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Is the AFF rating too easy?

 

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Deisel  (D 31661)

Dec 6, 2009, 5:22 AM
Post #226 of 447 (1308 views)
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Re: [skybytch] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Where's the S&TA in all of this? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't there a requirement for the S&TA to "recommend" approval or disapproval of candidates?

In the military, before I can teach someone the five finger death punch I have to have a command recommendation. It attests to the individual's maturity and ability to handle responsibility. It's considered valid since the endorsement comes from the people that work with the individual on a daily basis and know if they are a tool. Once a person gains some type of advanced skill or rating their command is responsible for their use of it. Shouldn't the S&TA loosely function in the same type of role?

D


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Dec 6, 2009, 8:44 AM
Post #227 of 447 (1286 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Where's the S&TA in all of this? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't there a requirement for the S&TA to "recommend" approval or disapproval of candidates?

The only "recommendation" that appears on the rating proficiency cards is from the course director. All the course director is stating is that the candidate has met the rating requirements.

In reply to:
Shouldn't the S&TA loosely function in the same type of role?

Some S&TA's have no instructional ratings at all. There are no time in sport, ratings, jump numbers, etc, requirements to be appointed an S&TA. Heck, I was an S&TA when I had 500 jumps!

It is very possible for an S&TA to control whether a particular tool with a rating works at a particular dropzone or not; just depends on their relationship with the person making the ultimate money decisions.

Peer review and responsibility for the actions of those lower down the chain works in the military partly because it's a well known part of the job. I doubt many people would take the unpaid and often stressful post of S&TA on if they were "responsible" for the actions/mistakes of others that they recommended for a rating.

Although I wish it were otherwise, I don't see a way for USPA to be involved in deciding if someone is mature or responsible enough to work with students. It's far too easy for that type of system to be abused (or for spurned candidates to challenge). It has to be a local (business) decision. Sure, some good people with ratings may not get work because the dzo doesn't like them personally, but there are other dz's that person can work at. There are no alternate rating programs that a good person can go to because personality conflicts caused them to be denied a USPA rating.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Dec 6, 2009, 12:02 PM
Post #228 of 447 (1272 views)
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Re: [skybytch] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I just don't agree. I don't think that a DZ has the best interests of the student in mind and even if they did, when the coach/AFF rated person goes to another DZ that whole system breaks down.

I think that the USPA *should* be acting in this capacity and coming up with a method that will help weed out the people who really shouldn't be teaching.

I think this because I'm required to pay the USPA, I don't have an option as there are no non-group member DZs in my area if I didn't want to be a member. It's not a choice, it's a requirement. I don't really have a problem with that, what I have a problem with is that plenty of people (according to this thread) are getting ratings that shouldn't have and at that point they have the support of the USPA. Saying "well we're just saying they can fly sufficiently & know the courseware" is a total cop out because we all know that when a student gets told that the person is a coach or AFFI it means a lot more to them than that.


dninness  (D 19617)

Dec 6, 2009, 12:54 PM
Post #229 of 447 (1263 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Where's the S&TA in all of this? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't there a requirement for the S&TA to "recommend" approval or disapproval of candidates?

Well, as its been previously stated, part of the way the rating system is arranged is to keep personalities from being (as big) a factor.

Face it: If for some reason you're cross-wise with the S&TA for something non-skydiving related, *pow* you could be Jack Jeffries and you're not getting your AFF rating. You took the last beer the other night, you're slipping some extra wood into the S&TA's duty punch, you're parking in his (unmarked) parking spot.... Hell, you are constantly "on the go," hustle back tot he hangar and get one of the packers to pack you up before the S&TA could get the guy's knickers in a twist. Never mind calling him on an unsafe act in the air.

In reply to:
In the military, before I can teach someone the five finger death punch I have to have a command recommendation. It attests to the individual's maturity and ability to handle responsibility. It's considered valid since the endorsement comes from the people that work with the individual on a daily basis and know if they are a tool. Once a person gains some type of advanced skill or rating their command is responsible for their use of it. Shouldn't the S&TA loosely function in the same type of role?

Thats a slippery slope. For one, the sport, for all its military roots and origins, is actually comprised of folks who probably don't work well under military-like levels of structure and oversight. As a vet, I get this.

Plus, if I were to aspire to become an S&TA (I do not, FYI), do I want to be the guy who says "yay" or "nay" based on no clearly defined criteria other than "hes not a tool."? At least with the AFF course, you are judging people on some fairly objective criteria that also has some checks and balances built in to prevent abuse, and allows a candidate a modicum of "due process."

Nowhere on the proficiency card does it say "Is not a tool" with a sign off for the S&TA. I think I prefer it that way.


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Dec 6, 2009, 2:10 PM
Post #230 of 447 (1247 views)
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Re: [dninness] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I want to make sure I understand this. As an S&TA, I am now responsible for determining whether or not a candidate is cleared to work with students? Although, I already do it to some extent, assuring that new AFF's slowly progress and pick up experience prior to cutting them loose.
What is the course for then? The AFF I/E is determining if they are ready, and in my opinnion, obviously they are dropping the ball. The more work I have to do as a S&TA the less or worse job the I/E did to prepare the AFFI.
Take a step back and assume, that the course evaluates a candidates teaching ability, flying ability, and maturity. Then the S&TA just has to confirm and supervise the progression.
or how it is now- just start handing out the ratings and let all the onus fall on the DZO and S&TA.
What I am saying and have been advocating is a evaluation course that is run with some continuity. and while I am at it make it thorough enough to determine if a candidate has accumulated the requirred skill to keep a student alive. and yes maturity over the length of a properly run course can be determined.


gkc1436  (D 18232)

Dec 6, 2009, 3:38 PM
Post #231 of 447 (1232 views)
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Re: [NovaTTT] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

>Show me a jumper who hasn't knowingly violalated a few or more BSRs and I'll show you a FJC student.

so true....so true...

evidently somebody has been paying attention during their time in the sport.......

g


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Dec 6, 2009, 4:56 PM
Post #232 of 447 (1213 views)
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Re: [Para5-0] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Take a step back and assume, that the course evaluates a candidates teaching ability, flying ability, and maturity.

What can be required of a candidate to prove that they are mature enough to hold a rating that is not subjective?


Deisel  (D 31661)

Dec 6, 2009, 6:17 PM
Post #233 of 447 (1204 views)
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Re: [skybytch] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Take a step back and assume, that the course evaluates a candidates teaching ability, flying ability, and maturity.

What can be required of a candidate to prove that they are mature enough to hold a rating that is not subjective?


This is exactly my point. Anyone can be on their best behavior and get through a course. Maturity can not be determined in a short period of time. Just like one bad judgement call can not be used to say that someone is immature.

Para - seems to me that currently, there is no one ultimately responsible. You say that the I/Es are dropping the ball. Well, who picks it up? Our sport is built on multiple redundancies and I don't see any here. And I think this is what this entire discussion is based on - who is ultimately responsible for the quality of instruction on a DZ? Maybe S&TAs should be paid by USPA to be the impartial decision makers. The buck has to stop somewhere.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)
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Dec 6, 2009, 8:37 PM
Post #234 of 447 (1178 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Maybe S&TAs should be paid by USPA to be the impartial decision makers. The buck has to stop somewhere.

How would being paid make an S&TA any more or less partial?
I understand your point, but don't see that it's addressable from any direction. Old system or new system.


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Dec 6, 2009, 8:41 PM
Post #235 of 447 (1178 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Great post: If you read back through some older posts on this thread I have shown serious support for bringing back the AFFJM rating. A JM will work under a more seasoned AFFI and hopefully, through supervision they will earn the I rating, not just have it handed to them after one a one week course. I used the comparison of a Capt. and a First Officer of a large airline jet. The first officer learns for sometimes hundreds of hours if not years from seasoned Captains before actually flying the plane from the Captains seat. In out sport we are giving the keys to the jet so to speak with no mentorship. Then we are asking ourselves why are students being lost in the air.
Tell me one disadvantage to a JM rating? Why cant a JM mentor under an I for a period of time to be determined as a finite period of time or until the AFFI or AFF I/E says youare ready to progress to a full fledged Instructor. Am I bias? Yes. I was a AFFJM and had to ride reserve side level 1's and 2's for some time before they let me go main side and even then I was with a AFFI under close supervision. I just do not get the Rush to certify full fledged Instructors. And if that is what the S&TA's are doing now then why not bring back the AFFJM rating and put some of the responsibility on the Instructors (Seasoned) It sets up a heirarchy and does not create these new AFFI's coming out expecting to be treated as equals. Remember not all S&TA's are instructors although many are. As an Instructor or an I/E I have much less problems helping mold and shape a new JM into an Instructor then to be expected to do the same as an S&TA. Better yet let the DZ I/E make the call on whether the JM is ready, after they complete a set time in rating. 1-2 years is good by me. This will do two fold. First it will give the newly rated Instructor a sense of accomplishment and it will give him time to earn his wings among fellow jumpers. How many times have you heard I cant beleive he got his AFF rating. Now at least we can keep an eye on them for a period of time.


Deisel  (D 31661)

Dec 7, 2009, 2:25 AM
Post #236 of 447 (1150 views)
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Re: [DSE] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Paying S&TAs would 1 - allow them to be held accountable (fired) and 2 - they would work for USPA and not the DZ. Kind of how doctors in the NFL now work for the league and not the team. They have the final say on someone playing with a concussion and suppossedly have no interest in the outcome of the game.
Seems about the fairest way to address it, given how so many skydivers are anti-establishment types.


Deisel  (D 31661)

Dec 7, 2009, 2:29 AM
Post #237 of 447 (1149 views)
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Re: [Para5-0] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I saw that post and wondered why we no longer have that type of system in place. IMO, it would be desirable to be a co-pilot of for a while before being completly responsible for a student's safety.
But I can also see where this would be tough for a smaller DZ to do. Not impossible, just tough.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Dec 7, 2009, 7:00 AM
Post #238 of 447 (1122 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Doesn't the rigger/riglet mentorship represent an example of this already working?

Why wouldn't we just say that you have to get a coach rating & then make that the equivalent of the JM rating and have an AFFI mentor the coach? Is there something else about the JM rating that the coach rating doesn't have?


BobMoore  (D 13136)

Dec 7, 2009, 7:56 AM
Post #239 of 447 (1108 views)
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Re: [skybytch] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Some S&TA's have no instructional ratings at all. There are no time in sport, ratings, jump numbers, etc, requirements to be appointed an S&TA.

Perhaps the S&TA should be re-named something else. If they are advising Instructors and they have no instructional ratings I could imagine that not going over very well. Maybe they should be called Safety Advisors.

On another subject, one of the course evaluators at my AFF Jumpmaster certification course could easily be described as "a tool". The other candidates and even a couple of the other evaluators shared that opinion. Who would be responsible for this tool to be kept away from students? My opinion is the DZ owner or Chief Instructor.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)
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Dec 7, 2009, 9:47 AM
Post #240 of 447 (1081 views)
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Re: [Deisel] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Paying S&TAs would 1 - allow them to be held accountable (fired) and 2 - they would work for USPA and not the DZ. Kind of how doctors in the NFL now work for the league and not the team. They have the final say on someone playing with a concussion and suppossedly have no interest in the outcome of the game.
Seems about the fairest way to address it, given how so many skydivers are anti-establishment types.

It still doesn't remove the human factor.

I think I'm a pretty objective guy in most situations. However, I know I could never hire an instructor that contributed to a fatal incident. That's professional.
I believe I couldn't support a guy that is consistently high "except when he's teaching" (is an oft-repeated phrase).
Perhaps another person couldn't support a guy because he drinks and smokes, and the S&TA is a hardline Christian. Or perhaps the instructor is a hardline Christian and the S&TA is anti-Christian.
So many variables, and pay/no pay is going to resolve personal differences. I don't see the S&TA needing to be involved.

IMO, the "weeding" system of business will (for the most part) keep out the poor instructors and support good instructors.
I'm in favor of a mentorship for new AFFI's , it's how our DZ manages the program, and it's good practice. Regardless of whether it's "official" or not.

And for all the blather about it, I'm still waiting to see stats on an increase (or decrease) in student incidents based on numbers during the "old" program vs the "new" program.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 7, 2009, 3:15 PM
Post #241 of 447 (1033 views)
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Re: [DSE] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
IMO, the "weeding" system of business will (for the most part) keep out the poor instructors and support good instructors.

That doesn't have anything to do with weed, right?

Seriously, the USPA cannot keep track of instructor performance until they put some sort of operational criteria down in writing. Even then, it would have to involve some sort of concrete actions or event that would trigger a review by a multi-person panel.

For example, a student cypres fire, student fatality, instructor cypres fire (on a student jump), etc. An S&TA would be the one to request an investigation, and then the panel would review the facts as submitted by the S&TA, the instructor in question, and any other instructors/video involved in the jump.

You can't put the responsibility on one person (S&TA) who is directly involved with the DZ, and may have personal ties to the instructor or the DZ. It just wouldn't allow for an impartial conclusion.

As far as the written standards go, you have to have a 'rule of law' to refer to. You can't take action against an instructor because an S&TA thinks the guy is an asshole, and doesn't like how he works with students.

The job of regulating who is, or is not, an asshole lies with the DZO or chief instructor. There's a difference between training a student within the minimum standards of the USPA, and just being a shithead. The USPA standards are the business of the USPA, the shithead factor is the business of the guy signing the paychecks.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)
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Dec 7, 2009, 3:50 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
IMO, the "weeding" system of business will (for the most part) keep out the poor instructors and support good instructors.

That doesn't have anything to do with weed, right?

Laugh Good one, hadn't looked at it that way.
Here's a prime example from another industry;
Guy comes in to work on a film. Has DGA creds, has FullSail creds, has a list of awards.
He lasted two days. No one liked him, he shouted and bitched, was aggressive and beyond narcissistic.
He'll never get work with any of our team again.

AFF (and tandem) instructors are much the same. I have a video of an instructor telling his balky AFF student "C'mon, get out of the plane. Fucking go. Get out of the fucking airplane. Now!" He proceeds to try to push the student out of the plane.
That guy will never work on a major DZ again either, even though he's reputed to be a very good instructor.
or the TI that forced his student out of the plane, she blew chunks on him at exit, and screamed until she fainted under canopy. That guy likely won't get a job anywhere that looks into backgrounds.
Then there is the guy that played a contributing role in a fatality who was handed a rating a few weeks later. He'll never work as an instructor on any aware DZ either.

The art of business tends to weed out/thin out the instructors that have issues. IMO, leave the S&TA to do his/her job of dealing with safety issues, not personal or personnel issues.


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Dec 7, 2009, 11:34 PM
Post #243 of 447 (964 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Back to the AFF JM rating. I am still waiting to hear the downside of it.
I do like the panel idea though, maybe a panel should teach the AFF course. or at least two I/E's and evaluator's. But then of course we would be taking money away from some full time course I/E's.
round and round we go.


Skymonkey2  (D 20527)

Dec 8, 2009, 4:58 AM
Post #244 of 447 (949 views)
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Re: [danielcroft] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I just don't agree. I don't think that a DZ has the best interests of the student in mind and even if they did, when the coach/AFF rated person goes to another DZ that whole system breaks down.

I think that the USPA *should* be acting in this capacity and coming up with a method that will help weed out the people who really shouldn't be teaching.
___________________________________________________________

I totally agree with this, but USPA as a non-profit organization has allowed to become about the money, as the dz don't have the best interest in the students nor does USPA, allowing the rating programs to be water downed to a point were the students safety and the instructors safety are at risk. In the short 16 years I have been doing this I have not seen so many people become AFF I's, at such a low experience level. Again I will refer back to 2 weeks ago, 380 jumps over at least 4 years, failed the AFF Course in December of last year and then again in Nov, the day she failed she drove 3 hours to another Examiner and in a day and a half became an AFF I. It is all about the money, those that have a high grad rate get the customers. All I hear when talking to friends around the country is what is going on? How can so and so be an AFF I. What is USPA doing? Here on this forum you all have made some really points about the coach program, on of the BOD watches this thread, and makes comments, but still nothing is being done at the meetings, the BOD even sent me a message and said this is why I am not on the S&TA Committee anymore, so my question is why quit keep fighting, I hope for the sake of safety and education that your points make it to the BOD's and you guys make a difference.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 8, 2009, 5:52 AM
Post #245 of 447 (944 views)
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Re: [Para5-0] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I do like the panel idea though, maybe a panel should teach the AFF course.

For the record, I don't really think the panel idea is neccessary, I think that DZOs and chief instrucotrs will weed out the losers on their own. The concept of written regs and a panel to enforce them was just an example of what it would take to regulate AFF Is post-certification.

As far as a 'panel', or at least a second opinion at the certification course itself, that's not a bad idea. It ensures that personality conflicts, or personal relationships, wouldn't have an un-checked effect on who does, or does not, get a rating.

Quote:
Back to the AFF JM rating. I am still waiting to hear the downside of it.

The downside is this - it makes it harder to earn an AFF I rating, and takes away opportunity from new rating holders because they won't be able to do single instructor dives at first.

I think that the JM rating is a great idea, and it would absolutely increase the quality of the instructional community. In reality though, the new AFF course was implemented because the previous course was deemed 'too hard'. The USPA feared that if they didn't make it easier, not enough jumpers would even try to get the rating, and eventually we would run out of instructors. With that in mind, I cannot see the USPA taking a step that will be seen as an additional obstacle to the AFF I rating.

Yeah, it would be smart, but the same bitching the got the AFF course turned down a few notches would either prevent it from happening, or make it short lived if it ever happened.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Dec 8, 2009, 7:15 AM
Post #246 of 447 (939 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reality though, the new AFF course was implemented because the previous course was deemed 'too hard'.
I've heard this said before (I obviously don't know for myself), based on all the comments, wouldn't the pass rates and people passing without the minimum requirements suggest that the current course is too easy?

The other question that springs to mind is why would an I/E pass any of these people? If there's no judgment involved, why do we need the I/Es? I'm sure we do need them but the passing of objective criteria only implies that there's no need for an extra experienced person to actually do the evaluation, anyone could do it who understood the objective criteria.

Another idea would be to video the eval jumps and have them reviewed/approved by a completely separate I/E (or whoever). If the prospective AFF/I had been a coach/JM for x amount of time then you'd have some kind of filter right there.

Dumb ideas? I'm full of them... Wink


Skymonkey2  (D 20527)

Dec 8, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Re: [danielcroft] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

You bring up another great point, BACK IN THE DAY, ( I hate that) you had to be a JM for a year before you were allowed to attended a ICC (Instructor Certification Course), so you had to get some experience, but now you can go from coach in weekend to an Instructor that next Monday. This another thing I hear in the field, USPA needs to require some experience before moving on, I don't know the magic number but at least 6 months with x amount of training jumps with students to include x amount of FJC training. You guys are hitting the nail on the head, keep it up.........

Example: this summer two skydivers with less then 300 jumps, and only about two years in the sport when to a 2 day coach course and then the following Monday started a AFF I course (both did not meet the minimum requirements to be an AFF I.) by Thursday they had graduated the course. they did not even have there pre-reqs done for the AFF Course, the I/E signed them off.


(This post was edited by Skymonkey2 on Dec 8, 2009, 10:34 AM)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)
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Dec 8, 2009, 1:40 PM
Post #248 of 447 (883 views)
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Re: [Skymonkey2] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Example: this summer two skydivers with less then 300 jumps, and only about two years in the sport when to a 2 day coach course and then the following Monday started a AFF I course (both did not meet the minimum requirements to be an AFF I.) by Thursday they had graduated the course. they did not even have there pre-reqs done for the AFF Course, the I/E signed them off.

If two people received an AFFI rating yet didn't meet the course requirements (6 hours, etc) then how could the USPA have accepted and awarded the rating? There has to be more to the story than what you're suggesting.


KathleenL  (C 37482)

Dec 8, 2009, 5:34 PM
Post #249 of 447 (855 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

OK so I have been reading this thread and just had to insert my 2 cents. I believe that the path to AFFI should have a mandatory time in rate as a coach and a mandatory minimum requirement of coach jumps.
If you think about it teaching skydiving is adult skills based education. You should be addressing all the modalities of learning when you are teaching students. If you fail to teach the students correctly they will end up hurting themselves, hurting someone else, or worse. And doing coach jumps helps prepare you for AFFI. There can be no arguement to that.

I also think that the coach rating should be a stringent course with multiple check dives. I was lucky and got an awesome course director who took time to teach how to teach and cared about the outcome.

Think about this, the difference between an AFFI and me a coach is ONE JUMP. Yep one jump. Once that student is signed off of AFF they should be going to a coach. If they had crappy AFFI's (no offense to any poster here) then when I get them they are crappy students to deal with in the air. Some one posted earlier that the coach course should be harder as coaches are teaching more skills than AFFI or something to that effect.

There should be more oversite all around but being able to figure out how to do it is going to be a hard job.


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Dec 8, 2009, 10:40 PM
Post #250 of 447 (829 views)
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Re: [KathleenL] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope that everyone that has read this whole thread as painful as that might be, will consider voicing their opinion about: the coach rating requirements, the time in rating (Coach) prior to AFF CC., bringing back the AFFJM rating. A time in sport requirement for AFF CC.
All of these will help the safety of students and create dedicated rounded instructors.
As far as statistics, you will not get them because the lost students, cyprus fires, two out, and any other jump where the instructor may be leaving himself open to discussion are either not on video, not reported, or the video is lost. Accurate data will never be available.


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