United States Parachute Association > Experienced Skydivers > SIM > Skydive School > ISP 4

Section 4: Integrated Student Program

Section Summary

Additional References

  • Use the Skydive School First Jump Course as a visual supplement to the information presented in outline form here

Regardless of discipline, the USPA Integrated Student Program advances students through eight categories of proficiency (A-H) to qualify them for their USPA A license.

Each student completes a series of required skills and knowledge sets while making the prescribed training jumps in each category. At the end of each category, a student in any training discipline has achieved similar skills and knowledge. The number of jumps to complete each category depends on the training discipline and the student’s performance.

When a student completes the requirements for each category, the USPA Instructor records it on the student’s USPA A-License Proficiency Card and Application and administers an oral quiz. Especially in Categories A-D, the student should complete all the objectives of one category before making any jumps in the next.

An appropriately rated USPA Instructor must directly supervise each student jump until the student is cleared to self supervise during Category E. A USPA Coach may conduct freefall training and supervise jumps for those students in Categories E through H. A USPA Coach may also supervise static-line and IAD students following a successful clear-and-pull in Category C. Until the USPA A license, all student training remains the responsibility of the USPA Instructor.

Once meeting all the requirements listed on the USPA A-License Application, the student will make a check jump with a USPA Instructor to be issued the USPA A license. The check jump consists of an overall review of the training and includes a final quiz with questions taken from the quizzes at the end of each category.

The USPA Integrated Student Program provides one effective and detailed progression for training students for their A license. It is not a required program or the only good training outline. However, students should ensure that the training program at their school meets the USPA standards outlined in the Basic Safety Requirements.

Who needs this section?

  • skydiving students
  • instructional rating holders
  • drop zone staff developing student training programs

4-1 Student Skill and Knowledge Sets

Download the pdf chart

4-2 Student Skill and Knowledge Sets

  • canopy control
  • landing approach
  • landing principles
  • exit
  • stable fall
  • deployment
  • aircraft emergencies
solo students—
  • equipment emergencies
  • landing emergencies
  • relaxing in the skydiving environment
  • heading awareness
  • parachute deployment
  • more on the landing pattern
  • airport orientation
  • protecting handles
  • equipment emergency review
  • unassisted freefall with heading maintenance
  • hover control
  • solo deployment
  • landing patterns for higher winds
  • downwind landings
  • wing loading
  • accidental opening review
  • turbulence
  • landing off
  • obstacle recognition
  • the FAA rigger
  • the closed parachute system
  • solo, unassisted exit (AFF students)
  • freefall turns
  • freefall speeds and times review
  • back riser control
  • building landing review
  • AAD (owner’s manual)
  • pre-jump equipment check
  • introduction to three-ring release operation
  • cloud clearance and visibility
  • observe jump run
  • door (unpoised) exit
  • recovering stability and awareness
  • aerobatics
  • stalls
  • the canopy’s “sweet spot”
  • two canopies deployed (review)
  • high-wind landings
  • reserve static line
  • open parachute orientation
  • parachute packing and supervision
  • wind limits
  • aircraft briefing
  • aircraft emergency procedures
  • selecting the opening point
  • introduction to tracking
  • two clear and pulls (former AFF students)
  • braked turns, approaches, and landings
  • extending the glide
  • acting as jumpmaster or jump leader
  • power-line landing review
  • packing with assistance
  • checking others’ equipment
  • procedures following inactivity
  • winds aloft and the exit point
  • separating groups during exit
  • group exits
  • floater position
  • forward and backward movement
  • adjusting fall rate
  • start and stop
  • docking
  • maximum-performance canopy turns
  • collision avoidance and response review
  • tree landing review
  • equipment maintenance inspection
  • weather for skydivers
  • diver exit
  • diving
  • breakoff
  • front riser control
  • water landing review
  • owner maintenance of gear
  • aircraft radio requirements
  • FAA notification requirements for jumping
  • FAA approvals for jump planes

4-3 An Introduction

A. Recommendation

USPA recommends that skydivers complete training in the Integrated Student Program (ISP), an effective means of preparing a student for the USPA A license.

B. What is the ISP?

  1. USPA developed the ISP as a comprehensive training outline that meets the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs) for student training in all training methods.
    1. Some schools have developed equivalent programs that train the student to meet all the qualifications of the USPA A license.
    2. A prospective student should be able to ask a school to compare its program against this industry standard program.
  2. USPA recognizes the following training methods, or disciplines:
    1. USPA Accelerated Freefall (AFF or harness hold), where the student exits with two instructors who hold the student by the parachute harness for guidance and observation.
    2. Instructor-Assisted Deployment (IAD) and Static Line, the same method using different equipment during the initial jumps
      1. pilot chute deployed by the instructor as the student exits (instructor-assisted deployment)
      2. deployment via a static attachment to the aircraft that separates once the parachute deploys (static line)
    3. Tandem, where the student’s harness is attached to the front of the instructor’s harness as part of a specially designed and built parachute system for tandem skydiving
    4. vertical wind tunnel training, where a student receives instruction and practices basic freefall control and maneuvering
  3. As ISP students progress, those training in one method demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge and skill as ISP students trained in other methods.

C. Choosing a school

  1. Many regions are served by more than one skydiving center, so shop around.
  2. Ask questions (personal observation is even better) about the types of training offered, the type of equipment used, staff qualifications, etc.
  3. USPA maintains a list of current Group Member drop zones on the USPA website, uspa.org.

D. What to expect

  1. Registration
    1. Upon arrival at the jump center, register with the skydiving school.
    2. All jumpers will be required to fill out a registration form which will usually ask for name, address, age, height, weight, occupation and the name, address, phone number, and relationship of someone to contact in case of emergency.
  2. Liability release
    1. Each participant will also be required to agree to and sign a liability release.
    2. This release will verify that the person understands that there is risk involved in skydiving and that the participant freely agrees to accept that risk.
    3. The legal release will usually contain a contract or covenant by which the participant agrees not to sue the skydiving school or anyone else if the participant is injured.
  3. All participants in skydiving must meet the USPA BSRs for medical fitness.
    1. A person should be in good health and physical condition to skydive and should not be on medication; however, some conditions can be properly managed if the instructor knows about them.
    2. An FAA flight physical or a doctor’s statement of fitness for skydiving may be required in some cases.
    3. The instructor also needs to know about any recent donations of blood.
    4. People who participate in SCUBA diving should not fly for at least 24 hours afterward.
    5. Refer to faa.gov/pilots/medical/ for more information on medical fitness for flight.
      USPA Statement of Medical Fitness "I represent and warrant that I have no known physical or mental infirmities that would impair my ability to participate in skydiving, or if I do have any such infirmities, that they have been or are being successfully treated so that they do not represent any foreseeable risk while skydiving."
      "I also represent and warrant that I am not taking any medications or substances, prescription, or otherwise, that would impair my ability to participate in skydiving."
  4. All participants in skydiving must meet the BSRs for age.
  5. Upon completion of ground school and before the first jump, students should be required to pass written, oral, and practical tests.

E. Student equipment

  1. Students are provided with additional safety devices not usually found on equipment used by non-students.
  2. Special requirements for student parachute systems are listed in the BSRs.
    1. From the start, a student should be taught to be self-reliant and to respond quickly to emergency situations.
    2. Safety devices and features should be designed as emergency overrides or backups only, in the event that the student does not properly perform emergency procedures.
    3. Students should never use these features as a substitute for proper training and supervision
    4. Emergency back-ups give confidence to the student and peace of mind to the instructor.
  3. Student equipment should be well maintained.
  4. Standardization
    1. Changes in type of equipment and procedures should be avoided or minimized whenever possible during student training.
    2. When changes are made, adequate transition training must be provided in compliance with the BSRs.
    3. Foresight should be used to minimize the need to change emergency procedures as a student progresses.
  5. Canopies used for students should be large, docile, and appropriate for the student’s weight.

F. Training priorities

  1. The most important skill a skydiver must develop is the ability to cope with and respond to emergency situations. A student should review emergency procedures at the beginning of every jump day. The review must cover emergency procedures for these areas:
    1. equipment
    2. aircraft
    3. freefall
    4. deployment
    5. canopy
    6. landing
  2. Development of these skills should start with the first jump rather than at a point where supervision of jumping activities is reduced.
  3. Initial training, even if the student intends to make only one jump, should be designed to establish a foundation for the continuing growth and development of skills.