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1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help

 

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airborne82nd  (C License)

Oct 23, 2006, 12:51 PM
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1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help Can't Post

ok i have 1 month to prepare for the Aff-I course.

what should i be reading? what should i be practicing?

and what else can i do so I can pass the course?
Ihope to pass the courrse but become a good instructor for my students.

i have the IRM and SIM.

Please anyone give me a hand?

i am nervous about how to flip a student on there back over and some of those drills and skills, i can fly well but can i fly the way the instructors want and need me to? can i do it there way?


I am getting more rest and taking lots of ginko. lol

seriously anyone give any recomondations. I have the coach rating allready.

thanks


Reginald  (D 28162)

Oct 23, 2006, 1:11 PM
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Do practice jumps with some local instructors. Have them teach you how to stop spins and do rollovers. they aren't hard but a little practice before a course doesn't hurt. Also, have them discuss and practice with you the 'bottom end' of the skydive. Finally, make sure you have a canopy you are comfortable pulling at 2,000 with. 'cause this is where you are going to pull for a week. Crazy


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 23, 2006, 1:57 PM
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Re: [Reginald] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Finally, make sure you have a canopy you are comfortable pulling at 2,000 with. 'cause this is where you are going to pull for a week. Crazy

Really??? I think my evaluators would have been real upset (meaning automatic unsat) if I was that low... In fact, it was priority one to end the skydive at the planned end - and pulling in time to have a fully open canopy by 2000 feet was a requirement.

You might have had different experiences...


billeisele  (A 5643)

Oct 23, 2006, 3:08 PM
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Re: [airborne82nd] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

agree with the previous post

make as many practice jumps as possible, if your profile is correct and your recent jumps have been video and freeflying then make as many RW and practice jumps as possible

if you have a competent evalutor around ask him/her for an honest eval dive before you go, based on that assessment u can decide what to do, the last 7 jumpers from our DZ that earned their AFF I were very good/current skydivers and they practiced for months


Reginald  (D 28162)

Oct 23, 2006, 8:47 PM
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Re: [tdog] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Finally, make sure you have a canopy you are comfortable pulling at 2,000 with. 'cause this is where you are going to pull for a week. Crazy

Really??? I think my evaluators would have been real upset (meaning automatic unsat) if I was that low... In fact, it was priority one to end the skydive at the planned end - and pulling in time to have a fully open canopy by 2000 feet was a requirement.

You might have had different experiences...

Wow, if I would have pulled that high it would have been an automatic unsat for insufficient separation with my Course Director. My course was designed to have us pull at 2,000 on every jump.

From memory - when the “student” did not pull at the assigned alt., we had to issue alt. and pull signals, then move their arm back to the handle, of course never pulled for themselves. At 3,500 we could initiate a pull for them, but not below 3,000. Pull for them above 3,500 automatic unsat. Pull for them below 3,000 automatic unsat. After the “student” was ripped out of our hands by a deploying parachute we could track off. If we left before they were ripped out of our hands it was an automatic unsat. If we had insufficient separation, we received an automatic unsat. This basically forced us to track and pull at 2,000. If we pulled below 2,000 it was an automatic unsat.

Given an AFFI is, if necessary, responsible for chasing a student down to 2,000 the CD wanted us getting comfortable with pulling at 2,000. He made it very clear he had us down in the dirt for that reason.

It sucks pulling at 2,000 BTW.

Honestly, I’ve never heard of a CD not forcing people down into the basement. It sounds like you had it easy. Was there any explanation for why you guys got to pull so high?


(This post was edited by Reginald on Oct 23, 2006, 9:00 PM)


sergant  (D 28961)

Oct 23, 2006, 9:12 PM
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In reply to:
Pull for them above 3,500 automatic unsat.
Did you mean 4,000?


sergant  (D 28961)

Oct 23, 2006, 9:15 PM
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Re: [airborne82nd] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

airborne82nd,

http://www.dropzone.com/...rum.cgi?post=2335272
check Gary73's post


Premier Tonto  (D 515)
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Oct 24, 2006, 4:47 AM
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Re: [airborne82nd] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

Know the SIM.

Good AFF instructor skills.

1. Exit control (Timing, presentation, structural integrity - regardless of students body position.)

2. No contact flight. (Be within range. Students never see hand signals when they really need them)

3. Range. The wider your range, the safer your student will be. (Strive for 50 mph in a single outfit, on your belly only. Use bigger suits to go slower, different body positions to go faster)

4. Vertical aggression. When they go 3D, engage. Gawking just puts you WAY behind the curve.

5. Know your altitude. As the ground comes up, your options go down.

Other stuff.

For me, students are either learning, or dying. There's very little middle ground. The better prepared the student is, the better chance the skydive will go well. "Prepared" means more than knowing the dive flow. State of mind is huge. If you have awesome flying skills, it can make you a bad instructor, cos getting the "saves" is good for your ego, but not good for your student. It's also more fun flying than teaching, so get the balance right. Know when to step back. My goal is to make my students safe and independant. I encourage questions, even questioning my ability or technique. You need, at some point, usually on later release dives, to let them screw up and see how they handle it. Better that you're there when it happens.

I'd say "good luck" but I think when it comes to AFF, we make our own.

t


Reginald  (D 28162)

Oct 24, 2006, 6:05 AM
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Re: [sergant] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Pull for them above 3,500 automatic unsat.
Did you mean 4,000?

Nope. That would have allowed us an almost normal breakoff altitude. Remember the CD wanted us to be pulling at 2,000. At one point he actually told one person in our group that complaned about having to pull at 2,000 that it was just part of the training and to get used to it.

Just a side note, when i graduated the course one of the experienced AFFI's pulled me aside and said, "Good you learned that, now let's be very clear on this, in real life we pull for a student no later than 4,000."


tdog  (D 28800)

Oct 24, 2006, 6:45 AM
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Re: [Reginald] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Wow, if I would have pulled that high it would have been an automatic unsat for insufficient separation with my Course Director. My course was designed to have us pull at 2,000 on every jump.

From memory - when the “student” did not pull at the assigned alt., we had to issue alt. and pull signals, then move their arm back to the handle, of course never pulled for themselves. At 3,500 we could initiate a pull for them, but not below 3,000. Pull for them above 3,500 automatic unsat. Pull for them below 3,000 automatic unsat. After the “student” was ripped out of our hands by a deploying parachute we could track off. If we left before they were ripped out of our hands it was an automatic unsat. If we had insufficient separation, we received an automatic unsat. This basically forced us to track and pull at 2,000. If we pulled below 2,000 it was an automatic unsat.

Sounds about right, but move it all up 500 feet... The fake ripcord became ours at 3,999. (The evaluator pulled the real one when we pulled the fake one). We had the "dance" of "Altitude two three, Pull two three, Assist two three, Pull" - that if started at the right time, guaranteed we never got in the basement and we did our job.

So, you are right, we were pulling between 2.2K and 2.8K every time. Your first post made it sound that 2K was the normal pull, but in your second post you said you had to pull by 2K. I guess I felt that, a few hundred feet or a few seconds, really do make a difference at that altitude - and that to be fair to people reading - get in your mind you have to pull by 2K, not pull at 2K to pass.

Our CD also did talk a lot about canopy choice for AFFIs. He made it clear that in any debrief, "I pulled for you so I would have time to open my cross braced pocket rocket" was not acceptable - and made it clear that the students opportunity to learn should never be compromised by a canopy choice in real life and in the course. He begged of us to never, in real world, jump a highly elliptical canopy or any canopy that required us to worry about our own openings or landings.

So I agree with your post to anyone going to take the course, canopy does matter.


Reginald  (D 28162)

Oct 24, 2006, 8:04 AM
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Re: [tdog] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
So, you are right, we were pulling between 2.2K and 2.8K every time. Your first post made it sound that 2K was the normal pull, but in your second post you said you had to pull by 2K.

Yep, the way the CD had it set up we were never going to get to pull above 2,500 and he targeted 2,000 for us to pull. Of course pulling below 2,000 was unacceptable. I was routeinly pulling between 2,000 and maybe 2,200 on the high side. Did I mention that pulling at 2,000 sucks! Crazy Being forced to pull that low on a regular basis was the biggest challange of the course IMHO. It did teach me some confidence about it, which was the idea. That said 3,000 is a nice normal pull alt!


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Oct 24, 2006, 8:39 AM
Post #12 of 27 (2817 views)
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Re: [Reginald] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Do practice jumps with some local instructors. Have them teach you how to stop spins and do rollovers. they aren't hard but a little practice before a course doesn't hurt. Also, have them discuss and practice with you the 'bottom end' of the skydive. Finally, make sure you have a canopy you are comfortable pulling at 2,000 with. 'cause this is where you are going to pull for a week. Crazy

All very good advice. While yoru dropzone probably does not have an AFF course director, it would not be odd if there were a designated evaluator to train with.

Chuck


Premier skybytch  (D License)

Oct 24, 2006, 12:54 PM
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Re: [SkymonkeyONE] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

Great thread. I'm hoping to take the course in the next 6 months; here is some of what I've been told by the most experienced AFF I's where I jump.

In reply to:
While yoru dropzone probably does not have an AFF course director, it would not be odd if there were a designated evaluator to train with.

If there isn't, get with the most experienced AFF I there; you know, the guy/girl with 1000+ AFF jumps.

Remember that what they train is what they will do. Don't let the evaluator get away with less than perfect practice on the ground; if you do you'll probably see them do the exact same things in the air.

Dress for success!! Bring a fast suit, a slow suit and a midrange suit (and weights if you need them to go fast). Do practice jumps in all of them. Don't try to do the course in your freefly suit, especially if you haven't done a whole lot of belly flying in it. If the evaluator gives you the choice of what suit they should wear, put them in a suit that will assure that you will have no problems staying with them (ie skinny evaluator, tight suit; heavy evaluator, suit with lotsa drag). If the evaluator does not give you the choice, make sure that the suit you wear is the right one for how fast/slow you expect them to fall.

Work on your awareness and recall ability. Lots of alti checks during the skydive and reference those altitudes to what is going on (ie "practice pulls were done by 10k" etc).

A friend of mine (primarily a freeflier/camera flier) did some tunnel time a couple of weeks before her course to learn how to flip them. She passed the course with no problems.

Like others have said, do as many practice and RW jumps as possible between now and then.


airborne82nd  (C License)

Oct 24, 2006, 3:35 PM
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Re: [airborne82nd] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

thanks you guys gave me much i going to have my son a little freefly monster back fly and back slide i guess i can practice working on him. chasing him around ect..

how exactly do you flip someone over??? what technique should i practice. how should i practice the spin stop also.

i will do some side body exits with my son ect...

i really dont have any evaluators at the dz i can work with.

i also want to study hard what material should i study the most i dont want to over study anything

thanks everyone. i am not say worrried about the course if i dont pass now i will attend again i just want to be good for the students so if i pass th course then i will be good for the students.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Oct 24, 2006, 10:00 PM
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Re: [airborne82nd] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

You just reverse grab the MLWs below the handles and flip them over.

Although, that's usually easier done on an evaluator, than a real student . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Oct 25, 2006, 7:51 AM
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Quote:
Work on your awareness and recall ability. Lots of alti checks during the skydive and reference those altitudes to what is going on (ie "practice pulls were done by 10k" etc).

Recall is very important. Your evaluator is going to have a little 3x5 card in his jumpsuit pocket with a list of exactly what maneuvers he is going to do and at what altitude he is going to execute his wave-off and pull. That keeps them honest.

This is getting more and more common as well: tons of us are doing AFF with sidemounted cameras and .3 (or .25 even) lenses. Even docked on the side, you get a full view of the student and can best debrief your student without wasting a ton of money on outside video during the course. Video is NOT a requirement in the course, but some course directors nearly mandate it. Personally, I did not use it on my course, but I DO use my "inside" video on all of my real AFF jumps. It's silly not to use it if you already have a video helmet and a wide lens. No, it has never, ever affected my exits in case you are wondering.


Gary73  (D 21341)

Oct 26, 2006, 6:58 AM
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Re: [airborne82nd] 1 month to Prepare for AFF-I rating, Help [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
thanks you guys gave me much i going to have my son a little freefly monster back fly and back slide i guess i can practice working on him. chasing him around ect..

how exactly do you flip someone over??? what technique should i practice. how should i practice the spin stop also.

i will do some side body exits with my son ect...

i really dont have any evaluators at the dz i can work with.

i also want to study hard what material should i study the most i dont want to over study anything

thanks everyone. i am not say worrried about the course if i dont pass now i will attend again i just want to be good for the students so if i pass th course then i will be good for the students.

I just became an AFF Evaluator last week, so I may be able to offer some more insight now. To answer your questions one at a time:

Practicing with another skydiver is better than not practicing at all, but practicing with an active Evaluator is much better. USPA keeps a list of Evaluators on it's Web site, but for some reason it's in an area that can only be accessed by people like Course Directors and maybe DZOs. Ask your DZO or CD to get into that area and try to find one for you to work with, even if it's not one that he/she regularly uses.

Unlike students, Evaluators will provide a reasonably arched, stable backfly for you. There are several different techniques to use, depending on whether you approach from the top, bottom, or side (most common). To do the side flip: fly up level and grab one main lift webbing with each hand. Make sure not to grab any handles!!! Push the near side under then up while pulling the far side over then down. From the top or bottom, fly up level, cross your arms, grab arm or leg grips (or whatever is safe and convenient) and flip. Once the student is belly flying again, switch grips as necessary, give whatever signals are appropriate, and re-release.

Candidates can use any exit they want at the course, but most candidates use the "Course Exit" for simplicity and ease of working with other candidates on the Level 3 dives, so yeah, practice that a lot.

At least some CDs have an outline that they prefer for you to follow during the ground preps. It's shameful that USPA hasn't standardized this and doesn't provide either a printed copy or a video of a good ground prep to the candidate ahead of time, but that's USPA for you. Ask your CD for a copy of what he/she uses and become familiar with it.

Worst case, it's been said many times that the best preparation for an AFF course is an AFF course. Like a lot of people, it took me two tries to get it right, and the second one was far easier and less stressful.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


Gary73  (D 21341)

Oct 26, 2006, 7:25 AM
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Oh, also: beware of sneaky-ass Evaluator tricks. I heard of an Evaluator at another course who called a time-out after the second JMPI to go to the bathroom, tore off his reserve rigger seal, then called time-in and got on the plane. That's a deliberate FAR and BSR violation, not to mention being a violation of course rules, but the CD allowed it. Make sure your second JMPI is thorough and as close as possible to boarding time. If the Evaluator disappears after that, insist on another thorough JMPI.

I've also heard of an Evaluator who will dive out the door the instant it opens, which is highly unrealistic. Even so, the main-side instructor should have a leg-strap grip before the door opens.

The job of the AFF Evaluator is to provide reasonably real-world scenarios in the safest way possible. Unfortunately some Evaluators treat their jobs as opportunities to trick candidates by any means possible, fair or foul. What's worse is that some CDs allow Evaluators to get away with it. At one time there was a great deal of standardization among CDs, but nowdays they can do pretty much whatever they want.

I've heard from someone with a lot of international experience that USPA is the best such organization in the world, but there's still some room for improvement.

Good luck!


ptwob267  (D 28169)

Oct 26, 2006, 9:52 AM
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I found the best thing for me other than the practice jumps that everyone has been suggesting is on top of that find someone who has gone through the course director that you are going to and learn the dive flows and get them down cold. I would go over them in my head over and over again before I even made one jump then it is more like muscle memory. This frees up the rest of your brain power to watch the student and catch them making little changes as they begin to screw up. Of course the biggest trick to the whole course is to relax and have confidence in yourself that you can do the flying. Plenty of people out there can do the skydiving required of an aff instructor but where people fail is being too slow to react, if you relax you can avoid brain lock and in turn fly better, quicker, and remember a lot more from the dive...Anyway good luck and dont forget to have fun!


NickDG  (D 8904)

Oct 28, 2006, 3:49 PM
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Usually, something like an evaluator giving the slip to a candidate in the door is because the candidate wasn't paying enough attention to the evaluator on the way up.

I saw one poor sap go unsat while he was yakking it up with other jumpers on the plane so much he didn't notice his student/evaluator completely took his rig off.

One time, I was with a Korean candidate who was having troubles in the course and getting flustered a lot. We were doing a back taxi down the runway for take off after I told him before we went "time in" to be more attentive and talk to his "student" a bit more on the way up. I looked at him and could see he was desperately searching for something to say to me. Unbelievably, he looked me in the eye and said, "Show me bail out on your reserve!"

I had to climb around several people but made it all the door before he barely caught and stopped me. Thank goodness too, as I probably would have turned an ankle or something jumping onto the RWY from the moving Otter.

When these types of things happen in front of up-jumpers they think it's excessive, and you hear them saying sometimes evaluators go too far. I'm sure some of them do, but in most cases, evaluators realize these larger than life lessons are the only way to get through to some candidates. The underlying lesson is that students are like time bombs, and every once in a while, and when you least expect it, one will blow up in your face.

The part of the AFF cert course candidates most often neglect to prepare for is the ground stuff. When observing your ground prep, evaluators are making note of the mistakes you are making and most of the time the dive to come is going to have those mistakes come back at you.

Think of the ground prep as a soup you have to eat later . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


NoShitThereIWas  (D 25347)

Dec 13, 2006, 7:21 AM
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Dress for success. Understand how what you wear has a huge implication on your range.

Practice, Pray. Practice, Pray. I would practice more than pray but praying might help.

Find a kick ass instructor you know. Give them money and ask them to teach you everything they know about controlled exits and how to prepare you for the course. That is what I did. Unless it has changed a whole lot, I remember my course from nearly 5 years ago like it was yesterday. Controlled exits, flying your slot, stopping spins (correctly), turn overs, altitude awareness and proper in air communication. That is what I would focus on. Ground Preps a monkey can do. Key in on Key points and don't drag on too long. Use props (evaluators like those) and practice practice practice!

I found Nanette with thousands of AFF jumps at SDC at the time. I am not recommending that you go to Skydive Chicago by the way, (that is the last DZ I would recommend to you). However at the time, Nanette was there and she did a fantastic job preparing me for the course. She also gave me some real life AFF skills because you will also learn that AFF at the course is somewhat the same and somewhat different than real life AFF.

Rick Horn used to have what I considered valuable info on the the Web, sort of precourse material ...
It was helpful to me to read, but I got my rating back in '02 so I am not sure how it has changed. The biggest thing is, don't let yourself get psyched out over it. I know people who almost quit in the middle of it because of the stress (back in the day). I have heard it is not so bad anymore but the one gal I am thinking of Yvonne almost quit right before she earned her rating because she allowed herself to get psyched out.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Dec 17, 2006, 2:15 PM
Post #22 of 27 (2209 views)
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I was evaluating in one of Rick Horn's courses, and on the second day all the candidates were doing okay. So I asked Rick, "Should we turn up the heat a little bit?" And Rick said, "Nope, they will do it to themselves."

Sure enough, the next day several of the candidates began to crash and burn . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


FreeflyGoat  (D 26046)

Dec 17, 2006, 3:36 PM
Post #23 of 27 (2202 views)
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Pre-course.

Enough said.


riddler  (D 10234)

Feb 3, 2007, 8:23 AM
Post #24 of 27 (1922 views)
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I did the course about 18 months ago - I noticed different people had problems with either the ground part or the aerial part. So, where do you feel weakest? Ground instruction/speaking/material preparation? Or flying skills? You need both to get the rating. If you feel weak with flying, spend the next month in the tunnel Wink You can practice flipping students over in the tunnel. If you aren't so good with ground instruction, read the SIM. A pre-course will help you with both, and also help you figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are.


thedarkside  (C 35719)

Feb 7, 2007, 8:03 AM
Post #25 of 27 (1843 views)
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In reply to:
ok i have 1 month to prepare for the Aff-I course.

what should i be reading? what should i be practicing?

and what else can i do so I can pass the course?
Ihope to pass the courrse but become a good instructor for my students.

i have the IRM and SIM.

Please anyone give me a hand?

i am nervous about how to flip a student on there back over and some of those drills and skills, i can fly well but can i fly the way the instructors want and need me to? can i do it there way?


I am getting more rest and taking lots of ginko. lol

seriously anyone give any recomondations. I have the coach rating allready.

thanks

Am I the only one to notice?? This thread started Oct. 23...It is now Feb, one month has come and gone.

Did you pass??? What was it like? What do you think helped or didn't help the most?


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