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Skydive School: Online Ground School

This interactive set of lessons can be used for preparing for any method First Jump Course, as well as a reference for brushing up in reviews while pursuing your USPA A license.  Studying this material at your own pace before your First Jump Course will greatly enhance your understanding and retention. Some schools can choose to use this online ground school as the content for a Reverse Classroom strategy in order to provide an efficient, active-learning experience.

Let's take a closer look at each of these concepts, presented in the order you encounter them during a jump:


United States Parachute Association's intent with Skydive School is to see that new skydivers receive as much correct and useful information as possible. In addition, USPA aims to assist busy instructional rating holders and Drop Zone owners by facilitating existing programs with a consistent, innovative resource versatile enough to support varied methods, equipment choices and landing areas, yet specific enough to provide accurate details. As with any material regardless of media, all information presented in this interface should be accompanied by the oversight of an appropriately rated USPA instructor. 

What is "Skydive School" anyway?

When you are first learning to skydive, the amount of knowledge presented may seem overwhelming. You may feel like you are taking a drink from a firehose. Skydiveschool.org was created with the novice in mind to extend the material in the ISP for students pursuing their USPA A license. These interactive training segments not only contain First Jump Course content, Skydive School also contains lessons supporting the Academics portions of each Category in the ISP. Originating at Skydive Kansas in 2004, this resource was reworked and given to USPA in 2011. It is now in its third iteration here, launched for USPA Safety Day 2020.

So, what's the point!? To learn by having fun! Skydiveschool.org is made possible by the programming of Jen Sharp (whose passion meshes skydiving, education, and the internet), by the vision of Skydive Kansas (whose Online Ground School was the impetus for this project), by the animation of Tony James (who serendipitously fell into this adventure on his first jump course), by the malfunction videos of John "Wink" Winkler's Down To Earth Photography (cool stuff there) and by the support of Jim Crouch (who was Director of Safety & Training at USPA Headquarters and originally spearheaded the project). Thanks and acknowledgement also go to those contributing videos, photos and miscellaneous other pieces: Jay Stokes, Sherry Butcher, Mark Klingelhoefer, Turk Chapman, Rance Sackrider, Heather Nicole Roth, Bill Hubbell, Jeremy Struemph, Paul Visser, Skydive K-State, Luke Aikins, Andy Farrington.

Instructor's Guide ...

Effective USPA Instructors and Coaches are needed at busy drop zones and schools across the U.S. in order to keep our sport not only replenished, but also vibrant and growing. Demands on instructional rating holders’ time are heavy. How can a school utilize their team to its fullest extent, keep the quality of instruction high, minimize potential for instructor burnout, reduce liability, provide consistent curriculum, and capitalize on new student enthusiasm? 

Seems like a tall order? Yet all of that can happen with one solution. Using this Online Ground School is more than just giving your students fingertip access to an efficient resource 24/7. The following hints will help you achieve your goals as a viable, productive Skydiving Training Center.

Reverse or "Flipped" Classroom

A flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom.

One way to use this online ground school …

  1. A student makes a tandem as their first jump. In the congratulatory process, their instructor encourages them to use the Online Ground School.
  2. At home on their leisure, this student explores and studies using this interactive tool, gaining an immense knowledge base of the fundamentals in a few short hours.
  3. When ready, the student schedules a personalized, "First Jump Course" at the drop zone. Using this Ground School Review or something similar, USPA Coaches (Instructors for the method-specific Exit & Freefall portion) conduct training sessions with the student, who must answer several pages of questions in segments.  
  4. In this process, students physically practice Emergency Procedures approximately 25 times, learn the dive flow, draw the landing pattern, perform PLFs, and demonstrate all other physical skills.

Now the student is mentally and physically prepared for their first solo jump, by studying at their own pace and providing a large amount of feedback about their knowledge and skill in an individualized, consistent, well-documented program that requires less time and resources from the school’s staff!