What’s New with FS1?

Laura HamptonExperienced Skydivers, Formation Skydiving

British Skydiving has changed the way we award FS1 (the qualification needed to jump with other people, usually obtained just after A licence).

The change to the rules is a fairly simple one but it does have a knock on effect to the way we award the qualification – and what you can subsequently do in the sky – so the purpose of this post is to let you know what’s expected of you as a student, and to tell coaches about how we expect FS1 and beyond to be delivered here at Langar.

1. 4 way no longer a requirement for the FS1 sticker

This is the main change; you no longer need to do a 4 way jump to get your FS1 sticker.

You do still need to show the following skills (taken from section 6.3 of the Ops Manual):

  • Control fall rate and turn in place.
  • Dive and approach a target and achieve docking techniques.
  • Break-off turn and track away to obtain clear airspace for deployment.
  • Maintain good altitude awareness throughout the skydive.
  • Control horizontal movement (forwards, backwards and sideways).

Before, these skills would all be shown through a 4 way formation skydiving sequence. This is no longer required and you can be assessed solely on the skills shown in the 2 ways.

Here at Langar, FS1 candidates will be assessed based on a 2 way sequence in which we will expect you to be able to complete 8 points (though this is just a guideline and depends on the context, i.e. a very safe 5 points can achieve FS1 whereas a 12 point dive where the student forgets to check their alti will not).

Other DZs may choose to evaluate you without the sequence but we believe the memory and performance requirements of the sequence are essential for assessing your ability to maintain altitude awareness and perform a good break off in a new context.

Here’s the new 2 way sequence we suggest coaches use (the coach is in yellow):

2 way qualifier dive

2. FS1 sticker clears you to jump with NO MORE than 2 other people (i.e. 2 or 3 ways)

The other major change to the system is that an FS1 sticker now means you can jump with a maximum of 2 other people, whereas previously you could jump in any size of group (though we always strongly recommended keeping group sizes small at first).

That means you can achieve your FS1 sticker and then go and jump alone, with one other person or with two other people.

This is a benefit to you if you are someone who is quite nervous about doing your 4 way jump, and you want the time to go and practice with a friend or two. The downside is that, until you have got a further CI endorsement (described below), you won’t be able to jump with groups larger than 3.

3. You need a CI’s endorsement to do more than a 3 way

If you want to jump with more than 2 other people, the requirement is now that you get signed off by the Chief Instructor.

According to the Ops Manual, a “logbook endorsement will suffice” but it’s open to each drop zone’s CIs to decide how they want to do it.

In order to get that sign off at Langar, you will need to do a 4 way jump with a minimum of 1 coach present, who can then let the CI know once you’re ready for bigger groups.

The suggested 4 way sequence for coaching here at Skydive Langar is shown below. There is no specific number of points to aim for here, but the coach will be looking for safety and control throughout:

4 way sequence

The 4 way jump will be followed by a briefing in which we will talk about the safety considerations for jumping in larger groups and also equip you with further knowledge to help you on bigger jumps, such as how to exit from different places in the aircraft, how to safely approach a formation and canopy considerations for larger groups.

The CI endorsement you need will, here at Langar, be in the form of a new FS1+ sticker, which is Skydive Langar branded and not endorsed at all by British Skydiving, but we believe having a sticker for your licence is the easiest and best way for us to be able to track these endorsements – especially in an age where a lot of people now have digital logbooks which we can’t easily endorse with a signature.

This endorsement can be achieved at any time and the reality is that here at Langar, it’s very rare that someone ready to do a 2 way sequence is not also ready to do a 4 way. So it’s likely for most people that you’ll do your 2 way qualifier, get your sticker and then go back up and do a 4 way for your endorsement that day. Or you might prefer to wait, do some 2 ways or 3 ways with your friends first. It’s up to you.

We will also be able to get these 4 ways signed off really easily during our FS1+ events, which we will be aiming to run more frequently throughout the year – keep an eye on our Facebook page for our full events calendar.

Coming to Langar from another drop zone

We know that many of you reading this now will be based primarily at drop zones other than Langar and as always, we are excited and happy to welcome you here!

British Skydiving has not dictated how the endorsements for 4 ways and more be done, which means CIs other than our own may choose a different method. For this reason, we will accept any CI endorsement in the format chosen by that CI – but we will need to see an endorsement (i.e. that endorsement can’t be done vocally, and has to be recorded in a way we can see it).

We are also happy for people with FS1 to come to Langar and be evaluated for their endorsement, in which case we will give you a Skydive Langar FS1+ sticker.

These changes have now been made in the Operations Manual and will be the new standard for FS1 moving forward.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do feel free to message us via our social channels or email laura.hampton@skydivelangar.co.uk in the first instance.