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Courses are always heavily oversubscribed. The Parachute Training Support Unit does not routinely accept bids from individuals. Course bids, for entitled personnel only, should be made via Unit or Formation air staff.

To attend a Basic Parachute Course (BPC), soldiers and officers must have completed and passed one of the following:

  • Pre Para Selection
  • Special Forces Selection
  • Royal Marines Commando Course

This includes servicemen from all Reserve Forces.

Only members of the Parachute Regiment and Special Forces (SF) are guaranteed places on basic courses. All other students are loaded on courses in accordance with Ministry of Defence guidelines, which take into account Unit role and the number of personnel within selected Units entitled to parachute.

Specialist parachute courses are also conducted for both SF and Field Army/FLEET Units to train students in the skills of Static Line Square parachuting and Military Free Fall parachuting.

Basic Parachute Course content

The Regular Forces BPC lasts for up to three weeks. Reserve Forces students arrive at the school partially trained, so their course last only two weeks.

In the first week the basic skills of a parachutist are taught. These include aircraft drills to enable students to properly exit the C130 Hercules aircraft, and landing and emergency drills for all situations that may arise during a descent.

The first week is very intensive and requires 100 per cent effort from all students. Those who reach the required standard could find themselves making their first descent by the fourth day of the first week.

During the next two weeks, students are taught all the additional skills required to become operational parachutists. These include equipment packing, emplaning and drop zone drills.

To qualify for the Military Parachute Wings, students have to complete a number of parachute descents. Each descent is a progression from the last, starting from 1,000ft with equipment to a final descent from 600ft with full equipment, at night. Students who fail to reach the required standard during each phase have to repeat that descent.