How Long Does It Take to Learn Wingsuit Flying?

An instructor coaching a wingsuit student down on his chest wearing a black wingsuit. The context suggests a wingsuit flying course.
An Instructor Shows The Right Body Position To A Student

Wingsuit flying, like any other sport, takes some time to grasp and there are several steps to be completed before you can be granted a flying license. How long exactly does this process take?

It takes 4-8 days for experienced skydivers to complete the wingsuit flying course. For novices without any previous skydiving experience, it takes around 12-19 months because they have to obtain their skydiving license first.

Learning to fly a wingsuit requires a significant commitment of time and resources. Before taking flights, individuals must undergo extensive training, both in the classroom and in the air. Let’s dive deeper into the steps, time, and resources required to become a wingsuit pilot

The Time To Learn Wingsuit Flying Depends On The Existing Skydiving Level

To give you a better idea of what you will be committing to, here’s a detailed breakdown of the steps including the time frame and costs. It’s an intensive course!

StepsTimeframeLower RangeUpper Range
Enrollment in an AFF course to learn skydiving3-5 days$3,400$4,700
Completion of 200 skydives requirement12-18 months$4,375$5,250
Completion of Wingsuit First Flight Course (WFFC)1 day$300$350
Completion of all the wingsuit flying equipment requirements3-7 days$2,000$10,000
Optional: Coaching from certified wingsuit coaches to learn new skills and improve techniqueContinuous$20 per Coaching$30 per Coaching
Total12-19 months$10,075 + coaching cost$20,300 + coaching cost
An Overview of Time And Cost to Lean Wingsuit Flying

Now that you are aware of the steps involved in getting your wingsuit license, let’s take a deep dive into each step and learn in detail what each one entails.

Five Steps to Learn Wingsuit Flying

The process of obtaining a Wingsuit Flying license is a lot like getting a driving license i.e., you will need to enroll in a school and practice extensively before being granted your license.

1. Enrollment in an AFF Course to Learn Skydiving, a Prerequisite for Wingsuit Flying

The journey towards wingsuit flying first begins with learning how to solo skydive.

To test the waters and shake off any nerves, you can begin by going on a tandem jump. A tandem jump is a type of jump wherein you will be attached to a trained tandem instructor (so there is no need to fear mishaps) and during the dive, you will experience freefall speeds of around 120 mph!

Once you get oriented to the rush of freefalling and your nerves are settled, you can enroll in an AFF Course.

On average, the entire course, weather permitting, normally takes around 3-5 days. This includes 8-9 hours of ground school, wind tunnel training (selected skydiving schools only), and at least a minimum of 8 jumps assisted by 1 or 2 instructors.

During your first and second jumps, your instructors will hold on to you and release you only once they feel that you have stabilized yourself. You need to maintain a belly-to-earth position until it’s time to deploy your parachute.

During the canopy ride and landing, you will be assisted by one of the instructors via radio communication until you safely land back on the ground.

On your third to sixth jumps, you will jump out with one instructor and begin different routines like 90, 180 and 360-degree turns, somersaults, and tracking.

On the seventh jump, you will jump out solo and do a few of every routine.

Lastly, for the eighth jump, you will be on a hop and pop (no freefall) wherein you will jump out solo from around 2,500 ft. You only have around 2 seconds to deploy your parachute and land safely.

Once all eight jumps are completed, you will have successfully graduated from your AFF Course and be on your way to getting your first skydiving license!

2. Consistent Jumps to Complete 200 Skydives to Qualify For a Wingsuit Course

After graduating from AFF, make sure to log your succeeding skydives in a personal logbook to mark the minimum 25 jumps needed to grant you your “A” skydiving license.

Getting your first solo license means that you can already jump with supervision and can now jump anywhere around the world. You can also start jumping with friends, join basic group jumps as well as perform water landings.

Sounds exciting right? Definitely!

However, as your goal is wingsuit flying, you will need to strive for more!

To get that wingsuit license, you will need to jump consistently and complete a minimum of 200 skydives within a period of 12-18 months. More experienced skydivers and instructors would recommend that you jump much more than that so that you can hone your skills and master the art of skydiving.

Technically, you will need around 12-17 jumps a month or about 3-4 jumps per week to meet the minimum jump requirements. A standard lift will set you back around $25-30 per jump (depending on if it’s on a weekday or weekend) plus equipment rentals.

During this time, it is advisable to get your required equipment such as a parachute, helmet, jumpsuit, and AAD to save yourself more in the long run. Renting equipment is only ideal for occasional skydivers. However, if you are planning to jump regularly – then getting your own is way cheaper.

If you are still unsure if you should pick up skydiving as a hobby, check out the 9 reasons why you should start skydiving as a hobby.

3. Signing up for the Wingsuit First Flight Course to Learn How to Fly

Once you have met the minimum skydive requirements mentioned above, then you can look for a certified wingsuit coach. You can try calling the skydiving centers near you to check which one will suit you.

The Wingsuit First Flight Course is a one-day training to be facilitated by a certified wingsuit coach. It includes around 1-2 hours of ground school and 2-3 assisted wingsuit jumps.

Here you will learn how to properly exit the airplane, how to remain stable while in freefall, the correct freefall position, and how to deploy your parachute. Wingsuit pilots land using a parachute that is specifically designed for skydiving or BASE jumping.

During your first wingsuit flight, you will be given a wingsuit that is ideal for beginners. It will have smaller wings compared to the intermediate and advanced wingsuits but with enough power to ensure an easy flight.

You will also notice that wingsuit flying is quite similar to tracking (but with more power). To maintain a stable belly-to-earth position, you need to keep your body straight or a little arched. Do not lean your shoulders to the side or bend your knees as this will cause the wingsuit to drag you to the side and cause you to fly on your back.

How a Typical Wingsuit Flying Course Looks Like

4. Completion of All the Wingsuit Flying Equipment Requirements

During your first flight, if you choose to wear your skydiving equipment like a parachute (main and reserve), a hard helmet, and an AAD then it will be best to consult your wingsuit coach, to make sure that they are suitable for wingsuit flying.

The ideal wingsuit main canopy should be docile and easy to fly. The pilot chute must be between 28-30 inches and made of non-porous materials with an 8- to 9-foot-long bridle.

The canopy should have a wing load of not greater than 1.3:1 unless it is 170 sq ft or larger and preferably 7 cells, while the reserve canopy should have a wing load of 1:1 to ensure a margin of safety.

Either an open or full-face hard helmet will suffice and an AAD is also highly recommended. You will need either a wrist or chest-mounted AAD plus an audible altimeter. But most importantly, you must ensure that the wingsuit that you will be using is suitable for the first flight.

Renting a wingsuit normally costs around $20 per jump and $40-50 per day. Some rental companies also offer long-term rentals like 1 to 6 months but it is important to note that you are not allowed to use them for BASE jumping as they are only intended for skydiving.

After completion of this step, you will be allowed to fly wingsuits on your own! Congratulations!

If you want to learn about five of the most incredible wingsuit landings, check this post out.

5. Continuous Learning of New Skills and Coaching from A Certified Wingsuit Coach

To continue honing your abilities, you should continue learning new skills from a certified wingsuit coach. You can level up your sky flying, back flying, or even master your skill before joining group formations.

Wingsuit flying requires you to have an awareness of your own body, other wingsuit pilots, and full control over your wingsuit.

A good way to learn is to record your first few flights and watch them afterward with an experienced wingsuit pilot. A coach can also give you constructive feedback. Once you have gained enough experience, you can join in group flying and even competitive wingsuit flying.

Coaching sessions normally cost around $20-25 including 1-2 lifts with a certified wingsuit coach.

In conclusion, learning wingsuit flying requires a lot of time, money, and effort but you will find that it is worthwhile and rewarding to experience the closest thing that humans can get to “flying”.

Now you know how you can become a wingsuit pilot. But do you know the incredible invention story behind wingsuits?

Enjoy your freefall and first wingsuit flight!

Photo Credits:

Richard Schneider from Los Angeles, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped

Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Recent Posts