We often receive call or emails from pilots that would like to increase they flying hours by flying skydiving aircraft, (often called" jump ships")
Skydiving flying is a very skilled aspect of aircraft handling and many factors have to be set up by the pilot in order to ensure the aircraft is configured correctly, in the right place at the right time, with minimum time lost. While in some cases communicating with air traffic control and the drop zone, most skydivers under estimate the skill of a great pilot and his or her worth to the centre in terms of keeping the sport safe and affordable. A top pilot will be able to fly up to 2- 3 lifts a day more than a beginner due to shaving minutes on each lift.
The British parachute Association lays down the requirements for a Pilot, If your a pilot thinking of having a go, please read the below information reproduced from the BPA Ops manual. This is for info only and the whole document can be down loaded from the BPA website. Correct at time of upload April 2012 see BPA website for current docs.
1.1. Pilot Qualifications.
A pilot shall not act as pilot in command of an aircraft for a flight during which parachutists are to be dropped unless he/she meets the following minimum requirements:
1.1.1. Licence. He/she holds a valid pilot’s licence for the type or class of aircraft to be flown (including any differences training appropriate to the type* or variant as required under JAR-FCL 1.235 or 2.235) and any ratings necessary for the type of flight to be undertaken, i.e. IR, Night, IMC; RT licence.
1.1.2. Experience. He/she has at least 100 hours as Pilot in Command (PIC) of aeroplanes if aeroplanes are to be flown by the applicant, or 100 hours as PIC of helicopters if helicopters are to be flown, (except in the case of FAI ‘C’ Certificate (Red) parachutists where the requirement is 75 hours PIC in each case). In addition he/she must have at least 5 hours on type*. N.B. In the course of training any hours flown as P1 under supervision of a CCP or Pilot Examiner (see 1.1.4. (a) below) may be counted towards the five hours on type.
1.1.3. Age. No person over the age of 55 years will be accepted for initial parachute pilot training. No pilot will be permitted to fly for parachuting after reaching the age of 70 years.
a. Has flown at least four lifts (accompanied and supervised by a BPA Pilot Examiner (PE) or Club Chief Pilot) as PIC (under supervision) on the type* of aircraft to be used. The lifts are to be live drops of one or more Experienced Parachutists under the supervision of at least a Category System Instructor or Team Leader.
N.B. CCPs must hold a BPA Pilot Authorisation on the type of aircraft being used.
b. He/she has received at least one hour of ground instruction on parachute dropping techniques, standard procedures and emergency procedures given by at least a BPA Advanced instructor or BPA
Pilot Examiner and has studied the BPA Pilot’s Manual and relevant sections of the BPA Operations Manual.
N.B. In the case of service pilots or commercial pilots (operating under the terms of an AOC) flying in the course of their service duty or commercial duty, this briefing may be given by a BPA CSI or Team Leader.
a. Has flown a flight test conducted by a BPA Pilot Examiner) as PIC on the type* of aircraft to be used. The test will be conducted according to the Flight Test Proforma (BPA Form 108C) and will be a live drop of one or more Experienced Parachutists under the supervision of at least a Category System Instructor or Team Leader.
In the case of aircraft whose seating capacity or configuration only permits the use of one pilot’s seat for parachuting to be safely conducted, have flown at least three flights with a BPA Pilot
Examiner and performed at least two lifts involving a live drop with a Category System Instructor or Team Leader and under the ground supervision of a BPA Pilot Examiner.
b. Have successfully completed a written examination (BPA Form108D) administered by a CCP or Pilot Examiner.
c. The recommendation of a Chief Instructor and a BPA Pilot Examiner (to be signed on a BPA Pilot Application Form).
* N.B.(1) ‘Type’ in 1.1.1., 1.1.2, 1.1.4. & 1.1.5.(a) above, means a type where a type rating is appropriate, or else a type within a class.
N.B.(2) The five hours on type and four lifts requirement at 1.1.2. and 1.1.4 (above) apply only to the initial application. Subsequent types are applied for on BPA Form 108F.
1.1.6 Documentation. Having satisfied all the above requirements, BPA Forms 108A (Initial Application), 108C (Flight Test Proforma), and 108D (Written Examination) are to be completed and sent with the appropriate fee to the BPA office who will then issue an Authorisation to Drop Parachutists Certificate. This certificate will be valid for a maximum of two years and will be renewable on the 31st March each second year. (BPA Authorised Parachute Pilot Renewal Form 108G).
1.1.7 Proficiency checks. All Pilots must complete a proficiency check at least every twelve months. This must be conducted by a Club Chief pilot (CCP) or PE and signed off on BPA Form 108E. This form is to be retained in a Pilot’s personal file, which is to be kept and maintained by the CCP.
N.B. A BPA Authorised Pilot may conduct proficiency checks on CCPs and Pilot Examiners.
a. A pilot shall not act as PIC of an aircraft carrying passengers, including parachutists, unless within the preceding 90 days he has made three take offs and three landings as the sole manipulator of the controls in an aircraft of the same type or class.
b. A pilot who has not flown parachutists for a period exceeding six months must undergo a proficiency check.
1.1.9 Renewal. In order to renew an Authorisation the applicant must have had a proficiency check (BPA Form 108E) within the previous twelve months. In the case of pilots over the age of 55 they must also have flown at least 20 hours (which must include at least 10 parachute flights) in the previous twelve months. The application for renewal must be signed by a Chief Instructor as well as a Pilot Examiner or Club Chief Pilot who must be satisfied that the applicant is` current with parachute dropping techniques, emergency procedures and relevant BPA Operations Manual requirements. If a renewal is not effected within two years of expiry then a pilot must fulfil all the initial requirements.
N.B. Paragraphs 1.1.5 - 1.1.9 above, do not apply to service pilots, or commercial pilots (operating under the terms of an AOC) who in the course of their service duty or commercial duty fly parachuting lifts. Those pilots will be deemed as BPA Authorised Pilots and members for the duration of the flight provided the parachutists on board are BPA members.
1.1.10 Additional Types. Approved Pilots may add additional types of aircraft to their BPA Authorisation. This will require conformity with the licence requirements at 1.1.1. (above) and completion of a Proficiency Check (on the type of aircraft applied for) with a Pilot Examiner. Upon satisfactory completion of a proficiency check Form 108F must be signed and returned to the BPA who will then issue an additional authorisation.
Do you still still want to fly skydiviers?