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 3000+ licensed skydivers live in cities on the coast. Many of Australian dropzones are small, with one or two small Cessnas and operating at weekends only. There are larger dropzones near the state capital cities, operating generally Cessna Caravans. 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 dropzone. Not all dropzones 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 dropzone.
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 4 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 dropzone. You may choose the best option for your length of stay. You can download Membership Form M1 and take it with you to the dropzone 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 dropzone 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. Dropzone 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 dropzone, and covers you for a maximum of three months.
This means that you should ensure that the first dropzone you visit in Australia is a student training dropzone. Contact first and talk to the Chief Instructor. Contact details are available though the Dropzone locator.
The Chief Instructor will check your licenses 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 licenses run from "A" (lowest) to "F" (highest).Jumpers assessed at "A" licence standard are restricted to jumping at a training dropzone. At other licence levels, a jumper may jump at non-training dropzones too. In fact, the majority of dropzones in Australia are run by training organisations.
Are covered by Part 3 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, 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.
In Australia, APF regulations require 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 dropzone.
NOTE: Some Australian DZs require ALL parachutists to have an airworthy AAD fitted to their rigs.
If you intend to stay in Australia and continue jumping your parachuting equipment must be built to TSO or similar standards. (See APF ES 081014) Some rigs (especially copies of other rigs) may not meet these standards and may not be jumped in Australia.
However, APF Equipment Standard APF010901 waivers this regulation, allowing temporary visitors from overseas on an APF short-term membership to jump their own equipment. The waiver is limited to visiting foreign parachutists:
- who become a short-term member of the Australian Parachute Federation,
- whose parachute system meets the civil aviation authority requirements of the foreign parachutist's country,
- who use the equipment solely for their own personal use, and
- who take the parachute equipment with them when they depart Australia./li>
See also Equipment Standard ES-APF021201
re the use by overseas visitors of equipment brought into Australia which has been packed overseas.
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 Dropzone 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" or "Rigger" 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 licenses etc, and make the required applications. Ask for more details about this when you get here, or read our Operational Regulations:
- Instructional, including Tandem-Master, duties - Converting overseas instructor ratings
CONVERTING OVERSEAS INSTRUCTOR RATINGS
These notes have been prepared as a guide to the requirements for jumpers from overseas holding Instructor ratings who wish to act as Instructors in Australia.
For people holding a rigger rating issued overseas, see the APF document "Military and Overseas Rigger Qualifications - Conversion to APF Ratings".
Each Drop Zone has a Chief Instructor (CI) if you wish to become an instructor within the APF system you must first have the recommendation of a CI.
This recommendation is to be signed off on Form R1a - application for new instructor rating form. There are minimum requirements for converting instructional ratings/endorsements: 200 tandem jumps as qualified Tandem Master, 100 AFF jumps as qualified AFF instructor, 100 dispatches as qualified Static Line (SL) or Instructor Assisted Deployment (IAD) instructor. Circle the O/S Conversion option, indicate which endorsement(s) you wish to apply for, complete the form (your CI should be able to help you) and send it with payment to the APF office.
You will be required to provide verifiable evidence of your instructional experience – your current log book(s), Licenses, Ratings, Membership and Medical Certificate (if you require a Tandem endorsement) will all be required.
As part of your membership application, your CI can issue you with any Certificate Class up to E, any crest and a Display General, if he/she feels you meet the requirements.
There are two options for tandem instructors to obtain their tandem medical:
- Class 2 pilots Medical. get an address for an aero-medical Doctor here
- Tandem Instructor Medical information
If you have less than the required 200 tandem jumps or the 100 AFF jumps/ SL/IAD dispatches, you will be required to complete the full endorsement process – written, oral and practical examinations. You will be sent an e-mail with links to the required study material. The assessment process will be managed by a Safety and Training Officer (STO), who will also verify experience by checking logbooks, videos, overseas rating documentation, packing ability etc. The STO may appoint another examiner to conduct the assessments. An STO will usually remain in contact with your nominated CI throughout the process. You will require to do a certain amount of study in order to pass the written exam. Your nominated CI will guide you through this process and assist you to be prepared. Once you feel you are ready to undergo the assessments your CI will notify the STO.
It is a requirement that all instructor rating applicants must be full members of the Australian Parachute Federation before being issued with APF Instructor or Tutor ratings. Annual membership fees apply. Overseas groups, (clubs, teams, etc.) wishing to conduct training at an APF Club under their own national guidelines may apply for permission to do so to the Safety and Training Manager. If approved the Safety and Training Manager will issue a specific permission, outlining the conditions and limitations to be adhered to by the group and the APF Club. This permission is to be inserted into the Clubs Training Operations Manual (TOM).See also Equipment Standard ES-APF010901 and ES-APF021201 re the use by overseas visitors of equipment manufactured and packed overseas.
PLEASE NOTE: For further information refer to PART 4 of the APF Operational Regulations.
- Gain a Packer or Rigger rating - Converting Military and Overseas Rigger Qualifications (without this you may not pack reserves, or pack mains for student use);
The following notes have been prepared as a guide for military and overseas qualified personnel who wish to gain APF ratings. Each case is considered on its merits, so these notes should be used as a guide only. Persons with military or overseas qualifications who wish to gain APF ratings should discuss their case with the Safety and Training Manager or the National Rigging Officer. The APF Packer/Rigger certification scheme is designed to certify people to cater for the needs of the sport parachuting community. It is not designed primarily for the packing and/or maintenance of other parachute equipment, although it is recognised that the APF ratings are the only civilian ratings available in Australia.
APF ratings may be granted to and held by full members of the Australian Parachute Federation for which annual membership fees apply. Additionally, there is a fee for examination and issue of ratings. Ratings are valid for two years from issue. Membership and rating application - Form P1 forms are available from this office, or from any parachute club.
The APF administers three grades of Packer/Rigger ratings -
- Packer "B" (to pack main parachutes),
- Packer "A" (to pack reserve and main parachutes),
listed from most junior to most senior.
The prerequisites for issue of these ratings and the privileges of holders of the ratings are defined in the APF Operational Regulations, Sections 17 to 18. None of the prerequisites may be waived because of previous military or overseas experience. Any waiver must be approved by the National Rigging Officer and by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
APF Packer and Rigger ratings do not restrict the holder to work on particular types of parachutes. Candidates are expected to have sufficient knowledge to be able to approach the packing or maintenance of any sport parachute equipment with confidence. Thus a person whose previous experience is limited to a narrow range of equipment is expected to gain experience of the full range of equipment types in common use before an APF rating can be issued.
The full written examination is required for any candidate. However, a candidate who can produce satisfactory evidence of previous experience may be permitted to sit a shorter practical exam, and, where applicable, oral exam. Where a person with previous experience sits more than one exam simultaneously (as for example, a candidate for Rigger, who must also gain the prerequisite Packer "A" rating), a single exam fee, and a single examination, will normally apply.
Useful study material for the written exams are:
- The FAA Riggers Handbook
- "The Parachute Manual" by Dan Poynter (for all ratings)
- "Parachute Rigger Study Guide" by Deborah Blackmon/Dan Poynter (for Rigger ratings)
These books are available from parachute equipment supply houses.
Written exams and practical exams for the Packer ratings can be undertaken at most parachute clubs (ask for the Chief Instructor). The practical exams for the Rigger rating are organised by the APF Safety and Training Manager or National Rigging Officer.
- Take responsibility for organising displays - Licensed Display Organiser (as opposed to jumping in a display, which you may do, as described earlier.);
- Jump in a tight display requiring a Display Licence higher than the General Display Licence (to gain a Display "Pro" or "Open" Licence).