A Guide to Prepare for Skydive Chicago’s Advanced Freefall Program

Skydiving is an exhilarating experience that many dream of, but few dare to pursue. For those ready to take the leap, Skydive Chicago offers an Advanced Freefall Program, a solo skydiving course designed to earn your first Basic License through the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Embarking on this journey requires dedication, preparation, and a thirst for adventure. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for this thrilling endeavor.

1. Commit to Learning

Before you take flight, you will first need to complete 2 tandem skydives – at least one of them being at Skydive Chicago within the last 6 months. The Advanced Freefall Program begins with an online ground school. This comprehensive course covers essential skydiving theory and safety protocols. Once you sign up after your tandems by contacting the office, you can access the ground school from any device for a full 7 days. You’ll need to dedicate focused time to watch and absorb the material. At the end of the course, you’ll need to pass a test to demonstrate your understanding of the course material.

a student preparing to solo skydive at skydive chicago in ottawa, IL

2. Practical Application

Once you’ve completed the online ground school, it’s time for hands-on training. Schedule your 1-2 hour in-person practical session with a Skydive Chicago instructor by calling us. During this session, you’ll review the test, any questions you may have and reinforce as well as demonstrate the knowledge gained from the online course under the guidance of the experienced instructor.

3. Gear Up for Success

On the day of your jump, be sure to arrive on time. Give yourself plenty of time to drive to Ottawa, IL, park, use the restroom and check in. Then, be sure to dress comfortably in attire such as hiking pants, yoga pants, or cargo shorts. Closed-toed shoes, like sneakers, are a must for foot protection. You’re more than welcome to bring your own drinks and snacks for the day or you may bring some extra cash to indulge in the delicious offerings at the onsite café. Additionally, be prepared to purchase a pair of goggles at the pro shop as it’s more sanitary.

4. Embrace the Journey

Skydiving is not just a one-time thrill; it’s a journey of growth and mastery. Dedicate your summer season to frequent visits to Skydive Chicago. Weather conditions can cause delays, especially for students, so flexibility and patience are key. Schedule your jumps strategically to get instructor priority and maximize your time in the air.

5. Review and Reflect

Every jump in the Advanced Freefall Program will be recorded on video. These videos, along with detailed jump logs, will be accessible through the SDC Student Portal. Take advantage of this resource to review your progress, identify areas for improvement, and learn from each experience.

6. Pace Yourself

Learning to skydive is a unique journey for each individual. While some may progress quickly, others may take more time to master the skills required. Understand that it can take anywhere from a week to a few months to complete all the program requirements. Focus on your own progress and avoid comparing yourself to others.

7. Trust the Experts

In the age of endless information online, it’s crucial to discern reliable sources. While YouTube may offer plenty of skydiving videos, it is not a substitute for coherent, chronological or proper training. Trust the expertise of your instructors, who have undergone rigorous training and possess invaluable real-world experience. If you ever have questions or uncertainties, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your instructor.

Embarking on Skydive Chicago’s Advanced Freefall Program is not just about conquering the skies; it’s about pushing your limits, gaining confidence, and earning your first license to jump with others which is the epitome of freedom of flight. Prepare diligently, embrace the challenges, and get ready to soar to new heights. Your skydiving adventure awaits!


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