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Is the AFF rating too easy?

 

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Allballs  (D 69)

Oct 6, 2006, 12:53 PM
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Is the AFF rating too easy? Can't Post

Do you believe the Aff rating is too easy?
I do, Uspa probably is the easiest course to take!!
I know people that have failed the course in the UK and then come to the states because its almost a guaranteed. Pay your money get your rating!


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 6, 2006, 1:19 PM
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Re: [Allballs] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps it is that some evaluators are too easy. Tongue


AFFI  (D 25538)

Oct 6, 2006, 1:27 PM
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Re: [tdog] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it the evaluators or the system?


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 6, 2006, 1:47 PM
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Re: [AFFI] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Is it the evaluators or the system?

The course is only as good as the Course Director and the people evaluating in the Course.


In the last year I have witnessed two AFF courses... One was suburb. One was not... The one that was not... I evaluated some of the coach candidates from the same teacher. The candidates were getting automatic unsats left and right. I asked them, "do you understand this concept of XXX? On your evaluation sheet, it is an auto-unsat, and I just watched the three of you blow it... I let it slide with the first person thinking they could learn from their peers, the second I got worried, now on the third, I am wondering what is up? I can't pass you unless we get this nailed."

They said, "no, we were never taught that. What does it mean?"

So I taught them from the IRM, and had them do the eval again. This time they actually did a great job, both following the paperwork, and teaching...

It is the people who implement the system that make the difference. The best system on paper will do nothing if the people implementing it let stuff slide and skip over the meat and potatoes of the course.

I talked with the course director and explained the situation. He said, "they chose to skip a lot of the course and go straight into evals."

The rule that lets candidates skip over the ground course and just go into evals is fine and dandy, but the instructors teaching need to quiz their candidates to see if they know what they should know...

So, I still believe it is the people....


(This post was edited by tdog on Oct 6, 2006, 2:08 PM)


Premier Tonto  (D 515)
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Oct 6, 2006, 1:51 PM
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Re: [Allballs] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I did my AFF rating with Don Yahrling at Perris in 1992. I had to work my ass off to pass. Over the last 1900+ AFF dives, I've come to appreciate the value of what that man taught me.

I don't know what the course is like now.

t


AFFI  (D 25538)

Oct 6, 2006, 2:02 PM
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Re: [Tonto] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I did my AFF rating with Don Yahrling at Perris in 1992. I had to work my ass off to pass. Over the last 1900+ AFF dives, I've come to appreciate the value of what that man taught me.

I don't know what the course is like now.

t

Me too, Don turned out to be not just a course director but a me but a long term mentor and friend.

The course now? Too easy, hell, Don's course was too easy as far as I am concerned.

-


AFFI  (D 25538)

Oct 6, 2006, 2:03 PM
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Re: [tdog] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The rule that lets canidates skip over the ground course and just go into evals is fine and dandy, but the instructors teaching need to quiz their canidates to see if they know what they should know...

So, I still believe it is the people....

It's not fine and dandy - the ground prep skills is as more important than making the saves in the air.

In my experience, great ground prep reduces the need for saves...

-


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 6, 2006, 2:08 PM
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Re: [AFFI] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
The rule that lets candidates skip over the ground course and just go into evals is fine and dandy, but the instructors teaching need to quiz their candidates to see if they know what they should know...

So, I still believe it is the people....

It's not fine and dandy - the ground prep skills is as more important than making the saves in the air.

In my experience, great ground prep reduces the need for saves...

-

You and I are on the same page... When I said it was fine and dandy, I did say, "quiz their candidates" - meaning, make sure they know the stuff they are skipping, not just let the student skip it if they say they want to.


Ya, I got my coach rating with Don as an evaluator. It was one of his final work trips...Unsure I agree he was a great evaluator.


AFFI  (D 25538)

Oct 6, 2006, 2:14 PM
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Re: [tdog] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, we are on the same page.

Don placed a lot of emphasis on ground training. He was really good all the way around.

I even liked hime before he died - Don was in individual...


Revillusion  (A 17017)

Oct 6, 2006, 2:45 PM
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Re: [AFFI] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
In my experience, great ground prep reduces the need for saves...

Without a doubt!


NickDG  (D 8904)

Oct 6, 2006, 5:47 PM
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Re: [Revillusion] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

When Billy Rhodes, Don Yarling, and Rick Horn were the only three course directors it was a very consistent (and tough) course and a hundred percent pass rate was pretty rare, if it ever happened. We never came close in all the courses I evaluated in with Rick Horn.

But there were problems even then. By nature it's a certification course not a teaching course but where do the candidates go for training? The course directors and some evaluators held training sessions, but there was a slight "smell" of bribery in that, although I never saw any cases of it. Most candidates came trained from their home DZs with outdated or questionable methods and they played catch up the whole course.

And we evaluators were always biting our tongues. "Man, if I could just tell that guy a couple of things he'd be doing so much better." But, we couldnt do that. And it went against our nature as instructors.

The format for AFF certification courses should be changed. Instead of a one week test it should be two weeks of training followed by the one week test. Too many take the course once just to learn the test. Then they take it again and usually pass.

Nobody passes without the air skills, but it's the nuts and bolts of how to teach and what to teach that gets overlooked. I've seen all kinds of AFF first courses, and sat in on many of them when I could. They were all mostly safe in that they covered the required material but the overall quality is all over the place from good to bad.

I've seen Instructors who constantly and effortlessly keep it interesting, even entertaining, and some who drone on like that teacher from Ferris Buellers's Day Off.

Instructors spend 80% of their time with people who never become skydivers. So most people on the DZ dont see what they do from day to day. The downside is as long as the instructors don't kill anyone, nobody much cares either.

Nobody has every said the AFF rating was automatic in the way a tandem rating almost is. Now someone is saying it. That's pretty scary.

We had a chance for AFF training to progress to the next level. But nobody cares about it anymore. It's not sexy like Vrw, big ways, or Crw. USPA is never going to put a photo of old Joe the Instructor on its cover. I'm guessing AFF is doomed and tandem jumping is going to completely replace it . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


Ron

Oct 6, 2006, 6:37 PM
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Re: [NickDG] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
But there were problems even then. By nature it's a certification course not a teaching course but where do the candidates go for training?

Grat point and the USPA tried to make it better with the proficency card....But lets be honest how many of those were just pencil whipped?

In reply to:
And we evaluators were always biting our tongues. "Man, if I could just tell that guy a couple of things he'd be doing so much better." But, we couldnt do that. And it went against our nature as instructors.

Though spot to be in....Why could you not tell them stuff BTW?

In reply to:
The format for AFF certification courses should be changed. Instead of a one week test it should be two weeks of training followed by the one week test. Too many take the course once just to learn the test. Then they take it again and usually pass.

I went through my course with Bram. He spent a good bit of time with us before the course to teach us things. In fact he really recomended we did a few jumps with him before the course started....It helped quite a bit. I would recomend Bram in a second to anyone looking to get their rating. I have also see Bram tell people they were not ready and recomend they go home and work on a list of things them come back.

In reply to:
Nobody passes without the air skills

I have seen quite a few folks show up with some serious problems in their own air skills. I have seen AFF canidates have problems giving hand signals without backsliding, and then blame the Course Director for them not passingCrazy


AFFI  (D 25538)

Oct 6, 2006, 7:23 PM
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Re: [NickDG] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
When Billy Rhodes, Don Yarling, and Rick Horn were the only three course directors...

Great post.

I agree it needs to be better, especially your comments about training the canidates and test.
3 weeks is a long time for most people to take time off work though.
I remember when I took my course I was flying video for tandems at a very busy DZ. The course was in the summer so I lost out on one of the best paychecks of the year.
A full week of training if diligent enough would not be enough to get the canidates on track?

How do we make it better? Sign me up to do all I can.

-


Shark  (D 24499)

Oct 6, 2006, 10:00 PM
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Re: [Allballs] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

So by your reasoning UK AFF instructors are better than US AFF-I's?

Some may pass the course, but not all will employ their new rating.
Getting work at some DZs is difficult.


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 6, 2006, 10:30 PM
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Re: [Ron] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I went through my course with Bram. He spent a good bit of time with us before the course to teach us things. In fact he really recomended we did a few jumps with him before the course started....It helped quite a bit. I would recomend Bram in a second to anyone looking to get their rating. I have also see Bram tell people they were not ready and recomend they go home and work on a list of things them come back.

Alan and I got our ratings from Bram...

We could not recommend him more...

I think we got 100% or near that on the evals, because he worked with us on the road there, stopped us and recommended things, told us clearly what he wanted out of us, and really was all around great to work with. There were no mind games...

I asked him at the end, "How many people fail?" He said he has a 90% pass rate because he uses the practice jumps to qualify people and tell them to go practice if they are not ready - and from what he said, he tells a lot of people to practice more before going hot - less than 50% make it thru, I think he said, if you count all the people he tells to go away for more practice.

I think qualifying in the practice jumps (knowing the candidate has the core skills needed) allows the evaluator to spend more time focused on sharing knowledge with the candidate instead of testing the candidate the rest of the week.


marks2065  (D 18925)

Oct 7, 2006, 6:35 AM
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Re: [tdog] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

being a ti is different from being a affi . i didn't get an aff rating because i didn't feel my skills were good enough. but i have seen people pass that were not as good as me. i have also seen people fail the old course 2 or 3 times then take the new course and pass easily. i have seen some of the differences between the courses and thought they made it easier. this happened at the same time everyone was crying for more aff instructors. this is my observation. i am not aff nor have i taken the course but if someone else that is an aff instructor under the old course could tell me if what i see is right i would apreciate it


avgjoe  (Student)

Oct 7, 2006, 8:15 AM
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Re: [Allballs] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Do you believe the Aff rating is too easy?

It depends on what you want as a course. Do want a straight up test course or do you want a teaching course?

With a straight test course you need to show up ready and are tested. How you get ready is tough. With a teaching course the evaluator can teach you all the tricks he is going to show you and then amazingly when he tests you have seen his tricks and know how to solve them.

Which better prepares you for real world aff is up for debate.

Avgjoe
Hook it for safety


AFFI  (D 25538)

Oct 7, 2006, 9:15 AM
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Re: [marks2065] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

[reply]being a ti is different from being a affi . i didn't get an aff rating because i didn't feel my skills were good enough. but i have seen people pass that were not as good as me. i have also seen people fail the old course 2 or 3 times then take the new course and pass easily. i have seen some of the differences between the courses and thought they made it easier. this happened at the same time everyone was crying for more aff instructors. this is my observation. i am not aff nor have i taken the course but if someone else that is an aff instructor under the old course could tell me if what i see is right i would apreciate it[/reply]

Take it.

The courses I have seen the past few years can be passed by those with minimal qualifications.

Nice and easy lemon squeasy..


parachutist  (D 25468)

Oct 7, 2006, 8:06 PM
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Re: [NickDG] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Instead of a one week test it should be two weeks of training followed by the one week test.

sanity check: who can put aside 3 weeks for that? I certainly can't. 10 days is already a stretch for me. Right now I'm working on the air skills at my home DZ doing RW. When I feel ready then I'll go though one of the 10 day courses.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Oct 8, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Re: [parachutist] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

>>sanity check:<<

I think the above illustrates the problem. We value being an AFF Instructor so little that three weeks of training is too much of an investment. How do you square that with the responsibility of the position? But, he's right AFF Instructors don't make enough money to justify that time and expense. Change that one thing and everything else will change as well. Real AFF Academies would spring up for budding Instructors. I'd work in one. If not, what happens to guys like me who have a head full off AFF "tricks" and "tips" that we can pass on?

As for my comment about AFF cert courses not being "teaching" opportunities, well they are, but only for the course director and only during the classroom sessions. Evaluators, if they are doing it right, are there to critique candidates on how they handle students on the ground and in the air. Sure, we say things like, "try this type of grip instead," or, "you should have been giving this signal, not that one." But, that's about it. At that point the candidates are there to be graded not taught.

At one Evaluators meeting I was at we talked about the state of AFF a lot. And here's an idea I floated. Let's take AFF Instruction off the drop zone. I mean, let's, each of us, make the investment in upgrading what we do into a profession. It would hurt, but that's the investment I'm talking about.

It would mean attending the Acme College of AFF Instruction. In which case the requirement for freefall time would be waived. We should get to our prospective Instructors earlier, before they get too jaded, or impossible to teach. I've seen the latter in cert courses sometimes. He's the guy that sits there and doesn't say anything, but you can see he's burning up inside. His ground and air skills are top tier so he gets signed off. But, at the party later, he comes up to you and says you are full of shit.

After graduation, you buy a few student rigs, rent a storefront on Main Street, build yourself the training aids, and open the door. The only reason to go to the DZ (in a person's student days) would be to actually jump. The Instructor could then take his students to the DZ that gave them the best deal and it would turn how we divvy up student dollars on its head.

We could then scrap the whole one day first jump course format. A format we are pigeon holed into because it's expedient not because it's the best way to teach. Hold your classes in the evenings and over a few days and give the information a chance to sink in. Right now there's only so much an AFF Instructor can teach about skydiving in five hours. And a First Jump Course is 95% what to do if it all goes south. So there's not the time, or the room in a student's brain to absorb much more. What else a student learns about skydiving is a hit or miss affair that depends on the quality of the people who supervise their remaining student jumps. And sometimes that instruction is heavy on dive flow and light on furthering survival skills. Imagine learning to fly a Cessna and every hour of dual instruction is with a different CFI? That's nuts . . .

I know the above is probably a pipe dream. So let's hear other suggestions. And to those of you who think everything is fine the way it is, please look closer. It could be a lot better . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


(This post was edited by NickDG on Oct 8, 2006, 4:34 PM)


Premier faulknerwn  (D 17441)
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Oct 8, 2006, 7:57 PM
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Re: [NickDG] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I recently went through the AFF Cert course with Rob Laidlaw. I highly recommend his course. We did 20ish jumps with him over the course of the week. Every day the "student" got worse - one the first he was stable but just didn't pull. The next day he'd spin. Then he'd tumble. But we worked our way to the full-blown "student-from-hell" skydive and it was no big deal because we got accustomed to it one step at a time.

All of had practiced roll-overs and spin stops before the course, but we all improved greatly there. It was definitely a teaching course - both in groundwork and airwork and it was great. Rather than the high-stress military-style courses I had heard about that other people went through, ours was more mellow but an incredible learning experience.

I'm very thankful we did so many jumps during the week where we got all of the constructive criticism about the jumps that we could learn from. It was an extremely well-run course...

W


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 8, 2006, 10:16 PM
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Re: [NickDG] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I know the above is probably a pipe dream. So let's hear other suggestions. And to those of you who think everything is fine the way it is, please look closer. It could be a lot better . . .

I guess I would ask - not what could be better, as much as, what is broken?

You don't see incident reports weekly on the forums about "student lost by instructor, has cypres fire" or "student hurt on exit, instructor to blame."

The most common incidents that are student related seem to be (someone correct me if I am wrong) - landing incidents - poor (panic) decisions under canopy - and they tend to happen after AFF is over.

Just my gut feeling - if we are going to "fix" anything in skydiving instruction - it is canopy related....

Sure, there are other "business" things we could fix in operations - a lot of DZs have their students wait, wait, wait, rush a dive, leave - promoting one time sells and no long term relationships... Or many DZs pay the TIs and AFFIs the same, yet one has to train students, pack their own gear, debrief - and the other does twice the jumps on back to backs without paying a penny for gear or packjobs, meeting their student in the plane and shaking hands goodbye in the landing area - meaning a TI can make over twice to three times the revenue of an AFFI (depending on gear costs)... With those numbers, why would a professional want to do AFF over TI (assuming they are doing the instruction to pay the bills and enjoy both equally). How about giving the AFF instructor $.50 from every jump that student does for the rest of their life at that DZ - and not paying the instructor a penny for the AFF jump over their slot... I bet AFF instructors would become the best salesmen and work their butt off to make sure students stick around past the revenue jumps - becoming long term mentors and load organizers - and perhaps would be there after the 7th or 10th jump when all of a sudden the canopy issues occur as the student downsizes and experiences their first "oh shit" moment.

But - all business problems aside, before the "system" is knocked too hard, knock where it is broken (where students are failing/getting hurt). I think it is canopy control...

So when everyone is saying the new system is too easy - how much of that is in the canopy control part of the instruction - and how much is in the freefall ability???

Just my two cents - or maybe three on this one.Wink


(This post was edited by tdog on Oct 8, 2006, 10:17 PM)


Reginald  (D 28162)

Oct 9, 2006, 5:21 AM
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Re: [Allballs] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I know people that have failed the course in the UK and then come to the states because its almost a guaranteed. Pay your money get your rating!

Really, do you want to name the Course Directors that are so easy?


jumpnaked69  (D License)

Oct 9, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Re: [Reginald] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I would love to hear it. I want to hear exactly who is easy and who is "hard" to pass a course with.

And to address an issue from up above...Someone made a post and said, I didnt get an AFF rating because my skills werent good enough. I only got a tandem rating. Then another poster replied with, just go ahead and get the rating, it's easy. As tdog has pointed out, it's all about the people that can make or break a system. If there's a ton of easy course directors but you, as an experienced AFF-I, encourage someone who at the very best lacks the confidence level to be an AFF-I and at the very worst lacks the flying and teaching skills to be an AFF-I to take an easy course, you've made the system that much worse. Any time that you encourage an underdeveloped skydiver to buy a smaller, faster, canopy for which they are not ready or to "buy" a rating for which they are not qualified you have just diminished the quality of our sport and contributed to endangering people on DZs everywhere. Sound a bit dramatic to you? Maybe so but think about what you're doing--I agree that it is the job of a course director to run a very fair but challenging course designed to test whether a candidate has the skills with which to fly but it is also your job, as a skydiver and especially as an instructor, to encourage qualified candidates and discourage those who are not yet ready.

just my two cents and i'm looking forward to that list of easy course directors.


(This post was edited by jumpnaked69 on Oct 9, 2006, 11:34 AM)


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Oct 9, 2006, 8:04 PM
Post #25 of 447 (10991 views)
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Re: [Allballs] Is the AFF rating too easy? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Do you believe the Aff rating is too easy?

Everr since USPA lowered the standards, yes.

Derek


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