Re: [airtwardo] Should WE demand "standardized wingsuit training via USPA"
Reprinted with permission from a letter sent to his DZ's mailing list:
A personal message from Lee Schlichtemeier USPA Southwest Regional Director
[First two paragraphs omitted, not relevant to this discussion] .... Third, there will be a 'beauty contest' vote also on the ballot. This will be a membership non-binding vote on whether or not to create a special instructional rating for Wingsuit instructors. The proposal is on the USPA website (even though it is a little hard to find). I hope you will vote 'No' on this issue. This vote will not institute the rating but will give a semblance of guidance to the next USPA Board of Directors with regard to developing this rating. My reasons for asking for a 'No' vote for this issue is as follows:
The issue of whether or not to create a Wingsuit instructor rating was not the idea of USPA Headquarters or the USPA Board of Directors. It was a request by a faction of the Wingsuit community to the board.
The issue has not been staffed [note: I'm pretty sure he meant to say studied] by USPA Headquarters. Therefore, no cost/benefit analysis or resource requirements have been examined by the USPA Headquarters department (Safety & Training) that would be called upon to institute this rating. And, again, it was not requested by USPA Headquarters (Safety & Training), the staff who would be called upon to institute this rating.
There is no measurable evidence that this rating would have usefulness with regard to the safety of Wingsuit flight.
Most importantly, this represents an entirely new direction for the USPA instructional system to embark upon. Specifically, there currently are no 'advanced ratings' for the average skydiver. If this proposal is instituted, it represents the first additional requirement for formal instructional training beyond licensure. It is the proverbial 'camel's nose under the tent.' It opens the door for additional training requirements for licensed skydivers to participate in other skydiving disciplines such as freeflight, formation skydiving, canopy formations, canopy piloting, etc. While we would all argue that additional experience and preferably training is desirable for these activities, you need to picture a world where you would be required to receive that training from a USPA-rated instructor (in that specific discipline) before being allowed to participate. This expansion of bureaucracy and rules (beyond BSRs) represents an unnecessary and complicated intrusion into the choices that are currently available to skydivers.
This issue and even placing this non-binding poll on the ballot was very contentious at the Safety & Training Committee level and at the full Board of Directors level. The issue was extensively debated and original motion modified several times and the final motion that allowed this non-binding membership vote passed the full board by a plurality, not a majority. Several board members abstained on the final vote and if they had voted, there may have not been sufficient votes to carry even this motion.
Again, I ask you to vote 'No' on this issue if you want the freedom of choice of skydiving disciplines that you currently enjoy to continue, if you feel this proposed instructional rating is unwarranted and unnecessary or if you feel that this issue should be more adequately evaluated by the proper and time-tested methods of developing USPA instructional programs.
Lee Schlichtemeier USPA Southwest Regional Director D-16256 firstname.lastname@example.org
I did not include his phone numbers, but I believe they can be found in the front of your Parachutist. If you aren't a member and can't view one online, pm and I'll send it to you. I changed formatting for the post, but it is otherwise unchanged except for noted changes in [brackets].
(This post was edited by floormonkey on Oct 25, 2012, 3:24 PM)