Forums: Skydiving: Instructors:
AFF Instructor lost student for four hours

 


cb2  (Student)

Nov 21, 2004, 4:38 PM
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AFF Instructor lost student for four hours Can't Post

I am just about to graduate from my training and have not posted because I am a student but this concerns me.
Matt a new AFFInstructor lost his student for four hours on what was claimed to be a bad spotting. The student landed a mile from the airport and was lost up to the time a local brought him back. The instructor said he had a partial malfunction that did not allow him to stay with the student after he opened high due to the bad spotting. His video did not indicate any malfunction as I know it.
Are you supposed to land with your student? If you have a bad spotting do you not have the student open high first? How can this happen?

CB


voodew1  (D 25988)

Nov 21, 2004, 4:59 PM
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Are you supposed to land with your student?
It is very hard to land with your student as the student will(should) be pulling higher than the instructor, the student will have a bigger canopy and will desend slower than the instructor so it is up to the student to follow the instructors commands on the radio or to just follow the instructor (within reason).

In reply to:
If you have a bad spotting do you not have the student open high first?

The instructor should check the spot first and should either pull for the student or give the pull signal high if a spotting error has occurred.

As a student you should know that we as instructors are doing everything within our powers to keep you safe and questions like this might need to go to the DZO or cheif instructor before bring them out in a public forum.

I don't mean this reply as a slam towards you just trying to inform you with a little better course of action, if that doesn't work than try here.

Good luck with your skydiving and be safe
Jason
AFFI


stratostar  (Student)

Nov 21, 2004, 6:30 PM
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

Seen students get lost all day like 4 to 6 hrs. in the surgercane in hawaii, they walk in circles and can't find their way out.

.


cb2  (Student)

Nov 22, 2004, 8:07 AM
Post #4 of 16 (2113 views)
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Re: [voodew1] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for your reply.
I do not believe that looking for some answer is a slam. The owner was there and I believe he is the chief instructor.

To clear up my concern and question. The instructor did not tell the student to open higher on the video. The instructor was above the student and went back to the airport.

If the instructor was above the student would you follow me down?

I have concerns about this and to ask at the airport is to be told it is normal. I work on computers and have to resolve the problem in a logical form.

Thank you.

CB2


koz2000  (D License)

Nov 22, 2004, 10:29 AM
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

From the post it sounds like the student was a Cat D or higher since he had one instructor. Was he not taught to fly to the DZ? What about calling back to the dz on his radio (assuming he had one) when he landed off? A mile off isn't that far (lenght of a runway). I've had a Cat A student have a radio malfunction and make it back to the airport.

A Cat C or higher student is allowed to continue a stable skydive w/ no instructor however a student is also supposed to pull if he sees the instructor pull.

I'm not sure you've got all the info about the dive right. If the instructor had pulled due to the bad spot the student should have pulled immediately.
I'm also confused about the partial malfunction; was it before he pulled and he pulled becuse he had an unsafe condition on his rig OR did he pull and then had a partial malfunction or issues with his opening. Your second post said the instructor was above the student, but your first post sounds like the instructor went low under canopy due to the malfunction.

An instructor isn't going to say "F$#% the student, I'll have a nice skydive and open high so I'll make it back ok." His first job is going to be keeping the student safe until hard deck. However even the best AFF instructors / evaluators/ course directors can have a bad jump, we're all human.

Like one of the above post said, I'd first talk to the DZO/Chief Instructor if you have concerns. If his answer doesn't satisfy you and you think he runs an unsafe operation, go to another dz.

Dave
AFF-I


Douva  (D 22772)

Nov 22, 2004, 11:14 AM
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Thank you for your reply.
I do not believe that looking for some answer is a slam. The owner was there and I believe he is the chief instructor.

To clear up my concern and question. The instructor did not tell the student to open higher on the video. The instructor was above the student and went back to the airport.

If the instructor was above the student would you follow me down?

I have concerns about this and to ask at the airport is to be told it is normal. I work on computers and have to resolve the problem in a logical form.

Thank you.

CB2

It doesn't seem like you have all the details. Why was the instructor open higher than the student? The only time an instructor should be open above a student (outside of a premature or other gear malfunction) is if the student doesn't pull and the instructor can't reach him by 2,000.' This shouldn't happen. Did the student pull low, and did this contribute to him or her landing off? What did the instructor say was his malfunction? If a spot is very long or very short, giving an instructor reason to believe his student may not make it back to the drop zone, the instructor should land in a suitable alternate landing area where the student will be able to follow him. As someone else has already said, a mile is not a very far off landing. Did the student not have the drop zone in sight before he or she landed? Did the student land somewhere like a heavily wooded area that was very disorienting? Did the instructor see the student land? If not, why did he say he was unable to see the landing? Basically, the story you are conveying doesn't make much sense without added details.


cb2  (Student)

Nov 23, 2004, 5:02 AM
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Re: [Douva] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I do not have all the details. If I did I would not have questions would I.

The other student landed a couple miles away and no one found him for four hours. I do not want to be lost for hours and no one find me.

The instructor opened high and did not follow the student saying he had a partial malfunction and could not even that his own video did not show any problem. My confidence in the instructor is very low and I have concerns about having to jump with him. If you ask the owner he said, " it happens, don't worry". That response is not adequate for my thinking and trust.

I am just a student with concerns. Why am I being attacked for asking instructors for help? I am a lady and will not attack any one but I have questions that are not answered to my satisfaction.

To those trying to help thank you.

CB2


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Nov 23, 2004, 5:46 AM
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

This is another reason why we use three two-way radios at our dropzone until the student is "cleared from radio." We have one on the student, one on one of the in-air instructors, and one manned by another instructor in the landing area. You see, there are instances where you as a student might be able to make it back to the DZ when we, as your instructor under a much smaller main might not be able to. Having a guy on the ground in the landing area negates the chances of you not knowing where to fly if you forget all your ground training (which happens sometimes due to being overwhelmed on first jumps). If the guy on the ground thinks you can make it back, he will guide you to the landing area; if he doesn't because he thinks you are going to land off, then he will simply tell the JM (who landed off) to guide you to the place where he landed.

No matter how much time we spend with students in the classroom, there will still be times when they either: don't respond to radio commands; forget everything they were taught and aim for the only patch of woods within three miles; or simply have no control over the fact that they can't land on due to a faulty spot or their excessive delaying in the door. Shit happens, pure and simple, so we best prepare ourselves for those possibilities by having double redundancy with radios, and further redundance with orange paddles.

Chuck
AFFI (among other things)


shunkka  (C 35678)

Nov 23, 2004, 5:47 AM
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

come on
what level was the student?
u put this in a public forum and make "bad advertising" here
if u want 2 put a simple question than dont give names
u ask for help... actualy what u ask?
if are rules for this kind of "incident'?


scooterskydives  (D 19729)

Nov 23, 2004, 10:18 AM
Post #10 of 16 (1869 views)
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

I really don't think that just because he is a "new" instructor he should have a finger pointed at him. There can be sometimes that even an old AFF I with three radios, a good spot and opening up at the correct altitude you can have a student land off the drop zone. Thats why us as first jump instructors take the time to instruct our students what to do if they have a off drop zone landing. We can tell students to fly back towards the DZ after they open, but what if they have line twist and can't face in the right direction, or the uppers picked up and they can't make it. Things for us to keep in mind is that if we teach in a place that does have very tall corn or sugar canes remember to tell them how to find there way out, and tell them try not to take rides from someone other than a person from the DZ because we need to know someone didn't run off with you, and make sure they have the DZ number on the student helmets from a bumper sticker.


Douva  (D 22772)

Nov 23, 2004, 10:42 AM
Post #11 of 16 (1861 views)
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
No, I do not have all the details. If I did I would not have questions would I.

The other student landed a couple miles away and no one found him for four hours. I do not want to be lost for hours and no one find me.

The instructor opened high and did not follow the student saying he had a partial malfunction and could not even that his own video did not show any problem. My confidence in the instructor is very low and I have concerns about having to jump with him. If you ask the owner he said, " it happens, don't worry". That response is not adequate for my thinking and trust.

I am just a student with concerns. Why am I being attacked for asking instructors for help? I am a lady and will not attack any one but I have questions that are not answered to my satisfaction.

To those trying to help thank you.

CB2

Nobody is attacking you; we're simply questioning you. We can't give you any advice without the full story. Your story, as it stands, doesn't make any sense. Why are you so concerned about this instructor, anyway? You're not still on AFF, with twenty jumps, are you? If you're not going to be doing instructional jumps with this instructor, I suggest you leave the worrying to the DZ management and people with more experience. It's okay to be concerned for the safety of others, but you obviously don't have a complete grasp of what happened because you can't even describe it in enough detail for the rest of us to understand. Video may or may not show a malfunction, depending on what the malfunction is (something else we need to know before reaching a conclusion). If you really want to know more, ask the instructor why he opened higher than the student and what his malfunction was. Then ask the student why he/she couldn't make it back, where he/she landed, and if he/she had sight of the drop zone before landing. If he/she landed within a mile of the drop zone, as you stated in your original post, and wasn't injured, stuck in a tree, or lost in a heavily wooded area, he/she should have made it back to the drop zone on foot, without any real problem. What level AFF jump was this? You should find out whether or not the student had a radio and whether or not it was utilized after he/she landed. Your question is pretty futile without more information.

Finally, as the old bumper sticker says, "#&@$ happens." The instructor may have simply messed up. I've certainly done it. It doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad instructor.


AndyMan  (D 25698)

Nov 23, 2004, 1:11 PM
Post #12 of 16 (1832 views)
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

I know absolutely nothing about the incident you've mentioned, so I can offer little commentary. I do have one comment, though.

In reply to:
The other student landed a couple miles away and no one found him for four hours. I do not want to be lost for hours and no one find me.

As much as instructors try their best to teach you as much as they can, one undeniable fact always remains. Once you're jumping your own parachute, you are responsible for your own actions under canopy.

Your profile says you've got 20 jumps and are still a student. After doing 20 jumps you should be more than capable of two things.

a: From the ground, you should be able to look up into the sky and predict where the plane will be (roughly) when it comes time to exit.

b: Once your parachute has opened, using the knowledge you picked up doing (a:), look at the ground and identify where the landing zone is. You should be able to find the dropzone and fly your canopy back, and think about setting up your pattern for landing.

If a student flies off on a tangent, the only person responsible is the student who wasn't able to spot a runway from 3000 feet. Dropzones are generally very easy to spot.

I certainly do have some curiosities about what exactly happened here, but its key to remember that you are the only person who's responsible for your safety.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you do not hear instructions under radio, ensure that you do not get lost. Look down, look around, find your bearings, and fly back to the dropzone.

_Am


yoink

Nov 24, 2004, 2:58 AM
Post #13 of 16 (1762 views)
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

Was the student seen to be in control of their parachute? I ask because I've seen a S/L student get lost for 4 hours after a complete brain lock - no imputs at all... just flew off into the distance and haze.

They landed safely a couple of miles away and then just sat in a field for hours and cried.


3ringheathen  (D 18302)

Nov 24, 2004, 1:00 PM
Post #14 of 16 (1687 views)
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
No, I do not have all the details. If I did I would not have questions would I.

You could still have questions, even with all, or most of the details. You don't have enough experience to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

That's ok.
The problem, as I see it, is that you've come to this forum asking us to help you put the puzzle together, but you didn't bring very many pieces of the puzzle with you.
That makes it pretty tough to help you.


Quote:
The other student landed a couple miles away and no one found him for four hours. I do not want to be lost for hours and no one find me.

While it's possible that the instructor made mistakes that contributed to this, it's also possible that this can fairly be attributed to bad luck or other factors outside of the instructors control.

Regardless, what can you do to avoid similar problems? If you're convinced that the quality of instruction is poor, go somewhere else or quit altogether. Ultimately, responsibility for your well being rests on your shoulders.

However, AFAIK, your dz has a good track record, so that's probably not necessary or appropriate.

Sooner or later, you will land out if you jump long enough. So take a cell phone with you on your jumps. If you know you are going to land out, 1st, choose a big open area to land in, then figure out which direction the main road, a house, or building is. After landing, walk towards one of them.

Study the dz and surrounding area on the ride to altitude. What are the easily recognizable landmarks? What are the best alternate landing areas? What are the worst?
In other words, be prepared.

Quote:
The instructor opened high and did not follow the student saying he had a partial malfunction and could not even that his own video did not show any problem.

Hmmm...the instructor opened higher than they normally do, or higher than the student? There's a big difference.

At any rate, it is possible to have a partial malfunction that isn't obvious on video. Particularly to an inexperienced viewer.
A tension knot, torn top skin, stuck toggle and broken lines come to mind off the top of my head.

Quote:
My confidence in the instructor is very low and I have concerns about having to jump with him. If you ask the owner he said, " it happens, don't worry". That response is not adequate for my thinking and trust.


FWIW Some of the best instructors are those that have made serious mistakes in the past. It causes them to be more dilligent.
I'd like to stress that it's still not clear that they did anything wrong.

Quote:
I am just a student with concerns. Why am I being attacked for asking instructors for help?

I don't think anyone really meant to attack you.
However, you did come here with very little useful information for us, and you seemed to have already made up your mind that the instructor was incompetant.

Given the lack of details and your lack of experience, that's not fair to us or to the instructor.
-Josh


Premier slotperfect  (D 13014)

Nov 24, 2004, 1:10 PM
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Re: [3ringheathen] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

Well said, Josh. Thanks for the contribution.


3ringheathen  (D 18302)

Nov 24, 2004, 1:19 PM
Post #16 of 16 (1683 views)
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Re: [cb2] AFF Instructor lost student for four hours [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
To clear up my concern and question. The instructor did not tell the student to open higher on the video. The instructor was above the student and went back to the airport.

A bad spot isn't always apparent prior to opening.
For example let's say the ideal spot has been "climb out over the big red barn to the north" all day long.
If the winds shift between loads, you might climb out over the big red barn and think it's a perfect spot. Until you open and realize that you are downwind, not upwind, or whatever.

Also, the instructor might not have thought there was any reason for the student to land out. Maybe the student brainlocked. An instructor can't do a damn thing about that.
I've seen many jumpers, both students and licensed skydivers that opened close enough to safely land in the right field only to turn and fly off in some other direction. Go figure.

Quote:
If the instructor was above the student would you follow me down?

Ideally, yes.
But not if I was having gear troubles of my own.
Not if I didn't think I could safely land where they were heading. At my dz, there are cornfields and tree farms that a student could probably land in ok, but that would be really dangerous for me on my tiny canopy. I can't help them if I'm hurt.

-Josh



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