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AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor

 

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-ginger-  (C License)

Feb 18, 2005, 6:28 AM
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AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor Can't Post

Once I witnessed such a scene: on the plane minutes before reaching the drop point an AFF instructor said to his female student (who was visibly scared shitless since it was her firs jump without the instructor holding her). He said: “I’m tired. If you lose stability and start to spin I’m not going to try to stop you. Count only on your own self.”
If you could see that girl’s eyes. She looked as if it was death that waited for her outside the plain. She managed to land safely but after completing the training she never spoke to that instructor again. Do you think it’s OK if the instructor scares his students?


feuergnom  (D License)

Feb 18, 2005, 6:33 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

my explanation: sometimes you say drastic things to a student in an attempt to loosen them up/break the tension - sometimes it works and they laugh, sometimes it doesn't work and they never talk to you again

haven't and wouldn't do it like this though Unimpressed

edit to add:

i'm not an AFF-I, "just" a coach, so the students i get, have overcome their worst fears (if they had any at all). nonetheless they are tense sometimes and i have to work out a way to make them feel alright.

they way you said this instructor handled this specific situation – well i think he was way beyond any common sense for the situation given Crazy

either way - in instructing you have to getthe feel how you handle each student differently. what makes one laugh pisses the other off

hope that made my comment clearer


(This post was edited by feuergnom on Feb 18, 2005, 7:40 AM)


Premier Remster  (C License)

Feb 18, 2005, 6:40 AM
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Re: [feuergnom] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah... Breaking tension is one thing... But at that point it may have been not a great choice to use that kind of humour... Mental coaching techniques are not easy to master and their result will vary a lot depending on the subjects too...


Feeblemind  (D 28621)

Feb 18, 2005, 7:24 AM
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Re: [Remster] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

Well since I just finished AFF I feel I can toss my $.02 in here. I am a firefighter and used to very dangerous situations. While I was going through my AFF I also suffered exit anxiety (I always remeber what skybytch told me "Don't Fucking Die!!). I had a great instructor (Bodypilot1) and I was always asking the "What If" questions. The answers were always similar and never sarcastic (i.e. I would not be letting you progress if I did not have confidence in you, you have the skills, use them and most of all PULL, PULL AT THE CORRECT ALLTITUDE, PULL STABLE. If he ever would have made a comment similiar to the one you mentioned or a similiar one I would not have continued on the jump run.

There is a time and place for sarcasm and ice breaking comments. When a concerned student is boarding the aircraft for their 1st solo exit and is scared neither is acceptable in my meger opinion!!!


Stay Safe and Blue Skys,

Phil


pilotdave  (D License)

Feb 18, 2005, 7:42 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like the wrong time for the comment. My instructors were very clear before my first release dive in that once they let go, I'm on my own. They of course never said they wouldn't try to help, but they made it 100% clear that I was 100% responsible to save my own life. I was a very slow faller, so I think they were particularly afraid of going low on me. After level 4 I switched to only jumping with the slowest falling instructors.

Different situation though. Guess he forgot the Smile after saying it.

Dave


(This post was edited by pilotdave on Feb 18, 2005, 7:43 AM)


diablopilot  (D License)

Feb 18, 2005, 8:00 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
She looked as if it was death that waited for her outside the plain. She managed to land safely but after completing the training she never spoke to that instructor again.

I think that student, if that terrified, shouldn't have been on the plane to begin with. But I'm full of opinions.


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Feb 18, 2005, 8:55 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

One of my instructors is also one of the biggest smartasses around (hi, Tom!), and we joke all the time on the ground and even in the plane if the mood is right. But on one of my AFF jumps I was having a particular amount of door fear and was thinking about riding the plane back down (though I didn't say anything on the ride and apparently I appeared pretty calm).

When he was about to open the door, he asked the usual "Are you ready to skydive?" and I just stared. Took a deep breath. Took another, and he did exactly the right thing - just looked me in the eye and waited till I was ready and said "Yes!" There's a time and a place for sarcasm, but in my newbie opinion, when a student's having fear issues in the plane is not one of them.

Edit to add: the ability to read the needs of a wide variety of different students who may or may not express those needs verbally is a true gift and I am constantly impressed with how well the instructors I've met have done that.


(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Feb 18, 2005, 10:00 AM)


NickDG  (D 8904)

Feb 18, 2005, 9:07 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

You heard something in the A/C out of context and shouldn't make too much of it. This sounds like a later level AFF (5 or 6) and some students at that point need to be challenged.

Don't be too quick to judge instructors. I've always found experienced jumpers are incapable of remembering themselves as students. And many think they are experts after attending a single FJC as a student . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


Ron

Feb 18, 2005, 10:13 AM
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In reply to:
Once I witnessed such a scene: on the plane minutes before reaching the drop point an AFF instructor said to his female student (who was visibly scared shitless since it was her firs jump without the instructor holding her). He said: “I’m tired. If you lose stability and start to spin I’m not going to try to stop you. Count only on your own self.”
If you could see that girl’s eyes. She looked as if it was death that waited for her outside the plain. She managed to land safely but after completing the training she never spoke to that instructor again. Do you think it’s OK if the instructor scares his students?

Who's responsibility is it to pull? Who is responsible for making a safe skydive?

When you leave the plane it is all up to you. He was just saying that.

There comes a point when people need to have faith in themselves...If they can't do that, then the bowling lanes are over there.

This student may have been relying to much on an instructor.

You have to cut the cord at some point.


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Feb 18, 2005, 10:26 AM
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Re: [Ron] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, but that speech seems better made on the ground. 'Tough love' in the air seems more likely to increase the tension.

My exits were terrible in the beginning - eventually the body was arched but not the neck, looking right down at the ground and there I went. I liked Perris's approach to the first solo exit - grab the knees, get pushed out, and then recover after 5 seconds of tumbling. After that I lost most of my exit fears.


Ron

Feb 18, 2005, 10:37 AM
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Re: [kelpdiver] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I agree, but that speech seems better made on the ground. 'Tough love' in the air seems more likely to increase the tension.

It was on the ground.

In reply to:
I liked Perris's approach to the first solo exit - grab the knees, get pushed out, and then recover after 5 seconds of tumbling. After that I lost most of my exit fears.

Thats tough love in the air.....I really like that BTW.


Randy_H  (C License)

Feb 18, 2005, 11:25 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

On my AFF Level-4, which I failed 3 times, on the 4th attempt, i had a female AFF instructor. After she finished reading all of the comments from the other AFF instructors on my previous attempts, she told me that if I didn't get my legs right she was just going to let go of me!

Well, it worked, I passed level 4! In my opinion, she knew that I'd get a kick out of hearing an AFF instructor tell me something like that and it really helped me to "chill out". If this tactic will work or not really depends on the individual it is used on. She knew that I was a jokester and that I just needed to calm down a bit. And I still get a laugh out of remembering her telling me that!


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Feb 18, 2005, 3:05 PM
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Re: [Ron] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
It was on the ground.

Not for the original poster - "Once I witnessed such a scene: on the plane minutes before reaching the drop point an AFF instructor said to his female student (who was visibly scared shitless since it was her firs jump without the instructor holding her). "

It is a very fine balance you instructors have to take - identifying the normal paralyzing fear in students versus something that won't lead to a good jump.


gkc1436  (D 18232)

Feb 20, 2005, 5:25 AM
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Re: [Ron] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

well said....


darrenspooner  (C 102365)

Feb 21, 2005, 6:30 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

A tandem instructor I know hands gloves to his students and tell's them that they are "impact protection gloves". Another time he yelled across the packing room (that had a number of nervous tandem students in it) "hey ___ have you got last months fatality reports handy?" They don't seem to mind. But doing AFF is different. Instructors need to be mindful of that. Their student is entrusting them with their lives, and most of the time they don't know their instructors from a slice of bread. The instructor you mentioned needs slapping.

Quote:
Die with your boots on


Ron

Feb 21, 2005, 10:15 AM
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Re: [darrenspooner] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
But doing AFF is different. Instructors need to be mindful of that.

Are you an AFF "I"? Are you a SL "I"? Are you a tandem master?

How is AFF different than any other sport where a person gets instructon and has to perform those instructions?

In reply to:
Their student is entrusting them with their lives

And this is where the Students are fucked up. An AFF "I" is not there to be trusted to save your life. They are there to help a person learn to skydive....Instructors can't do it FOR the student and if the student is trusting the Instructor to save their life...The students should only do Tandems, or take up golf.

Students are responsible to SAVE THEMSELVES. It is taught in the FJC that you are to save yourself. You are taught how to save yourself, and you are told to save yourself if you are alone in freefall.

In reply to:
The instructor you mentioned needs slapping.

The Instructor needs a raise. I'd rather have an Instructor out there that tells people that they are responsable to save themselves and that the Instructor should not be trusted to save them anymore than an AAD will, than an Instructor that placates the student by telling them that they are there to "save them"....Cause that is BS.


obelixtim  (D 84)

Feb 21, 2005, 3:48 PM
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Re: [darrenspooner] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

 This Tandem Master is nothing more than a wanker if he says things like that.....just showing off in front of the whuffo's......

At my DZ he'd be down the road pretty damn fast.......

You can tell him he's a tosser from me if you like......for free.....

What a jerk!.....


diablopilot  (D License)

Feb 21, 2005, 11:14 PM
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Re: [darrenspooner] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
But doing AFF is different.

Not if you're doing tandems right.

Instructors that perpetuate the myth that a tandem is just an "amusment ride" do the sport and their students a disservice.


LukeOliver  (F 600)

Feb 22, 2005, 1:23 AM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

 
AFF - and tandem, for that matter - is a mental game. You have to find the buttons to push that generate the correct response in your students - keep them at the optimal arousal level.

Here, we've got one quote in the plane, without context of the briefing or history of the student.

Not enough to judge right or wrong in terms of intent. "Never spoke to..." implies a poor result (at least at a personal level). Maybe this approach worked before on a similar student at a similar level. Maybe instructors don't push the right button 100% of the time. Are we able to discuss it with the JM concerned?

Quote:
Do you think it’s OK if the instructor scares his students?

Yes.

Particularly the odd ones that think AFF is just a roller coaster. Death DOES wait outside the plane.

L.


Travman  (E License)

Feb 22, 2005, 2:20 PM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

Each student is different and the instructors should be able to tell what jokes they can get away with depending on the person.

The thing the instructors at my DZ like to say is "We hate to work, if we are up there and we have to start working, it means you are not doing what you're suppose to be doing"


AFFI  (D 25538)

Feb 22, 2005, 3:09 PM
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Re: [Ron] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

[I'd rather have an Instructor out there that tells people that they are responsable to save themselves and that the Instructor should not be trusted to save them anymore than an AAD will, than an Instructor that placates the student by telling them that they are there to "save them"....Cause that is BS.]

AMEN Brother!!!


AFFI  (D 25538)

Feb 22, 2005, 4:40 PM
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Re: [-ginger-] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

I only have around 500 instructional jumps, so I am still just getting started and haven’t learned as much about skydive instruction as some of my respected mentors have forgotten. So I will humbly give my opinion on this topic.

For me, amongst the most difficult things to learn as a USPA skydiving instructor is to READ each individual student. Each one learns differently and at varying rates, each student needs to be treated differently, in a variety of manners. Some need to be leaned on tough or treated with “kid gloves” and some soak it all up and are on their “A” game. Although rapport and trust is important, I believe that if an instructor instills in a student the idea that if anything goes wrong they will “save” them no matter what, that instructor is doing an injustice to that student. Even Superman has some weaknesses and we are supposed to be building competent self sufficient skydivers… As for the second hand report of how the situation took place on the plane, everyone sometimes make comments that may be a little off timed every now and then, no need to rush into a state of self righteous indignation and opinionated “arm chair quarterbacking” (the easiest thing to do as a USPA instructor).

Preparation before first release dive should be complete. By this time the student should be quite familiar with emergency procedures and gear. The student must EARN the release based on previous preformance and freefall preformance to the point of release.
1) Roll out of bed technique
2) AIR rule (Altitude Aware, In control and Relaxed)
3) 5 Second rule (if not AIR for 5 seconds, deploy main)
At this point MOST of my students know that they are responsible for their survival, and if they see my parachute coming out (which happens no lower that 2K) that means they have around 12 seconds left, better make something happen soon…
We are skydiving, no time to sugarcoat things because gravity inst going to give us any breaks.

A short story:
A middle aged woman full of fear, clingy, would not jump with any other instructor and having nothing but problems, especially at exit – terrified of the Cessna (we are an Otter DZ). Around jump 6 (through her 20 jump student progression) we had an opportunity to get Cessna load (a novelty at the DZ I work at). I told her, if she was not willing to make a Cessna jump, then she could just find another instructor. She reluctantly consented, cried almost all the way to altitude. Did I treat her with “kid gloves”? Hell no… She was well trained and prepared to take care of her business irregardless of how she was acting on the way to altitude, she was prepared. When the Cessna door opened, her face SCREAMED reluctance, her first SOLO exit - from the Cessna, tears streaming down her face she made her way out on the step with extreme trepidation. Hanging on to the strut, she let go, tumbled and corrected straight away (stability from an unstable body position) then proceeded to have her best in air performance to that point in her training. She never had another issue on exits nor in freefall – all she needed was confidence, she was fixed.


gkc1436  (D 18232)

Feb 23, 2005, 5:13 AM
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Re: [Ron] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

another reason i like ron......he knows!!

having had my aff cherry busted at a very busy ne dropzone in 96 (over 110 grads that year)

i have seen everything from students that needed unannounced exits due to exit anxity(push on set)

telling students that the little blond jm used to be a guy.......(spent more time thinking about that than the fear.)

watching the little blond jm question the manhood of the member of REDMAN (the rapper) crew after a girl jumped and he didnt want to go....(it got him to the door) and he had no problem with it.....

adding extra things to do on a aff6 with a few exceptional students.....making it an aff7.....
and during the debrief being slightly negative.....
surprising them with the anouncment that they graduated.....

every student is different...and different students need different things

aff is just as much a mind game as it is a teaching tool.
(how to teach someone to relax during an un-natural act)
LIKE the first time i tried beastiality...heh heh...my favorite one

and yes ...i am guilty of......
noticing a pale sweaty tandem.....and starting to discuss with the tandom master the fun of doing each others mothers.....no longer pale....but the look of disbelief was great.....(the student still jumps by the way)

have fun
save your life....
do it again....

thats why we all started

by the way.....i am a firm believer in the DEATH SPEECH.....

aff since 96


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Feb 24, 2005, 7:20 PM
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What an awesome thread. I read every word and learned a lot from this one. As a fairly new AFF-I, I have at times questioned how I have dealt with some students. Am I too easy, etc. I have found that women seem to be more clingly and are noticeably more exit-phobic. It is interesting to hear other's stories and experiences with different types of students.

I have had to pump many of my students up to believe in themselves and when you see them break through their fear and accomplish their TLOs and "get it" it is a great feeling. I liked reading what I think was Ed telling his student that he believed in his capabilities or he wouldn't have let him move forward and to remember his pull priorities.

Great thread.


bodypilot1  (D 16037)

Feb 24, 2005, 9:42 PM
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Re: [NoShitThereIWas] AFF instructor with a strange sense of humor [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I liked reading what I think was Ed telling his student that he believed in his capabilities or he wouldn't have let him move forward and to remember his pull priorities.

Wink

Positive reinforcement is always better then negative scare tactics .... Unsure


Keepin' it safe!
Ed


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