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The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . .

 

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NickDG  (D 8904)

Aug 7, 2009, 11:31 AM
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The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . Can't Post

My recent post concerning Harry's fatality, in the Incidents section, while not directly related to his cause of death did touch on several things I believe we are doing wrong regarding student instruction. And judging from the amount of PMs I received there are more than a few who agree. So maybe it's time we have the discussion in a fuller form.

The great AFF experiment has been an abject failure.

Okay, cool your jets, keep an open mind, and stay with me as we try to sort this out. This is aimed mostly at those of you who never did a student static line (S/L) jump, or taught S/L students, prior to the advent of AFF in the early 1980s.

I learned how to skydive via the S/L method and taught it to students for years before AFF was invented. And nobody was more excited about AFF than I was when it became, "the new thing." I was in the second AFF certification course ever held and it's impossible to recreate here the excitement all of in that cert course felt. This was the answer! This would move us out of the stone age! This would allow our freefall skills to finally match up with our teaching methods!

Now here we are almost thirty years later and where are we? The amount of active skydivers is about the same, the overall fatality rate is about the same, the student retention rate is about the same (or lessened). And if not for the ten-fold improvement in gear and technology over the years I know that today we'd also be dealing with a ten-fold increase in fatalities.

Now, I hear you. "Yeah right Nick, S/L is the cure for everything!" That's not what I'm saying. God knows S/L had its share of issues and problems. But I do offer that we could have fixed most of those things if S/L had been allowed to progress. But S/L technology went stone cold in terms of development. And the death knell of S/L training wasn't that it was overtaking by a better method called AFF, it was simply we ran out of jumpmasters and instructors who believed in it or even knew how to properly conduct it.

Overall this is a very broad subject but let's just look at it just from the point of view of three groups of people. The students, the instructors, and the DZOs.

Students overall are very intuitive. How many times have you landed with an AFF level one who says, "Wow, thanks man, I could have never done that by myself!" Well, if you're a post-AFF instructor you take the complement and move on to the next student. If you're a pre-AFF instructor you smile but in the back of your head you know the student could have done it themselves if you had just taken the effort to teach them how. You know we are teaching walking at the expense of crawling.

When I made my very first jump, a S/L from 2800-feet, I knew I had just scratched the surface of skydiving. I could plainly see a path to becoming like the big boys, I could see the goal of getting to be an up-jumper and what an effort it would take. But today many first jump students making their first jump by freefalling from 12.5 can easily come away with the idea, "Skydiving, okay I crossed that off the bucket list, now let's move on to something else." Okay sure, getting through all the AFF levels is still a challenge, but it's not the quality of the challenge of forcing yourself to face a solo journey through to terminal velocity.

You hear it all the time, so I know it's true. Skydiving is not for everybody. But the overall state of the sport, and this is easier to see if you've been around for a long time, is full of the under-confident. And don't confuse bravado with skill and confidence. We've got plenty of the former and not enough of the latter. Too much hand-holding took care of that. Unless you've done it I can't explain to you what it takes to step out of an aircraft for a solo twenty second delay knowing full well you've got a bad spin problem. And you have to figure out a way to overcome it yourself. It sounds cruel in today's terms but this was the "weeding out" process that I think think we need to reinstate in skydiving. Students left to their own devices are somewhat self regulating. I actually never heard of the "bowling speech" until the advent of AFF. Static line students who couldn't hack it didn't need it. They just stopped showing up one weekend.

In an age when everyone gets a trophy for just showing up is fine at the high school track meet but in skydiving failure and feeling bad is way better than injury or death. I did my first demo jumps at around two-hundred jumps. That's unthinkable today, so ask yourself why? Plenty of people at that level, at that time, were capable of it. What's different about today? It's we are turning out sub-par parachutists by the boat load, and the boat is taking water over the side.

We Instructors have all see them, but I had a "frequent flyer" student from hell who took about thirty AFF jumps to get through. At the time, when everyone else had washed their hands of her, I thought as long as she was willing to try I was willing to take her. She throw-up in the plane from nerves, she had no altitude awareness, she spun like a top, she refused to jump on many occasions, but she kept coming back. And she finally made it. And I accepted the accolades from my peers for doing the impossible. But in hindsight I'm not so sure I did her, or the sport, any favors.

Okay, while here, let's look at it from the instructor point of view. The one thing I never liked about AFF is simply this. Seventy five percent of what I ever learned about skydiving from experience I never get to teach. Especially if you work at a large DZ you get seven or so jumps with a student and then they are gone, handed over to some coach with a couple hundred jumps. The old S/L program was heavy in jumps under supervision. There were several jumps at every level and it wasn't uncommon for a student to be finally signed off student status only after twenty or thirty jumps. The point is time spent with a particular student. The current seven levels of AFF, and the TLOs they represent, leave little room for the nice to know lessons. If in the current format I tried to teach a student everything I know about skydiving it's impossible. I would overload them to the point of not getting the job done. So I submit we, as instructors, are doing the wrong job.

It used to be we had only two programs of instruction. S/L and AFF. Nowadays we have as many hybrids of the two than you can count. We have tandem to AFF, we have S\L to AFF, and at some DZ's I've been to I have to ask, "What the heck are you guys doing?" Which brings to the last group, the DZOs.

The bottom line for a DZO is simply that, the bottom line. I was sitting one night with a DZO I worked for as she was going over the books. When she added up what she was paying out to the instructor corps I almost had to stop her from going into the loft and hanging herself from the rafters. "You guys," she told me, "are the cash cows!" And I could see how her wheels were turning. Get rid of us and her bottom line would soar.

Do you still wonder why Tandem Mills came about and why they do so well. Well, there it is. We went the full circle from teaching skydiving to "providing" skydiving. Personally I think anyone who works for, or runs a tandem mill should be taken out and shot. But in lieu of that ghastly fix go ahead and pencil out what an Otter load of AFF first jump students, and an Otter load full of S/L first jump students would effect your bottom line? Providing one single instructor and one video person with the rest being revenue seats? Student's leaving with a real sense of accomplishment because they did actually make a parachute jump all by themselves.

And a better return rate because we leave students wanting more! Instead of fulfilling someone's dream of skydiving let's just make it possible if they have the goods.

Why is it most girls don't put out on the first date? Why is it if you want to be Marine you don't just sign up and someone hands you an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor device? Why is it if you want to be a rock star it takes hours of practice and the blisters to prove it. The why of it is because it's worth the journey. Take that away and you're just a whore, in the Army, or a hack musician!

Okay, we aren't going to turn back the clock. We'll never but demon AFF back in the bottle. But there are things we can do, as a group, to fix some things. The first thing is we must get the instructor corps to being a stand alone entity. The conflict of interest between DZOs and instructors must end. If you don't see that than you really aren't what good instructors must be in the first place. A teacher, not a bookkeeper.

Back in the 1980s I could make two dollars a head for slinging static line students and ten per head for teaching the S/L FJC. I could do it full time and eat and live just fine. I went without a family, a good car, and possibly some secure future because I was the one thing this country wants everyone to be, a teacher. I suffered eating Top Ramen every night, I was called trailer trash by the new influx of yuppies into the sport. But I got something out of it that made it all worthwhile. Every once in a while at a boogie someone would come up to me and grab my hand. "Nick! Do you remember me? You were my instructor twenty years ago!" And I knew I'd made a difference to that person's entire course of life. And you can't put a monetary value on that. It's priceless.

After that I could happily go home to my trailer that leaked in the rain so much I wouldn't have a pot or pan left that wasn't used to catch the drops in order to cook up my noodles.

But I slept like a baby . . .

NickD Smile


(This post was edited by NickDG on Aug 7, 2009, 11:51 AM)


tdog  (D 28800)

Aug 7, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

There is no such thing as a system that fails, just people who fail to use the system successfully. At the root of any failing student is a failing instructor.

And as an AFF instructor I can say I never have done SL, but the students who are the ones who have gone far are the ones who don't stop asking questions after AFF level 7. Maybe over 20 SL jumps an instructor could force feed info to students with greater frequency, but I never have been a big fan of force feeding.

I have seen students do amazing things in AFF. One of the most memorable - I was teaching a college student and her brother was an AFF-I from another DZ. I allowed him to lurk the dive. After all her maneuvers, she flew to him, smiled, and "blew a kiss" as she would to a family member before leaving on a vacation, right before pulling. Another AFF student, with very little tunnel time, turned 5 RW points with me on his level 6 skydive. Another, on his 17th jump, a coach jump, turned 18 points with three other instructors, and we gave him the hard slots including the outfacing phalanx where he had to look over his shoulder and slide into his slot backwards - and we did not chase him. His 18th jump we did some blocks, just because it was time to introduce levels and cross referencing. We did not forget canopy skills either. (Although I will admit this is a weak link in AFF)

Almost every student I take up on a level 7 can do some pretty amazing things considering they only have a few minutes of freefall. In some cases, it is the same weekend as when they did their FJC. I wonder, with Static Line, where would they be? How many weekends? Would they be able to turn many RW points on their 17th jump (which is only important as it is a great achievement that gives them enjoyment)?

My ONLY fear about AFF is the cost and that it is sometimes marketed in a way that gives people the impression "I can't do that". If someone wants coaching, advice, help, or knowledge - they will get it. But the student has to want to learn. And if they don't want to learn, it is sad when they get hurt for poor skills - but sometimes pain is a wonderful teacher, especially when someone doesn't think they need teaching.

My two cents.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Aug 7, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Re: [tdog] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

>>Would they be able to turn many RW points on their 17th jump (which is only important as it is a great achievement that gives them enjoyment)?<<

I hear you, and I agree.

But you just have to ask yourself if the ability to "turn points" is as important as having more experience in saving yourself?

I'm saying look at how much more "amazing" it would be to take someone who's altitude aware and can hold a heading on their own and "then" teach them to fly.

And sure, in your example they feel good, but at what price?

My point, and you clarified it better than I did, is we'd be better off with jumpers who were more comfortable with the bottom end of the skydive, the money end, than the top end.

We are teaching skydiving backasswards . . .

NickD Smile


dks13827  (C 9293)

Aug 7, 2009, 12:37 PM
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The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Nick, I cant disagree with you. Especially with the part that students used to understand that the sport is not for everyone. Now, as a 1972 S/L student myself, I recall very well thinking that after a student had a few decent 10 and 15 second delays, that it sure would have been good for an instructor to exit holding the student for a good 30 - 45 second delay ( these were Cessna jumps of course ). Wouldn't that have been a great learning jump ? Honestly, if my daughter ( 1 tandem ) wanted to be a jumper, I would give her 2 or 3 tandems, then S/L course including hop and pops and short delays, then do AFF type jumps !! That's what I think.Unimpressed


tdog  (D 28800)

Aug 7, 2009, 12:42 PM
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
But you just have to ask yourself if the ability to "turn points" is as important as having more experience in saving yourself?

When someone can fly their ass off, remain altitude aware, track like hell away from the others, and pull on time - on their 17th jump - I vote it is a success. He also stood up his landing in the pea gravel pit.

Quote:
is we'd be better off with jumpers who were more comfortable with the bottom end of the skydive,

I agree canopy control is the weakest link of a lot of AFF programs I have seen. But it is not the AFF program that is a failure, it is the AFF instructors who fail to make it a big deal in the debrief/prebrief.

I however don't feel that we can blame AFF for people hurting themselves under a perfectly good parachute. Since AFF has become popular, canopy designs have gotten a lot more sporty and swooping has progressed to the weekend jumper. SL won't fix canopy incidents, coaching for many jumps from jump 10 to 10000 will be required.


NickDG  (D 8904)

Aug 7, 2009, 12:50 PM
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Re: [dks13827] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

>>Honestly, if my daughter ( 1 tandem ) wanted to be a jumper, I would give her 2 or 3 tandems, then S/L course including hop and pops and short delays, then do AFF type jumps !! That's what I think.<<

I would skip the tandems as useless but follow on with everything else you said with my daughter. And not just with her, as after all, every girl is someone's daughter . . .

And isn't that how we used to do it? On a student's first or second 30-second delay the jumpmaster would jump, swoop down, and pin them. We used to call that the, "cherry dive!"

NickD Smile


dninness  (D 19617)

Aug 7, 2009, 2:36 PM
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Nick,

I gotta say that while I sort of agree with what you're saying, I'm not sure I'm down with the conclusion.

I'm a "mid-90s" SL guy who cut his teeth doing "5, 10 and 15 second delays." I learned with 15-20 other suckers in a hot classroom and "pack shed" how to about the gear, PLFs, static lines, guarding your handles, how to climb out, hang, let go, clear malfunctions, etc. Then I went an did it, with essentially nobody helping me or there in the event I fucked up. (Once Mike Peters shouted "GO!" to me, it was 100% my ass)

But then, after 6 or 7 SL jumps, I did 2 AFF levels in FL. And my approach was "While those JMs are there to give me feedback and guide me, nobody is here to help me in the event I fuck up, except me." (which is good, cuz on Level 2 I lost both JMs on exit.. Doom on me!) Then I went back to Michigan the next season and finished up, doing the 5s, 10s and 20s. You're right: If you have a problem like spins or bad pulls, you're not going up with a "guy who can save you" but instead you're repeating that level until you get it right. YOU get it right.

And notwithstanding the bowling speech, that's my approach as a coach to my students: "I'm there to be your reference, your guide and to give you feedback so YOU can improve your performance. I'm not there to save you should you fuck up, and I don't do/make/break the skydive for you." This ain't Little League. I won't "pass" a student to the next level if until they can meet the objectives, just like I had to to go from 10 second delays to 20 second delays. (the method is different, the learning objectives and the need for the student to perform is not)

That being said, I think that AFF imparts a LOT more in the way of survival skills to students sooner than SL did. And AFF immerses the student into the "future environment" sooner than SL can. To perhaps use a SCUBA analogy: SL is a lot more like snorkeling, whereas AFF is more like actual SCUBA. If you're there to learn about SCUBA, then you should do SCUBA. (that analogy is flawed, but my point is: As a skydiver, after I hit 45-second delays, nearly every jump thereafter was far more like an AFF jump than an SL jump. As a matter of fact, since jump number 10 or 11, I haven't EVER seen a static line. I will say this: I do hop-and-pops like a mo-fo due to SL!! But SL is not skydiving, precisely...)

My girlfriend and later her brother are "AFF-babies" in our sport. I coached both of them last year. They are both very inquisitive, heads up-and-on-a-swivel skydivers. More so than most I see out of a lot of other new jumpers, in most ways. Not because of the instructional method, but moreso because thats just the kind of people they are. And they're both EXCELLENT skydivers, far, far better than I was at 200 jumps, with 150 and 180 jumps each.

Is that all AFF? No. Some of it is wind tunnel, some of it is the modernization of the sport.

But I would be hard pressed to pin it specifically on AFF with such a broad brush.


wmw999  (D 6296)

Aug 7, 2009, 3:15 PM
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Re: [dninness] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

I kind of think of AFF as being the new hammer; all of a sudden, every problem starts to look like a nail. Then tandem came along -- it doesn't replace the old hammer, but it's used to start most of the nails these days. And now we have the tunnel, and you already see students with problems being told that they NEED to go to the tunnel (even if it's a flight away).

Of course, the problem is that just because you have a cool hammer doesn't mean that every problem is a nail.

Bad analogies aside, I'd like to see SL used early in the progression to teach canopy skills at the very least. Students are so overwhelmed with freefall skills that the canopy is just more new stuff, and because it happens slower, they don't spend as many brain cells on it. They don't have them to spare.

And it's costing us, because students aren't as good at PLF'ing any more.

In general, people are expecting faster and faster results. It's the norm -- cell phones give you instant access, medicines fix stuff without all those nasty lifestyle changes, the internet lets you communicate without waiting weeks for the reply. So it seems somewhat natural to see just how much experience we can cram into a single jump, especially since they're so expensive.

It's a fairly complex problem, because instructors have to keep their skills up, and adding more skills makes that harder.

But more time in instruction is almost never wasted. and AFF is far harder to teach in one day than static line was. Note I don't even say "adequately," because you have to neglect stuff.

Wendy P.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Aug 7, 2009, 4:47 PM
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Nick, like you, I learned in the 70's via S/L progression. I agree with a lot of what you say, but I have to say, one thing that AFF does, which a S/L progression-only approach seems not to (at least back then) is give a hands-on approach to actually teaching basic freefall stability. But back in the S/L progression days (at least in the DZ's in my then-neck of the woods), if a student on 5 or10 second delays had stability problems, usually the most the jumpmaster or instructor would do would be to say "You were all over the sky, man. Go back and do it again. Oh, and try to relax and not kick." That's it.

In other words, he had to fix it himself - which in principle does have some "grit merit" to it, but is sorely lacking in actual instruction - that is to say, in teaching. And, frankly, I don't think that's a good way to teach; I think it sucks.

So anyhow, the kid would go up again on, say, jump #9, filled with fairly typical door fear, hop off the step (often immediately belly-to-earth, rather than belly-to-relative wind, which was never taught to them), kick a bit without even realizing it, flop around - and by the time a bit of the sensory overload has burned off and he can get back into a proper arch, it's pull time. And then he has to do it again. Rinse, repeat. That was one inherent flaw in the S/L progression method which I think AFF did address.

S/L-only and AFF-only programs will each produce skydivers, but each has inherent weaknesses which the other one can help to address. That's why I've come to be a big believer in a good hybrid program. I used to be totally disdainful of tandem as a training method, but as a former student who suffered my share of door fear, sensory overload (and resulting stability problems) myself, I have come around to agreeing that making a first jump as a tandem isn't a half-bad way to burn some of that off at the outset, so that on subsequent jumps you can better concentrate in real time on what the fuck you and your sundry body parts are actually doing. Then I'd do S/L (or IAD) through a couple of 3-second freefall delays to give them confidence to save their lives by themselves, and some canopy skills. Then, instead of 5, 10 and 15 second delays making them "figure out" how to get stable by trial and frustrating error, I'd shift them right over to AFF to teach them the proper way to get and stay stable, and then move on to more skills from there.


(This post was edited by Andy9o8 on Aug 7, 2009, 5:04 PM)


labrys  (D 29848)

Aug 7, 2009, 6:48 PM
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The great AFF experiment has been an abject failure.

I don't get the part where you compare different training methods, profit margins, student reactions, dz ethics, fatality rates, IQ comparisons, bus fares, dew points, calories consumed, bowling handicaps, grass stains, and testosterone levels to reality.


yoink

Aug 8, 2009, 12:04 AM
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Re: [labrys] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Iedited for tequila

Sly


(This post was edited by yoink on Aug 8, 2009, 12:22 AM)


AdD  (D License)

Aug 8, 2009, 5:52 AM
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This post is way off base, I started SL, taught SL/ Gradual Freefall Progression before getting my AFF rating. It is inferior in almost every way. How many times do you need to see a mid backflip deployment on a first freefall or a spinning 20 sec delay student to figure out it sucks?


labrys  (D 29848)

Aug 8, 2009, 5:56 AM
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Quote:
Iedited

Eh?


Beachbum  (B License)

Aug 8, 2009, 7:01 PM
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Re: [labrys] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
Iedited

Eh?

looks like tequila induced thoughts removed .... Crazy

My thoughts as a low # person who started pre-ISP .... Up until the ISP came out, I'd have to agree that canopy training was sorely lacking. I came off AFF and into level 8's feeling like "now what" ... and then later, when the ISP came out and I read through it I realized what I SHOULD have been doing. So, got a copy of the card and did all the stuff on it that I hadn't done. There is a LOT more canopy training going on now under the ISP than before it existed. Enough?? ... perhaps not, but it's a whole lot better. The extra benefit I've seen to it is that now students are much more aware of the importance of proper canopy training, and most make some efforts post AFF/student jumps to continue to work on it. This is done either with help of others at their dz in an informal manner, canopy coaching by more "qualified" individuals (local swoopers, for instance), and/or by taking more formal classes like Scott or Brian offer. Is AFF the beat all/end all? ... no ... it's like any other training program, and should evolve as better methods develop, or errors and/or holes in the training are made apparent. The other thing about it that I see as a big benefit over static line is the fact that students DO get freefall. After all, that is the reason most want to start, and I believe that giving them a taste of it right away helps keep them interested and coming back for more. As a side note that may or may not effect how some see my views, I never did a tandem either ... knew I wanted to start it as a sport and went straight to AFF. And no, I don't recommend that path for all.


(This post was edited by Beachbum on Aug 8, 2009, 7:02 PM)


steveorino  (D 26782)

Aug 8, 2009, 11:21 PM
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Re: [AdD] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
This post is way off base, I started SL, taught SL/ Gradual Freefall Progression before getting my AFF rating. It is inferior in almost every way. How many times do you need to see a mid backflip deployment on a first freefall or a spinning 20 sec delay student to figure out it sucks?


My thoughts exactly! (if you mean SL and IAD are inferior)


NickDG  (D 8904)

Aug 9, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Re: [steveorino] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe because we've lost sight of a the very first emergency procedure. If the skydive is getting away from you then just stop the skydive by pulling. Few taught the old way didn't have to do that at one time or another. And in the end few of them ever went in trying to get stable because they knew pulling unstable still worked almost all the time.

And I'm not advocating a total return to the dope rope. I'm saying we need a more realistic instructor-to-student jump ratio.

I'm saying take for instance a student pilot who does his very first solo flight. And imagine after that his Instructor waves bye bye forever. That's basically what we are doing with AFF.

Figure out a way to make 30 jumps affordable under direct supervision of an instructor and maybe we could actually start turning out competent skydivers from the get go . . .

Look at it in extremes. I could take a total whuffo from first jump through "A" license plus teach them how to do demos, midnight bandit jumps, and even B.A.S.E. jumping. And not just me, I, and many others, could be turning out well rounded jumpers, but no, instead we are turning out chum.

This whole thing would be funny except I know you all think you're right simply because times haven't caught up with you yet . . .

NickD Smile


(This post was edited by NickDG on Aug 9, 2009, 12:39 PM)


stratostar  (Student)

Aug 9, 2009, 8:53 PM
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't even tell you the number of AFF students I 've seen who couldn't be trained/taught anything once off "student" jumps, yet didn't know shit, most of the mind set came from post AFF I's and DZO in how they sold the progression and or mindset.

Same as we see those who chime in to dispute your post/thinking are mostly those who were sold the same bill of goods only a few years ago. If your not on the current bandwagon your seen as "out dated" or not progressive & "modern". IDK maybe we could get a beer from the bar and talk about this sitting around the pool and once we're done we could go fly drunk in the tunnel.Wink

I understand your points and agree over all with your point of view. FWIW I'm pre AFF FJC trained. I thing S/L or IAD is still a great progression for training people and one of the better for ones for college folks on a budget by keeping jumps affordable.


incendium  (D License)

Aug 9, 2009, 9:20 PM
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Third try - computer crashed the other two times Mad

I learned through Tandem-AFF progression because it was all the DZ offerred. Crazy Ok off we go.

I earned a coach, S/L-I and IAD-I rating thereafter and taught at both Cessna and Turbines DZs. Our FJC was taught the 1st and 3rd Week of each month from Monday-Friday (YUP 5 days, 15hrs)Shocked. Then they got to dope on rope it on Saturday !! Smile
that being said, our students put in at least 15 jumps and ten more with us and a grad jump for their A-license.SmileSmile What they got out of the experience was a good time, good instruction and some new friends in the sport. We even jumped with them after they got their A license. ShockedShocked Smile But those were some of my fondest memories SmileWink I am now an AFF-I and Tandem-I. AFF is a great method, however I don't near the level of familiarity with my students, why because most people won't sit through a FJC that long, they just want to jump and be in the mix. Unimpressed All for it but lets all be reasonable about it. They are the future of OUR sport. Many DZs I have worked on or visited have a mix of those willing to work with newbies jumeprs. Why I don't know, hell we should encourage the newbies. I know for a fact no of us got great over night and jumping solo just sucks. Unsure
I have seen through the posts that there are many newbies that have trouble jumping with experienced folks, why no clue other than it's a shame.Unsure Conversely I have seen folks with less than 50 jumps doing 16 ways...Smile so good times right.
One comment between the disciplines has been cost, S/L and IAD instructors don't make near the same as AFF and tandem instructors. so most see it as having fun and teaching for pay. I got all of that however what WE all invest into the people in the sport is what WE get back to the sport.
It ironic that I see posts of people getting hurt or killed yet people post the "they had it coming" comments. Well I am not here to judge their actions, but I will put out to all US out there one simple question, "What have you done lately to further another skydivers experience in this sport for the betterment of all of us?" If you can't answer that one.......then think about it for a while. And for those of you that judge folks based off of the SIM and IRM, I leave you with this thought, just because it says you can do something, doesn't mean your level of experience means that you can actually do it. Shocked The SIM is a guideline with certain hard facts. One of them being the ground. Pirate
More JP-8 for the flames........SlySlySly


pms07  (D 7571)

Aug 9, 2009, 9:20 PM
Post #19 of 141 (6081 views)
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Nick,
Your premise (okay, its really a rant) is kind of interesting but AFF is not a failure, thats just your opinion. In fact, AFF seems to work pretty well at many drops zones around the world. Is it perfect? No, but you can't argue that several generations of very talented and skilled skydivers were trained in AFF. The training is only as good as the instruction given however, just like any other instructional method.

The ramen noodle, slinging static line and trailer park story was, I suppose, meant to be inspiring but Im not getting it. Are you saying you were a successful static line instructor because your roof leaked and you cooked noodles in the pot that filled with the water? You also didnt have enough income to buy a car and to ensure a secure future. Tell me again how that made you a better instructor and static line a better program than AFF? Im not following the logic here. Crazy


(This post was edited by pms07 on Aug 9, 2009, 9:23 PM)


Baksteen  (C 708753)

Aug 10, 2009, 12:58 AM
Post #20 of 141 (6041 views)
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Re: The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a few things that caught my attention.

First and foremost, in reply to the OP:
1) Regardless of the training method they followed, the people who worry me are the ones who view their parachute as 'nothing more than a way to survive freefall'.
I know a few of these people - they come from either training method.

2) Students sometimes feel as if they fall into a 'gap' once they progress to solo freefall jumps. They seem to find that they 'all of a sudden' expected to be self-supervising and have to start asking more questions if they want to progress. This happens with either method as well and is not unique to any dropzone.
They can't expect that their I's will keep holding their hands forever, of course, but it's up to those same I's to slowly teach the student to become self reliant.
Poorly worded, but I hope someone sees what I'm trying to say.

Quote:
When someone can exit and land safely as well as fly their ass off, remain altitude aware, track like hell away from the others, and pull on time - on their 17th jump - I vote it is a success. He also stood up his landing in the pea gravel pit.
Fixed it for ya.

Quote:
dope rope
I hate terms like that. Way to make the student feel good about their performance and to improve the fun they have in skydiving.
"I have 12 jumps and am still on the dope rope, while X is already doing 20 seconds... I suck - they don't call it a dope rope for nothing!"

Quote:
One comment between the disciplines has been cost, S/L and IAD instructors don't make near the same as AFF and tandem instructors. so most see it as having fun and teaching for pay. I got all of that however what WE all invest into the people in the sport is what WE get back to the sport.
I really don't get the point. What are 'we' investing/getting back? Money? Crazy


-----

So yes, there are problems with S/L.
So yes, there are problems with AFF.

What can we do about them?

How can we increase the number of students coming o the DZ for a FJC?

It was remarked that either progression has a lot of dropouts (please note I'm not counting the "skydiving is not for everyone" type of person here)

How can we make sure these people keep coming back?


(This post was edited by Baksteen on Aug 10, 2009, 12:59 AM)


virgin-burner

Aug 10, 2009, 1:36 AM
Post #21 of 141 (6029 views)
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Re: [Baksteen] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

not that i have any say in this, but what i much rather dislike is people getting a license issued at 25 jumps, pretty much regardless of their capabilities.. here, you rather have 50, some places rather 100 jumps before you're "deemed worthy"..

i watch lots of videos from over the pond; heck, there's a field with a windsock constantly facing one direction, and people land all over the place! how is THAT possible!? do that shit here twice and thats pretty much your last jump at that DZ.. Crazy

i understand its all much larger scale. for AFF i had one instructor assigned pretty much to me for a week, and i was under heavy supervision until i got my license..


peek  (D 8884)

Aug 10, 2009, 7:22 AM
Post #22 of 141 (5970 views)
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Another interesting post, Nick, one that gives us a lot to think about.

I'm not convinced AFF is a "failure", but as Wendy indicated with her "tool" metaphor, skydivers tend to see the latest and newest technique as a panacea.

All of the instructional methods are good if applied properly, but if all you have is staff interested in doing the instruction that makes them the most money, it will be misapplied.


timmyfitz  (D License)

Aug 10, 2009, 8:54 AM
Post #23 of 141 (5947 views)
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Re: [virgin-burner] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
not that i have any say in this, but what i much rather dislike is people getting a license issued at 25 jumps, pretty much regardless of their capabilities.. here, you rather have 50, some places rather 100 jumps before you're "deemed worthy"..

In the U.S., people do not get their license "regardless of their capabilities" at 25 jumps. There are qualifications they must meet and a proficiency card which must be completed before a license is issued. At that point it is understood that the new A license holder is not a skygod but someone that has met or exceeded the minimum requirements and has a lot of learning to do.

What do you mean by "deemed worthy"?


feuergnom  (D License)

Aug 10, 2009, 9:09 AM
Post #24 of 141 (5943 views)
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Re: [peek] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Another interesting post, Nick, one that gives us a lot to think about.

I'm not convinced AFF is a "failure", but as Wendy indicated with her "tool" metaphor, skydivers tend to see the latest and newest technique as a panacea.

All of the instructional methods are good if applied properly, but if all you have is staff interested in doing the instruction that makes them the most money, it will be misapplied.


and you have to have students and graduates willing to walk the walk. these forums are full of people who are in a hurry to accomplish everything in just a hundred jumps. and there is probably no cure for this illness Unimpressed


pilotdave  (D License)

Aug 10, 2009, 11:00 AM
Post #25 of 141 (5899 views)
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Re: [NickDG] The Great AFF Experiment has been an Abject Failure . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I'm saying take for instance a student pilot who does his very first solo flight. And imagine after that his Instructor waves bye bye forever. That's basically what we are doing with AFF.

It doesn't work that way at all. At least not under the ISP. That's exactly how it used to be, and it has been changed (at participating DZs). I did the old 7-level program. After level 7, I did solos. I actually did a couple coach jumps (before the coach rating existed) to learn some stuff not taught in AFF... fall rate control, side slides, etc. But those were optional. The day I did my 20th jump, I mentioned it to an instructor. He surprised me with a written test, which i barely passed, and I had an A-license.

But things have changed. AFF under the ISP is a lot more jumps. Then after the hop n' pops (2 of em now), students are on to coach jumps where they work one on one to go from basic survival skills to group skydive skills.

I'm not saying it's perfect, but I am saying that it works. It's expensive, but it works. Our "graduates" (A-license recipients) are so much better now than people like me were 10 years ago. They both have more skill and more knowledge.

I've got an IAD rating too (which I've never used because we don't normally offer IAD), and I still don't understand most of the arguments for why IAD/SL is better or ever was better. By Category D, the programs merge together. But the IAD/SL instructor is only "encouraged" to exit the aircraft with the student to observe. It's in the IRM.

Both programs have advantages of course, but (at least at my little DZ), I don't agree with most of your conclusions about AFF.

Dave


(This post was edited by pilotdave on Aug 10, 2009, 11:01 AM)


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