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For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump.....

 

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shorehambeach  (B License)

Aug 24, 2012, 6:52 AM
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For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... Can't Post

Hello All,

Just did some fun jumping in France and while there I saw, for the first time, the plane come back with a tandem student TI and Camera flyer.

He didn't want to jump once the door had opened. They were very cool about it and he sheepish left the dz.

I guess this is a rare occurance...but I was wondering...

What do you do/say if a tandem student won't jump ?

Does this happen when the door opens?



(I started jumping after a brilliant Tandem in Vegas in July - I was nervous but had a great laugh with the TI. Tandem are life changing !)


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Aug 24, 2012, 7:09 AM
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Re: [shorehambeach] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a brand new TI and haven't had to deal with this yet, however I know how I would handle it. I would request a go around. I would attempt to calm the student down and get him/her to conquer their fear. If this fails, then I would politely explain that they would not be getting a refund and ask the pilot to land. It is the students choice, and you should never FORCE that choice. A gently nudge to get over the fear is one thing, but dragging a flailing tandem student out against their will is asking for trouble.

That being said however I jump a 182 a lot and if the students legs are out on the step then "No,no,no!" sounds to me like "Go,go,go!" It is simply too dangerous to try to climb back inside the plane at that point, and they are going for a skydive wether they like it or not.


DougH  (D License)

Aug 24, 2012, 7:53 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a new TI, only two seasons fresh, but until last weekend I didn't have anyone balk at the door.

I have had a few customers that I knew were nervous and I worked hard to manage their anxiety all the way from taxi to landing.

This is where not taking naps in the plane pays off. It is hard work moving students around in a 182, I would rather chat, play rock paper scissors, cuddle with scared girls, have them work on breathing with me, than have to swap places with the other tandem pair to get the student in the back out.

This past weekend I have three customers that had very big fear responses once we got to the door. Two I was able to talk them through to jumping, one had to land with the plane after two attempts.

I will not take an unwilling passenger, and while no no no may sound like go go go I don't want the legal liability. I can safely get a student back inside the 182 because only their feet are on the step.

I look at it this way. If you bust a willing passengers ankle on landing they are going to be way more understanding. If you push out an unwilling customer and something goes wrong they may very likely feel maligned and may try to sue you, waiver or no waiver.

Second you are way more likely to have a bad jump forcing out the student. Their feet are on the step and they have all their legs strength to push back against you.'

They can push you up into the door frame. They can slip and bounce you or themselves off the step.

Screw that, grab under their legs and work them back inside. Calm them down, tell them they can do this, work on their breathing.

If they get on the step again and still won't jump it is time to land in the plane.


(This post was edited by DougH on Aug 24, 2012, 7:56 AM)


normiss  (D 28356)

Aug 24, 2012, 8:17 AM
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Re: [shorehambeach] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's their jump, they get to call it.
I don't mind at all when someone wants to buy me a nice relaxing and scenic plane ride!
Cool


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Aug 24, 2012, 9:47 AM
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Re: [DougH] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just the way it works at my DZ. Not saying you are wrong in anyway, DZ rules I guess. If they are out of the plane, usually they are practically completely out of the plane with their feet on the step, then they are going. There isn't enough room for them and me between the pilot and door. Their butt may just be on the edge....barely. You can snag your drogue trying to get back in, etc. It is the ONLY instance where I would take someone against their will. I find it hard to imagine them getting to that point out of a 182 and refusing to go. I guess it could happen, but I do brief them on the ground that if we get to that point we ARE jumping, so they do know that before hand. I also have my leg out on the step. I haven't had one bounce off the step (seen others do it though) because even the big guys I am strong enough to pivot us off MY leg. I never rely on their legs doing the right thing. I personally find it safer to go in that situation then trying to climb back in. Any other scenario I completely agree it's their decision. I just let them know in my breifing what the point of no return is, and that is putting their body out of the plane.


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Aug 24, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I am with EFS. If the student puts their feet out, they are going. In a larger plane if they approach the door, they are going. I have had one student out of 3000 refuse. He was balking while we were moving down the bench; no problem, we landed in the plane. I don't know too many cameraflyers who would land with the plane unless the dropzone had some rule about paying for the jump if they get out.


ShortBus  (D 30451)

Aug 25, 2012, 12:16 AM
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Re: [Andrewwhyte] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Communication is your first line of defense. I have done some go arounds with a couple students convincing them that i was good enough at what i do to bring them down safely. Nothing is 100% i wouldn't bullshit them either. I feel like for them to get that far along in the process (waiver,training,gearing,flight,door open." Someone in there wants to skydive. If they still say no, i would land. I have had some students where "no" means "yes." It's something you should feel out for sure, not force.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 26, 2012, 5:42 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I would attempt to calm the student down and get him/her to conquer their fear. If this fails, then I would politely explain that they would not be getting a refund

I would avoid the refund talk at that point. The truth is, their money was spent as soon as the plane left the loading area. At that point, they are going for the airplane ride they paid for, with the TI and rig they paid for, and jump or not, their money has been spent. That's something to explain to them on the way to the airplane, so they know where the point of no (financial) return happens to be.


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Aug 26, 2012, 9:19 AM
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Re: [davelepka] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I would avoid the refund talk at that point. The truth is, their money was spent as soon as the plane left the loading area. At that point, they are going for the airplane ride they paid for, with the TI and rig they paid for, and jump or not, their money has been spent. That's something to explain to them on the way to the airplane, so they know where the point of no (financial) return happens to be

That is explained to them before their waiver filling out during their initial arrival. I just "remind" them of the fact during my "efforts." It is better to have them land knowing and without any arguements. Is there a specific reason why you would avoid this "reminder?"


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Aug 26, 2012, 6:28 PM
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Re: [normiss] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had one tandem (and like 7 AFF) refuse to jump. The tandem told me before we even boarded that she probably wouldn't jump. There was nothing I could do when the door opened. She tensed up and got really panicky. It was scary.

As for the AFF, I've never been able to talk them into jumping after they refuse. The go-arounds never worked. Rock Paper Scissors decides which instructor jumps and which one rides down with the student.


tdog  (D 28800)

Aug 27, 2012, 6:20 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
...then I would politely explain that they would not be getting a refund and ask the pilot to land.

At a talk at PIA, Robert Feldman, the Attorney for UPT and other companies, strongly suggested that "no refunds" is a dangerous liability issue. It could be argued to a jury that a student, who got hurt, would not have jumped but for the no refund policy (i.e. making the no refund policy proximate cause for the injury.)

He basically said DZOs should not advertise or discuss a no-refund policy, and if someone asks for a refund, offer it. He suggested a busy turbine DZ might have to give $1000 back a year when people ask for refunds, which is a cheap price to pay considering the costs of answering a lawsuit or settling out of court.


skydived19006  (D 19006)

Aug 27, 2012, 6:38 AM
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Re: [shorehambeach] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

IMO "No" means no. What you'll sometimes have to figure out with the student is when they say things like "I can't do this!" I'll ask "Do you want to skydive?" If it's simply a high level fear response, then reassuring them, and requiring them to make a decision is a logical course of action. Until they say "I do not want to skydive!" or "I do not want to do this!" Then it's negotiable. They'll often think that they're disappointing me. I've said things like "You're not disappointing me, it's your skydive. If you want to jump, we'll go, if not I have no problem ridding down with you."

In over 2500 tandems, I'd guess that I've ridden down with a tandem half a dozen times. So, maybe one in 500 or so.

I've never had a student get out on the step then refuse. They pretty much understand that the point to make that decision is before putting feet out. I had one who I brought back in the airplane once outside, but that was my decision, not the student's. That was just a couple of weeks ago: http://www.dropzone.com/...;;page=unread#unread


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Aug 27, 2012, 7:24 AM
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Re: [skydived19006] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I read your thread and I congradulate you for making that decision, but even as you said yourself, it should have been made before getting in the door. The only point I have tried to make is once we are outside of the plane, out on the step, we are going as it is too dangerous IMO to climb back in. I would rather take someone that is balking out on the step than have a drogue go over the tail and kill everyone. A reserve pop or any number of things that could go wrong there. I find this situation difficult to imagine though as any student that summons the courage to put the body outside of the plane usually at that point goes. It isn't like we are spending a whole lot of time out there for them to reconsider anyway. I am a brand new TI so I hope I don't come off as dismissive to other very more experienced TI's. I take my job very seriously and safety of my passenger is number one. I have devoted a lot of mental time thinking about possible senarios, and my conclusions were stated. That being said it is interesting to hear the liabilty part of the "no refund" Hearing that, I would save that for after the students decision to not go. Not use it as a means to get them to go. By the time that is brought up we are landing with the plane anyway. Maybe Davelepka is right and that conversation should just be left out all together. Definitely food for thought there.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 27, 2012, 7:40 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Maybe Davelepka is right and that conversation should just be left out all together. Definitely food for thought there.

Not left out, just brought up at a time when they can actually do something about it. Typically, their money has been spent once the aircraft leaves the loading area, so you might mention it before boarding.

While doing a final harness check before boarding, you can quietly mention that this is the 'point of no refunds'. Once the aircarft pulls away, they are paying for the airplane ride and your time, jump or no jump. Now they know, and if they have doubts, they can stand down and collect a refund.

In the case of a student who doesn't jump, why mention the refund at all? It's the job of the manifest/office people to handle money, so let them deal with it. In the past when students didn't jump, I let them know that skydiving isn't for everyone, and if they didn't feel like they were going to have fun on their jump, then not jumping was the right choice.


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Aug 27, 2012, 11:16 AM
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Re: [davelepka] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Good points Dave. What is your view in regards to the passenger being out on the step of a 182? Going at that point or pulling em back in?


DougH  (D License)

Aug 27, 2012, 11:47 AM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
. I would rather take someone that is balking out on the step than have a drogue go over the tail and kill everyone. A reserve pop or any number of things that could go wrong there.

I guess this is where I am having a hard time, and maybe it is because of the way I exit. I perceive more of a chance of a drogue getting out of the boc, or a reserve getting fired, by trying to force them if they balk on the step.

My students sit in the door with both feet on the step. They are either square in the door, or slightly aft, with a bit of their butt still on the door frame.

I am behind them crouched (I am a short 5'6), My left foot is planted in the front corner of the door frame. I get my right foot underneath my body as much as possible. Student is looking up at the door, we rock with a ready set go, on go I push off with my left foot for a launch and do a diving exit for the tail of the plane.

With this exit I am in the plane, the drogue and boc, as well as the reserve and reserve pins are inside the plane. The only thing out the door is the students legs and part of their butt.

I am planted on both feet so it is not hard to back up with the student.

I guess I could easily push the student off the step as well, but it may not be a clean exit if they are pushing on the step trying to push their body back into the plane. With their legs extended and tensed I will need to get their feet off the step, or I have to pivot over their legs which puts me high into the door opening, dragging the reserve flap in the process.

Why do you guys think there is more of a chance of a preemie when backing up?


EFS4LIFE  (D 31885)

Aug 27, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Re: [DougH] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I am behind them crouched (I am a short 5'6), My left foot is planted in the front corner of the door frame. I get my right foot underneath my body as much as possible.

I am 6 foot and 180, not huge for sure, but a little bigger. My right foot goes out on the step too (the large flat part where theirs both are) That way if they move their feet off the step or whatever, we are pivoting off of MY foot. I have found this to be the best way to prevent a student collison with the step. In this postion my drougue, plus my secondary release handle (Vector) is angled close to the aft portion of the door frame. As we are angled to go out at a 45 degree angle. The back of my rig is all up in the pilo'st face lol. Damn those 182's are cramped!

Anyway Doug, you have more experience than me. It is just the way, and things, I have been taught. I just want to insure you understand I am not trying to create a pissing contest or anything. Despite me and Dave butting heads serveral times in the past, I do value his experience and opinion. It has just been easier to swallow with me gaining experience :) That is why I asked, not to justify myself or anything. I just see safety problems with climbing back in. I full heartedly agree that "No means No." We both know that sometimes a little convincing and a go around is all that is needed. I have seen passengers refuse to go, but not while they are already outside of the plane out on the step. This whole question seems to be a highly "what if" scenario to me, but I do like to think about "what ifs?" Afterall forethought into these scenarios allows us to react easier and faster with a pre-determined recation. If you are 100 percent confident in getting that student back inside the aircraft safely, given the scenario, then I agree. I would be having one hand on my drogue for sure, but like I said "No, does mean No" and I don't dispute that one ioda. I just think once it reaches that point it is safer IMO to go then to fuck around outside of the plane. I am more confient in my ability to fly my body and land us safe under a canopy then to risk a possible plane crash.


DougH  (D License)

Aug 27, 2012, 1:27 PM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Anyway Doug, you have more experience than me. It is just the way, and things, I have been taught. I just want to insure you understand I am not trying to create a pissing contest or anything.

Not by much! Which is why I view these conversations as so valuable. I don't think this is a pissing match at all!

I have a few decades of learning to go before I come close to the pool of experience that others in the industry draw on.

It is great to have this site to bounce ideas and thoughts off other instructors. Otherwise we would each be limited to our own experiences, and the experience of others at your DZ.

SmileLaugh


Fast  (D 28237)

Aug 27, 2012, 2:48 PM
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Re: [skydived19006] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
IMO "No" means no.

Yeah for sure. I have made it a point to ask them some form of "Do you still want to skydive" after I have finished all of my in-plane instruction. This is generally just before the door gets opened but even after this point if the person says they don't want to go, I wouldn't take them.

From a liability standpoint, personally as an instructor (and for our dropzone) I won't do much if any "talking into" it. I generally tell my students who are very scared a very simple thing that helps them remember that what they are doing is reasonable. "We're both going skydiving together and I want to do this again" or something along that lines. I also stick to fairly straight forward stuff when it comes time to exit the airplane. Direct commands that leave little to interpretation.

"Slide down the bench" "Get into position" "Hand on your harness" the kind of stuff that doesn't leave them much room to think about what they are doing. I also have the added benefit of doing tandems primarily from a turbine, there is less time between when the door is opened and we are out of the plane, which seems to be generally when they start to panic.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Aug 27, 2012, 7:52 PM
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Re: [Fast] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I have made it a point to ask them some form of "Do you still want to skydive" after I have finished all of my in-plane instruction. This is generally just before the door gets opened but even after this point if the person says they don't want to go, I wouldn't take them.
Me too. I give the thumbs up "Are you ready to skydive?" I think we've all read a lot of students. I've only had one tandem refusal so far.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 27, 2012, 8:04 PM
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Re: [EFS4LIFE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
What is your view in regards to the passenger being out on the step of a 182? Going at that point or pulling em back in?

The point has already been made that it's the rig, and not the TI that you need to be concerned about. Even with a foot on the step, does the rig break the plane (no pun intended) of the door? It's a pretty big rig.

I think the more important factor is what you think you can do safely. If you feel confident in your ability to back yourself back into the plane, I can't see a reason not to do so. Do you have the hand/foot holds to safely guide the passneger back into the plane without hitting the doorframe? Can you do it without disturbing the pilot (too much)?

The thing is, you never know why the person is saying 'no'. They might just be scared, but they might also have another reason such as medical, physical discomfort, or a concern about the harness. Without knowing their reason, to dismiss it as simple whuffo 'fear' might not be the right choice.

I know I said the refund policy should have nothing to do with it, but that's for the student. As the TI, you should remember that you collect your pay as soon as the plane takes off, so there's no motivation for you to do anything besides ensure that the customer has a safe and enjoyable experience. If that means an airplane ride without skydive, it's their money and their choice.


shorehambeach  (B License)

Aug 28, 2012, 1:08 AM
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Re: For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the great replies. This is a great insight, for a newbie, into the bigger world of skydiving.

Smile


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Aug 30, 2012, 12:03 PM
Post #23 of 43 (3674 views)
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Re: [shorehambeach] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hello All,

Just did some fun jumping in France and while there I saw, for the first time, the plane come back with a tandem student TI and Camera flyer.
He didn't want to jump once the door had opened. They were very cool about it and he sheepish left the dz.
I guess this is a rare occurance...but I was wondering...What do you do/say if a tandem student won't jump ? Does this happen when the door opens?

I've been doing tandems for a long time now and I have always been able to talk them into jumping. I've never forced anyone, nor would I ever. Generally, in my experience, it's the first tandem to go that balks in the door. If/when that happens, we simply move that pair out of the way and let the others exit, then do a go around and give it another try. I have always been able to get them to trust me and get out of the plane. They ALWAYS thank me for convincing them to go when we get under canopy.

The caveat to my response is that I've had to airland with at least six AFF students, one with five previous successfull AFF jumps. Generally, it's on the first release dive or the first Cat E (aerobatics) jump.

Chuck Blue
D-12501
AFF/SL/TM-I, S&TA, PRO


shorehambeach  (B License)

Aug 30, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Re: [SkymonkeyONE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks SkymonkeyONE and all the other responses.


Nightingale  (B 26984)

Aug 30, 2012, 4:37 PM
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Re: [SkymonkeyONE] For TI's - When a tandem student wont jump..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I rode the plane down on my AFF level 2.

What happened:

The instructor prepped me for an exit from one aircraft (otter). Then, the dropzone switched the planes on us to skyvan a few minutes before the call, and I now had to learn a new exit. Then, my instructors got switched around, and I found someone whose name I didn't know on my main side. Why it didn't occur to me to ask the guy his name, I have no idea, but we never really got introduced before getting on the plane.

If it were one of those things (the exit/plane, or the new instructor), I probably would've been okay, but having both happen on a five minute call was too much when I was already nervous because my instructor had pulled for me on my first jump. I'd grabbed my instructor's altimeter instead of my main handle when it came time to pull, so having someone I didn't know on my main side was freaking me out. When the door opened, I realized I was soooo not in the right headspace to make a safe skydive. It would've gone badly. So, I told the instructors I wasn't going. They were both totally cool about it and didn't pressure me. The guy who was reserve side rode the plane back down with me, and the other guy whose name I didn't catch went for a jump after making sure I was okay, which I was, after realizing they'd let me stay in the plane. It was a really awful feeling, but it was the right decision for me to make under the circumstances. That didn't make me feel any better about it at the time, though.

I decided to do a tandem after I landed and thought it over for a bit, and I asked for John, the instructor on my first tandem two weeks earlier. The dropzone was happy to accommodate, and we went up and had a great skydive. He was so relaxed that I felt stupid being nervous, I knew he wasn't going to let me wuss out, and he knew I wanted to skydive, so we were on the same page there. We did as much of a level 2 AFF as we could tandem style, so it was a learning jump, and he helped turn a really horrible day into something good.

I went back to the dropzone a few days later to watch the swoopers, John saw me sitting on the bench and reminded me that skydiving is really not a spectator sport, and talked me into giving level 2 another try. I passed that day. However, if I hadn't gotten back in the air the same day for a tandem after my first try at level 2, I'm not sure I'd have been able to talk myself into going back. A couple people really went out of their way to talk to me about what happened and make me feel comfortable giving it another go, and that made a huge difference.

What you guys do every day, the things you say to students, the little things that you probably don't remember the next day or week, they matter to us. This was nine years ago, and that one day made such a huge difference in my life, because if one or two people had done something differently, I'd never have jumped again, wouldn't have passed AFF, gotten my A license, my B license, gone to WFFC and Prairie, and met so many of you awesome people. Even to those tandem students that you never see again, what all you instructors do really makes a difference.


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