The instructors only give radio corrections if the student is doing something incorrect. The "Follow the Leader" does not work if the student is on a 280 and the instructor is on a 79 Velocity. At our DZ is is way more likely that the AFF instructors are on canopies that are loaded 1.8 or higher than not. You can hang in brakes as deep as you want on a small canopy but its not going to help the situation if the student does not pick your one canopy out of the rest of the canopies that are in the air at the same time or another situation arises like needing to have a cutaway as the instructor or changing the landing area and now the "follow the leader" situation is shot since the student has no idea what is going on. In those cases its better to have the radio there to give assistance if needed to help guide them to a better landing.
I can say this has worked great on probably 3500 AFF Cat A and B's over the last 6 years so take it for what its worth.
Good to hear that your input is only to correct, not direct, but it's still a bandaid on a flawed process and I must also correct you on a key element:
Follow the leader ONLY works when the instructor flies a smaller, faster canopy. I started out on a canopy loaded at .8 or thereabouts because, like you, I thought I needed to be on a canopy similar to that used by the student.
When I actually did it, however, I discovered that was the wrong approach because I couldn't maneuver myself properly into the "leader" position.
As soon as I switched to a more heavily loaded canopy, presto, problem solved! And the thing is, you don't "hang in brakes;" you brake just enough to slow your vertical and horizontal speed to stay within 1,000-1,500 feet or so.
Also, as I discovered initially by having tandem students "follow" the photog... they can follow a flight path even when the "leader" is far below them. It's a natural consequence of having their 3D navigation problem converted to 2D by having someone to follow. They see where the leader goes and they follow, even if the leader slowly moves farther ahead of and below them.
Finally, none of my followers ever one time had even the tiniest problem with picking my canopy out of the mix. Why? Because, for one thing, we're pulling higher and later than the mob. Perhapos even more importantly, part of that opening-near-student-level thing AND using a smaller, faster canopy is that I would fly right over to where they were and establish contact/communication/whatever, then I would turn and lead them down. Yes, I would outpace them, but they still followed easily.
Thomas Paine wrote that "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”
We are still in the first phase with regard to converting from bandaid radios to follow-the-leader canopy training. There are all sorts of formidable outcries in defense of custom but at some time down the road the "AFF" community will quit abandoning their students just when they need them the most.
It's funny, but the late great Jerry McCauley was onsite when I was doing my follow-the-leader training and when I disucssed it with him, he said that not only did he do that in the SEAL teams, they added a "graduation" wrinkle called "show the leader."
This meant that, after the leader felt that the low-timer was up to speed, he made the low-timer the leader and his task was leading not just his instructor but the whole team to a safe landing in the right spot.
So rather than defend what you do now, and make excuses for why you can't do follow-the-leader, maybe you ought to consider the advice of Morpheus to Neo and... "phree your mind."
To help you in that quest, I have attached the two articles I wrote on the subject in 1996 and 1998 for Skydiving Magazine.
NOTE: Edited to add attachments
(This post was edited by robinheid on Nov 5, 2012, 10:57 AM)