There is not a sport in this world that people do not push the limits of the sport. Look at something as basic as the olympics and how far each sport has evolved. The evolution is based on those that push their abilities and technology to the limit. Is that a bad thing? I guess that is a individual preference.
So why would skydiving be any different? If someone didnt say hey skydiving is cool but I want to try to freefall longer like a bird, would wing suits be as mainstream as they are today. Or if Bill Booth and Ted Strong didnt say hey maybe someone can take a passenger and let them experience the thrill of skydiving attached to an Instructor, would tandem be the number 1 way to enter the sport today. Each specific area of skydiving is being pushed and it is through new blood, new inventive ideas, and new technology that the sport will continue to evolve. While I think we would be doing our sport a great injustice to stop the progression, I feel it can at least be done in a mature way. What will skydiving look like in 20 years who knows. But I think it is unfair to categorize those wanting to push the limits as the ones ruining the sport.
Okay with that thought of of my shoulders, we have a canopy education in place. We just implemented a continueing education portion to what was already there. (B license proficiency card). Who knows what is next but the sport, membership, the BOD will weigh all of the evidence and come up with what they feel is in the best interest of the sport and members. Some will like it, some wont.
As far as a canopy instructor or canopy coach is concerned, they are already out there and doing the best they can. There is no reason to recreate the wheel. I think we need to spend some time getting all of the best canopy instructors out there together and make the SIM syllabus the best it possibly can be. Section 6-10 and 6-11. Then I think, once we have a standardized canopy training in place then we further educate the ones teaching the material. I have suggested webinars, news letters, in person canopy standardized training meetings. Whatever we have to do to get everyone on the same page.
Okay step Two: Once we bring everyone up to date with a updated and consistent syllabus we need to start training out instructors on canopy. Yes freefall and ground school are important, but we need to add a full section on canopy. First to evaluate the instructors canopy skills, and to make sure he is capable of teaching them. I am refering to an AFFI, STI, IADI mainly. Look what will fall into place once we start teaching instructors about the importance of canopy education. We will be producing Canopy Instructors. Cool how that could work someday. Until we add a comprehensive portion on canopy to the current instructor couses, we will continue to certify substandard canopy instructors.
I know as a fact that AFFI's are coming out with very little canopy evaluation, canopy knowledge, or even understanding what or how to teach those sections. That is just one reason we left it up to the S&TA to select the best candidate to teach the proficiency card and didnt just say any instructor. (agree or not)
I think there should be a specific canopy written test, canopy in air evaluation, and canopy ground school evaluation put into all instructor courses.
So now that I came full circle the answer is yes, I agree with a canopy coach or instructor. But IMO we already have them and just need to neaten up the process to start producing kick ass canopy instructors. All the while getting those out there that missed out on this new training the opportunity to catch up.
We have some excellent canopy coaches out there now using the material we already have. We just need to standardize it a bit and get everyone on the same page. This is no easy task as I have learned nothing gets done quickly in this sport. The addage that if it is a good idea this meeting it will be a good idea next meeting works so not to make knee jerk reactions to events but on the other hand it slows the system way down.
Keep in mind this is really just my own personal thoughts and I am not speaking for the BOD or any other BOD member. They can chime in if they so desire. A little disclaimer, sorry.
Rich Winstock National Director USPA
(This post was edited by Para5-0 on Jan 1, 2012, 9:26 AM)