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What is AFF in Skydiving? Level 1-7

AFF skydiving

Accelerated Free-Fall (AFF) Certification

AFF means Accelerated Freefall in skydiving and is a beginner’s certification training course that makes one a certified skydiver. On completion of this course, students will be able to jump anywhere in the world

What are the levels of AFF skydiving?

There are seven levels in skydiving, and at each level, you get to develop new skills that will help you on your dive. The various skydiving levels include:

AFF Level 1

This level is the orientation stage. The training course for this stage will cover:

A) Skydiving Equipment, which includes:

  • Main pilot chute – Right back
  • Cutaway handle – Right chest
  • Reserve ripcord – Left chest

B) Aircraft procedures, which include your seatbelts on until you reach 1,500 ft.

C) Basic skydive instructions.

  • Body position “ARCH”
  • Climb Out and Exit
  • Left foot forward – Pelvis forward – Head out
  • Hotel Check
  • “Prop” – “Out” – “In” – “Out” Exit and “ARCH”

The flow of the skydive:

  • Circle of Awareness (COA)
  • 3 Practice Ripcord Pulls (PRCP)
  • Toe Taps
  • Short COAs
  • 5.5 – Wave-off – PULL
  • Canopy Check
  • Is It There?
  • Is It Square?
  • Canopy control
  • 1/2 down in altitude be 1/2 way back to the airport.
  • Stay Upwind of the airport.
  • Landing pattern at 1,000 ft.
  • Landing protocols
  • Land facing INTO the wind.
  • Feet and Knees together – legs bent.
  • Flare smoothly at 10-12 ft.
  • Flare to waist height.
  • Hold the flare if you flared too high.

AFF Level 2

In this level, you review level 1. However, the goal is to control and stabilize your movements. Here is a short flow of the dive.

  • COA
  • 2 PRCPs
  • Toe Taps
  • Short COA
  • Left turn 90 degrees (drop shoulder 6-8″)
  • Right turn 90 degrees (drop shoulder 6-8″)
  • Forward motion
  • Arms/Elbows back to sides – Legs out.
  • Short COAs
  • 5.5 – Wave-off – PULL.
  • Follow the canopy control and landings as above.

Level 3

Before proceeding to level 3, the instructor will review Level 2 with each participant. Here, the goal is to learn maintenance hack and make a solo unassisted pull. Here is a flow of the dive.

  • COA
  • 1 PRCPs
  • Toe Taps
  • Short COA
  • Heading maintenance (with instructors)
  • Maintain an angle, but if control problems occur, correct and pick up a new heading.
  • Continue with short COAs.
  • 5.5 Wave-off and solo pull by 4,500 ft.
  • Advanced canopy control introduction during the debrief.
  • Collision avoidance
  • Braked turns
  • Rear riser control

Level 4

To advance to this level, students need to be full USPA members. On this level, the instructor reviews level 3 with each student before beginning the level 4 training course. 

Apart from this, the goal is to stabilize control turns on heading and forward motion to re-dock. Instructors will also train students on how to conduct personal gear checks. 

The procedures for this level include: 


  • Same poised exit as with levels 1-3 except no checkout.
  • COA (check right only).
  • Jumpmaster transition to the front then release.
  • 90° Left turn
  • 90° Right turn (line up with instructors).
  • Forward motion to re-dock (only Jumpmaster takes grips).
  • Repeat as altitude permits
  • Signal no more turns at 6,500 feet.
  • 5.5 optional
  • Wave-off at 4,500 feet pull by 4,000 feet.

Level 5

In level 5 the instructors review everything each student learned in level IV. The goal of this level is to make a stable turn on heading. 

You will also need to make a forward motion to re-dock with the help of one instructor. Apart from this, the instructor will also instruct students on how to conduct personal gear checks. This level starts with the same poised exit as with level IV. 

Here is a flow of the jump:

  • COA while Jumpmaster release and immediately transition to the front.
  • 360° Left turn and line up with the instructor.
  • Forward motion to re-dock (only Jumpmaster takes grips).
  • Repeat as altitude permits.
  • Signal no more turns at 6,500 feet.
  • Wave-off at 4,500 feet pull by 4,000 feet.
  • Spotting introduction during the debrief.

Level 6

Like with other stages, before proceeding to level 6, the instructor reviews level V with each student while donning the equipment. 


The goal of this stage is to achieve stability control and tracking on the heading. Participants also learn about how to conduct personal gear checks. 

Another part of this stage is that students will learn about the aircraft’s progress across the ground for spotting instruction.

After this, participants perform a solo poised exit similar to level 5, except the jumpmaster does not take grips.

Here is the flow of level 6:

  • COA Jumpmaster lines up in front.
  • Jumpmaster demonstrates proper a back loop,
  • The student performs a back loop.
  • The student performs a Barrel Roll.
  • Repeat if altitude permits.
  • The student performs the Delta Track position while maintaining the heading.
  • Wave-off at 4,500 feet and pull by 4,000 feet.

AFF Level 7

In this last stage, you will also need to review everything learned in level 6. The goals are to make a stable unassisted exit, learn stability control, and track on heading.

Jumpmaster instructs how to conduct personal gear checks. Then, they have students in the doorway indicate the aircraft progress across the ground for spotting instruction.

Here is a flow of the skydive:

Here is a flow of the skydive:

  • Front loops.
  • The instructors will choose a sequence of maneuvers.
  • At 7,000 feet student performs delta track position while maintaining heading.
  • Wave-off at 4,000 feet and pull by 3,500 feet.

CONGRATULATIONS if you have completed these seven AFF progression stages! That means that you are on your way to becoming a skydiving master.

But that does not mean you can relax and do nothing! The learning process has just begun, and to earn your skydiving license, you must have made a total of 500 jumps.

So, keep moving forward! 

Try completing several solo jumps and relative work (RW) group dives.

What is the 7 level AFF program?

The seventh-level AFF program is the last stage of your Accelerated Freefall skydiving progression. It requires that you fully take charge of the dive without instructions. 

It includes little concepts of everything learned from levels one to six. In this level, you will get on a plane, exit it, perform a front loop, make a sequence of maneuvers like 360 degrees turn sideways. 

Then, at 7,000 feet above ground level, every participant performs a delta track position while sustaining heading. After this, the instructor examines the recorded video to observe your skills and give you constructive feedback. 

Once you are successful with this stage, the next step will be to move to level eight and complete your solo jump. 

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