There is an aspect to this argument that either I have been blind to or it has not been fully discussed.
I am sure most of us can agree that it would be preferred if no instructional rating was created for wingsuits. Most of us would like to continue to operate as un-regulated faction of the general skydiving "public".
I am one who on a personal level is against a wingsuit instructor rating. However if an instructional rating is needed to pacify those who do not believe we as discipline can effectively govern ourselves, then I guess that is what is needed.
I would rather take some regulation over slow elimination at the hands of those who do not fully understand the nature of the equipment, dive flow, safety procedures, and interaction with dropzone support personnel.
I tend to draw a number of similarities between this situation and what I assume was the case when the USPA was created.
The FAA could've built large barriers to entry for the sport. But, through USPA's actions we are largely governed by those who enjoy the sport we do.
For wingsuiters, why not take control of this and prove to the largely uninformed general skydiving public that we are competent to govern ourselves and do not need any further encroachment by those who do not understand wingusuiting.
Yes, there will always be incidents. Idiots will still find their way onto a plane while wearing a wingsuit. But instead of the wingsuit community collectively shrugging their shoulders, we can point to action when the rest of the skydiving community inevitably wants answers.
Another thing most people are not aware of is that most of the people that go before our BOD in this regard ( better instruction), one way or another, ( in the usa) are pretty much at best mediocre pilots themselves.
I absolutely guarantee they have not pushed the envelope in terms what is a capable. In proximity to earth , aircraft or canopy.
Not a one of them has flown a rock solid slot on any boring static flock formation. At least not one I've been on with them.
They have not flight tested a factory new design to see if it is even fly able or survivable. If you were going to address my governing body I would like to see this on the resume.
Those that CAN = DO, those that Can't = Teach
If you tell me you've got an incredible wingsuit SYLLABUS great. Your skills better back that up.
I absolutely guarantee they have not pushed the envelope in terms what is a capable. In proximity to earth , aircraft or canopy.
Of coruse not. How many TIs out there have test jumped new tandem gear, or jumped with a military rescue dog on their harness, or a 200 lb rucksack full of explosives? Does that mean their not good TIs, or not good at the job they do, taking whuffos out for a skydive?
None of the things you mentioned have any bearing on the ability of a person to teach a class and supervise a first flight. To the contrary. the ability to do any of those things you mentioned doesn't immediately qualify the person to be any good at teaching anything.
If a wingsuit pilot is good enough to maintain proximity while chasing a student (with proximity being a safe distance that provides a good video), and the ability to guarantee that they can be clear at pull time, then their piloting skills are good enough for the job at hand. The rest is groudn based teaching, and their ability to effectively comminicate with the students.
I consider myself to be a good camera flyer, and would be willing to hop on any competition jump at nationals for RW or freefly, and know that I could bring back judge-able footage. I can't turn points as fast as Arispeed or Aresenal, but I don't have to. Those guys are much better at that job than I am, but that's not the job I'm claiming I can do.
You don't have to be able to set the world on fire to conduct a first flight course, you just have to be able to conduct the course. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you are complaining that there are not enough instructors in your area has no bearing on mentors or full sail USPA signed off instructors.
You are normally better at this.
My point about the recent experience at my DZ is just an example. What other areas may have a shortage of instructors? How many potential students are there out there who would be willing to jump a wingsuit if a formal class was more available to them?
I could ditto that idea to canopy control classes. Most of the time, when a canopy control class is offered at a DZ, it tends to fill up. However, let's say that class was never offered at that DZ, how many of those students would have independently sought out, and traveled to another canopy control class elsewhere? Maybe some, but I would guess not that many.
Take me for example, I'm a weekend only jumper at this point, and business and family make it so that staying close to home is way easier for me than traveling. There's a Skyvan that shows up at another local DZs once a summer, I always get out there for a couple days of tailgate jumps. I would never travel anywhere (even 2.5 hrs to a another DZ that hosts the Skyvan) to jump a tailgate, but when one is within an hour from me, I'm all over it. Get the point?
Expand the instructor base, and make wingsuiting more available (and appealing) to more people. It's a win/win.
As far as the USPA is concerned, what's the problem? The whole idea of a wingsuit instructor rating was brought forward by an existing wingsuit instructor, and this thread is a case in point that the USPA is looking for input as to how to do this right. There's no reason that the USPA rating can't be just as good as the current factory ratings, with the expection being that they'll be more available to more people, which is an exception for the better.
With different manufacturers, and none of them being in the rating 'business', there's going to be a limit to how many instructors there will be, and just how 'standardized' the training is going to be. Take a hint from the tandem manufacturers, and let the governing bodies handle ratings and such, and let the manufacturers simply manufacture.
You don't have to be able to set the world on fire to conduct a first flight course, you just have to be able to conduct the course. Nothing more, nothing less. Well Hero ! You are just proving my point Welcome to a 9 year old arguement.
I have conducted the course ,as you say, perfectly many times over, many hundred times over. Yet under scrutiny from a group of johny come latelys that have some how revolutionized the process ( they claim) ( I can't refute they have offered no examples of their new and improved process).
Yet I claim They are mediocre in their basic skills.
I hear you about more instructors increases the availability of instruction and therefore the opportunity for a skydiver to learn to wingsuit. However have you considered.... First by mandating that only "official" instructors may instruct-you just decreased the number of skydivers that can assist other skydivers in learning to WS by excluding current WS skydivers that have been safely mentoring all along.
Another biggie that I believe most everyone is missing on this point..... Manufacturer insrtuctors have at their disposal numerous wingsuits in all different sizes for new WS skydivers from the manufacturer. No out of pocket cost to them. Currently the WS mentors out there seem to hang onto their old WS and end up offering those suits for other skydivers to learn on. Limited to skydivers that will fit in their old suit, but opens opportunties for others.
Now take a skydiver who goes thru this proposed USPA instructor rating. Is he going to buy a bunch of wingsuits out of pocket to outfit his WS students???? How would this work? Who could afford that!? Do you really think the manufacturers are going to supply every new USPA WS instructor with a pile of WS?
So Dave are you saying there are that many pilots out there not going for a manufacturer rating and that a USPA rating will get them to teach? I just don't see how a USPA rating will bring more coaches! In any case chances are people will need to travel for the ratings regardless
So you want a mediocre, at best wingsuit pilot, representing your best interest in regards to wingsuiting to the BOD or as your WS instructor?
Who said anything about mediocre? What I said was that some of the skills you listed have no bearing on a first flight.
Here's an example - there's a local roadrace course near me, and they hold driving schools several times per year. Not a single one of the instructors has won the Indy 500, does that mean that I, as a newbie racer, have nothign to learn from them because they are not the best driver on the planet?
How about we make the same comparison within skydiving? How many AFFIs have gold medals in RW, or freefly, or really any discipline? I would guess not that many, does that mean that they're not qualified to teach the FJC, or do any of the AFF/coach jumps required for an A license?
I'm not suggesting that you find a mediocre pilot, I'm suggesting that you find one who is qualifed to teach a first filight course, and that being qualifed for that is a different thing than being qualifed for proximity flight, testing new suits, or XRW, etc.
The counter argument seems to be that the current system is fine, and that it's gong to be put to waste if a new system is implemented. Like mentioned earlier, a current wingsuit instructor is the one who brought this before the USPA, and is the one pushing to get this through. Who's to say that it won't be a carbon copy of the manufacturer's programs? Who's to say that a current manufacturer's rating won't qualify you for an automatic USPA rating?
While you sit there and point fingers at the mistakes everyone else is making, did you ever consider that you might be making a mistake insisting that the USPA, who has been in the business of training skydivers (and instructors) for much, much, longer than you have been instructing wingsuiters (and longer than you have been jumping, and probably longer than you have been alive) would have nothing to add in the way of refining or improving on the current methodology. The whole point of this thread was to ask for the input of the currently rated instructors, you don't think that's a good sign, and maybe worth waiting to see what they come up with?
I like the new bolder path some want us to go. The same path littered with the bodies of our friends that we've traveled before.
Let the USPA skip over it. Add a few more fatalities. FAA may someday require TSO and ratings to jump them. A few FAA guys I've talked to have wanted that for some time....they feel wingsuits already possess a risk to flight ops.
I would personally prefer a training syllabus created for all to follow. Not one based on your choice of friends, wingsuit brand, DZ, last night's party, charitable organization affiliation, mad skillz, borrowed big suits...ad naseum.
You have noticed some swoop ponds disappearing recently I'm sure.
Come on Dave you and I both know, me without being there, that those track instructors are outstanding in every apex of that track..... not mediocre.
You also know not every skydiving school out there is happy with some of the changes the USPA has made to the allowable methods of instruction over the years. Smaller dropzones complained they lost some of the tools available to them.
The purveyors of this WSI don't want a carbon copy of existing practices. The ultimate agenda will be a multi- level , multi jump course similar to AFF, whether its been revealed yet not sure.
(This post was edited by VectorBoy on Jun 12, 2012, 9:33 AM)
I'm also totally for outstanding fully comprehensive first flight course materials that are complete, easy to follow and available to all instructors and WS applicants...... put it in the SIM.
If you have developed something new, revolutionary in terms of first flight safety by all means share it NOW! Otherwise the whole " path littered with bodies" argument does not fly. I've lost life long friends to skydiving. It hurts deep. But we get up back in it. In my case because I hate golf and bowling and am not rich enough to race cars.
Im not affiliated with anything in wingsuiting. I pay to play just like most everybody else. My position is based on personal experience. Jari and Kim G performed my training ( ground) I went on to give back to others. Despite not being a full time skydiver or having a bird room full of suits it worked out very well. Nobody's head exploded.
Yes I'm aware of the swoop pond going extinct. We also just recently watched someone getting HP canopy training from one of the very best canopy instructors pull a low turn and femur right in front of the instructor who was powerless to save the student once the low turn was initiated.
That is just like it is in wingsuiting. The individual is responsible 100% for the outcome. Seek thy knowledge well but it is up to you.
in terms of first flight safety by all means share it NOW! Otherwise the whole " path littered with bodies" argument does not fly.
Similar to Tandem manuals, AFF instructor manuals and other materials related to safety, just reading a manual doesn't insure the instructor is actually a good body pilot as well.
Related to first flights there are quite a few things an instructor can and should be able to do related to showing body positions, directions, as well as assisting in altitude awareness, pull reminders and more. All things that I've seen and had to do during FFCs in practice.
Making sure people instructing are capable of performing such tasks according to a certain standard both related to what they teach in theory as well as what they do in terms of guidance in the air is a good thing.
There will always be people opposed to better training and good standards. In the 9 years I've been flying wingsuits Ive seen people do good to great training and I've seen people train who should never be allowed near a student ever again. A good teaching system only works when you have a certain standard that people are forced to stick to.Being taught how to teach, knowing how to fly, with the possibility to have their licence being pulled if they don't stick to that standard.
Seeing the amount of incidents happening worldwide, and how these rumblings have caused several organizations to create weird and sometimes insane rules and regulations themselves and simply forcing those down on the wingsuit jumpers, I think its a good thing that its being attempted by USPA to work with the people in the discipline in order to create these rules.
Everything you say is correct and should be taken literally in regards to tandem and AFF instructors. Not sub disciplines.
Next people will want me to have a horny Gorilla instructor. You know we just can't keep that thing flying for very long. I might forget my leg straps. And the young lady I have my legs locked on to with the low top might distract me enough that I might need a Gorilla instructor's reminder to pull.
However have you considered.... First by mandating that only "official" instructors may instruct-you just decreased the number of skydivers that can assist other skydivers in learning to WS by excluding current WS skydivers that have been safely mentoring all along.
BINGO! Give the man a cigar. Nothing replaces a qualified instructor/coach teaching you on any topic that is new to you. However, there exists instructions that I and a few others sat down and all agreed apon, that are now in the SIM on how to safely conduct a wingsuit jump. Unlike a decade ago, most skydivers seeking to learn to fly a wingsuit these days actually seek mfgr instructors and or other people flying wingsuits to learn how to do it. All current mfgr rated WS programs follow the same basic teaching methodology that I and a few others wrote when we created the Birdman Instructor prgram, whether they want to admit it or not. That same information has also made it way into the SIM for everyone to see and use. Creating a USPA WS rating(or even a mfgr rating) is not going to guarentee that said instructor is going to continue to teach to the standard they had to achieve to earn the rating, much like not all AFF instructors are all on equal ground when it comes to thier teaching ability once they have their rating.
We don't have a problem with what we are currently doing within WSing, we don't need a USPA WS instructor rating, it won't fix/cure any of the supposed issues that exist. The sky is not falling but the BS sure is and it's getting deep.