Skydiving is often compared to skiing; it’s high adrenaline, weather dependent and typically comes with an epic community of awesome people.
But unlike skiing or snowboarding, skydiving currency is an incredibly important part of our safety. While you might go skiing one Christmas and then not visit the slopes again for another couple of years and still be fine, if you’re getting into skydiving, you need to keep your currency up.
While there are no hard and fast rules around currency, the aim of this post is to give you more information about what is needed to keep you safe. And as always, if you have any queries, please speak to an instructor.
What do we mean by ‘currency’?
Currency is the term we use to describe how recent / up to date your skydiving experience is. As already discussed, ours isn’t a sport where you can viably take a year or so off and expect to just drop back into it – though this also depends on how many jumps you did before your break.
At the core of our currency considerations is safety. Currency makes us safe. We want everyone who jumps with us to be safe. That’s why we encourage everyone to stay current.
Am I current enough?
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re asking ‘am I current enough?’, you’re probably not… Remember, this isn’t about rules, it’s about safety, so if you’re feeling at all ‘rusty’, it’s worth checking in with an instructor.
If you’re not at the DZ yet and want to check what our recommendations / requirements are for your personal situation, please email our Chief Instructor Rich Wheatley on email@example.com and he will respond to your specific needs.
Currency pre-A licence
For anyone in student status (i.e. yet to achieve A licence, whether that’s a Category Systems student or an AFF student), this is arguably the most important time for you to stay current.
That’s because your knowledge and ability to respond to situations is greater when you’ve practiced it more recently. It’s also helpful for you to stay current in order to aid your progression; those students who get through their jumps more quickly tend, generally speaking, to require fewer re-jumps than those who are really current and who therefore benefit from fresh muscle memory and knowledge.
Very generally speaking (and this is still at the discretion of our Chief Instructor), if you’re still in student status, a break of around 1-3 months will require an exam paper and extensive refresh, up to 6 months will require the same plus repeat levels and greater than that typically means a full repeat of ground school.
To aid your own progression and safety, you should aim to jump as frequently as possible, especially during your student status.
You can also expect a full refresh every day you come to jump. This is to ensure your knowledge is as up to date as possible on the day and that your knowledge has been assessed and evaluated before you jump.
Currency for licenced skydivers
Currency is also a consideration once you’ve achieved your skydiving licence. We recognise that life can get in the way of jumping sometimes and that people have other things they want to do with their time but with that said, we also must note that currency is tied to safety and therefore we want you all to remain safe.
Keeping yourself current means getting yourself to the drop zone, as well as keeping your knowledge fresh during any downtime. Make sure you’re really confident with your emergency drills, for example.
For people with a skydiving licence, there are rough currency guidelines and very generally speaking (and this is still at the discretion of the CI) anyone taking more than 3 months out will need CI clearance as a minimum, possibly a checkout jump and potentially a currency course.
Every individual circumstance can be different so we ask that anyone who has gone 3 months or more without jumping speak to our Chief Instructor either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person.
Drop zone currency
Another currency consideration is that of drop zone currency – meaning, how current are you at your drop zone of choice?
We’re not saying you should only jump at one drop zone, in fact, far from it! Getting experience in different places can have a lot of benefits.
But it is important to consider how changing drop zones can affect you if you are less current. Having a period of time off and then returning to a drop zone that’s the same as the one you regularly jumped before can be a lot easier. That’s because you’re familiar with the processes, the people, the equipment, the aircraft, the facilities and so on. It also makes it easier for us, say if you’re still in student status, to have jumped with you before and therefore to have more of an understanding of your skydiving skills than a logbook write up could give.
If you know you are taking time off, try to return to the same drop zone if you can. Or if you cannot, be prepared to invest a bit of time in getting to know the new drop zone and please don’t be offended if we ask you questions about your experience.
Taking care of your equipment
Taking care of your equipment is another important consideration for currency. If you’ve been dormant for a few months, so too has your equipment. You’ll want to make sure that your chargable equipment – things like audible altimeters, for example – is charged, that your AAD is still in date and not in need of a service, and that your reserve is in date, too. Repacking your main after a period of dormancy can also be a good idea.
If you’ve got any queries or concerns about your equipment after a break, speak to one of our instructors.
How to stay current
While the UK doesn’t traditionally gift us with the greatest weather in the world, we are very fortunate here at Langar to have 3 very fast Caravans and therefore the ability to catch the good weather gaps. So it’s always worth making your way to the DZ when you have time because you’ve got a much better chance of jumping when you’re here than you do when you’re not!
We also have lots of events planned for you throughout the year, as well as the ad hoc walk up load organising and general fun awesome people to jump with! Plus those aforementioned fast planes… what more could you want?
If you have any queries, get in touch or speak to an instructor on the DZ and we will be happy to help.