Forums: Skydiving: General Skydiving Discussions: Re: [DSE] Standardized Wingsuit Instruction Opinion Poll: Edit Log

robinheid  (D 5533)

Oct 1, 2012, 2:31 PM

Views: 9407
Re: [DSE] Standardized Wingsuit Instruction Opinion Poll

In reply to:
RW standardized coaching
Freeflying standardized coaching
Classic Accuracy standardized coaching
Style standardized coaching
Sport accuracy standardized coaching
Performance canopy standardized coaching
Camera flying standardized coaching
Freestyle standardized coaching
Skysurfing standardized coaching
Demo jumping standardized coaching
High Altitude standardized coaching...
...The purpose of USPA is three-fold: to promote safe skydiving through training, licensing, and instructor qualification programs;

While USPA's mission does not specifically say "advanced training," it does not specifically disclude exclude it, either. Nor does it specifically mention "first-time skydivers." The mission statement doesn't say anything about Hertz car rental discounts, yet USPA provides for it.
Training is training. Whether it's advanced or not. And "training" is part of the mission, isn't it?

USPA is the *only* major skydiving body that does not have requisite wingsuit training standards.

Is there any other discipline that has generated an insurance company threat letter?
What other discipline that can exit the aircraft 5 miles (or more) from the DZ and show up at point of deployment 4 minutes after exit, roughly 6 minutes following pilot notification of skydiving activity?.
Additionally, all forms of skydiving use essentially the same equipment excepting Tandems and Wingsuits.

What other discipline has demonstrated an increasing number of tailstrikes, that in the worst case may drop an aircraft onto a home or business?
Faced with rising insurance cost, no assurance of skill, training, and knowledge, could possibly inspire a DZO to continue to allow wingsuiting? Several DZ's have now banned or severely regulated wingsuiting. This isn't a beneficial trend in the sport, IMO.

Most every person on the board has realized error in the response to canopy issues, and most feel that error began 15 years ago. This is our chance to prevent wingsuiting from becoming another canopy issue. We can be ahead of the curve and not play "catch-up" like we are with canopy incidents.

How many pre-BSR deaths were there of low-time skydivers wearing wingsuits? At least 5 we can prove, nearly double that in related incidents.
How many post BSR deaths of low-time skydivers wearing wingsuits?

The excellent and oft-asked question from an earlier post is responded to in an FAQ about the standardized training proposal.


PowerPoint presented to board-

Proposed Proficiency Card-

Proposed Evaluation Sheet-

The original proposal in 2008/2009 in person and over email.

For some reason, doesn't always cooperate with the Gdoc links, apologies if you'll need to copy/paste.

In 2010, USPA generated a poll, sent out to the general membership. This online poll produced a result of 65% of all respondents in favor of a required, standardized training.
In 2012, USPA sent out a request for responses to this topic, sent over Twitter, Facebook (several pages) personal emails, and here on Greater than 80% of respondents have asked for standardized instruction, administered by USPA.

There is no cost to USPA for these materials, the proposal, and there are no additional costs to develop the system as it's been tested for 5 years in development, 3 years in actual implementation. The safety record of 600 test cases is demonstrable both by numerous DZO's and other documentation.

The system we use, although it is not tied in any direct way to the USPA proposal, demonstrates the quality of training materials used for the proposal.

In short, the proposal merely asks that USPA adopt a required FFC using the same syllabus provided when I submitted a proposal to change SIM Sec 6.2 into a new section now seen as Sec 6.9, with all aspects of a proper FFC included. It's deplorable that this has become a tailstrike conversation. At the same time, the industry now has a different perspective and contributor to the conversation than it had 30 days ago.

It would be a sad day in skydiving if the only exit points for wingsuiters was a cliff. Even in BASE, there are regulations being proposed and insurance required at certain exit points.
It's not just a skydiving issue.

Proposal Promoter - 20

Straw men - 0

The list of unsupportable, unprovable and irrelevant arguments with which you promote your proposal would be amusing if it didn't represent such a potential danger to the sport in general.

One bottom line: As per floormonkey's query, as soon as an exception is made for wingsuiting, then GUESS WHAT, FOLKS? Any discipline without an equivalent "instructor rating" becomes lawyer food.

Get a clue, people. There is a small minority of people who stand to benefit from this "instructor rating" that is at complete variance with everything USPA has done with regard to sport parachuting instruction during its entire existence.

It rejects the private market solution which has proven to work across all of these other disciplines in favor of "crony capitalism" that forces people to purchase the services of "rated instructors" who are "anointed" (as the good perfesser Kallend so elegantly stated) by the association.

Those who intone that we "must" do this because the insurance companies won't insure our airplanes otherwise are either misinformed or deliberately misleading the parachuting public.

Another bottom line: The insurance companies do NOT care about a USPA-sanctioned rating system; they only want people to quit hitting the tails of the airplanes they insure. Period. Full stop.

And they want it done now, not on the the months-long and/or even years-long event horizon of a "standardized wingsuit instructor rating" program.

And nothing about a wingsuit "instructor rating" speaks directly to the insurance company's concern except as a selling-point subset of a larger "solution" to a manufactured problem. It's all a smokescreen for a select few who hope to be the "anointed ones" at the expense of the rest of the sport.

Seriously, all of you who are involved in disciplines other than wingsuiting -- guess what's going to happen to the liability environment when there is a USPA-sanctioned, discipline-specific "instructor rating" for one discipline but not the others?

This is Politics and Liability 101, people, and all of you non-wingsuiters who support this USPA-forced "wingsuit instructor rating" are just cutting your own throats.

This whole thing is based upon an utterly bogus premise -- that somehow wingsuiting is "different" and "more dangerous" than other sport parachuting subdisciplines.

It is not, and everyone who says it is does not know the history of parachuting, never mind basic physics.

When people first started doing RW (aka "formation skydiving") it was frequently condemned as dangerous and foolhardy and a threat to jump aircraft.

Ditto for CRW, about which people wailed and gnashed their teeth because "what other discipline can exit the aircraft 5 miles (or more) from the DZ and show up at point of deployment 4 minutes 9 minutes after exit, roughly 6 minutes 12 minutes following pilot notification of skydiving activity?"

And when freeflying started THAT was a threat because of the higher speeds were incompatible and therefore dangerous to other freefallers.

Etc etc ad nauseam.

But guess what? We figured it out, didn't we? And all without imposing USPA-mandated sub-discipline "instructor ratings" that make the USPA bureaucracy proliferate and create endless liability permutations of which lawyers can take advantage.

And then we come to the Great Canopy Debate (biiig straw man that), wherein the bureaucratic inertia of the training system we already have prevented USPA and even the industry itself from responding correctly and in a timely manner to that issue -- when canopy technology and performance outstripped a training regimen predicated on teaching freefall fun skills at the expense of parachuting survival skills.

The AFF system is in fact the primary reason the canopy thing got out of hand for so long because the entrenched AFF bureaucracy resisted the major system overhaul necessary to reduce open-canopy injuries and fatalities -- i.e., discarding freefall-fun-skills-first-based teaching in favor of first teaching understand-your-gear-learn-how-to-fly-your-parachute.

This is FACT, not rhetorical supposition based upon unsupported and unprovable straw man arguments.

Moreover and in many ways more importantly, the bureaucracy proliferation that will start but not end with "standardized wingsuit training" will literally strangle the sport because, you know, like, dudes and dudettes, why the F did we start skydiving in the first place?

For the freedom of it, the thrill of it, the adventure of it all -- not to be told at each and every incremental step of the way what to do, how to do it, when and where to do it, and only by those "anointed ones" who ride herd on us.

The "revamped" training system is bad enough. Add this ridiculous proposition to it and watch the sport slowly die because you will drive away the very people who are most attracted to its essential nature.

So please, instead of mindlessly accepting the feel-good premise of "standardized instruction," THINK IT THROUGH and consider all of the ramifications.

As soon as you do, things will start looking much more clear.


P.S. For the record, I have no problem with any of the private-sector wingsuit training operations in effect right now, to include the one the Proposal Promoter developed at Elsinore. In fact, I wholeheartedly support it and its predecessors and progeny, just as I do all the private-sector, non-USPA-dictated RW, VRW, CRW, FF, demo and other sub-discipline schools out there.

For the record also, I recognize and appreciate both the volume and quality of work the Proposal Promoter has done in developing and advancing wingsuiting training. I just wish he'd leave off with trying to force-feed it to everyone in alliance with the USPA and let the marketplace respond to the issue the way it does to all of the other subdisciplines.

(This post was edited by robinheid on Oct 1, 2012, 2:32 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by robinheid () on Oct 1, 2012, 2:32 PM

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