General information for overseas visitors
Australia welcomes overseas jumpers. We try to make it easy for you to jump here. However, ultimately we are governed by the government and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), and there are some formalities we all have to comply with.
Australia is a big, sparsely populated country. Most people, including our 2000+ licensed skydivers live in cities on the coast. The majority of Australian drop-zones are small, with one or two Cessnas and operating at weekends only. There are larger drop-zones near the state capital cities, operating generally Cessna Caravans, 750-XL, Skyvan, Islanders and/or , Navajo's . Some of these operate full time, or may open mid-week if there is sufficient demand.
It is advisable to call the club or centre before going to the drop-zone. Not all drop-zones operate every weekend; only a few operate full time; some are tandem-only operations and may not cater for fun jumpers. They may help you with additional information, or be able to put you in touch with local jumpers, or be able to help with transportation to the drop-zone.
Visitors are advised to take out their own health insurance policies before arrival in Australia. Being sick or injured and uninsured can be very expensive. Make sure your insurance covers ambulance transportation since this is not a Government service in Australia.
Visiting overseas jumpers are covered by Part 5 of the APF's Operational Regulations. In essence, what it means to the overseas visitor is this:
A visiting overseas parachutist who holds a valid parachutist's licence issued by an FAI-affiliated organisation may make parachute descents after becoming an APF member and having their experience and competence assessed by a Chief Instructor.
There are a few options for taking out APF membership and any of these options can be organised on the day when you turn up to your selected drop zone. You may choose the best option for your length of stay. You can download Membership Form M1 and take it with you to the DZ to be completed.
Membership Options information and explanation.
We recognise the FAI Parachutist Certificate and the FAI Sporting Licence issued by your own National Parachuting Organisation. Bring your logbook to the drop-zone too, as the safety officer (DZSO) there may wish to check it.
However, note that the insurance that may come with membership of your own country's National Parachuting Organisation will probably NOT cover you in Australia. Drop-zone operators in Australia will require you to take out third party insurance by becoming a member of the Australian Parachute Federation. This is a simple matter which can be handled on any student training drop-zone, and covers you for a maximum of three months.
This means that you should ensure that the first drop-zone you visit in Australia is a student training drop-zone.
Contact first and talk to the Chief Instructor. Contact details are available though the Dropzone locator
The Chief Instructor will check your licences and logbook and should endorse your log to the effect that he/she assesses your experience as equivalent to a particular Australian licence level. You may then jump and enjoy the privileges of that licence level. Click here for Australian licence qualifications. Australian licences run from "A" (lowest) to "F" (highest).
Jumpers assessed at "A" licence standard are restricted to jumping at a training drop-zone. At other licence levels, a jumper may jump at non-training drop-zones too. In fact, the majority of drop-zones in Australia are run by training organisations.
Are covered by Section 12.2 of the APF's Operational Regulations. If you are invited to take part in a display by a Licensed Display Organiser, you must acquire a Display Licence first. For the basic grade ("D"), this is a simple matter of paying the fee which covers the extra cost of insurance for these jumps. You must also have been assessed at least at "B" licence level (about 50 jumps and demonstrated basic RW and accuracy skills) in order to make a display jump. Display Licences run from "D" (lowest) to "A" (highest). And yes, we know that the licences go the other way and that it's confusing!
In Australia, less experienced parachutists must have either an RSL or an AAD fitted to their rig and jumper below "D" must have an AAD. This does not apply if you have been assessed as at "E" licence level or above (about 500 jumps). If you don't have one, get an RSL or AAD fitted before you want to jump at an Australian drop-zone.
If you intend to stay in Australia and continue jumping your parachuting equipment must be built to TSO or similar standards. TSE Std 1 (British) and EQ 530-03 (French) are also accepted. Some rigs (especially copies of other rigs) may not meet these standards and may not be jumped in Australia.
However, the APF now holds a CASA approved waiver to its regulation Op Reg 8.1 that allows temporary visitors from overseas on an APF short-term membership to jump their own equipment provided:
- the equipment is approved for use in the visitor's country of origin
- the equipment is used only by the visitor
- and the visitor takes the equipment back overseas when they leave.
Note: You still need to comply with the requirements for an AAD or RSL as described above.
Your equipment and packing card will probably be inspected by the Drop-Zone Safety Officer: the signature of your overseas rigger on the packing card will usually be acceptable. A reserve inspection and repack must be done by a holder of a Packer "A" rating in Australia.
If you wish to do any of the following things, you must first become a full term member of the Australian Parachute Federation, obtain the necessary licences etc, and make the required applications. Ask for more details about this when you get here, or read our Operational Regulations:
- The Club Chief Instructor is God: what he/she says goes!
- All jumpers (including tandem passengers and other students) must be a member of the Australian Parachute Federation.
- Maximum wind speed for jumping is 25 knots if you have over 100 jumps and ram-air main and reserve. Otherwise you are limited to 20 knots. For students, it's 15 knots.
- Australian aviation measures altitude in feet - but a metric altimeter is acceptable.
- Tandem passengers are classified as students, and must come under the supervision of a Chief Instructor and a training organisation. Minimum age for a tandem passenger is 14 years.
- We have "E" and "F" licences. Most countries do not issue licences above "D". Our higher licences essentially allow the holder to jump into tighter display areas (so long as you also have a Display Licence).
- We have a 6 month repack cycle for reserve parachutes.
Australia presently offers training under the Freefall Training table and Static-Line table schemes. All student jumps are made with ram-air mains and ram-air reserves. Most drop-zones use a single action (SOS) emergency system (one handle cuts away the main and then deploys the reserve).
A few DZs also use dual action systems (DOS) which is effectively an SOS on both sides of your harness. In this way a student trained on a two pull, cutaway-RH / reserve-LH system can jump without changing their emergency drills.
Although the details of the Australian training tables may vary a little from those used in other countries, students should generally find it possible to continue training in Australia. However, note that travel from one drop-zone to another is not greatly encouraged at an early stage of training. In some cases, continuing your training when you return home may be better than changing instructors, equipment, drop-zones, emergency routines, etc.
A student wishing to continue training in Australia will need to show his/her logbook to the Chief Instructor. A letter of recommendation from your own training organisation overseas will often help, too.
Extracts from the APF Operational Regulations
Also consult the APF Board policy regarding jumpers with non-APF qualifications