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Parachutist Editorial

 

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Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Jul 3, 2009, 10:15 PM
Post #126 of 234 (1792 views)
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Re: [pms07] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Scott,

It's well thought out and written proposal. Here's a question I'm curious about though (okay, maybe more than one question...). Why does the the future of the FFC have to fit within this concept: "One that fits into existing USPA instructional structure"?

I'll answer this since the "request/directive" I received was to "make it fit within the existing structure."
Firstly, THANK YOU for taking the time to actually read it.
Rather than the words "existing structure" the words "formatting and language" are probably a better description. The SIM is already a little difficult to read, and woefully inadequate in some places as is the IRM when you jump from section to section, because the various sections are by different authors. Recently some mistakes were found in the newest bylaws and SIM as well, simply because of things being changed around.
With this in mind, language and paragraphical formatting plus paragraphical and linguistic referencing was matched to the IRM and SIM as much as possible. Yet the teaching methods are quite a bit different than the IRM methods used for say, AFF, S/L, IAD. Because the wingsuit skydive is an entirely different type of skydive, there are some components that treat experienced skydivers as though they have no jumps, because in fact, they have no WS jumps.

Then there was the challenge of creating a rating that would fit within the ORGANIZATIONAL structure. That too, brought some challenges and a _tremendous_ amount of discussion between all of the team members working on the project. This group was by no means a "happy feely, we all agree on everything" effort, which is why I personally feel we met the goal asked for. We wanted a rating that wasn't a cakewalk to achieve that would assure quality instructors, but that wasn't so difficult to achieve that it was like gaining an AFFI rating, either.
To answer your next question, experienced jumpers aren't treated any differently than 200 jump jumpers.
Keep in mind that the USPA essentially just rubber-stamped the original Birdman recommendations from years back, and this doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing, just because it's been the accepted norm. As mentioned up-thread, John Mitchell and Jay Stokes are both EXCEPTIONALLY experienced skydivers, and both very much appreciated "new" things learned in their FFC's.
We did talk a lot about the small Cessna DZ's, and that was one of the determining factors when creating recommendations for the minimum WSI requirements as well. We see people from small Cessna DZ's at the large flocking events and bigway camps, and so it shouldn't be too much of a hardship for these folks to become WSI's, and/or there are of course, always boogies where there will continue to be free or low-cost FFC's just like there are now. Keeping the rating current is very easy, IMO. If you're not doing a couple FFC's a year...you probably don't want/need the rating anyway. Bear in mind, coached WS jumps have merit to currency.
As far as what the S&T committee has, the document you're seeing here online is the same one as was handed over to them earlier, excepting one small deletion.
One other clarification I'd like to make about the people involved, the post above this one mentions Chris Warnock, but not his AFFI, TI, Senior Rigger, and World Record CRW status/ratings, nor does it mention Taya Weiss holds a USPA Coach rating, as does Jeff Nebelkopf. FWIW, I hold Coach, PRO, and AFFI ratings. If this current proposal passes, all wingsuit Instructors will be required to pass.
That said, there is at least one other proposal that was submitted to USPA that is much less complete than ours is, submitted by another person/team. I'd hate for ours to be mixed up with theirs.
Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.


VectorBoy  (F 321)

Jul 3, 2009, 10:39 PM
Post #127 of 234 (1784 views)
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Re: [sdctlc] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

 This proposal has not yet passed and if it does as is or in some variation or not at all, increased awareness is NOT a bad thing though sticking your head in the sand to save the same old same old will put us squarely in a bad position.

Scott Callantine
D-16437
USPA TM-I, S/L-I
What?!?!

Sticking our head in the sand to save the same old same old? How exactly has the same old not worked as recommended?

A long time ago there were people who were trusted to take the box of demo suits from one boogie to the next, call them suit porters. It was a thankless demeaning job. An informal instructor title was created for these poor schleps to give them more prestige than just being suit porters. Since they had some, even if only a little, knowledge of wingsuit flying they could answer the off the wall questions someone wanting to demo a suit might ask even though all the common sense stuff is handled by the manual,

Later to save money the factory just mailed the suits to the next event. After an attempt to save money on shipping insurance failed and demo suits were lost in transit the factory encouraged these suit porters who were now factory fleet instructors to invest in their own training suits. Boom now we have our modern instructors of the current day. The company tells us that they are awefully good at what they do and should be sought out for instruction. Fair enough.

One of the most prolific and respected suit porter/ instructors , Chuck Blue, with over 45 suits from every manufacturer and a lot of experience takes up a new bird. The report is that the new bird does a flat spin so hard he pops blood vessels in his eyes, but recovers and goes on to get a great deal of experience himself. I haven't personally seen the video, or any videos of flat spins, but I except their statements as honest enough.

That bird, Jeff N, goes on to get a great deal of his own experience. Not just in flying but also in teaching new birds , organizing and suit development for Tony suits. Years later with a lot of experience under his belt he takes up a new bird. An experienced skydiver well within the guidelines of the USPA recommendations and this new bird, she gets unstable, words like flat spin are used post dive to describe the jump ( yes she lived).

We are talking two of the most experienced wingsuit instructors at the time of these events. You will not argue that and win. Both take up students well within the excepted guidelines, no jump number funny business. The jumps go less than perfect but yet our heros are helpless to intervene and save the day. They can only watch and hope the students save themselves. Which in these cases they do.

So now we have a couple of different proposals from a few different groups advocating the creation of a super USPA instructor. " to ensure they can actually fly like they say they can fly" For what? I don't care if you create a person who can fly a wingsuit to mars and back before beerlight. When things go bad or real bad on a first flight what will they give us? Better hand signals? Fantastic horrific video? Do you really expect them to grapple with a flying cuisinart of a tumbling first flight gone bad? Your USPA instructor will be helpless despite flying skills just like anyone before instructor or otherwise.

What do you really want a more capable instructor , like that will make a difference, or do you want gear porters to stop letting under qualified jumpers get their hands on gear? Good luck stopping loaners and classified deals. Better yet how about creating a super knowledge database with everything one needs to know in regards to wingsuits. Put it on 3 DVDs. yes it will fit we are not that special.

BTW stop saying some of us have our heads in the sand. We see the facts, we understand the emotions and we see those very emotions cloud your vision from the facts. In fact we can say you guys have your heads in your own cool-aid.


(This post was edited by VectorBoy on Jul 3, 2009, 10:46 PM)


Skwrl  (C 36419)

Jul 4, 2009, 4:45 AM
Post #128 of 234 (1736 views)
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Re: [BASEjumper375] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Jeff Donohue Ė Flock University

Huh. I always thought of myself as a Leo who likes long walks on the beach and fireside conversation.

Impressive research effort, but a little off. I was trained by Flock University instructors - and I certainly jump with the Flock U guys regularly - but I'm not a Flock University instructor or coach. (Nor do I do any other form of skydiving instruction or coaching.)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Jul 4, 2009, 3:59 PM
Post #129 of 234 (1654 views)
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Re: [VectorBoy] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
. The jumps go less than perfect but yet our heros are helpless to intervene and save the day. They can only watch and hope the students save themselves. Which in these cases they do.

So now we have a couple of different proposals from a few different groups advocating the creation of a super USPA instructor. " to ensure they can actually fly like they say they can fly" For what? .

Sometimes AFF jumps go that way too, and even the best "super" AFF instructor heroes in the world can't get to a rogue student either.
Let's just do away with that program.


kallend  (D 23151)

Jul 4, 2009, 4:21 PM
Post #130 of 234 (1649 views)
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Re: [DSE] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
. The jumps go less than perfect but yet our heros are helpless to intervene and save the day. They can only watch and hope the students save themselves. Which in these cases they do.

So now we have a couple of different proposals from a few different groups advocating the creation of a super USPA instructor. " to ensure they can actually fly like they say they can fly" For what? .

Sometimes AFF jumps go that way too, and even the best "super" AFF instructor heroes in the world can't get to a rogue student either.
Let's just do away with that program.

Very poor and inappropriate analogy. AFF is for ab-initio students. Wingsuit instruction is for licensed skydivers. The USPA BOD will not be impressed with logic like that.

I'm still waiting to hear what the actual proven problem is that your proposal will be sure to fix.


bdrake529  (D 29503)

Jul 4, 2009, 4:57 PM
Post #131 of 234 (1641 views)
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Re: [kallend] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I'm still waiting to hear what the actual proven problem is that your proposal will be sure to fix.

Since this request (in various forms) has been put forth by several people now, I'm starting to wonder if it's being intentionally ignored. An "inconvenient question" perhaps?

I don't consider the "putting your head in the sand" cliche a substantive answer either (if that is the official response). And if the train metaphor isn't going away, we'd like to see what copy of the schedule you're all looking at, cuz some of us aren't convinced one is on the way.


Yeah... I'm at work on a Saturday instead of the DZ. Laugh it up. I'm not.


VectorBoy  (F 321)

Jul 4, 2009, 7:19 PM
Post #132 of 234 (1626 views)
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Re: [DSE] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Sometimes AFF jumps go that way too, and even the best "super" AFF instructor heroes in the world can't get to a rogue student either.
Let's just do away with that program.
Not sometimes BUT Rarely does that happen! level 3 anyone? But do that in Jay stokes AFFI course and you ain't passing..... I've seen him make grown people cry over it. Of course there are shitty AffI course instructors and shitty AFF instructors and shitty tandem masters, shitty DZOs, Shitty S&TAs, Shitty pilots. But they are a small percentage, Hopefully very small. Should we get rid of all that?

Remember not one, repeat after me, not a single one instructor regardless of back ground or capability can ever correct a student in a wingsuit, while also wearing a wingsuit them selves and that is the way we conduct first flight courses love.

These were hard facts back when there were only two companies making suits and just a handfull of personal suits in the world and now that wingsuiting has given us over 5 companies and a growth that you describe as exponential its still true. You just can't alter the laws of physics. You can how ever do a search of these very discussions from back in 04,05 etc. Nothing has changed, there are no new angles, just new faces.

Question: Do you really have a pro rating?


VectorBoy  (F 321)

Jul 4, 2009, 10:07 PM
Post #133 of 234 (1607 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

 
On a different note. I have been following this thread and when I actually have some time to sit down and type something longer out I will. A few good comments so far but just keep in mind, you don't know what you don't know and be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

Somehow I expected a post in these regards by now. Although I can't predict your stance on the matter.


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Jul 5, 2009, 6:42 PM
Post #134 of 234 (1543 views)
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Re: [bdrake529] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
I'm still waiting to hear what the actual proven problem is that your proposal will be sure to fix.

Since this request (in various forms) has been put forth by several people now, I'm starting to wonder if it's being intentionally ignored. An "inconvenient question" perhaps?

I don't consider the "putting your head in the sand" cliche a substantive answer either (if that is the official response). And if the train metaphor isn't going away, we'd like to see what copy of the schedule you're all looking at, cuz some of us aren't convinced one is on the way.


Yeah... I'm at work on a Saturday instead of the DZ. Laugh it up. I'm not.

In light of the APF, BPA recently passing programs, doesn't that alone suggest change is in the wind? What do you suppose motivated the president of the USPA to write such an editorial if there isn't a desire to at least open a discussion at an administrative level? It seems to me the answer to the question was self-evident and didn't need to be repeated (again) since it's been mentioned in at least four posts in this thread.
Either way, I suppose it doesn't matter at this point. it's only a matter of time before another newbie wingsuiter burns in, takes out a tandem, hits an airplane, or has an off landing that turns into a nasty situation. And the "correct" answer will be "they're an experienced skydiver, they knew what they were doing when they jumped out of the plane."


VectorBoy  (F 321)

Jul 5, 2009, 7:56 PM
Post #135 of 234 (1536 views)
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Re: [DSE] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Quote:
In light of the APF, BPA recently passing programs, doesn't that alone suggest change is in the wind?

Not really. They are use to more government intervention and management. That is there not here. I doubt their jumpers are happy about it. You can examine the level of aviation oversight by their governments and what the the FAA does for us. I say does for us because they work for us as an example. Your best bet would be to talk to a foreign pilot that has traveled here and seen some of the freedoms and services we have and take for granted as general aviation airspace users that are just not offered anywhere else. I would like to think our USPA is more an agency of the culture its serves and not others subject to different rules.


Quote:
What do you suppose motivated the president of the USPA to write such an editorial if there isn't a desire to at least open a discussion at an administrative level?

It merits discussion, it merits an editorial, anything to make people think and not be complacent. Just like last years event were we lost two non skydivers from slipping out the back of tandem harnesses. Just like forgetting leg straps under a wingsuit. Complacency kills.



Quote:
Either way, I suppose it doesn't matter at this point. it's only a matter of time before another newbie wingsuiter burns in, takes out a tandem, hits an airplane, or has an off landing that turns into a nasty situation. And the "correct" answer will be "they're an experienced skydiver, they knew what they were doing when they jumped out of the plane."

This is an emotionally charged response but it is completely correct. There is no way of knowing when the next wingsuit incident will take place. No way to predict someones suitability to the particular discipline and worse yet no way to save someone regardless of instructor capability or a student's actual suitability to be in the suit once the first flight is taken. Everybody who puts on a wingsuit for the first time is completely on their own with only their experience and knowledge to protect them. If a jumper wants to short cut the recommended experience required while they are on their first flight all alone, this might just get them killed.

We are using emotion in a discussion yet we don't have a clear failure mode or exact reason why things went bad in a couple of events. We are proposing sweeping changes to a system without having identified the weak link in it. The new system can not guarantee to protect us from issues, currently, that are claimed to have failed us that haven't even been identified. None of this would fly in an NTSB aircraft crash or a crime scene investigation report. BTW a wingsuiter has already hit a plane and lived. That event created changes locally in WS operations that have made it into the BMI instructor program and the way all drop pilots operate when a wingsuiter is on the load. "off landing that turns into a nasty situation" -----Sounds like a third of our CRW jumps. Should CRW expect further regulation?.

You can't re-write the constitution because of a bad feeling.


(This post was edited by VectorBoy on Jul 5, 2009, 8:16 PM)


skydave114  (D License)

Jul 6, 2009, 6:06 AM
Post #136 of 234 (1484 views)
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Re: [DSE] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
... And the "correct" answer will be "they're an experienced skydiver, they knew what they were doing when they jumped out of the plane."

ding ding ding we have a winner! Tongue

Some of us met with our regional director sat. to discuss this issue. I got the impression that the instructor rating is unlikely to be adopted. More likely that the current jump # recommendations could be BSR's, and/or be converted to C / D license.


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Jul 6, 2009, 9:55 AM
Post #137 of 234 (1422 views)
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Re: Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

I've finally caught up on this thread and all I can say is that it gives me a headache for a multitude of reasons.

Most of the people who were around back when this all started and were some of the most verbose, have proved to be tourists in the sport and are no longer around. With exception, Glen and one or two others are probably the only ones who were not only in the sport at the time, they were also flying a wingsuit. The point being is that there is a long history that I don't care to recount here and most around now and or posting in this thread weren't even in the sport and or flying a wingsuit. In order to understand how the current topic plays into the grand scheme of things you really need to know what happened in the past, otherwise some of what I am about to skim over may not paint the entire picture for you. So if you really want to know, do some searches and be prepared to read for many hours.

My intent is to not write a long and drawn out rehashing of the past or repeat what a few others have already said in this thread. Quite frankly, I am tired of the petty bickering in this forum and within the wingsuiting community in general. Some of the posts that have some of the best insight and or comments/information in this thread were written by Kallend, Peek, Bdrake and the last but not least Glen. All have either asked very relevant questions, pointed out glaring inconsistencies and or provided accurate feedback on how this topic will be received.


As I am sure Glen can tell you, I have always been an advocate for proper wingsuit instruction and safety, even when it was unpopular.
The intent and point of contention then was to keep instruction within the community and to police ourselves so wingsuits wouldn't be ostracized at DZ's and ultimately banned or regulated by the governing body. Problem was, back then, we had a shortage of instructors and it was difficult for people to get training by an instructor, so many self taught or had a buddy, you know the rest.
Thatís as deep as I am going to get into that part of history. From that a standardized program of instruction was created by Chuck Blue, myself and Kim Griffin. Chuck and I actually sat down in the loft of the original Birdhouse in Deland and started writing it and I have maintained and updated it since then along with input from other BMCIs over the years.

From that, several other instructor programs have emerged using the Birdman instructor program whether they realized it or not. Some simply took Birdman off the cover and out of the body of the documents and replaced it with their company, some simply repeated what they saw being done by BMIs at the DZ. Again, thatís factual history and I'll not re-hash or argue about it.

What this lead to was an increase of instructors, some of which were questionable then and even now, but the effect has been that we have seen a large growth within the discipline and more people are now flying wingsuits. Do I agree with the way some other schools of thought or individuals teach, yes and no. It's like Glen said in one of his posts above, every once in while you get a shitty one, YOU CANNOT CONTROL IT, it happens and itís a direct reflection on that individual instructor.

Were there and are there some bad ones? Yes there are/were. However, most of the people reading this have either heard or have repeated the story about instructor ratings being given over a beer or in 30 minutes. Few however, actually KNOW what the facts are, they simply repeat something they have no first or even second hand knowledge about, they simply keep repeating the BULLSHIT. I'm not saying it didn't happen, I'm saying the incidence was and is very small. Those who turned out to be shitty instructors are usually "outed" fairly quickly and either stop teaching or have moved on to something else.
Which leads me to my next topic.

I am issuing a challenge from here on, however, what I am about to write must be read and taken with an understanding of "if the shoe fits, wear it", if the shoe doesn't fit you then simply disregard; what I am saying doesn't pertain to you. You be the judge and let your conscience be your guide.

* Grow a backbone, a pair of nuts, some intestinal fortitude or whatever you want to call it. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

This applies if you're going to post ďbitches and moansĒ about how this one guy is a bad instructor/did something messed up without naming said person or using any type of beating around the bush/passive aggressive attacks. Also, have the balls to confront and bring these same issues up with said person in person and not change your story.
I'm not talking about rolling around in the dirt doing the man dance, unless it comes to that, but actually talk to that person and not behind their back. The shit I have seen in this forum and on the DZs as of late is pitiful. Be a man. If you're going to call someone out, call them out, otherwise STFU.*


Now, I'll address some of the issues I see. I won't repeat the questions that have already been asked by Bdrake/Glen/Kallend or others in this thread. As far as I am concerned, they still stand and have not been addressed with a viable answer yet. I'd like to hear the answers myself as I also have the same questions/observations.


First off, the syllabus. Well done and I mean that. I mean after all it is damn near identical to the Birdman instructor program that Chuck Blue and I wrote about 8 years ago and is still being used today. Now before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I understand the basic information can only be presented in a few ways. I am not talking about that, what I am talking about is the way it is formatted, the standards, requirements and the teaching methodology. Now it's not like this information was or is a secret as it has been used to teach people for years now, and itís been handed out to those who have actually gone through the BMI course. There are a few minor differences; however, if you were to take the two documents and do a side by side comparison it would be glaringly apparent. I can overlook that as it's not the first time someone has done that with the Birdman instruction program and claimed it as their own. The fact of the matter is that in one way or another, every instructor program currently out there uses teaching methods that come from the Birdman instruction program.

What I do find highly annoying is that those who choose to bash the Birdman program are using the same program of instruction/methodology as their own program. HELLO? Does anyone else see the irony/hypocrisy in this?

What I am reading/hearing in all of this commentary is what sounds like a personal issue with a particular instructor(s). Perhaps that person is messed up or does something you don't agree with. That doesn't mean the instruction program is at fault, it means the instructor is either messed up and or you don't agree with something he/she has done. We've seen it happen in all the manufacturer camps, it seems to change weekly and no one is immune. At the moment, Tony is under the microscope for putting a newbie with 4 Wingsuit jumps up in the latest and greatest big suit in another thread. The simple solution to this is not to bash the program, but to deal with the person you have issue with, man to man( see asterisk above).


Second, I have heard words like accountability used as justification for this USPA instructor rating. Coupled with that are the 2 recent fatalities, used as an example why this need exists. I can't remember who pointed it out, but up thread someone pointed out that following the fatalities Doug(DSE) said the instructors were not at fault for the deaths, at least the one in Sebastian. And here now, in this thread, those deaths are being used as an example of why a USPA instructor rating is needed and instructors need to be held accountable. What's even more mind boggling to me is that one of the people behind this proposal(Jeff), who all feel instructors need to be held accountable by the USPA, is the instructor who taught the student who died in Sebastian. I don't know what word to use but words like inconsistent, ironic, hypocritical come to mind. Granted there were extenuating circumstances in both incidents and both victims went out of their way to get themselves into a wingsuit despite warning from others. In the last instance, if there had been a USPA rating in effect, would that mean the instructor was at fault? Again, be careful what you ask for, you might get it. Peek even alluded to that in his post up thread.

What I haven't seen addressed at all, is exactly how is the USPA expected to hold a wingsuit instructor accountable? In the last incident, how would this have affected the instructor and how would this affect others to want to become wingsuit instructors in the future? As has been stated, we are not talking about AFF/Tandem here but an experienced and licensed skydiver who, once they leave the door of the aircraft cannot be physically controlled like an AFF/Tandem student can. So this raises the question, what type of accountability is being proposed here and how is it going to change anything from the way it is now?


Third, I don't see an overwhelming amount of sub-standard wingsuit instructors out there( I do see a lot of pettiness though). I also don't see an epidemic of people killing themselves within the wingsuiting discipline to justify implementing a USPA regulated rating instead of a manufacturer issued rating, and I and a few others have been doing this longer than anyone currently involved in this thread and in the sport. Granted, even one death is too many but in the last 2 fatalities you could easily replace the word wingsuit with canopy and the story would sound familiar, and peopleís reaction would be the same. Dude wants to jump a small canopy, dude is told/warned by those around him, dude sneaks around/lies and gets a small canopy, dude kills himself.
Yeah, we've all heard that story a lot more but we don't see the USPA or anyone else saying we need to have a canopy/swooping instructor rating. Again, how would you hold an instructor accountable? What is the problem that this USPA rating is supposed to solve? I'll answer both question.
You can't do it and there isn't a problem.


Fourth, wingsuiting is a discipline just like CRW, VRW, RW, Freestyle, Skysurfing and Swooping. People receive instruction in these disciplines from others without a discipline specific instruction rating every day. If you implemented something like that along with the certification, fees, etc, how many people do you think would pony up and do it for the other disciplines? We'd see a shortage of wingsuit instructors and less people joining the discipline. It would actually revert to the way it was back in 2002 where it was hard for someone to find a wingsuit instructor close to them or another wingsuiter willing to teach them.


Do I believe there needs to be quality instruction and instructors in wingsuiting? The answer is yes. Do I think the manufacturer programs work? While not perfect, the answer is yes. So far we have policed ourselves fairly well. If you were around from the beginning you'd understand, as now we have people jumping on others when they talk about not using an instructor where as before, you got jumped on for suggesting using an instructor or the need for them. We've seen both ends of the spectrum, from those voicing warnings and from those scoffing at the warnings. The result is we now have a community of people that for the most part agree that we need instructors and a need to know how to fit into the rest of skydiving and not ostracize wingsuits. We've managed that on our own and I see no good reason to purposely impose more restrictions and bureaucracy into something that is working on its own.


Lastly, the USPA has far bigger issues to deal with and Glen's post above on how it will be met and viewed by the BOD is probably close to 99% accurate. This thread has generated a good deal of responses and views. I'll repeat what Scott Bland put out there already. If you can take the time to write a post here on DZ.com or read this thread, you can take the time to e-mail your Regional and National Director and voice your stance in a few sentences. I have and they have already responded and shared their thoughts on it with me.


mccordia  (D 94775)

Jul 6, 2009, 10:35 AM
Post #138 of 234 (1403 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
What I do find highly annoying is that those who choose to bash the Birdman program are using the same program of instruction/methodology as their own program.

I think most people are not bashing the program, but several key people who methodicly, repeatedly and deliberately choose to not stick to their own program they are instructing other BMI's in when it comes to experience levels of first-timers and instruction.

And the whole debate is on ensuring that instruction happens at a certain level of quality. One that is currently up to each instructor and his/her (high or low) standards. If I start training people straight from AFF, there is nobody taking my BMI number away. With several profilic forum members having (knowingly) received their training from well known BMCI's at around 80/90 freefall jumps in experience. I think it shows that the program might be great in writing. But often poor in practice...
There is a list circling around on email with BMCI names, and the people they instructed and at which experience level. And when I read that one. I was shocked. As it wasnt a short list.
And some of those people critisized Jeff for taking up someone at a low experience level, yet do exactly the same again and again themselves (still!).

That aside, nothing but praise for the actual program.

On a sidenote, several of the people you mention only account you for a re-write 4 years after the initial version. And not for writing the full thing from the start. Even the Birdman website doesnt list you as the original writer, as you claim here, but merely as someone who helped in some of the updates. Not underplaying your role, but whats the story on that one? Are you one of the founding fathers, or are you putting yourself into wingsuit flying a few years before you actually made your first flight? As hearing 10 different versions on the BMI program and who wrote it does get a bit confusing.

And does it really mater? In the end, WHO wrote what isnt important. Its more importent WHATS written, and HOW its used. And at the moment, thats where things go wrong...

Quote:
Do I believe there needs to be quality instruction and instructors in wingsuiting? The answer is yes.

I think in the end, thats a common goal. With several people working towards this, you'd say something good has to come out of it at some point.

And though some people are not thinking of it this way. But imagine the people knowing what they are talking about do nothing with regards to the USPA and wingsuit instruction. And some over-active person with a nack for typing but total lack of knowledge on wingsuit flying writes a proposal, and that gets accepted or approved (as the letter by the USPA director DOES kinda hint at them WANTING something in form of more structured instruction/limits).

Personaly, I would (world-wide) like seeing the jump limit becoming a hard rule (and hope people are honest about their jump numbersWink)

And also putting some classes/limits as to what suits people are allowed to fly at what experience levels. As currently, putting people in big ass suits right from the start seems to be getting the norm.
And though we're not seeing tons of accidents, just because things are going okay, doesnt mean they are okay.


Skwrl  (C 36419)

Jul 6, 2009, 11:12 AM
Post #139 of 234 (1355 views)
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First off, the syllabus. Well done and I mean that. I mean after all it is damn near identical to the Birdman instructor program that Chuck Blue and I wrote about 8 years ago and is still being used today. Now before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I understand the basic information can only be presented in a few ways. I am not talking about that, what I am talking about is the way it is formatted, the standards, requirements and the teaching methodology. Now it's not like this information was or is a secret as it has been used to teach people for years now, and itís been handed out to those who have actually gone through the BMI course. There are a few minor differences; however, if you were to take the two documents and do a side by side comparison it would be glaringly apparent. I can overlook that as it's not the first time someone has done that with the Birdman instruction program and claimed it as their own. The fact of the matter is that in one way or another, every instructor program currently out there uses teaching methods that come from the Birdman instruction program.

OK, I'm going to jump in here, and take your advice and call a spade a spade. I think what you're saying, Scott, is that the syllabus in those materials was taken from the Birdman documents.

On this, I call bullshit.

Why do I know that it's bullshit? Because I have never in my life seen the Birdman instructional materials and I was the principal architect of that document. I'm not saying that I came up with the information - that was provided by the various instructors in the working group through a long series of conference calls, meetings and summits. My job was to be the scribe. I got all of their information and feedback, and I turned that into a document that they then reviewed, made edits to, and approved.

Now, without having seen the Birdman documents, I am willing to bet that they are indeed similar. As much as we love to breathe our own fumes in this forum, wingsuiting ain't rocket science. And there are only so many topics taught in a first flight course. You donít need to talk about canopy control. And there's a logical order in which stuff gets taught. It would be bizarre to talk about how to unzip your stuff after a deployment without talking about the freefall. But that's about it. So implying - without adhering to your own request that we "grow a backbone and say what you mean and mean what you say" Ė that I stole Birdmanís stuff is utter bunk.

I'm an intellectual property rights attorney and I teach intellectual property law at a law school.
So I take accusations of plagiarism - which is basically an accusation of theft and unprofessional conduct - really fucking seriously. I never claim to be a wingsuit instructor (in fact I have made crystal clear that Iím not), but what I am is a professional who takes any job that gets assigned to me seriously.

Scott, I give huge deference to your extensive experience and what you've done to make this sport safer and more fun for everyone, but the bottom line is that I don't care if you're a 99 jump wonder who wants to get into wingsuiting or the fucking ancient wizened guru elder of wingsuiting - if you call my work stolen (even if in a very coy manner), I'm going to call you on it.

Because it wasn't. Period. And the accusation is utter fucking bullshit.

I'm done with this project and this thread.


(This post was edited by Skwrl on Jul 6, 2009, 11:25 AM)


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Jul 6, 2009, 11:35 AM
Post #140 of 234 (1330 views)
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I think most people are not bashing the program, but several key people who methodicly, repeatedly and deliberately choose to not stick to their own program they are instructing other BMI's in when it comes to experience levels of first-timers and instruction.


Refer to my post above and see the part about people having personal issues with others. Also lets not forget, this is not limited to one camp, it has and does happen in all of them.


Quote:
And the whole debate is on ensuring that instruction happens at a certain level of quality. One that is currently up to each instructor and his/her (high or low) standards. If I start training people straight from AFF, there is nobody taking my BMI number away. With several profilic forum members having (knowingly) received their training from well known BMCI's at around 80/90 freefall jumps in experience. I think it shows that the program might be great in writing. But often poor in practice...


No argument there. But how do you or anyone propose implementing a method of ensuring those levels of quality are met after the person gets their instructor rating? They obviously met the standard and could train to standard to get the rating. Once any instructor sets out on his own, it's up to him to maintain the standard or to become "that guy". In either case, there is no sure fire way to hold anyone to this be it wingsuiting or an AFF instructor. Glen covered this quite well a few posts above.


Quote:
There is a list circling around on email with BMCI names, and the people they instructed and at which experience level.


A good example of the pettiness I mentioned in our community. Grow the fuck up people. We're a small community as it is, and this type of shit only further subdivides us and bleeds all the fun out of why people want to wingsuit.

Quote:
On a sidenote, several of the people you mention only account you for a re-write 4 years after the initial version. And not for writing the full thing from the start. Even the Birdman website doesnt list you as the original writer, as you claim here, but merely as someone who helped in some of the updates. Not underplaying your role, but whats the story on that one? Are you one of the founding fathers, or are you putting yourself into wingsuit flying a few years before you actually made your first flight? As hearing 10 different versions on the BMI program and who wrote it does get a bit confusing.


Technically, Jari started the instructor program but the standardized method of instruction and the instructor program, the one most are familiar with and that I have referred to, was conceived and agreed on one evening with Jari, Chuck, myself, Kim and Asaf present. Chuck and I started actually putting it on paper(computer) the following day as I described. Scott Bland was in one of the first classes following the creation of the program along with several others. Since then it has been a living document and has undergone many changes over the years and several people have had input. Until Chuck and I put it down on paper, there was no tangible program or standardization to teaching to speak of. I don't think you can get any more original than that.


Quote:
And does it really mater? In the end, WHO wrote what isnt important. Its more importent WHATS written, and HOW its used. And at the moment, thats where things go wrong...

Well since its been adopted and applied throughout the community it does matter as if there was something wrong with it, it wouldn't have been adopted as it has. I think the issue you and others have has more to do with individuals actions based on he said/she said information sharing. Again, not saying it hasn't happened, just that things the issue is with the person in question.


Quote:
And though some people are not thinking of it this way. But imagine the people knowing what they are talking about do nothing with regards to the USPA and wingsuit instruction. And some over-active person with a nack for typing but total lack of knowledge on wingsuit flying writes a proposal, and that gets accepted or approved (as the letter by the USPA director DOES kinda hint at them WANTING something in form of more structured instruction/limits).


And thats why USPA members who do know can write their Regional and National directors and share their thoughts on the topic and hear what their RD/ND thinks on the matter. Which several have done and from what's been posted, we have a general idea which way the RD/ND are leaning.


sdctlc  (D 16437)

Jul 6, 2009, 11:37 AM
Post #141 of 234 (1328 views)
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In reply to:
This thread has generated a good deal of responses and views. I'll repeat what Scott Bland put out there already. If you can take the time to write a post here on DZ.com or read this thread, you can take the time to e-mail your Regional and National Director and voice your stance in a few sentences. I have and they have already responded and shared their thoughts on it with me.

I 100% agree with that statement...

http://www.uspa.org/...bid/140/Default.aspx

At least 2 groups have submitted something per the request of a USPA Board Member with that request being very specific in terms of goals.. What the driving force was or support behind that from other USPA Board members or RD's I dont know for sure. I spoke to my RD this weekend as well as a AFF I/E who knows a little about it and now have a better understanding of the situation. If you cant talk to yours at least fire off a E-Mail using the link above if you don't have their contact info, BEFORE the meeting. This is a public forum and not the place where a/any decision will be made ultimately.

The document that was created within the group I was asked to participate in, I think met the goals asked. Is it perfect, I wish I could say it was but given it was generated by an experienced yes, but small group of people does not make it the be all end all. As I understood it,t once we were finished it was going to go into an open review period for comment which was part of why I agreed to work on it. All of that said, Does it carry a good amount of information that can be drawn from and used to formulate something different if that is what ultimately is decided, I hope the answer is a resounding yes.

I stated above I don't think the system is completely broken as it is but I do think it can be improved and this discussion having been generated by the editorial and then the public link to a proposal hopefully will lead to that.. If nothing else people should agree, after readig the thread here, that the minimum standards need to be adheared to given so many posters in this thread, even some of the ones railing against the idea of a WSI, have noted knowledge of wingsuit flights by under experienced jumpers and classes being taught by manufacturer Instructors, not just one manufacturer program but all of them..

IF you want or don't want to have some program, IF you want the recommended (and I would say accepted) standards to fly a wingsuit be bumped up to a BSR, IF you feel an expansion of the Wingsuit section in the Sim will help, of IF you want nothing --> take a minute and use the link above..

Scott Callantine
D-16437
USPA TM-I, S/L-I


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Jul 6, 2009, 11:50 AM
Post #142 of 234 (1305 views)
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I'm not saying that I came up with the information - that was provided by the various instructors in the working group through a long series of conference calls, meetings and summits. My job was to be the scribe. I got all of their information and feedback, and I turned that into a document that they then reviewed, made edits to, and approved.


Jeff, I don't question your integrity in this matter and as you said, you were the scribe. I do know that at least one if not two of those instructors has the Birdman materials. While I can understand your being pissed in this matter, if you were an indifferent 3rd party and I handed you the two documents and told you which one was created first and had you compare them I am confident you could draw your own conclusion as to how it would appear.


Skwrl  (C 36419)

Jul 6, 2009, 12:03 PM
Post #143 of 234 (1290 views)
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I don't question your integrity in this matter and as you said, you were the scribe.

Well, you just did, right?

Quote:
While I can understand your being pissed in this matter, if you were an indifferent 3rd party and I handed you the two documents and told you which one was created first and had you compare them I am confident you could draw your own conclusion as to how it would appear.

I would welcome the opportunity to do so. My email is jeff.donohue@gmail.com. If Birdman is concerned about non-Birdman people seeing that document, I'll agree in writing not to disseminate the materials to anyone else, and to destroy them upon completion of the review.


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Jul 6, 2009, 12:32 PM
Post #144 of 234 (1262 views)
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Re: [Skwrl] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Jeff, no problem. Check your PMs.


(This post was edited by LouDiamond on Jul 6, 2009, 12:35 PM)


LetsGoOutside  (D License)

Jul 6, 2009, 12:35 PM
Post #145 of 234 (1253 views)
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Re: Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Back when I became a BMI in 2003, I lacked any USPA ratings and was not familiar with the USPA instruction method. Having since gone through the coach course and getting ready for AFF, I regret getting that head start.

USPA's instruction method is extremely effective for this type of activity. If you've earned this basic instruction rating, you're at least going to (or should) have a solid instruction methodology, proper observation skills, and will likely pay very close attention to the details of your students' gear.

Whether there is an actual instructor rating for wingsuits or manufacturer ratings akin to tandems, I strongly feel candidates should have a coach or equivalent rating at a minimum.

My 2Ę.


mccordia  (D 94775)

Jul 6, 2009, 1:04 PM
Post #146 of 234 (1219 views)
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Quote:
There is a list circling around on email with BMCI names, and the people they instructed and at which experience level.


A good example of the pettiness I mentioned in our community. Grow the fuck up people. We're a small community as it is, and this type of shit only further subdivides us and bleeds all the fun out of why people want to wingsuit.

Really?
You think people pointing out a problem which could almost be described as a cancerous growth at the basis of the teaching system you are advocating is an example of pettiness?

But happy to see the whole 'ignore the problem and it will go away' works for you...Wink


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Jul 6, 2009, 1:27 PM
Post #147 of 234 (1190 views)
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Re: [mccordia] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Dude, I've tried explaining things to you over the internet before and I honestly don't know if it's a language/cultural or ADD issue on your part. When I've spoken to you face to face you seem to understand and grasp far more than you let on here, you also aren't as passive aggressive. If I have to explain this to you, you've obviously missed the other points I mentioned in my post that address your question.

Didn't you train someone that didn't meet the minimum requirements? Guess you're part of that cancerous growth eh? Recap here for you. If you have an issue with someone, deal with that person. Perpetuating he said/she said stories and creating and passing around lists of peoples infractions is fucking petty. If you want to continue with this line of discussion take it to PM so the thread doesn't drift.


mccordia  (D 94775)

Jul 6, 2009, 2:34 PM
Post #148 of 234 (1150 views)
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Dude, I've tried explaining things to you over the internet before and I honestly don't know if it's a language/cultural or ADD issue on your part.

Its the fact that I give straight answers to questions, and you always skim the subject by by diverting the issue to something or someone else. Not an issue I have with anyone else but you.
Again, Im not trying to be an ass here. But just trying to get a straight answer, for once...

Quote:
If I have to explain this to you, you've obviously missed the other points I mentioned in my post that address your question.

Yea..I missed it. So please answer it again. As you answered just about everything exept my question. And Ill be very precise in explaining this time.

Three people. Ill give you the names in a PM if you want em, but you quite well know who they are, so why even bother...

BMCIs. You know, the guys who TEACH all other new instructors THE standard by which they should be instructing.

When someone with 80 jumps walks up to them. The chief-instructors of the program thats set to be the basis of all instruction.
And that 80 jump wonder says "can you teach me to fly a wingsuit". Then they....the BMCI's say "sure...come allong!" instead of appointing them to an RW/FF or whatever coach for another 100 or more jumps.

No lying about jump numbers. No accidents in taking someone up thinking it was someone with more experience than they actually had.

No..KNOWINGLY doing so...not even sticking to the standards they should be teaching.

And now my question again. How can people willingly, and knowingly teach and instruct people way bellow the set standards. When out of all people, THEY should be the ones following this stuff down to the letter?

And with them currently being 'self appointed chairman' of their own organisation, nobody will ever pull them back, and give em a slap on the wrist. They are above their own laws. Appearantly.

And anyone who tries to point that one out is made out for a fool..
heyhey...Jarno has ADD...he doesnt understand...
Sure Scott..whatever makes you sleep better at night..

Quote:
Didn't you train someone that didn't meet the minimum requirements? Guess you're part of that cancerous growth eh?

I have.
I trained one individual who was appointed to me by someone who I trusted, saying he had the required 200 jumps.
A big mistake on my behalf trusting someone else, instead of my own eyes reading a logbook. 100% me to blame.
A mistake. And a big one Im ashamed and learnt from.

But explain how several instructors can ASK someone for their jump numbers. Get an honest answer with low jumpnumbers. Not even HALF of what they should have. And then choose to take said individuals up on a jump.

I can say in full honesty, had I know beforehand that aforementioned person had less than the required jump numbers, I would NOT have taken him up.

But again, the people we are talking about would have...just having someone to fly with seems their only interest.

I just wished the people I so want to be my shiny example of how things should be done, cant see whats happening here (and mostly, to their own credibility) and change their actions...

Quote:
Recap here for you. If you have an issue with someone, deal with that person.


Ive voiced my concerns about certain things in the past, and my 'worries' about that subject where just plane/rude ignored. Not even answered. Just ignored. Ive tried discussing the subject in a straight and to the point manner. But only one person seemed up to actually discussing the problem. Yet (sadly) not changing his/her actions on the concerns I voiced...but so be it.

My biggest gripe is that certain personal emails Ive sent to the individuals we talked about ended up in other peoples hands. I know so, as I got them forwarded back by other people asking 'what this was about'.

If someone handles 'personal emails' from me to him/her that way, thats the last personal note Im sending that way. And that pretty much limits how much you can discuss at a 1 on 1 level with that person.

Quote:
If you want to continue with this line of discussion take it to PM so the thread doesn't drift.

With the current topic being, do we need a change in the way things are being done with regards to instruction, this is as ON TOPIC as we can get.

When it comes to instruction....Practice what you preach...
Nothing more...nothing less...


Skwrl  (C 36419)

Jul 6, 2009, 2:47 PM
Post #149 of 234 (1136 views)
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Re: [LouDiamond] Parachutist Editorial [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the PM, Scott - I look forward to seeing it when you get it from the other computer. When you send it, I'll review and give you a call.


kallend  (D 23151)

Jul 6, 2009, 2:57 PM
Post #150 of 234 (1131 views)
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Quote:
I'm still waiting to hear what the actual proven problem is that your proposal will be sure to fix.

Since this request (in various forms) has been put forth by several people now, I'm starting to wonder if it's being intentionally ignored. An "inconvenient question" perhaps?

I don't consider the "putting your head in the sand" cliche a substantive answer either (if that is the official response). And if the train metaphor isn't going away, we'd like to see what copy of the schedule you're all looking at, cuz some of us aren't convinced one is on the way.


Yeah... I'm at work on a Saturday instead of the DZ. Laugh it up. I'm not.

In light of the APF, BPA recently passing programs, doesn't that alone suggest change is in the wind? What do you suppose motivated the president of the USPA to write such an editorial if there isn't a desire to at least open a discussion at an administrative level? It seems to me the answer to the question was self-evident and didn't need to be repeated (again) since it's been mentioned in at least four posts in this thread.
Either way, I suppose it doesn't matter at this point. it's only a matter of time before another newbie wingsuiter burns in, takes out a tandem, hits an airplane, or has an off landing that turns into a nasty situation. And the "correct" answer will be "they're an experienced skydiver, they knew what they were doing when they jumped out of the plane."

Nice way of completely avoiding the questions. You have not shown that there exists a systemic problem with existing WS instruction, nor have you provided one shred of evidence that your "solution" will have any actual effect.


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