Jun 25, 2012, 9:16 AM
Post #1 of 5
Canopy Continuing Education
I’m looking for opinions on the frequency of formal canopy flight education. Who thinks that you should take a course once in your career and then never again? Or should it happen regularly at certain intervals? How often should a canopy pilot look to refresh the basics or advanced skills via a no kidding course? Or does the informal DZ education process meet the need? I understand that it’s a subjective question so let’s assume that this question is about an average jumper that is current and jumps regularly (2-3 times a month). What types of issues would be indicators for considering more training?
And just for the record, I’m not proposing any kind of new regulations. I’m just looking for some discussion and instructor feedback/thoughts on the matter.
My vote has always been for canopy control courses that coincide with the licensing program. Each time you want to earn a license, there's a matching canopy control course to go along with it. The idea would be that the skills and concepts would advance with each course, so by the time you're going for an expert license, you're taking an expert canopy control course.
Of course, to go along with that, there would need to be WL restrictions that would work off of jump numbers and licenses. There would be an allowable downsize with each 100 jumps, and once you reach the min number of jumps for a certain license, you're limited to that WL unitl you get that license (and in-turn take the canopy control course).
So if you reach 200 jumps, but never go for your C license (or take the CC course), you're stuck at the allowable WL for someone with 200 jumps.
What the WL program does is ensures that jumpers will stay on canopies within their skill set, even if they decide not to persue additional canopy training. If you think your canopy control training you recieved with your A licesne is 'good enough', so be it. In that case, an A licesne type canopy is 'good enough' for you.
Or does the informal DZ education process meet the need?
Take a look at any post about a jumper who attended a formal canopy control course. Each and every one of them remark on how much they learned, and how much their flying imrpoved. These were all licensed jumpers who presumably spent time at DZs, where the 'informal' process is in place, yet they all report on picking up tons of new information or skills during a formal course.
I have taken formal canopy education every year I have been jumping. But I think at a minimum people should try to take a basic course in the first and second (and possibly third) years of jumping as that will help build a good foundation for flight and eliminate any bad habits before they happen.
After that, it depends what you want to do. I am pursuing high performance flight and I can tell when my improvements have plateaued and I need coaching to keep improving. If you are not flying HP approaches but are having trouble with accuracy, or people are speaking to you about your canopy flight, or you land off a lot when others don't or a million other reasons ....then you might benefit from a course.
Finally, the course is just the beginning - you have to practice what is taught in the course for it to become a natural skill. For example, I fly all the turns in my pattern as flat turns because that means I get to practice flat turns on every jumps and they are THAT important. High pulls to explore the range of your canopy by using the drills taught in the formal class are also a great thing to do - especially if you have just downsized.
(This post was edited by DaVinciflies on Jun 25, 2012, 1:11 PM)
Indicators...ask others to observe your landings. I once developed a tendency to put my hands up the moment I touched down, and one of the local CRWdogs noticed/commented. There were no consequences, but there could have been.