then "landing" them on the ground.
Females make terrific skydivers. There is nothing like the challenge and reward of jumping out of planes to bring out the best in girls. It doesn't take many jumps for ladies to show that they can fly their body and their parachute well, that they are bright and spirited, have inner strength and courage, enjoy the fun and social aspects of the sport.
There is no stereotypical female skydiver in this sport - there's all types of personalities, different shapes and sizes, ages, different backgrounds, some are still in school or doing Uni, others are professionals, CEOs etc... some are mothers, even grandmothers.
The only limitations to learning to skydive are what you have in your own head... other than that there is a minimum age of 16 (with parental consent) and a weight limit of 90kgs. Skydiving is a very evenly matched sport now, even though females make up only 25% of the licensed skydivers in Australia. Males and females are equal in the air - there is no discrimination, advantages or disadvantages in the sky.
Twenty years ago there were about 100 licensed female skydivers in Australia. At last count, just before the 2007 Skysisters Convention, there were just over 400.
Historically, the bulky size and heavy weight of skydiving equipment made it too cumbersome and hard for females to get into and progress through the sport. But the advancements in equipment over the years have made for small, lightweight, comfortable, attractive sets of gear which can be custom made to fit perfectly and, for the fashion conscious amongst us, they come in a great range of colours.
Never has there been a greater time for ladies to jump:
- The equipment is high quality and some student training drop zones even have a small set of student gear specifically for females;
- The planes are bigger and faster which make jumping a lot easier and more comfortable, plus many fly us to 14,000ft to give us a lot of freefall time;
- There are experienced female cameraflyers, coaches and instructors to learn from;
- Specialised events like Skysisters and skills camps catering to females;
- National and world championships now have female events;
- There are other females to jump and socialise with;
- There are plenty of guys on the drop zones to enjoy;
- The guys on most drop zones are generally very supportive.
Female students respond very well to being trained by female instructors, but there are very few female skydiving instructors in Australia. We're trying to change that though as everybody is keen to see more females in the air.
Freefall Skydiving Courses for Females
The Accelerated Freefall Course (AFF) is the standard course around Australia. It is a 9-stage program teaching all the basics over 9 jumps. The first licence to skydive is an "A" Licence which is issued by the Australian Parachute Federation. A minimum of 15 jumps is required to achieve your "A" Licence as well as completing a parachute packing course and landing accurately 10 times without assistance. Most people typically take around 20 jumps to achieve an "A" Licence.
Approximately 30 drop zones around Australia run Freefall Skydiving Courses on a regular basis - some are full time drop zones that operate 7 days a week, most are weekend operations.
Ideally, the best way to complete a course is to do it all in one go (i.e. stay at the drop zone for the week and complete the 9 course stages in about 5 days, depending on the weather). Skydiving is a mental sport - the longer you leave it between jumps the harder it is to deal with it. The closer together you do the jumps, the easier each jump is. This way it doesn't take long to get over the fear and actually love jumping from perfectly good planes! The best advice is to take a week or two off work and sign up for a course package.
Ramblers Drop Zone at Toogoolawah in South Queensland operates 7 days a week, has a couple of female instructors and offers a variety of Course Packages:
- Introduction 3-jump Package
- Completion 10-jump Package
- Accreditation 15-jump Package
- Addiction 20-jump Package
Ideally, the best way to learn to skydive is to do the Addiction Package in the week leading up to a Skills Camp, then stay on for the Camp and get right into all that the camp has to offer. Your learning curve couldn't be any steeper or the fun factor any higher.