Once you have made your first skydive, it is normal to want to take up this great adventure sport, Below is how to progress withing the skydiving sport as lay out in the British Parachute Association Operation Manual, The full manual can be down loaded from the BPA website.




1.1. Parachutists are Designated as follows :-
1.1.1. Student Parachutists – Below FAI ‘A’ Certificate (Red).
1.1.2. FAI Certificate holders (see para 2 below).
1.2. Parachutists are also Classified in several ways:
1.2.1. Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) (British Standard) Certificate (Issued by the BPA on behalf of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom), (see para.2 below).
1.2.2. Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) International Parachutist Certificate of Proficiency. (see para 3 below).
1.2.3. The Category System (see para.4.below).
1.2.4. Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) Levels (see para.5.below).
1.2.5. The Grading System (see para. 6.below).
1.2.6. Student Tandem Parachutists (see para.7.below).


2.1. FAI ‘A’ CERTIFICATE: Category 8 and at least ‘CH-Grade 1’.
2.2. FAI ‘B’ CERTIFICATE: FAI ‘A’ Certificate, 50 descents and at least ‘CHGrade 2 and JM-Grade 1’.
2.3. FAI ‘C’ CERTIFICATE: FAI ‘B’ Certificate, 200 descents and at least one further ‘Grade 1’.
2.4. FAI ‘D’ CERTIFICATE: FAI ‘C’ Certificate, and 1000 descents.
N.B.(1) FAI ‘A’ & ‘B’ Certificate (Red) applications must be endorsed by an Advanced Instructor.
N.B.(2) Military static line descents using round/conical parachutes will not qualify in respect of jump numbers.
N.B.(3). FAI Certificates (Dark Blue) issued prior to 1st April 1998 remain valid
N.B.(4) Parachutists are required to hold the appropriate FAI Certificate(British Standard) in order to have the privileges associated with that Certificate. A one-month ‘grace’ period will be allowed between qualifying for a Certificate and the receipt of the Certificate from the BPA.
N.B.(5). Parachutists jumping at BPA Affiliated Clubs who were trained, or jump outside the BPA system, e.g. in a foreign country, may be integrated into the appropriate FAI Certificate category as deemed suitable by a CCI.
N.B.(6) Applications for FAI Certificates (Red) can be found on BPA Forms190A-D.


25 Freefall jumps. 5 Minutes of Freefall time. 5 formation (FS) jumps or, 5 freefly (FF) jumps, involving at least 2 participants and made under the supervision of an instructor. Demonstration of control of the body in freefall in all axes (backloops, turns, barrel rolls etc.). Ability to pack a main parachute.
50 Freefall jumps. 30 Minutes of Freefall time. Successful completion of 10
formation (FS) skydives, at least 5 of which must involve a minimum of 3
participants or, ten formation freefly (FF) jumps, at least five of which must involve a
minimum of three participants.
200 Freefall jumps. 1 hour of freefall time. Successful completion of 50 formation (FS) skydives, at least ten of which must involve a minimum of 4 participants or, 50 formation freefly (FF) jumps, at least 10 of which must involve a minimum of 4 participants.
500 Freefall jumps. 3 hours of Freefall time.
N.B. International designations of parachutists do not correlate directly with the BPA system.


4.1. Category 1
Has received a minimum of six hours ground training and has been cleared to make a first static line descent.
4.2. Category 2 
Has demonstrated the ability to fall in a stable position counting throughout.
4.3. Category 3
Has demonstrated the ability to perform three consecutive stable Dummy Ripcord Pulls (DRPs), counting and maintaining a positive arch throughout.
N.B. Progression to free fall will only take place after a minimum of five static line descents and will only be authorised by at least a Category System Instructor (see Section 4 – Instructors), who must satisfy him/herself that the criteria laid down for progression has been attained. The first free fall descent will take place no later than the day following the last of the successful DRP descents.
4.4. Category 4
Has demonstrated the ability to perform two consecutive stable delayed openings, counting throughout, of between three and five seconds.
N.B. Category 4 descents must take place from a minimum altitude of 4,000ft AGL.
4.5. Category 5
Has demonstrated the ability to perform two consecutive stable delayed openings of ten seconds, maintaining a heading and counting throughout.
N.B. Student Parachutists jumping may transfer to the AFF method of training, at level 3 once they have obtained Category 5.
4.6. Category 6
Has demonstrated the ability to perform the following:-
4.6.1. Two consecutive delayed openings of fifteen seconds.
4.6.2. Use an altimeter in free fall.
N.B. Upon successful completion of Category 6, Student Parachutists may be converted to ‘throwaway’ pilot chutes. For at least the first 2 conversion jumps no further freefall
progression may take place.
4.7. Category 7
Has demonstrated the ability to perform controlled 360o turns in both directions.
N.B. Category 7 descents must take place from a minimum altitude of 6,000ft AGL.
4.8. Category 8
Has demonstrated the ability to perform the following:
4.8.1. An unstable exit
4.8.2. A dive exit
4.8.3. Back loops
4.8.4. Tracks, including a track turn as an avoidance manoeuvre.
N.B. No tracking exercises may be commenced below an exit altitude of 7,000ft AGL.
4.8.5. A back loop, 360o left turn, 360o right turn, a short track and wave off, from a minimum altitude of 8,000ft AGL.
N.B.(1) All Student Parachutists, including AFF Student Parachutists making consolidation descents, are to be observed where practicable from exit to full canopy deployment by at least a
Category System Basic Instructor (CSBI). Up to Category 4, this must be done by the dispatching instructor.
N.B.(2) Details of release, count, position, arch, pull and recovery must be entered in the Student Parachutist’s log for Categories 2-4 inclusive. These may be in the form of abbreviations such
as GATW (Good all the way). All negative aspects must be written in full. All details of performance of Student Parachutists will be entered in their logs by an instructor. .
N.B.(3) All briefs/lessons for progression and equipment conversions, up to ‘B’ Certificate (Red) must be given by at least a CSBI, other than some Grading System briefs which may be given by suitably qualified coaches (see Paragraph 6, below). These briefs/lessons should be entered in the parachutist’s log, dated and signed by the instructor/coach. 
N.B.(4) FAI ‘C’ Certificate (Red) parachutists and above may use ‘pullout’ pilot chutes.