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Parkman will be hosting its first AFF I course this Summer. Beginning June 14th with a pre-course, Mike Wadkins will be in town to get you an AFF rating if you are qualified and up for the challenge.



  • C License or higher
  • A USPA Instructor rating, 500 jumps, or possession of Coach rating for one year
  • 6 hours of properly logged free fall time
  • Completed AFF proficiency card

Up for the Challenge…

Lots of people sweat the AFF Course. It’s very different from when I did it 27 years ago, but it is still a unique experience where you put a tremendous amount of stress on yourself. As intimidating as the course is, it is even more so the first time you sit in an aircraft with your first real Student. They give you that pitiful look that says, “You are going to save my life, right?”.

It’s a big responsibility.

Of course with big responsibilities come big thrills and big feelings of accomplishment. Working with AFF students is a tremendous amount of fun. The following are my recommendations to prepare for this challenge.

  • Do an AFF I tunnel camp. You’ll work on the skills of proper proximity, grip taking, stopping spins and roll overs. I do tunnel work all the time with this stuff to stay sharp. It’s fun, too.
  • Read the Instructor Rating Manual AFF section. Twice.
  • Read the Skydiver Informational Manual ISP section. Twice.
  • Do as many Coach jumps as possible. Concentrate on an effective brief and debrief. Study these sections in the IRM. Always teach with your SIM at hand and reference it. If you do this, you’ll always know where to find information easily. A big problem Examiners have with Candidates is that they don’t know the ISP. Don’t be that guy or girl.
  • When you make fun jumps, do belly flying. Get good at flying gripped exits. This skill will need to be second nature when you work with Students. Confidence is everything, if you aren’t confident in your flying abilities, Students will eat your lunch.
  • Our Wingman Program will be a fantastic vehicle to help practice these skills. Get involved!
  • Learn to wear a jumpsuit that gives you a good fall rate range. This will also teach you what to put on a Student. Have a slow suit and a fast suit.

In summary, I feel doing AFF is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. Nothing beats the thrill of seeing a Student hear The Big Pop and figure out how to fly their body. It’s like a drug. Contact Marcie for more info on the Course and feel free to reach out to me for assistance and emotional support if needed.  More information can be found on out Facebook event page.




John Dutton Cleveland Skydiving Center Safety and Training Advisor