You’ve got your B licence and you’re absolutely rocking that full face helmet! But what’s next?
British Skydiving’s guidelines provide a good pathway for B licence jumpers to take, and the aim of this post is to explore those in more detail and also to consider the many other ways you can enjoy this part of your skydiving journey.
As always, if you have any queries at all, speak to an instructor – we’re always happy to help.
What does a British Skydiving B licence mean?
Your British Skydiving B licence is the continuation of your education and development as a skydiver. While A licence was all about teaching you the skills needed to cover the basics of survival and the foundation skills needed for your entire skydiving career, B licence says you understand not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ – and you’ve proven so through more practical assessment and theory based exams.
Your journey to C licence therefore starts with the consolidation of those skills. Everything you wanted to ‘tick off’ to get your B licence still stands and you’ll want to spend the next 150+ jumps and beyond consolidating those and getting better at using them in different contexts.
What is required for a skydiving C licence?
The Operations Manual sets out the following requirements for a British Skydiving C Licence:
- British Skydiving ‘B’ Licence
- 200 descents
- CT-Grade 2
- At least one further ‘Grade 1’
- ‘C’ Licence Written Examination
CT2 – Canopy Training 2
This is all about furthering your education as a canopy pilot. Let’s remember that, in our sport, everything is proactive and in order to be a proactive pilot of our parachutes, we need the knowledge to be able to make educated decisions.
Much of what’s covered in CT2, which you need to complete before applying for your C licence, is a repeat of CT1; things like flying on deep brakes, using slow flight flat turns, improving your accuracy using things like the accuracy trick and flying the correct pattern of the DZ, the PLA and the day’s conditions are all repeated requirements of the CT2 practical.
Then there’s the addition of finding the stall point on rear risers (rather than toggles), which can be useful to you as you continue your canopy progression, and considerations for ancilliary equipment like booties, sliders, visors and cameras that need to be fully understood.
All of this is covered in your CT2 brief, following which you’ll need to complete a written exam and a series of practical exercises; you can find the CT2 exam and the proficiency card in the kit store, and ask an instructor for a brief.
At least one further grade 1 qualification
This means the achievement of a grade 1 skill such as FS1, FF1, TR1 and so on – beyond JM1 and CT1, which are requirements of your B licence.
Most people seek to achieve their FS1 quite quickly after they get their A licence, because it’s only with FS1 that we can jump with other people (FS1 being the qualification that says you can jump safely with others).
Your FS1 qualification will therefore count as your ‘further grade 1 qualification’. You may well have started working toward or even achieved another qualification since then, such as learning to freefly with FF1 and tracking with TR1, but you don’t have to have done these to get your C licence – you can do them just for the fun of it 🙂
The C licence written examination
You can find the C licence exam in the kit store here at Langar, to the right as you go through the main door. The exam reiterates many of the skills you’ve learned through your progression and ensures your knowledge is up to date. You should feel that your answers to the exam are coming, in part, from your own real life experience, as well as the information contained in places like the Ops Manual and other training manuals.
If you have any queries about where to find the information you need, speak to an instructor and we’ll be happy to help.
Investing in your own gear
While we do have kit available to hire here at Langar, it’s a good idea to start investing in your own personal gear as you gain experience.
Things like rigs can feel a big investment when you’ve only just got your A licence, so it’s more likely you’ll have bought smaller things like gloves, goggles and an altimeter at that point. But now you have your B licence, you’ll benefit from having your own jumpsuit (find lots of handy advice here) and your own rig.
There are lots of options available when buying a rig, and you can choose from second hand or brand new. The benefit of the latter is that the harness and container will be made specifically to your own measurements, and the better a rig fits, the more comfortable it is. That’s not to say you can’t find well fitting second-hand rigs, though, and don’t worry if the person selling isn’t the same size as you, as often rigs can fit differently on different people. Feel free to ask an instructor what they think of the fit if you’d like any help.
You’ll also need to consider your canopy size in relation to your experience level and wing loading (the amount of your weight being supported by each square foot of your canopy). Look at the British Skydiving canopy progression chart for your own size requirements.
Skydive Langar has its own on site shop – Air Supply – and places like Facebook marketplace can be good for second hand deals.
Developing your skills
With more jumps comes more experience and more awareness of your body in the sky. And with so many new things to try in the sky, you’ll want to use your growing experience to consolidate existing skills and try new things.
By this stage, you may already have your FS1, or be working toward it. FS1 is the qualification you need to jump safely with your friends so once you have it, there’s loads of fun to be had!
To help you, we have put ‘dive pools’ on our website – check out the 4 person and 3 person versions. Dive pools are the formal ‘shapes’ that are to be made by skydiving teams in competitive formation skydiving, and they’re a lot of fun to try. Langar is home to some of the country’s best formation skydivers so why not take advantage of the knowledge we have here by seeking advice and learning more about the FS jumps?
You don’t have to spend your FS jumps doing the formal dive pool stuff, though. The idea of FS1 is that it enables you to jump with other people, so do that! Have some fun, play games, enjoy!
You might decide that you want to start learning new skills as well. Things like freeflying (flying on different axes such as in a standing position, seated position or, eventually, head down) and tracking (movement across the sky) are also a lot of fun and enhance your knowledge of how your body flies in the air, while disciplines like Canopy Formation (CF) are great ways to build your skills as a parachute pilot.
The Langar community is very diverse and our jumpers take part in a wide range of disciplines – just speak to anyone on the DZ about what they’re into to learn more, or ask an instructor for their advice on who to speak to for specific skill development.
Broadening your horizons
While this might seem an odd thing for us to suggest, we believe there is value for you as a skydiver in travelling to different drop zones and seeing how they work.
We’re big believers in the importance of staying inquisitive as a skydiver and it’s through the expansion of our knowledge and the furthering of our own education that we can stay safe and even contribute to the development of our sport in the future.
As a B licence skydiver, you’ll likely become aware of some of the events that take place around the UK and beyond. Some of our instructors even organise at those events, so speak to us about things we have coming up.
This will give you the chance to jump different planes, into different landing areas and experience new drop zone processes. Of course, we hope you’ll always want to return to Langar but it’s good to have a breadth of experience – and to meet the community beyond our own immediate group – as well.
Getting a camera
While B licence ambitions are most commonly driven by the desire to wear a full face helmet, many people look forward to getting their C licence because it means they can jump with a camera.
The reason that wearing a camera is only allowed with a C licence or above is that the addition, even of a very small camera like a Go Pro or Insta 360, is a potential distraction and something new to think about.
Our camera team is the best in the country and very willing to provide advice for anyone who is thinking about what camera to buy and how to mount it. Most people elect to mount their camera to their helmet, using either a top mount or a chin mount. Some choose more elaborate camera set ups such as a full camera helmet which can occupy multiple cameras, while others just have one. There are also merits in using a chest mount for a camera, which means you don’t have to have a camera ready helmet – this is a great option for coaching, for example.
The camera has to be able to be cut away in the event of an emergency. Again, speak to our camera team / an instructor for more help with this.
At least 200 descents…
The step from A licence to B licence is, in theory, much smaller than that from B to C, in that the jump requirement is much lower for the former. And that’s on purpose.
Moving from B licence to C licence isn’t just about ticking off the requirements, it’s about becoming a fully fledged skydiver. So enjoy it! Immerse yourself in the community, enjoy a diversity of jumps and invest in your own learning. As always, if you need any help or advice, you can speak to any member of the Skydive Langar team.