Harpin from Freefall Addicts gives you some in depth information
about the static line training system of learning to skydive.
are two different ways of learning to skydive, with Static
line or RAPS, or with the AFF system. Each have their pros
and cons, and static line is especially popular in countries
where the weather can be changeable. The AFF system allows
an individual to qualify as a solo parachutist in a shorter
does the Static Line system work?
static line training system has existed for some time, and
was the original method of teaching people to skydive. The
first jumps made by a static line student are from about 3500ft
and are solo jumps. There is a ‘static line’ attached
from the student’s equipment to the aircraft, and this
line tightens as the students jumps, consequently automatically
opening the parachute system and releasing the main canopy.
The instructor who dispatches the student is able to witness
the students exit and body position to debrief after the parachute
jump. Meanwhile, the student floats to the ground under the
canopy using the steering toggles to control direction, with
assistance from their instructor (usually through a radio
the student is wearing). Further on in the static line course,
the freefall delay and jump altitude will increase allowing
the student to deploy their own canopy directly without the
the static line parachute equipment different from experienced
a student, it is normal to fly a large, docile canopy that
is easy to control. The design of the equipment is the same
as any sports rig an experienced skydiver would have. The
difference comes with the deployment part of the equipment.
Because the static line is deploying the canopy, and not the
student, the static line is carefully packed in the equipment.
The other end of the line is attached when you climb into
the aircraft to a strong point inside the plane. Once the
aircraft has climbed to the correct jump altitude, the student
climbs into the door and prepares to exit the plane. As they
exit with the correct body position, the static line gets
tight and initialises the parachute deployment sequence. The
static line remains attached to the aircraft and the canopy
opens straight away.
will I do before my first static line jump?
with all skydiving training systems, you will first go through
a comprehensive ground school. This training takes about 6
hours and is broken down into around ten separate lessons
that cover everything you will need to know. You will learn
about canopy flight, aircraft drills and emergencies, equipment,
parachute landing falls, hazardous landings, stability and
body position, emergency procedures and exits.
you have completed the ground training, you will get ready
for your first jump. Your instructor will help you put your
equipment on and check that everything is correct. This check
after you have put on your equipment is something that you
will continue throughout your skydiving career. Your instructor
will seat you in the right place in the plane and after take
off, the aircraft will climb to about 3500ft, your exit altitude.
You will wait for the command ‘get into the door’,
which signals you to climb into your correct body position
and prepare to jump from the aircraft. The instructor will
then give you another command, usually a ‘GO’,
shouted in a loud, clear voice. This is your cue to exit the
aircraft, making sure that you present your body to the airflow
correctly, with a good ‘arch’ and your head up.
will hold your body position and start counting out loud ‘one
thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand, check
canopy’. This count is a safety check and ensures that
you give your canopy time to open completely before checking
it for problems. Then you can carry out specific drills to
check the parachute, before flying down to the ground, assisted
by your instructor over radio.
do I progress through the static line system?
ground training of about 6 hours, you will be ready to do
your first static line jump. You are now classed as ‘Category
1’, the first category on the ladder of the training
you have completed the ground school, you are a Category 1
Line Jump: Altitude 3500ft
Line Jump: Altitude 3500ft – now you are classed as
a Category 2 student.
the following ‘dummy pull’ jumps, you will still
be jumping with a static line system that deploys the canopy.
However, you will be practicing deploying the parachute on
your own by using a simulated deployment handle.
Dummy Ripcord Pull (DRP) Jump: Altitude 3500ft
Jump: Altitude 3500ft
Jump: Altitude 3500ft – now you are classed as a Category
the dummy pull jumps, you can progress to freefall skydives.
However, you must have completed a minimum of five static
line jumps, and have been authorised by a CSI (Category System
Instructor). Also, your first freefall jump must take place
within a day of your last successful DRP descent.
you have progressed to freefall skydives, you exit the plane
and deploy your canopy after a particular freefall delay,
depending on how far through the category system you are.
The further you progress, the longer the freefall delay, and
the higher the altitude you jump from.
jump: 3 second delay: Altitude 4000ft
jump: 5 second delay: Altitude 4000ft – now you are
classed as a Category 4 student.
jump: 10 second delay: Altitude 4500ft
jump: 10 second delay: Altitude 4500ft – now you are
classed as a Category 5 student.
wear your altimeter on the left hand and will be checking
it every 2 to 3 seconds to ensure you deploy your canopy by
the minimum height your instructor has given you, or after
the specific delay for the jump.
jump: 15 second delay: Using altimeter in freefall: Altitude
jump: 15 second delay: Useing altimeter in freefall: Altitude
5000ft - now you are classed as a Category 6 student.
next skydive will involve turns, and you will be briefed to
deflect air your arms to initiate the turn.
jump: Turn 360 degrees both left and right: Altitude 6000ft
minimum - now you are classed as a Category 7 student.
your next skydive, you will intentionally go unstable by bringing
your knees up to your chest. Next, you will perform a back
loop to show that you are able resume stability after being
jump: Unstable exit with back loops: Altitude 7000ft minimum.
your next skydive, you will carry out a dive exit, jumping
out of the aircraft at a 45 degree angle between the tail
section and the wing tip. After you have completed the dive
exit, you will perform a track. This is when you sweep your
arms to your side, with your hands palm down and straighten
your legs. Tracking is used to gain horizontal movement and
is used mainly when jumping with other skydives to ensure
you have your own space to deploy your canopy. We use a ‘wave
off’ to communicate to other skydivers that you are
going to deploy your canopy.
jump: Dive exit with a track: Altitude 7000ft minimum.
jump: Dive exit, back loop, left 360 degree turn, right 360
turn, short track and wave off: Maximum jump altitude.You
have now achieved ‘Category 8’ and the FAI A Certificate.
long does it take to qualify on the system, and what kind
of costs will I have to consider?
will vary from place to place. Usually, you can expect to
pay about 200 GBP for your ground training and first static
line jump. Following jump costs will be around 40 GBP including
equipment hire. It is normal for static line training to be
spread over some time because of the number of skydives required
to advance through the system. Whilst the system only contains
15 jumps, the average opinion is that the static line course
takes from 30 to 50 jumps to complete.
me the advantages of learning to skydive on the static line
you want a system that is an economical way to carry out a
parachute jump, the static line system is an ideal solution.
The static line system is very common with University clubs,
group and team building. Once you have finished the initial
ground school, you only need a small amount of tuition for
your next descent. Another advantage to the static line system
is the lower altitude that you jump from in the initial jumps,
for countries that have changeable weather this means that
you can sometimes still jump even if it is a cloudy day.
there disadvantages of learning to skydive using the Static
the beginning, the freefall delay of your jumps is very small,
so it can be hard to learn the correct body position. Should
a student have poor body position, there is also a slightly
higher risk of getting entangled with the parachute system
in the deployment sequence. Classes of static line students
can contain up to 12 individuals, meaning that students do
not get very much one on one tuition, consequently making
graduating the course a slow process. For convenience, most
static line students choose to spread their jumps over time,
usually on weekends. This inconsistency means that every time
a student makes a jump, they are having to relearn what they
did on the previous jump, as well as learning the new content
of their next jump.