Flight-1 & Skydive the Farm Student Canopy Program

by Annie Cripe Drennan

The Performance Designs Factory Team (PDFT)/Flight-1 and Skydive the Farm launch pilot program to include essentials canopy training in AFF/A-License progression

In an ongoing effort to further safe canopy practices, Flight-1 and Skydive The Farm are happy to announce a pilot program that will include fundamental canopy education as part of the AFF/A-License progression package. The original package, which includes AFF ground school training, jump levels 1-7, jumps 8-25, and necessary coach jumps, was offered by STF owner Hans Paulsen as a means of encouraging new jumpers to carry on through their A-License without so much worry over the initial cost of learning to skydive. The package will now include a Flight-1 Essential Skills Course (ESC), to be taken anytime after jump 25.

Flight-1 (the business entity of the PDFT) offers its ESC to new and experienced jumpers alike. Many experienced jumpers may be familiar with the ESC; it was developed in the early 2000s by former PD employee Scott Miller, who toured the country for several years teaching canopy control to thousands of skydivers. Flight-1 eventually partnered with Miller in 2006 and has since become the sole conveyor of the ESC.

The purpose of the ESC is to establish safer canopy practices at DZs around the world through increased understanding of the canopy flight. Students spend a day of focused education with a Flight-1 certified instructor through a combination of classroom modules and practical aerial exercises completed over a series of five jumps.

PD Factory Team member Ian Drennan calls Skydive the Farm home.

Sky families are the best families. |

“I have always felt the passing of knowledge from experienced jumpers to others, in any discipline of our sport, is essential to the longevity of skydiving,” said Drennan. “What better way to pass along your experience than to an up-and-coming jumper, or even a person who has been in the sport for some time and is looking to explore another discipline or simply increase his skill level?

“We (the PD Factory Team) also felt the pressing need to introduce better canopy control training to new jumpers. While AFF provides a great basic understanding of landing patterns, potential canopy issues, and basic inputs/responses, most new jumpers have trouble internalizing the onslaught of new information.

“As such, it seemed only logical to integrate better canopy control education at the formative stages of a skydiver’s development. We are excited to launch this pilot program, in conjunction with Skydive the Farm, and hope other DZOs will follow suit.

The program is scheduled for launch in September 2009.

For more information on the PD Factory Team, Flight-1, and their canopy course offerings (Essentials, Advanced, High Performance, and one-on-one coaching) visit,, or e-mail

For more information about Skydive the Farm visit

1 Comment

  • It’s about time, and hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future! I think The Farm will greatly benefit in the long term by having more educated novice pilots.
    I urge anyone, at any level, who has not taken this course to do so. What you learn will amaze you and may one day save your life.

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