Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
why require a tandem for AFF?

 

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377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 1:47 PM
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why require a tandem for AFF? Can't Post

Bill Dause's Lodi CA (Parachute Center) website training page says the following:


"SKYDIVE TRAINING PROGRAMS

You must do a tandem skydive within 30 days of starting the student training program."

Why?

Is it just a money grabbing thing? Bill has always run very low priced DZs and training programs so that would seem out of character. Just a year or so ago he was offering a complete S/L training program for $500! His tandem prices are dirt cheap.

I am not a tandem master or instructor but I can't see why a tandem should be required for AFF. Enlighten me.


(This post was edited by 377 on Sep 9, 2008, 1:48 PM)


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Sep 9, 2008, 1:57 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

You might direct that question towards Bill. Although I do not know him personally, I do not beleive that is a USPA Group Member DZ. There are some advantages and disadvantages to doing tandems prior to AFF/AFP.


377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 2:03 PM
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Re: [Para5-0] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Bill's DZ is a proud USPA group NON member.

The "requirement" does not seem to specify that the tandem jump must be made prior to your AFF jumps.

I hesitate to ask Bill any question that he might find irritating. I have seen him ban jumpers from his DZ on the spot for puzzling reasons. I like the cheap jumps!


Reginald  (D 28162)

Sep 9, 2008, 2:30 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Is it just a money grabbing thing?

Why would you jump to that conclusion? As an AFF instructor I personally like to see people do a tandem prior to AFF. It lets them experience the sensory overload of a first skydive in an environment where they have less responsibility and stress. In short it means there are less problem AFF first jump students. That said I dont ever like to see someone do more than two tandems because then we have to fix their body position.


377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 2:42 PM
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Re: [Reginald] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

I know zero about tandems, never done one. I did S/L training in 1968 and have zero AFF experience as well. To me, it just seemed unnecessary to do a tandem along with AFF, but I am open to more informed opinions. Bill's requirement does not say you have to do the tandem before your AFF jumps, just within 30 days of starting training. Puzzling.

When I did S/L, self sufficiency was drilled into us from day one. Perry Stevens, my instructor, told us: "We will train you, but once you are out that door, your life depends on you and you alone."

I think that was a good thing. There was never any thought about anyone else helping you out during a jump that was going badly. Yes, several of my training jumps did go badly, especially trying to learn stable freefall unassisted. We students called it "freeflail". I mastered the flat spin long before I learned the stable frog position. AFF is definitely a better way to teach freefall, but it wasn't available at my DZ.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Sep 9, 2008, 2:47 PM)


Schoenauer  (D License)

Sep 9, 2008, 3:25 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

 I can only speculate but it sounds like The Parachute Center want students that are more committed in learning to skydive, who are more likely finish the program. Tandem first skydive with in 30 days prior to the training program is one way to weed out the one time yahoos. The yahoo has an affect on the schools time, staff, and space available. At a busy DZ I can see this may displace the motivated students who are eager to learn how to skydive.

As an AFF instructor I want to work with the motivated student.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Sep 9, 2008, 4:07 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's because the first AFF jump there is single Jumpmaster AFF. Put two and two together and think back to a weird thread from a confused student last week about getting kicked out of his AFF program . . .

I first met Bill Dause in the early 80s and he's cut from different cloth that's for sure. It was at a Soldier of Fortune Convention in Las Vegas. These conventions were 10 percent the real guys and 90 percent wanna be types who only subscribed to Soldier of Fortune magazine.

They were running a deal where convention participants could make an airborne type static line jump and it was the second or third year they were doing it. These people received a regular static line first jump course and then in fatigues, army helmets, and military gut gear they were put out from 3500-feet over the desert. But the preceding year one of the first time jumpers was killed.

And they were going stop offering the jump altogether but after the death there was ten times the amount of interest for the following year. Go figure? So they fired the people who had anything to do with the jump last time and contracted out for all new folks. And this is where Bill and I came in.

Bill was supplying the plane, his DC-3, and I was there with Frank Mott to do the rigging and packing and we were there because Frank had the thirty pristine sets of military gear they needed. Then they hired a third entity to do all the training and jumpmastering.

I actually had a good time at the thing during the night. Dale Dye, a retired Marine I served with was there as he was the current editor of Soldier of Fortune magazine. And later he went on to get many parts in war movies so you might know who he is. He almost got me a part in the movie PLATOON. Dale was a friend of Oliver Stone and already had a part in the movie when he suggested me. He told me to send Stone a tape and I did. They called me in and I went through two auditions and had the part of Private Gator Lerner. And then at almost the last minute I got aced out by some guy I never heard of named Johnny Depp . . .

So anyway jump day comes, and I'd watched some of the training and it was first rate. The only funny part was they were told to make it sort of like real airborne training so they had these fat armchair warriors double timing around the desert and doing push-ups and I was really worried some of them would have heart attacks. But I grabbed my rig and asked Bill if I could get on for jump too. He said sure thing so along with the jumpmaster and students I climbed aboard. There was probably 25 or so of them and with their fatigues, steel pot helmets, and gear it wasn't hard to imagine we were heading out for Normandy.

Jump run comes and they are all standing with their static lines hooked up to a cable Bill installed that ran the length of the cabin. The first two or three went through the door cleanly before they started balking. One or two would finally go then the whole procession would stall out again. I was trying not to laugh but I felt sorry for them at the same time. But Bill was beginning to steam and I could here him yelling to get them out so he didn't have to go around.

Finally he got up and came down to the door from the cockpit. He pulled the Jumpmaster out of the way so hard he fell over. Then he started physically chucking the students out the door one after another. He even had to chase the last one who kept backing away. He then looked over at me and I went through the door like a shot.

So anyway, that's how I met Bill Dause at the Soldier of Fortune convention . . .

NickD Smile


377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 4:34 PM
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Re: [NickDG] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

What a GREAT post Nick, an absolute classic. Stuff like this doesnt happen anymore, too much worry about liability, insurance, lawyers etc.

How did a SOF attendee die on a S/L jump?

I like Bill but not all of his practices. He used to be the pilot AND jumpmaster on S/L jumps at his DZ. Too few resources if something went haywire I think, but I am not an instructor.

He has always treated me well and has a decent saftey record given the jump volume at his DZ.

377


jsaxton  (D 26818)

Sep 9, 2008, 4:34 PM
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Re: [NickDG] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Should I tell Bill you say Hi?


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 9, 2008, 4:46 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

How do I say this in a politically-correct manner?

Not everyone is bright enough to survive a solo jump by themselves.
Tandem allows instructors to screen out the worst idiots before they find themselves hanging under a parachute alone.

The first jump (any method) is always the most stressful.
If students start with a tandem, they can trust the tandem instructor to save their lives no matter how badly they are overwhelmed.

Because stress levels are halved on the second jump, allowing students to use 50 percent more brain cells.


377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 4:55 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

How many people ready to pay for AFF are told: "sorry but you are not a good candidate?"

I hope it happens when it should. I worry that some students who should not be given the benefit of the doubt are.

Perry Stevens, who taught me in 1968, washed one student out of our S/L class and gave her a full refund. I always admired him for making that call. She just kept screwing up on suspended harness emergency procedures practice, over and over. She was too easily rattled under stress. He told her that she was just not yet ready to be a safe skydiver. Probably saved her life.


377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 5:00 PM
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Re: [jsaxton] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Should I tell Bill you say Hi?



Bill probably would not remember me other than possibly as that dumb kid who was jumping cheapo rags at Pope Valley LONG after the PCs had disappeared and squares ruled the sky. It was all I could afford back in my college days.

I was only an occasional jumper and kept very low key, which insured never getting on Bill's bad side. I have seen too many jumpers banned from his DZs over the years. Some for very good safety reasons, others for ???.

Mark


(This post was edited by 377 on Sep 9, 2008, 5:02 PM)


hackish  (No License)

Sep 9, 2008, 5:18 PM
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Re: why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

I did an FJC that did not require any tandems. It was IAD. Although I did OK and so did all the students on the load I can definitely appreciate that not all students have the personality or cool-headedness to get the job done.

I asked my better half if she was interested in doing a solo jump but she said that she wasn't sure that she wouldn't freeze up. Secretly I'm happy as I'd worry too much anyway... However back to the point how did she know this? She's already done 2 tandems.

-Michael


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Sep 9, 2008, 5:47 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Bill Dause's Lodi CA (Parachute Center) website training page says the following:


"SKYDIVE TRAINING PROGRAMS

You must do a tandem skydive within 30 days of starting the student training program."

Why?

Because sometimes students get overwhelmed by the experience, stop thinking, and do stupid things.

When they have to deal with malfunctions, fly, and land all by themselves it's more likely to lead to broken bones and soft tissue damage like this:

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=3326833;page=unread#unread

than if they're on a tandem where the instructor will handle all real (and perceived) emergencies and they'll be fine unless they plant their feet and break their legs.

After a recent tandem where they didn't freak out, they'll probably not be too overwhelmed by freefall and perform well enough to not break themselves.

In reply to:
Is it just a money grabbing thing?

It's a smart idea. Fixed wing pilots often aren't allowed to land without an instructor beside them until their 100th try. When skydiving it's a good idea to skip landing by yourself until jump 2.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Sep 9, 2008, 6:18 PM
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Re: [DrewEckhardt] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

>>It's a smart idea.<<

The idea of freaked out students hurting themselves on their first jumps isn't supported by statistics.

And I've done plenty of students who've done tandem and those who haven't and I don't see any difference in how they perform on AFF level ones.

And I'm not sure a tandem relates all that well to AFF in a nuts and bolts sort of way. If anything it probably gives them the idea skydiving is easier than it really is. It's like a guy buying his first Corvette and the salesman says, "I'm sorry sir, before we can let you drive it off the lot you have to go ride the city bus up and down the boulevard." I'd actually rather have students in a FJC that have never done a tandem.

And comparing soloing an airplane to landing a parachute is a bit of a stretch don't you think? . . .

NickD Smile


diablopilot  (D License)

Sep 9, 2008, 7:47 PM
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Re: [Reginald] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
As an AFF instructor I personally like to see people do a tandem prior to AFF. It lets them experience the sensory overload of a first skydive in an environment where they have less responsibility and stress. In short it means there are less problem AFF first jump students.

What he said.


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Sep 9, 2008, 7:51 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
How do I say this in a politically-correct manner?

Wellll, I think politically correct manners means you don't call them idiots. But maybe that's just me. Laugh


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Sep 9, 2008, 8:55 PM
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Re: [NickDG] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Bill sells the entire AFF to solo program as a $1000 package, only to be done on weekdays. The person starts at 9:30 in the morning and completes the 7 levels over 2 or 3 consecutive days.

If what we suspect is true about that other case, part of the motivation is to weed out those who won't complete the package, and either want or need a refund. And hopefully the prior jump means less trouble on the first AFF one.

Personally, I don't think I would have succeeded in that program model, and having to take days off erases the cost savings.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Sep 9, 2008, 9:34 PM
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Re: [kelpdiver] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I guess we can say from the videos in that other thread the tandem didn't really do the trick in this case. But certainly two JMs could have better controlled that fellow and given him a better learning experience.

I don't know what to say about this. Seven AFF jumps over three days isn't all that bad for some students. But the whole things smacks of being too accelerated and Accelerated Freefall program.

A student signing up would be attracted by the price, if they checked out other DZs, but would they grasp the concept of single JM AFF, the time limit overall, and do it without thinking it's how it is done everywhere?

And I couldn't tell from your post, but are we saying Bill counts on the fact some students won't finish the course so he can stiff them out of the remaining monies?

I really hope that's not the case . . .

NickD Smile


jsaxton  (D 26818)

Sep 9, 2008, 9:44 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Bill is one of the most safety conscious DZOs I have ever met, you should see the 'come back next year' T-shirts people are wearing at the DZ , hilarious.


377  (F 666)

Sep 9, 2008, 10:11 PM
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Re: [jsaxton] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

tell us more about the t shirts. What makes them hilarious? And no, I don't think Bill is looking to rip anyone off. He has the best jump prices in the USA. Bill deserves some love for his role in keeping skydiving affordable.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Sep 9, 2008, 10:15 PM)


jsaxton  (D 26818)

Sep 9, 2008, 10:14 PM
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Re: [377] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

Absolutely! You'll find me there most Saturdays Cool


jsaxton  (D 26818)

Sep 9, 2008, 10:42 PM
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Re: [NickDG] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

i doubt that's the case, I _really_ doubt that bill needs THAT money.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Sep 9, 2008, 11:26 PM
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Re: [jsaxton] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

>>i doubt that's the case, I _really_ doubt that bill needs THAT money.<<

I didn't either that's why I made it a question.

And I get you're a fan, as most folks from his DZ I've met are. But allow us the fact we've been hearing Bill stories for thirty years that I know about. So the question, I guess, is can we discuss this training program of his without you getting mad at us?

Are you an Instructor there? In either case - what do you think of it? Did you read the other thread?

I actually like the fact there a some non-USPA DZs where you can be a bit more free to try new things with students, but it needs to be well thought out and safe as possible. So can you enlighten us. I'm really interested in knowing how well it works.

NickD Smile


councilman24  (D 8631)

Sep 10, 2008, 5:55 AM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] why require a tandem for AFF? [In reply to] Can't Post

You call them golfers.Wink


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