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Radios and student training

 

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tetra316  (D 26945)

Apr 15, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Radios and student training Can't Post

The Canadian incident in that thread and the dicussion of exactly what words to use or not to use when giving a student radio instructions under canopy is interesting. I rather think the whole idea of using radios to begin with takes away the responsibility from the student and intead places it on the radio operator. The exact opposite of what should be happening.

When I went through my training, we were drilled on the landing pattern, initiation altitudes for downwind, base and final and when to flare. We were also drilled on recognizing mals and the whole is it there, square and steerable factor. We had no radios. Granted we did have someone in the landing area with paddles but those generally were only used for the last 200 or so feet and to tell the student exactly when to flare.

Why does everyone seem to think radios are a necessity today? Why can't students be trained enough to accept responsibility for themselves? I especially think this would be an advantage in any incident in that the blame can be laid no where else except on the student. Train them correctly and completely and if they choose to accept the risk and jump it's their responsibility. We all know, and in the case of students they should definitely be told, that sometimes shit happens and you die. But we still jump.

What are your thoughts? Why are radios better then training and letting the students take responsibility? Does the military use radios for training jumps?


HoldtheIce  (B 36112)

Apr 15, 2010, 11:04 AM
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In my case, the use of the radio was helpful for the first 4 landings. After that, I felt real comfortable flying the pattern and landing. The radio interruptions continued for a while, until I asked not them to stop. Even the one time I landed out, I still landed safe.

I understand everyone learns at different paces, so some students may need the radio help for a while.


JohnnyMarko

Apr 15, 2010, 11:23 AM
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I have my own thoughts, as does everyone, about this topic...in my case, I wore a radio for about my first 10 jumps or so...on my first jump, which was an IAD, I was taught the basic landing pattern, and flew it...the radio controller told me he'd help me out if it looked like I needed it, but didn't receive much info other than "Turn left if you can hear me", "Looks good, doin' great", things like that...I don't think an instructor should radio to someone to cutaway...YOUR jump is YOUR jump and your responsibility...just my $0.02 and am prepared to get bashed


guppykf  (B 33607)

Apr 15, 2010, 12:12 PM
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I agree. Radios can be helpful, but in other instances can provide a false sense of security. On my 2nd AFF jump I was given a radio and the instructor asked me how much communication I wanted. I told him, if he saw me screwing up correct me, if not let me be. Well he talked to me the whole jump and one time I did a turn when he didnt instruct me to, so when I got on the ground he ripped me a new one and told me I was the muscle and he was the brains of the operation.

So when I went to the next jump he again asked me how much instruction I wanted and I told him the same thing...only if I am screwing up. Well as soon as I got under canopy he was telling me what to do. So not to get in trouble again, I did everything he asked and nothing else. During the jump he was getting mad and I could not figure out why. Well I went to do my landing pattern and upon Final..I thought man I know I should be flaring by now, but he didnt say anything. (I know this is my fault, because I am responsible for my own safety) but to continue the story, I didnt hear flare, so I finally heard flare, flare, flare a little late! So I burned myself in low and ripped my fingernail completely off. Not a big injury, just enough though to thoroughly tick me off. I took the radio shoved it at the instructor and said keep this flipping radio, if I am going to kill myself, I will do it by all by myself.

Now to what happened, I found out after I calmed down. There were two students in the air and the instructor was looking at him, but talking to me. Luckily this was a small incident, but based on this it is my newby opinion radios should only be used very sparingly.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Apr 15, 2010, 12:19 PM
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Re: [tetra316] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

I have mixed it up on that thread about the Canadian incident

I've seen DZ's do it both ways, where the instructor can call for emergency procedures, or where they can't. If they can't, they are allowed to say "Check your parachute!" as much as they like. Smile

What have others seen at their DZ's? Do radio instructors never call for emergency procedures? Is it considered unacceptable for a DZ to allow calling for emergency procedures?


I have no problem with a radio instructor asking for a cutaway. Certainly they need to know certain rules about what to say or not say in different situations.

It is still the student's responsibility as they have been taught, to deal with problems. They don't get told anything in class about an instructor on the ground helping them with a problem. That doesn't mean an instructor can't assist when the situation is looking bad and the student isn't doing anything.

Is there liability involved? Maybe. But working with students does mean that decisions have to be made.


Someone brought up the topic of not using radios at all. I think the skydiving world has travelled away from that sort of thinking. We use the tools we have available, whether radios or altis or tandems or AFF or altitude alerts or tunnel time.

Not all DZ's will have the same level of technical sophistication or the money for every possible aid. I'm still OK with DZ's with well established procedures to go without radio. It can be done.

So I think we've gotten away from the more macho, "Go for it... you'll either come back alive or dead." There are plenty of people out there who are even aghast at the idea that people are allowed to jump all alone on their first jump.


burtonjm  (B 33810)

Apr 15, 2010, 12:21 PM
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Re: [guppykf] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

I only had a radio for my first 4 jumps. My second jump the radio didn't even work, but I had been taught how to fly it on my own and didn't even care that I wasn't hearing radio chatter.

Now for some students I think it might be necessary. I know of one girl at the DZ who landed in trees. Her view was that since she felt air hitting her face, then she must be flying into the wind! I doubt she'll be jumping again


dragon2  (D 101989)

Apr 15, 2010, 1:24 PM
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Re: [pchapman] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

We don't use radios on my DZ, and I think it made me a better skydiver: it made me PAY ATTENTION in class and under canopy as I'm a girl who always needs a navigation system to figure out where I am/am going in my car, I certainly didn't want to screw this up! My first outlanding was around jump 30 (ok I did a bunch of SL jumps...) when my "jumpmaster" jumped out before me on a CRW jump leaving me last jumper in the plane and told me to wait 7 seconds before exiting... I had no clue CRW jumpers can get out way way before the DZ, after that jump I asked how that spotting thing worked, exactly Tongue

About radios, I hear plenty of stories about "the wrong students" (worst case: what if you tell "your" student to cutaway but another one does), radios failing, students not even hearing/reacting to the radio in the first place, etc. We can have a caravanload of students in the air, you'd need a lot of instructors to talk to all those, and all these years these students mostly seem to land in the right field, mostly in the right direction, and very seldom get hurt, so no radio seems to work just fine here Smile

And I mean, if I can do it, with my no-inborn-sense-of-direction-at-ALL, how hard can it be Sly


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Apr 15, 2010, 1:36 PM
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Re: [tetra316] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

Your point is well taken, but I wonder if your perspective would be different if you ever saw a student without a radio fly into power lines.

I learned on squares without radios myself, but radios used properly (to coach, not just command) are a useful tool in the instructional process.


tetra316  (D 26945)

Apr 15, 2010, 1:48 PM
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Lutz? Did he have a radio?


JohnDeere  (D License)

Apr 15, 2010, 1:55 PM
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In reply to:
Lutz? Did he have a radio?

Some cant be helped no matter what!Tongue Some just have Mad SkilzWink


silent_pumpkin  (A License)

Apr 15, 2010, 5:56 PM
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Re: [tetra316] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

Not used at my DZ and I knew that before going there. Knowing this I made damn sure I understood where my markers were, what could possibly be anticipated (mals, traffic, landing pattern, flaring, etc) and didn't have any problems. Like others stated, it could help those in real trouble or it could mess them up ala saying "cutaway" to your student while watching someone else. Having done it without a radio I tend to lean towards personal responsibility than having a mission control. Just my thoughts...


(This post was edited by silent_pumpkin on Apr 15, 2010, 5:57 PM)


kunosoura  (A License)

Apr 15, 2010, 6:21 PM
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I liked having the radio for the first few jumps.

The first jump I'll admit I was a bit overwhelmed. I was happy to have radio help.

The second or third jump there was another low-jump student in the air with me. I was doing my own thing just fine, but the other student (for whatever reason) wasn't following the instructors commands. Instead he was constantly following/aiming for me the whole time... no matter what I did to create a little separation, he'd negate it. The instructor was yelling and cussing at the guy, and either his radio was goofed up or he flat out wasn't paying attention. Finally the instructor told me to land in an adjacent landing area (still visible to the instructor) on the other side of a taxiway separating it from the main landing area, and the other student went for the main landing area. I was glad the instructor was there to say, "hey, get the hell away from this landing area, do your thing over there and you'll be fine."

Then on jump five or six, after not hearing much on the radio for the last couple of jumps, I learned a good lesson. I made the assumption that the winds were doing the same thing that they were doing when we left the ground. In this case they weren't. They had shifted direction and I didn't look at the windsock to check this. Anyway once it was clear I was doing my landing pattern, good old Jim Crouch was working the radio (thanks Jim!!) and enlightened me on what was going on and helped me get it worked out. And yes, I immediately thanked him for it on the ground.

After that it was smooth sailing. I think there are far more benefits than not in having the radio. I also think it should be up to the student to handle cutaway procedures. The there, square, steerable test is easily performed by even a total newbie.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Apr 15, 2010, 7:36 PM
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Re: [guppykf] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

" .... There were two students in the air and the instructor was looking at him, but talking to me. ..."

..........................................................................

Better radio instructors can talk down five students at a time.
Better radio instructors know how to say: "Student number five, your parachute looks good, Student number five turn left towards the target.
Student number two, start flying down-wind along the fence.
Student number four left turn and face the target.
Student number three, play around over the parking lot.
Student number one, put your feet and knees together. Keep your eyes on the horizon, hands up, wait, wait, flare, flare, flare!"

Yes! It takes practice to keep track of five students at the same time, but it can be done with a calm voice and everyone landing softly on the correct field


buff  (D 30567)

Apr 15, 2010, 8:15 PM
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I had to radio IAD FJ students for the first time last weekend. I used to be ATC so it kind of came naturally to me. I used "Jumper Number One", "Jumper Number Two" and the students were told that if they went NORDO, to fly the briefed pattern and look for paddles on final. I think the paddles work better than saying "flare, flare, flare" as you just lower the paddles and they mirror your hands.

So the I've got the 4th student of the day on base and I said, " Make a left 90 degree turn onto final approach, watch the paddles, knees and feet together and prepare to land."

So the kid is right on track to me in the peas but his body is total Gumby. Legs full on Xman. I've got the paddles straight up and I yell at him "feet and knees together!" He's about 50 feet and still Gumby so I take my right leg and stick it out to my side like a cheerleader and then bring it down so I look like I'm ready to PLF. Well guess what the FJ did?

Yep he sticks one leg up and out at about 30 feet!!!
I'm standing there and he's comming right at me with one leg down and one leg out. I start yelling PLF, PLF and begin working the paddles to flare him and I'm thinking I just FEMURed the dude.

At about 5 feet he figures that maybe he should drop his leg thankfully. He had a great landing and all I could do was sit down and laugh my ass off. Lesson learnedSmile

As far as telling someone to chop while I'm on the ground, I don't think its a good idea but that's my ATC. When I saw them fully open, I said something like, "Jumper 1, if you hear me check your canopy control, right turn -- left turn --- flare". Once I saw that, I told them to identify the airport and turn toward it. From then on, they could play upwind. I ceased talking to them until they entered downwind. I guess if one was flying away I would have said something.


danielcroft  (D 31103)

Apr 15, 2010, 8:27 PM
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Having a radio is like having an AAD. It's your responsibility but if you really screw up to the point you don't even realize, I'd hope that something was said in enough time for the student to recover.

As far as liability goes, I would guess that if the person doing radio is an employee of the DZ or an AFF/I they're already covered. If you're a coach, maybe not.

I had a friend get pretty seriously injured as a student. I'd have much preferred that someone say something than not if it means preventing serious injury. They still may get the bowling speech but at least they'd be around to get it (my friend is around thankfully).


D22369  (D 22369)

Apr 16, 2010, 12:04 AM
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some of the dropzones that I worked at had obtained waivers to the landing field size with enough nasty things to run into that being able to rc a new jumper was the prudent thing to do for the first few jumps till their eyes could judge thier glide angle and to make sure they had experienced the flight pattern first hand, most were off the radio by jump 4 at yakima, and depending on the time between jumps off it at richland by 5 or so.

I am very big on everyone fully accepting the risks, but with a tighter than normal area I liked tilting the odds slightly in their favor



Roy


sebcat  (D 22826)

Apr 16, 2010, 2:29 AM
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The DZ where I jump doesn't use radios on a regular basis. I didn't have a radio as a student.

My FJC took two days of instruction, a couple of hours of which where focused on understanding the pattern and how much ground where covered during downwind, base and final.

We stood in an open area that represented the DZ with hangars, landing area and wind direction marked. The instructor called out the altitude and we took one step in head wind, a sidestep in cross wind and two steps in down wind. After a couple of times the number of steps downwind was doubled, the number of steps in headwind was halved (so half a step) and in cross winds we "drifted" a step more to simulate stronger winds. It felt silly at the time, but I took it seriously and I think it made me understand the pattern a lot more and the effects of the wind.

This together with methods to judge when it was time to flare worked pretty well. The way I remember it, all my landings where stand up. I don't attribute that to my skills, I think it was because the instructor was very good at teaching us to judge the proper flare altitude. I had a few out landings as a student though, at least one because I wasn't paying attention to where I was going (a radio might have helped) and at least one because of the spot and the weather conditions (the entire load landed out, except for the two guys exiting last).

One time there was a student guided by radio and he went way down wind early (alt. about 2500 feet I guess). For whatever reason he didn't hear the radio and ended up landing at the other side of the airfield.

Based on what little I know, I think there's situations where using a radio is good, but it's no substitute for proper training. I do believe that the flare should be initiated by the student and not by the radio instructor. If the student is having a mal, a radio instructor might be able to "wake" him up, but again this is no substitute for proper training. Radios tend to fail at the worst possible time :) People (not just students) also tend to fuck up no matter what from time to time, no matter how well prepared or trained they are.

When it comes to radio discipline and how to speak, not using negatives ("don't fire") is pretty basic knowledge and everyone operating a radio where transmission losses is possible should know this. Also naming the callsign at least twise is a good idea. So e.g. "STUDENT NUMBER ONE, STUDENT NUMBER ONE, <some message here>" on a one way, one-to-many set up. And if that doesn't work, say it again, and again, and again...

These are my thoughts.


phoenixlpr  (D 3049)

Apr 16, 2010, 3:12 AM
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In reply to:
Why does everyone seem to think radios are a necessity today? Why can't students be trained enough to accept responsibility for themselves? I especially think this would be an advantage in any incident in that the blame can be laid no where else except on the student. Train them correctly and completely and if they choose to accept the risk and jump it's their responsibility. We all know, and in the case of students they should definitely be told, that sometimes shit happens and you die. But we still jump.

What are your thoughts? Why are radios better then training and letting the students take responsibility? Does the military use radios for training jumps?
Radios are used in Finland for students for 2-3 jumps only. Its a good thing that students can receive a guide for landing. Most of them are happy to get rid of them and landing of their own.


Liemberg  (Student)

Apr 16, 2010, 5:50 AM
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Re: [dragon2] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I hear plenty of stories about "the wrong students" (worst case: what if you tell "your" student to cutaway but another one does)

Though that one happened in the Netherlands (Hoogeveen DZ, '84 or '85) I DO remember another fatal outcome where the student responded to radio but ended up in power lines. Granted, this was a club on a boogie at a different DZ but having looked from the ground at quite a few students I can easily see how this happened.
The problem in both cases is of course that 'the angle' with which you look at the student gives you no good accuracy to begin with, since you have to eyeball the distance. How do YOU know if he is going to land before an obstacle, at an obstacle or over an obstacle?
How do you know what altitude the student is at if he could be 600 meters or 800 meters away?


guppykf  (B 33607)

Apr 16, 2010, 7:15 AM
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Re: [riggerrob] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I can see how that wouldnt be confusing..Sly

However, in my situation this DZ used separate frequencies for each student in the air. He admitted he didnt know there were 2 students with radios. So the guy who wanted talked through the process didnt get any in air instruction. He was did perfectly fine though; unlike me. (Dumb, dumb me) Lesson learned though!


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Apr 16, 2010, 7:53 AM
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In reply to:
Quote:
I hear plenty of stories about "the wrong students" (worst case: what if you tell "your" student to cutaway but another one does)

Though that one happened in the Netherlands (Hoogeveen DZ, '84 or '85) I DO remember another fatal outcome where the student responded to radio but ended up in power lines. Granted, this was a club on a boogie at a different DZ but having looked from the ground at quite a few students I can easily see how this happened.
The problem in both cases is of course that 'the angle' with which you look at the student gives you no good accuracy to begin with, since you have to eyeball the distance. How do YOU know if he is going to land before an obstacle, at an obstacle or over an obstacle?
How do you know what altitude the student is at if he could be 600 meters or 800 meters away?


AFFI  (D 25538)

Apr 16, 2010, 9:46 AM
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Re: [chuckakers] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Your point is well taken, but I wonder if your perspective would be different if you ever saw a student without a radio fly into power lines.
I learned on squares without radios myself, but radios used properly (to coach, not just command) are a useful tool in the instructional process.
+1
And, if I had to tell a student with a malfunctioning main on the radio to take action, I did not do my job of training adequately.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 18, 2010, 1:36 AM
Post #23 of 120 (3112 views)
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In reply to:
... if I had to tell a student with a malfunctioning main on the radio to take action, I did not do my job of training adequately.

Ahhhh...maybe, maybe not. You might be too hard on yourself.
I was told early on:
-Students are like a box of chocolates.
-The brain is a strange animal.

Both of which are true.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Apr 18, 2010, 1:39 AM
Post #24 of 120 (3109 views)
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In reply to:
...Why does everyone seem to think radios are a necessity today?

Funny story...well not so funny.

One "senior" AFF instructor thinks it's illegal for a student to jump without a radio. She swears it's right there in the SIM.

LaughLaughUnsure


spootch  (C License)

Apr 19, 2010, 8:08 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Radios and student training [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
" . Keep your eyes on the horizon,


Now Rob, I think we can all agree that statement went out with round chutes and stubby beer bottles!TongueSmile


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