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Parachute Drop Rating...

Old 16th Sep 2009, 21:08
  #1 (permalink)  
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Parachute Drop Rating...

Hello Chaps,

Please advise if you have any information and/or experience with regards to the above?

I've been in discussions with a Scottish parachute club and a figure of £2K has been talked of in order to achieve the rating. I'm left wondering:
  1. How can it cost that much?
  2. How much instruction is involved?
  3. Are there any written exams?
Quite keen to pursue the rating but the company in question is looking for me to sponsor half of the training costs (which is why I'd like a second opinion). Not had much luck Google'ing this matter! There's been a few posts, namely: (suitably named thread)

and (latter part)

... most importantly, I'm wary of the £2K figure that's been presented to me - is it too steep? I've got a fATPL so the 100 hours PIC isn't an issue.

Sounds like a bundle of fun and obviously it's a challenge in it's own right. The prospect of free flying is understandably appealing... but I have to weigh it all up in so far as cost vs. benefit.

Thanks in advance,

FlyBoyFryer is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2009, 21:13
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is there such a rating??

are you sure they are not trying to nail your hat on?? !!
hughesyd is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2009, 21:50
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is there such a rating??

Of that, I'm unsure. One of the previous PPRuNe posts I found alludes to as much in Oz... but I'm seeking clarification really.

I've emailed the British Parachute Association (British Parachute Association) but was hoping someone within our ranks has had prior experience(s) of this matter in the UK?
FlyBoyFryer is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2009, 23:13
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Yes, in the UK there is an official Drop Pilot Rating which is issued by the British Parachute Assocation. The syllabus includes 5 hours of flying training and also a quick written test(nothing too taxing!). On completion of the course, the BPA will issue you with your certificate and confirmation of rating. As far as the flying go's, its really just a case of getting comfortable with the aircraft followed by jump training('run in's', live jump's, static line jump's, descent with full load etc). It will take pretty much the full 5 hours to cover everything in the syllabus.

I've also sent you a pm.
MIKECR is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2009, 23:31
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Two thousand pounds to learn to fly skydivers? That's insane. For five hours of training? (What could they possibly cover in five hours..that couldn't be covered in one??) Once you've spent this sum of money, how much are they going to pay you to fly jumpers?

Flying skydivers isn't exactly rocket science. One really ought to get a few jumps in and a first jump course, but it's not necessary...and as for flying the airplane...if one understands airspeed and the rudder, and proper engine operation...then there isn't a lot left. Jumpers in tow, pilot chute or open pack in the airplane, and mass exits following an entanglement...and you're done. Spotting isn't exactly complicated, communication is no different than any other flying, and it's a climb to altitude over the field and then a descent. Again...not really tough stuff.

I've jumped a fairly wide variety of aircraft, as well as piloted jump aircraft in various operations...and haven't really come across a situation that requires five hours of training...especially for something like a light Cessna 182 or 206.

As for needing a rating to fly jumpers...
SNS3Guppy is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2009, 23:41
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Thats maybe the US Guppy, but he's asking about the UK. 5 hours training, including the written test is what the BPA have stated is required for the Rating. Like it or lump it, disagree with it or not, thats the syllabus....I didnt write the rules! As for the 2k he's been quoted, i've sent him a pm with some helpful info.
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Old 17th Sep 2009, 00:25
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What authority does the BPA have in this matter? If the CAA required a rating, that would be different, but does BPA have any enforcement authority? if so, who gave it to them?

I am not questioning the need for the training, just intrigued that the CAA don't hold this for themselves. Never mind the fact that it would probably cost £10K if the CAA was involved!
Adios is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 07:44
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The BPA is responsible for everything to do with Sport Parachuting in the UK all dropzone's are operated according to their operations manuals / rules. Like you say its a good thing the CAA are not too involved would be another rating that cost £200 to renew a 20p piece of paper every 5 years.

More info here:
moona is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 08:31
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You'll probably find that the BPA is like the US Parachute Assn (USPA) in the United States. It holds no regulatory authority, but it's the FAI-recognized organization representing sport parachuting in that particular country.

In the US, one need not be a member of USPA, and a drop zone need not be a USPA participant...but getting insurance coverage and recognition is nearly impossible, and a jumper or DZ that doesn't hold membership is considered "outlaw." In the US, there's no recognition for any jump pilot certification, but the USPA does prescribe licenses for jumpers...and these are fairly well recognized in the jump community internationally (as are the certifications from other national organizations abroad).

Two thousand pounds to be "certified" to fly a jump airplane is utterly ridiculous, however...especially for a non-regulatory rating.

In effect the CAA has elected not to govern skydiving, but has recognized the ability of the industry to govern itself, the same as USPA, to an extent, and has provided the BPA with the responsibility to apply their own industry standards (the US program differs somewhat, in that the FAA does provide some regulation on the matter).

British Parachute Association

The British Parachute Association was founded in 1962. It is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation of individuals whose purpose is to organise, govern and further the advancement of Sport Parachuting in the UK. The BPA is has no shareholders - it is owned and run by its Members. The BPA is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. Its governing instrument is the BPA Memorandum & Articles of Association...

...he BPA is run by a governing Council of Management. Council Members are drawn from, and nominated and elected by, the voting Members of the BPA. Council Members are the Directors of BPA Ltd. The Council controls all aspects of skydiving on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority. Unlike some sports, which may suffer from fragmented and divided governing bodies, the British Parachute Association represents most UK skydivers and the majority of skydivers within the UK are members of the Association.
British Parachute Association

2.3. Getting started

In order to gain BPA AP status any aspiring pilot will need to approach an approved BPA Club, as the qualifying process can only be undertaken under the auspices of such an organisation. The addresses and contact details of these can be obtained from the BPA website (British Parachute Association). Some Clubs may be prepared to train and qualify an applicant (in exchange for money) without necessarily providing a position at the end. Others may be in need of a pilot and may be prepared to train a pilot for free or on a conditional fee arrangement

1.1. Pilot Qualifications.

A pilot shall not act as pilot in command of an aircraft for a flight during which parachutists are to be dropped unless he/she meets the following minimum requirements:

1.1.1. Licence. He/she holds a valid pilotís licence for the type or class of aircraft to be flown (including any differences training appropriate to the type* or variant as required under JAR-FCL 1.235 or 2.235) and any ratings necessary for the type of flight to be undertaken, i.e. IR, Night, IMC; RT licence.

1.1.2. Experience. He/she has at least 100 hours as Pilot in Command (PIC) of aeroplanes if aeroplanes are to be flown by the applicant, or 100 hours as PIC of helicopters if helicopters are to be flown, (except in the case of FAI ĎCí Certificate (Red) parachutists where the requirement is 75 hours PIC in each case). In addition he/she must have at least 5 hours on type*.

N.B. In the course of training any hours flown as P1 under supervision of a CCP or Pilot Examiner (see 1.1.4. (a) below) may be counted towards the five hours on type.

1.1.3. Age. No person over the age of 55 years will be accepted for initial parachute pilot training. No pilot will be permitted to fly for parachuting after reaching the age of 70 years.

1.1.4 Training.

a. Has flown at least four lifts (accompanied and supervised by a BPA Pilot Examiner (PE) or Club Chief Pilot) as PIC (under supervision) on the type* of aircraft to be used. The lifts are to be live drops of one or more Experienced Parachutists under the supervision of at least a Category System Instructor or Team Leader.

N.B. CCPs must hold a BPA Pilot Authorisation on the type of aircraft being used.

b. He/she has received at least one hour of ground instruction on parachute dropping techniques, standard procedures and emergency procedures given by at least a BPA Advanced Instructor or BPA Pilot Examiner and has studied the BPA Pilotís Manual and relevant sections of the BPA Operations Manual.

N.B. In the case of service pilots or commercial pilots (operating under the terms of an AOC) flying in the course of their service duty or commercial duty, this briefing may be given by a BPA CSI or Team Leader.

a. Has flown a flight test conducted by a BPA Pilot Examiner) as PIC on the type* of aircraft to be used. The test will be conducted according to the Flight Test Proforma (BPA Form 108C) and will be a live drop of one or more Experienced Parachutists under the supervision of at least a Category System Instructor or Team Leader.


In the case of aircraft whose seating capacity or configuration only permits the use of one pilotís seat for parachuting to be safely conducted, have flown at least three flights with a BPA Pilot Examiner and performed at least two lifts involving a live drop with a Category System Instructor or Team Leader and under the ground supervision of a BPA Pilot Examiner.

b. Have successfully completed a written examination (BPA Form108D) administered by a CCP or Pilot Examiner.

c. The recommendation of a Chief Instructor and a BPA Pilot Examiner (to be signed on a BPA Pilot Application Form).

* N.B.(1) ĎTypeí in 1.1.1., 1.1.2, 1.1.4. & 1.1.5.(a) above, means a type where a type rating is appropriate, or else a type within a class.

N.B.(2) The five hours on type and four lifts requirement at 1.1.2. and 1.1.4 (above) apply only to the initial application. Subsequent types are applied for on BPA Form 108F.

N.B.(3) The requirements at Ďaí above shall not apply to the pilot of a foreign registered aircraft who is qualified and experienced in the country of registration to drop parachutists.

1.1.6 Documentation. Having satisfied all the above requirements, BPA Forms 108A (Initial Application), 108C (Flight Test Proforma), and 108D (Written Examination) are to be completed and sent with the appropriate fee to the BPA office who will then issue an Authorisation to Drop Parachutists Certificate. This certificate will be valid for a maximum of two years and will be renewable on the 31st March each second year. (BPA Authorised Parachute Pilot Renewal Form 108G).

1.1.7 Proficiency checks. All Pilots must complete a proficiency check at least every twelve months. This must be conducted by a Club Chief pilot (CCP) or PE and signed off on BPA Form 108E. This form is to be retained in a Pilotís personal file, which is to be kept and maintained by the CCP.

N.B. A BPA Authorised Pilot may conduct proficiency checks on CCPs and Pilot Examiners.

1.1.8 Recency.

a. A pilot shall not act as PIC of an aircraft carrying passengers, including parachutists, unless within the preceding 90 days he has made three take offs and three landings as the sole manipulator of the controls in an aircraft of the same type or class

b. A pilot who has not flown parachutists for a period exceeding six months must undergo a proficiency check.

1.1.9 Renewal. In order to renew an Authorisation the applicant must have had a proficiency check (BPA Form 108E) within the previous twelve months. In the case of pilots over the age of 55 they must also have flown at least 20 hours (which must include at least 10 parachute flights) in the previous twelve months. The application for renewal must be signed by a Chief Instructor as well as a Pilot Examiner or Club Chief Pilot who must be satisfied that the applicant is` current with parachute dropping techniques, emergency procedures and relevant BPA Operations Manual requirements. If a renewal is not effected within two years of expiry then a pilot must fulfil all the initial requirements.

N.B. Paragraphs 1.1.5 - 1.1.9 above, do not apply to service pilots, or commercial pilots (operating under the terms of an AOC) who in the course of their service duty or commercial duty fly parachuting lifts. Those pilots will be deemed as BPA Authorised Pilots and members for the duration of the flight provided the parachutists on board are BPA members.

1.1.10 Additional Types. Approved Pilots may add additional types of aircraft to their BPA Authorisation. This will require conformity with the licence requirements at 1.1.1. (above) and completion of a Proficiency Check (on the type of aircraft applied for) with a Pilot Examiner. Upon satisfactory completion of a proficiency check Form 108F must be signed and returned to the BPA who will then issue an additional authorisation.
SNS3Guppy is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 08:45
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That's brilliant, thanks for all your input guys (especially MikeCR, Moona and SNS3Guppy).

Have also PM'ed you in return, MikeCR.
FlyBoyFryer is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 09:45
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I contacted a school in Perth for a jump pilot rating on a C172 they were going to charge £500 for the 5hrs might be worth giving them a call, but all work would be for free!

V1 VR V2 is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 09:52
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Hi V1 VR V2,

That's interesting - would you be prepared to PM me with the details of that company please?

Wouldn't it be funny (I use the term lightly of course!) if it turned out to be one and the same?


FlyBoyFryer is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 19:19
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The real irony is that at every drop zone where I've flown or jumped, any training is done on the job...the CAA training also requires the training to be done as "live" drops, meaning that parachutists are being's a revenue flight.

If a drop zone or operator is going to charge thousands of pounds, dollars, yen, or hen scratch, and is doing it on revenue flights when the skydivers are paying for the makes you wonder what it is exactly for which the pilot is paying. If the flight is already paid and the cost of the airplane taken care of...would that not indicate that the prospective pilot is really getting sodomized here, financially speaking?
SNS3Guppy is offline  
Old 17th Sep 2009, 22:33
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The training flights are usually done with the club's para instructors who will act as the 'live' drop as opposed fare paying punters and members of the public. Once the trainee pilot has completed the various training drops(tandems, static line's, etc) with the instructors and finished the 5 hours then he/she will be authorised to drop the 'public'. Paying for the 'check out' i.e. the 5 hours training, here in the UK, is very much the norm at most clubs. The 'revenue' aspect of things is obviously covered by the pilot until such time as he gets his rating.
MIKECR is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2010, 23:06
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 6
UK C206 / C182 Jump Pilot positions

Hi guys, I have racked up about 500 hours flying C206 / C182 for my old dropzone in South Africa. I am coming back to the UK in a couple of weeks and looking to get into jump-flying for a local dropzone over there. I have 800 hours total time, a UK (JAA) commercial pilot's licence as well as 270 skydives.

I have read the BPA approval scheme listed above. Does anyone have any advice / contacts or know of any dropzones that need experienced pilots?
738_driver is offline  

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