Level 3 Award in aerial cutting of trees with a chainsaw using freefall techniques (formerly NPTC CS39)

Aerial Cutting of trees with a chainsaw using free-fall techniques

NPTC Assessment Unit 002108

This two-day field-based course is aimed predominantly at those looking to pursue a career as a climbing arborist or tree surgeon but is suitable for anyone wishing to learn how to safely operate a chainsaw from a rope and harness.

This course combines all the skills and techniques learnt during the cross-cutting, small tree felling and climbing courses.

The fundamental skills and knowledge learnt during this essential course will be the foundations of everything the candidates will go on to learn during their arborist careers.

This course will also provide the candidate with all the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to undertake the NPTC Level 3 Unit 002108 assessment

Learning Outcomes:

Upon the completion of this course, the candidate will:

  • Understand the specific industry legislation and safety guidelines relevant to using a chainsaw from a rope and harness;
  • Successfully identify the hazards and risks associated with the working area;
  • Be able to carry out a basic level hazard evaluation of a tree;
  • Demonstrate techniques for hauling chainsaws into the tree and attaching them appropriately to the harness;
  • Carry out pre-start checks to the chainsaw and demonstrate cold and warm starting techniques;
  • Understand the importance of secure and comfortable work positioning while using a chainsaw from a rope and harness to improve safety and work quality;
  • Be able to explain the basic principles of natural target pruning;
  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of a variety of different cuts including step cuts, sink cuts and natural target pruning cuts;
  • Use top handled or lightweight rear handled chainsaws in a safe and efficient manner to remove light and medium weight branches;
  • Be competent in the use of pulling ropes and slings to assist with the cut sections.


Equipment required:

Top handled chainsaw or light weight rear handled saw (maximum of 15” bar), fuel/oil, maintenance tools.

PPE Required:  chainsaw trousers Class 1 type C, chainsaw boots, chainsaw helmet with ear and eye protection & chin strap, cut resistant climbing gloves, full climbing kit (harness, climbing ropes, adjustable stop and karabiners), first aid kit with large wound dressing and whistle).

An in date thorough LOLER examination certificate (or certificate of conformity/receipt for items less than 6 months old) will be required for all items of climbing equipment.

All equipment is available to hire including PPE.  Please enquire for details.



Pre-requisites for this course:

Cross-cutting and chainsaw maintenance (002003 or CS30)

Small Tree Felling (002004 or CS31)

Climbing and aerial rescue (002013 or CS38)

Course duration:

Two days training with an assessment on a separate day


Training £230 per person plus VAT

NPTC Assessment £150 per person


Unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 pandemic we have had to postpone all courses until at least July 2020. As soon as Government advice allows for courses to restart dates will be published on this page.

Refresher courses are also available either with or without assessment.  Please enquire for details.