APF Strategic Direction 2016-2020

Our Purpose

Safe skydiving for all

Our Vision

A vibrant and sustainable skydiving community
- sport, recreation, competition & adventure tourism -

Our Values

Safety        |         Fun        |         Service        |         Professionalism        |         Community        |         Collaboration

Our Role


To enable and facilitate skydiving within Australia


To represent and serve APF members


To grow and sustain the sport of skydiving

Strategic Priorities 2016 - 2020

Airspace & Aviation

Safety & Risk Management

Engaged Stakeholders

Licensed Membership Growth & Retention

Sport & Competition Excellence

Vibrant Culture & Community

Financial Security and Investment in Members

Organisation & Governance

Download Strategic Direction PDF

Australian Parachute Federation – A vibrant & sustainable skydiving community

Our Role

Enable: To enable and facilitate skydiving within Australia.
Serve: To represent and serve APF members.
Sustain: To grow and sustain the sport of Skydiving.

The Australian Parachute Federation is a national organisation of professionals and volunteers committed to the achievement of the aims and goals of the varied stakeholders in the sport, competition, adventure tourism, and recreational domains of parachuting.  The APF functions as the peak body for:

  • Providing a framework to service, regulate, manage and oversee parachuting activities.
  • Controlling aviation activities in Australian skies associated with parachuting aircraft, authorised by CASA to self-regulate.
  • Ongoing education and risk management to ensure members activities are conducted under the highest levels of safety.
  • Developing an inclusive culture and community that respects the varied individuals who participate in the sport of parachuting.
  • Providing a service, on a cost recovery basis, for all commercial and not-for-profit operators to support their operations.
  • Promoting skydiving through competition involvement at all levels.

Our Values & Philosophy

  • Safety: our highest priority in everything we do.
  • Fun: why we do what we do.
  • Service : to members and customers.
  • Professionalism: in every aspect of what we do.
  • Community: an inclusive and supportive environment for all members.
  • Collaboration: working together with all our stakeholders.

Our History

The sport of parachuting only really came into existence in the 1950s following war surplus parachutes becoming available.

The APF was formed in 1960 to have a framework for competition, to exchange ideas on safety equipment and instruction, and negotiate with the Regulator for the right to skydive. The Civil Aviation Regulations did not provide a mechanism for legitimately conducting civil parachuting operations.

In the early days, skydiving was largely a ‘fringe’ sport perceived as risky, with most people's access only through demonstrations at regional shows. The sport grew through a tight club-based community with a common set of values centered on fun, excitement and comradery.

The 1980s saw significant advancements in technology that allowed for safer skydiving. The creation of tandem skydiving provided access to the sport for the general public.

Today (November 2016)

While tandem is an introduction to skydiving, it can also be the entry-point for taking a willing tandem participant and introducing them to the world of recreational, professional and competition skydiving.

Skydiving/parachuting now firmly resides in the domains of sport, competition, recreation and adventure tourism. The APF must balance the needs of the recreational member with those of the professional member so that each is provided the level of service and support they rightly expect based on their contribution to APF.

The Australian parachuting industry has grown significantly over the past 10 years, currently representing (as at 28/11/2016):

Revenue: $82M
Tandem jumps per year: 177,000
Number of Clubs: 63
Number of LZs: 105
Number of full service clubs: 29
Number of active APF members: 3053
State by State: QLD 909, NSW 975, VIC 469, SA 143, WA 495, NT 62

The sport of skydiving is progressing rapidly, gaining global awareness and interest. APF is still greatly dependent on its volunteers. The challenge is to balance the wants and needs of each sector so that members consider they receive value for money and their reasonable expectations of the APF are met.

The Future

The future of skydiving is changing as a recreational activity, a sport, a profession and a business. 

First jumpers will continue to favour tandem to solo jumping as the entry point.

This creates a significant challenge to maintain the balance between commercial operations, the sport, and the need to produce and retain sufficient instructors.  As an industry, we need to encourage those doing a tandem to transition to training via a solo jump course.

Other key trends that are emerging include:

  1. Fewer people are prepared to volunteer. Services must be paid for which raises the cost of participation.
  2. Use of turbine aircraft improves the efficiency of operations, but increases capital costs that may restrict market opportunities. 
  3. Marketing of the sport is being taken over by third parties creating extra market pressures.

The (changing) role that the APF plays within this future needs to recognise the growth in commercialism and find ways of keeping it under the umbrella of the APF, not consider it as a threat that must be contained or go out on its own and operate independently.

The Year 2020

The APF is part of a sustainable and vibrant global community of skydivers.

  • The active membership base is now 5,000.
  • Australia is highly ranked at international competitions.
  • The APF is recognised as a leader in business models, safety management and instructional systems throughout the world of skydiving.
  • APF operators within the adventure tourism market are ranked among the safest in the world.
  • The flow-on effect has seen a rapid increase in people willing to take up this adventure lifestyle.

Environmental Scan

PESTLE - Political, Economic, Societal, Technological, Legal, Environmental

There are numerous environmental factors that have direct or indirect impact.  Some of these are enablers, while others represent potential risks. Such considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Over-regulation
  • Litigation
  • Airspace congestion
  • Fuel price
  • Government policy
  • Parachuting is a 'small' player (hence we need to maintain a high profile in the community and industry)
  • Financial pressures
  • Sport and tourism seasonal dependencies
  • Population density vs drop zone locations
  • Value of real estate
  • Increasing population
  • Fluctuating currency
  • Technology
  • Loss of members to other sports

Significant trends include:

  • Tourism (up) - Asia is the new growth area
  • Tandems (up)
  • Licenced Jumpers (flat)
  • Competition Jumpers (flat)
  • Wind tunnels diverting disposable income away from DZs
  • Social media becoming dominant marketing tool


Key potential disruptors include:

  • Competing sports
  • Technology
  • Aging population and declining birth rate (impacting our target demographic)
  • Airspace / airport access restrictions
  • Additional aircraft and operational regulations.

Other Risks

  • Loss of volunteers
  • State and federal workplace health and safety legislation
  • A high profile event causing over regulation


Action Required
Strengths Good relationship with CASA Part 149 Exposition
Air Services Australia Maintain MOA
Recognition by ASC Maintain & foster
Recognition by FAI and IPC Develop & nurture
Association with BPA & USPA Keep engaged and developing networks with stakeholders
High industry profile – engaged
55 year track record of managing risk well
Weaknesses Number of long term members and instructors Developing strategies for retention
Members typically leave after 5 years Ensure good service
Over regulation is a disincentive
Tandem to AFF conversion rate
Tunnel to AFF conversion rate
Opportunities Closer ties with NZ & FIJI parachuting
Professional competition circuit
Form strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations
Use media wisely
Tandem to AFF conversion rate
Tunnel to AFF conversion rate
Threats Spate of serious accidents Relationship with Media
Fuel Crisis
Commercial parachuting abandons sport
Loss of affordable insurance
Unworkable regulation Keep a good network engagement with the regulators
Airspace restrictions
Security legislation
WH&S Good safety management


The APF has many stakeholders, with often conflicting needs and expectations, including:

Stakeholder Needs & Expectations
Members Freedom to jump / insurance / safety oversight
Operators Airspace / insurance / value / legal
CASA Sole peak body
Strong relationship
Australian Sports Commission Recognition / relationship
Public Perception that it's a safe and fun activity
Government Parachuting as a legitimate aviation activity
Air Services Recognition, relationship and professionalism (MoU)
Office/Staff Share the same vision as APF Board & Membership
Insurers Display active risk and claims management
Local Government Demonstrate professionalism and co-operation
Work Cover Rely on APF to investigate incidents without their involvement
Families DZs are safe, family friendly and have good clean facilities
FAI & IPC Responsible and professional peak body
Media Content and access

Strategic Priorities & Strategies

ENABLE: To enable and facilitate skydiving within Australia

Airspace & Aviation Safety & Risk Management Engaged & Supportive Stakeholders
Priority Outcome Ensuring continued access to airspace and autonomy of aviation activities. Ensuring all necessary systems and processes are embedded to maintain the highest levels of safety in everything we do. Working with all stakeholders to ensure the continued effective operation of the APF.
Critical Enablers
  • Manage the impact of increasing air space congestion over the next 10 years.
  • CASA and Air Services relationship
  • Effective governance and administration of CASA Regulations
  • Maintenance of APF reputation
  • Part 149
  • Pilot training and education
  • Technical Committee relationships
  • Foster and maintain a safety culture
  • A 'reporting' culture
  • Appropriate and concise (contemporary) regulations, documents and procedures
  • Education
  • Training
  • Authorisations
  • Discipline
  • Public perception
  • Identifying trends before they result in fatalities and allow APF to be more proactive in risk management.
  • Ensuring legislation compliance
  • Clearly identified and engaged stakeholders – internal and external
  • Effective communication
  • Effective and meaningful engagement
  • Connections with Industry Associations
  • Availability of air space
  • Nil Aircraft Incidents
  • CASA feedback
  • (Other) Stakeholder feedback
  • Technical Committee feedback
  • Aviation committee participation
  • Industry representation on airspace committees
  • Reduce Serious incidents to ALARP
  •  Training conducted
  • Serious incidents as % of jumps
  • Ratio of positive to negative media events
  • Safety audits
  • Number of members provided with training
  • Process and outcome training stats
  • Stakeholder feedback
  • Degree of autonomy
Target 2020
  • All Skydiving Operations to have equitable access to airspace
  • Zero fatalities annual outcome
  • 50% reduction in serious incidents
  • Just culture reporting embedded
  • 100% of Clubs compliant with Safety/Compliance Audits
  • Stake-holder satisfaction rating of 90%
  • Regular contact with CASA
  • Regular contact with AirServices
  • Succession planning for key relationship holders (i.e. key person insurance)
  • CASA Part 149
  • Analysis of incident reports over previous years to identify trends
  • Frequency of DZ audits to be dictated by size of operation, stability of operation, findings of prior audits and risk to whole industry (eg. 2yr or 5yr intervals with unannounced audits taken at random across the full spectrum)
  • Continued development of a safety culture
  • Development of industry Safety Management Systems
  • Ongoing safety training throughout the APF to meet stakeholder expectations
  • Implement an effective SMS Risk Register and operationally ensure regulations and policies are all in sync and necessary (required as part of Part 149 Framework).
  • Comprehensive training and development program for Members
  • Development pathways to instructor
  • RTO or equivalent pathway / Institute of Sport-National coaching model
  • Stakeholder identification and engagement plan
  • Ongoing and planned communication and engagement with all stakeholders
  • Stakeholder satisfaction surveys (annual)

SERVE: To represent and serve APF members

Sporting & Competition Excellence Vibrant Culture & Community
Priority Outcome Representing Australia at the highest levels of sport and competition globally. Creating a professional, fun and engaging community that is attractive to potential, new and existing members to join, stay and be part of.
Critical Enablers
  • Competition representation – State, National and International
  • Competitor support and development
  • Funding
  • Sponsorship
  • Collaborative Culture - essential where skydiving shares venues and airspace with others.
  • Building a strong Skydiving identity and community
  • DZ Cultures and environments (that support the objectives of the APF)
  • High levels of Member satisfaction – meeting the needs of both the individual and corporate members
  • Investment in training of operators and owners
  • Skilled, effective and motivated staff
  • Innovation at all levels of the skydiving industry in Australia
  • Number of competitors at National and International events
  • Male & Female competitor numbers and ratios
  • Results – Averages, Distances, Medals (by event and by discipline)
  • Female members
  • DZ surveys
  • Customer surveys
  • Member surveys
  • Cultural surveys
  • Staff surveys
  • NB. Many of the above surveys can be combined
  • Turnover
  • Office size and effectiveness ratios
Target 2020
  • Healthy competition across each discipline
  • Gold Medals in 2 WPC disciplines
  • 20% female members
  • Survey ratings of (x) % and trends
  • APF Centre For Skydiving Excellence
    • Training and performance coaching
    • Competition Funds
    • Partner with ASC and IPA for development
  • Spending our Project Development Fund & Marketing Fund (wisely)
  • Identify potential disciplines to target and specialise in (we can’t invest in every discipline as there are now too many)
  • Investing in the ‘sport’
  • Partnering with Tunnels
  • Talent Development funding / Benchmarking ‘spend’

Cultural Reviews

  • Service training for DZs
  • ‘5 Star Rating’ System
  • DZ environment reviews with suggested improvement plans
  • Annual survey for DZs, members, staff, customers
  • Feedback of survey results and improvement plans at the Annual Conference


Education & Development

  • Group training provided to DZ owners and operators on culture, customer service and stakeholder engagement.


Staff Development

  • Skills audits
  • Workload plans and allocations
  • Staff development planning and delivery


Innovation - Research & Development

  • APF to offer R&D funding for worthwhile projects designed to improve safety through better training, training aids, equipment and facilities.
  • Fund key personnel to attend Parachute Industry Association (PIA) Symposiums and visit BPA and USPA headquarters and DZs to look for improvements APF might adopt.
  • Tandems will be taken over by technology. Let’s get ahead of the game.

SUSTAIN: To grow and sustain the sport of Skydiving

Sustainable & Growing Licensed Membership Financial Security & Investment in Members Organisation & Governance
Priority Outcome Attracting and retaining active members who will continue to keep the industry and sport alive. Ensuring the continued financial viability of the APF and giving-back to the members through increased investment. Ensuring the continued governance of the APF to steer it into the future, and to ensure we have the most effective and efficient organisational structures to deliver value for money services to our members.
Critical Enablers
  • Retaining current active members
  • Attracting new (and appropriate) members
  • Career pathways to increase retention
  • Progression for new members through to instructor
  • Balance of membership (instructors vs. jumpers)
  • Collaborative culture between DZs (whole of industry approach)
  • Increasing the number of training service providers or student throughput
  • Increase revenue
  • Manage cost
  • De-risk through multiple income streams (including fees, investments, grants and sponsorship)
  • Appropriate membership Fees (representing demonstrable value for money)
  • Asset protection
  • Investment
  • Re-investment into the APF
  • Maintenance of appropriate insurance and legal structure to protect the APF and its members
  • Board and Committee charters and performance
  • National Office structure and performance
  • Council structures and roles
  • Staffing levels and skill sets
  • Paid and volunteer roles
  • Red tape reduction –
  • Effective governance practices at all levels of the organisation
  • Infrastructure and systems to service all members and stakeholders
  • Effective IT systems
  • Appropriate communications and reporting mechanisms
  • Active participation
  • Membership growth (National and by Region)
  • Licensed Jumpers
  • Competition jumpers
  • Fun jumps per jumper
  • Tandem numbers
  • AFF numbers
  • Event numbers
  • Retention
  • Progression of fun jumpers to competition and instructors
  • New instructor ratings
  • New full/active memberships
  • Renewals as a % of student memberships
  • Bleed
  • % of Australian vs. international employees
  • Trends +/-
  • DZs
  • Lic. Members
  • More full service operators
  • Tunnel to AFF conversion
  • Tandem to AFF conversion

(Review existing Membership Stats Report for Key Measures)

  • Revenue
  • Running costs
  • Project costs
  • ROI
  • Employee cost as % of revenue
  • Expenses as % of total income
  • Board / Director costs as % of revenue
  • Sport Development and competition as a ratio to revenue
  • Insurance costs ($) and trends
  • Workload Allocation Modelling
  • Spend on staff and volunteer training
  • Member and stakeholder feedback
  • Board and Committee Charter review
  • APF office structure and performance review
  • Board and individual Directors reviews
Target 2020
  • 5,000 by 2020
  • 10% growth in full members and tandems
  • 25% instructor to member ratio
  • 10% increase in number of full service DZ’s
  • Increasing annual revenue to $6.5M.
  • Employee costs <25 % of revenue
  • Total expenses <80 % of income
  • Board and Director expenses as <2 % of revenue
  • Funding for development and competition to total    > 8% of revenue
  • Insurance cost <35% of revenue
  • Number of staff as ratio to revenue and costs
  • Effective structures and reporting
  • Streamlined, effective and efficient policies and processes
  • Annual reviews for Board and Directors
  • Diverse and skilled Board and Committees
  • IT systems meet member and stakeholder  requirements
  • APF documents to be clear and concise

Attraction - Marketing

  • Market segmentation - Acknowledge there are varying players in the businesses and ensure there is room for all players
  • Public perception / engagement - Maintain a high profile as an activity with a strong safety culture
  • Spectator engagement (technology) - Maintain an evolving engagement with the public through all mediums of communication
  • Media strategy / PR - Fund our media activity well and ensure it is effective
  • Partnering - Partner where possible on a cost benefit basis who to partner with
  • Sponsorship - Seek sponsorship on a continuing basis. Sponsorship is easier to get than keep.
  • Incentivize tandem-only operations to sell AFF & S/L through alliances with full-service DZs.
  • ROI media campaign
  • Marketing to database
  • Targeting strategies that focus on licensed jumpers
  • National marketing strategy … if we (APF) do a National campaign, we need the Commercial Operators to have skin in the game (eg. $ or pushing for AFF conversion).


Training Organisations / Instructors

  • Project to determine the needs for training organisations and to develop appropriate strategies to support the growth in training organisations or instructors.


Retention & Capability Development

  • Talent management - Develop a means of identifying talent then a scheme to enhance
  • Look after key licenced jumpers
  • Feeder ecosystem - e.g. Tunnels and sport aviation and adventure tourism activities such as ballooning
  • Management development and recruitment through the APF structure, voluntary and salaried.
  • Succession planning
  • APF running costs separate from project costing so commercial operators can see fees-for-services is cost neutral.
  • Each new project to have a cost-benefit analysis
  • Unspent financial reserves be donated to Sport Development Trust and/or Project Trust
  • Good management of our income streams
  • Close management of our insurance claims
  • Prudent investment of reserves
  • Review asset protection strategies

Organisational Structure

  • Board / Councils / Committees – appropriate charter, training and regular reviews
  • Review volunteers versus employees strategies and ensure appropriateness for role
  • Populate Committees with skilled and willing volunteers
  • Use contractors and consultants for projects where APF lacks expertise


Governance & Regulation

  • Red-tape reduction - Consultant to review office systems, scope and scale of documentation and suggest (IT) solutions and how to rationalise documentation
  • Regular review process in place to ensure all APF regulations are current and necessary
  • Governance Committee charter to ensure our governance is best practice for our activity
  • Develop clear policies for all areas


Organisational Learning

  • Organisational learning and development strategy to ensure engaged and educated staff and volunteers in all roles and capacities


Infrastructure & Systems

  • Actively pursue IT solutions to replace human involvement in service delivery.
  • Membership, exams, license, crest, etc applications automated.