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Advice on building a one-instructor (AFP) program

 


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Sep 10, 2012, 8:06 PM
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So I find myself in the position of being the only AFF instructor at a new (3 week old) DZ.

I'd like to get your input and wisdom on doing a one-instructor progression. How were the jumps set up? What were the advancement criteria from tandem to freefall?

If I understand the ISP correctly, Cat A, and B can be done on a tandem system. But how do you get into Cat C with just one instructor?

I'd also welcome any general comments on building a student program. What are your thoughts on doing all 25 jumps with an instructor or coach as part of a structured curriculum?

Thanks,
Jonathan


theonlyski  (D License)

Sep 10, 2012, 8:29 PM
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In reply to:
So I find myself in the position of being the only AFF instructor at a new (3 week old) DZ.

I'd like to get your input and wisdom on doing a one-instructor progression. How were the jumps set up? What were the advancement criteria from tandem to freefall?

If I understand the ISP correctly, Cat A, and B can be done on a tandem system. But how do you get into Cat C with just one instructor?

I'd also welcome any general comments on building a student program. What are your thoughts on doing all 25 jumps with an instructor or coach as part of a structured curriculum?

Thanks,
Jonathan

Call up Skydive Spaceland and I believe even Chicago Skydiving Center... If I recall correctly they both have a tandem progression that transitions them over to a single AFF-I to continue the progression.

So far as transition training, there's a small blurb about it in the SIM on the Cat D intro under "Instructor: Transition Protocol" paragraph...

Quote:
The USPA Tandem program terminates after Category C. All former tandem students may continue in the AFF program, or the remainder of the USPA IAD or static-line progression.

But it doesn't seem to go into (anywhere I see at the moment) what training is required for that.

However, the IRM does have a much better break down in the conversion requirements for the levels and even has a tandem progression from Cat A - H.

The USPA system sort of worries me, as technically a T-I can oversee a student from their first jump to their A-License, but they're not trained for the freefall portions where the student isn't hooked up to them. No spin stops, rollovers, harness docks... none of it. The guidance is that the (non AFF rated instructor) seeing a student in danger does the same bottom end dance as a coach; turn burn and save themselves.

Before anyone on here decides to chew my ass for not knowing what I'm talking about and not knowing what my ratings are valid for... I direct your attention to the USPA T-I proficiency card #16 as well as the IRM Tandem Instructor section.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 10, 2012, 8:37 PM
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I have said this before - on other threads - but it bears repeating: no single method is "best" for teaching skydiving, rather every different method is "best" at one stage of the learning process.

The best schools combine: tandem, ground-launching, IAD or S/L, wind tunnel, AFF and coaching.

Tandem is the best way to overcome "door fear" and show students what the perfect skydive looks like. Tandems are also a good way to talk them through a standard landing pattern.

Ground-launching is the best way to teach the basics of canopy control without the distractions of noise, freefall, etc.

IAD or S/L shifts responsibility to the student and introduces them to malfunction drills.

Wind tunnels are the best place to teach the basics of freefall stablity, turns and maybe even practice pulls.

AFF provides the best opportunity to teach freefall survival skills (e.g. altitude awareness).

Every good program finishes with a few coach jumps to round out the skills needed to complete an A Certificate.

If you want to reduce your stress levels - as the only freefall instructor on the DZ - insist that students demonstrate altitude awareness and activate their own main parachute on one or two tandems before you touch them.
A few minutes in a wind tunnel also greatly reduces everyone's stress levels.
Also insist that students land softly - in the correct field - on two or three IAD (or S/L) jumps before they attempt any freefalls with you.

IOW the higher you put your pre-levels, the lower your workload.


jtiflyer  (D 27430)

Sep 10, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Actually, Spaceland uses the program designed at Skydive Chicago. At SDC its 2 Tandems, then a transition class to single jumpmaster. First jump with the instructor is the normal Cat A. I did AFF at SDC for a season and was nervous as I had never done single jump master for Cat A-C.

What it comes down to is the training of the student. Good comprehensive training makes it a lot easier and possible to do single jump master no problem.


peek  (D 8884)

Sep 11, 2012, 4:53 AM
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In reply to:
What are your thoughts on doing all 25 jumps with an instructor or coach as part of a structured curriculum?

Some students benefit from getting rid of the instructor (the close supervision part) after they can be trusted to take care of themselves, at least for a few jumps. They can work on some things by themselves and it gives them confidence. Then they can get back with an instructor to start getting things signed off toward a license. Some people though, may want to keep going with an instructor to get to the license earlier. It is nice to give them a choice if they are safe to make that choice.


pchapman  (D 1014)

Sep 11, 2012, 5:42 AM
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(Although it sounds like you are at a USPA DZ in Canada, my examples are from the CSPA system.)

In reply to:
What are your thoughts on doing all 25 jumps with an instructor or coach as part of a structured curriculum?

That question has come up at the DZ I'm at. Novices do want to do solo jumps between coach jumps to practice what they need to demonstrate next, and to do some fun jumps to celebrate their freedom. But it can be hard to have ground supervision of novices' progression by coaches. So some novices go off and just keep fun jumping, taking forever to progress towards their A. It's their choice, but it looks bad for the DZ.

Unless the whole DZ mentality changed, it would be hard to force novices into a structured program. Looks like a cash grab to them, stops them from having any fun jumps or practice jumps, which the rules to allow, and require that coaches are readily available, to maintain the program's credibility. So I'm not sure how to give novices some freedom but maintain enough structure so some don't get lost.


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Sep 11, 2012, 7:39 AM
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Thanks, Riggerrob. I just moved to Panama, so wind tunnel is not really an option, unless we fly to Florida.

I agree that no method is "best." I am now in the position to build a training program how I see fit.

There is an IAD instructor here, so that's possible. However, other than my own S/L training 15 years ago, I don't know anything about IAD as it relates to a student program.

So, how would you do it? And what do you think of this? I took most of this from the SIM.

1. Tandem. Fun, no pressure
2. Tandem Cat A
3. Tandem Cat B
4. Tandem Cat B
Ground school
5. IAD Cat C w/dummy pull OR AFF C-1 w/1 instructor
6. 10 sec delay Cat C w/real pull OR AFF Cat c-2
7. 10 sec delay Cat C OR AFF Cat D-1
8. D-1 or D-2
...

I hear what you're saying about higher pre-load equals lower workload. I like it.

For the students, money is not a concern, as the instructional jumps will be sold as a package only (that's a cultural thing in Panama, I guess).

The plane is a 206-U, so I'd love to hear thoughts on a stable AFF exit from a small door, with no bar, step, strut, or wheel (dive? :o)

I think we could start with 3 or 4 tandems. Then, anyone who I think will be a rodeo, I'll pass to the IAD instructor to do 3 jumps in Cat C (heh heh) and the others I will do AFF Cat C.

Economics also plays a part. If I do AFF, I can radio the students down. If the other instructor does a load of IAD, I still have to radio those students down. The choice of method might be driven by the number of students who show up on a given day.


Theonlyski: Don't hijack my thread! But boy, does that bring up questions. I can see where Cat D skills might be taught by a TI (hey, let's do turns on your second Cat B tandem. Here's how we do turns.) But #16 on TI card seems like it calls for an in-air eval as well as ground skills. At the moment, my 2010 IRM is in a box in a storage warehouse in Canada, and I can't get to it.

And ground launching???? !!! PLEASE tell me how you would use this in a student program? (I'm watching a Brian Germain video on Youtube, and I like how it starts with students busting their asses on the sand dune). I'm intrigued.


(This post was edited by jonathan.newman on Sep 11, 2012, 7:47 AM)


chopaka  (D 29376)

Sep 11, 2012, 7:49 AM
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The Ranch in New York has an AFF Program that uses starts with 3 tandems (1 fun, 2 with skills/objectives), moves on to the ground school followed by a one AFF-I jump. Linda Wasilonski is the lead AFF-I, has been for a while, and has re-tooled their program a fair amount over the last several years. She can be found through dz.com, facebook or a website that she set up specifically for the newbies at The Ranch (http://ranchrookie.com). I am sure that she would be more than happy to talk about it. Good luck!

Rudi


(This post was edited by chopaka on Sep 11, 2012, 7:51 AM)


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 11, 2012, 10:38 AM
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"... The plane is a 206-U, so I'd love to hear thoughts on a stable AFF exit from a small door, with no bar, step, strut, or wheel (dive? :o) ...
......................................................................

Single-instructor assisted-freefall is easy from a cargo-door Cessna 206. The instructor sits in the rear corner of the door and grabs the right leg strap as the student sits on the door sill. As the student pushes off (left arm and left leg) the instructor grabs the student's right shoulder.
The student continues pushing off and reaching for the right wing tip with his/her right arm.

OTOH two- instructor assisted-freefall is difficult from a U206. The inside instructor had better be small and quick!


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Sep 11, 2012, 10:51 AM
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"
In reply to:
... I don't know anything about IAD as it relates to a student program.

So, how would you do it? ...
"

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

IAD or S/L is best at teaching stable exits and canopy control. The IAD (or S/L) ground school is also a good place to teach students how to clear nuisances (e.g. closed end cells, line twists or slider not all the way down) and malfunction drills.

I hated practice pulls when (1979) I was a S/L student and I still hate them because I believe they put too much pressure on students to perform in too little time.
Far wiser to have them activate a tandem main parachute (at 5,500 feet) on two or three tandems. Once they have satisfied that learning objective, tossing a main pilot-chute on their first accompanied freefall should be easy.

A note about equipment: to simplify transitions, all gear should have main activation handles in the same location (e.g. BOC). If you are using Sigmas, great! If you are using Strong Tandems, sew an extra buckle to the instructor's right leg pad and install a bungee kit (available from Strong Enterprises).
Then when students start doing accompanied freefalls, they can use the same technique to toss a BOC handle.


chemfx  (B License)

Sep 11, 2012, 2:57 PM
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talk to Jason at Xtreme divers in PR. Solo instructor and DZO at Xd. at the moment i think he has about 13/14 students. Cessna 182.


ufk22  (D 16168)

Sep 16, 2012, 8:03 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
So I find myself in the position of being the only AFF instructor at a new (3 week old) DZ.

I'd like to get your input and wisdom on doing a one-instructor progression. How were the jumps set up? What were the advancement criteria from tandem to freefall?

If I understand the ISP correctly, Cat A, and B can be done on a tandem system. But how do you get into Cat C with just one instructor?

I'd also welcome any general comments on building a student program. What are your thoughts on doing all 25 jumps with an instructor or coach as part of a structured curriculum?

Thanks,
Jonathan

Call up Skydive Spaceland and I believe even Chicago Skydiving Center... If I recall correctly they both have a tandem progression that transitions them over to a single AFF-I to continue the progression.

So far as transition training, there's a small blurb about it in the SIM on the Cat D intro under "Instructor: Transition Protocol" paragraph...

Quote:
The USPA Tandem program terminates after Category C. All former tandem students may continue in the AFF program, or the remainder of the USPA IAD or static-line progression.

But it doesn't seem to go into (anywhere I see at the moment) what training is required for that.

However, the IRM does have a much better break down in the conversion requirements for the levels and even has a tandem progression from Cat A - H.

The USPA system sort of worries me, as technically a T-I can oversee a student from their first jump to their A-License, but they're not trained for the freefall portions where the student isn't hooked up to them. No spin stops, rollovers, harness docks... none of it. The guidance is that the (non AFF rated instructor) seeing a student in danger does the same bottom end dance as a coach; turn burn and save themselves.

Before anyone on here decides to chew my ass for not knowing what I'm talking about and not knowing what my ratings are valid for... I direct your attention to the USPA T-I proficiency card #16 as well as the IRM Tandem Instructor section.
If you read the SIM, cat c training is the rub for a TI or single-side AFF. You can't do it. On the tandem side there is nothing in Cat C that you can do that will "clear the student for freefall". Also, in the BSRs (E-5-b). The AFP programs are not truly USPA programs, but rather are experimental or waivered.
Once a student gets through Cat C, a tandem I can take him through D-H in the sl/iad progression.


ufk22  (D 16168)

Sep 16, 2012, 8:17 PM
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I do single side AFF transition from s/l. I'm the only AFF rated I at our dz. even through USPA says I can do single side on the first cat C jump, I want 1 or preferably 2 successful self-deployments before I take them up.
Coming from tandems, I would want 2 successful deployments by the student minimum.
Also, I treat the first AFF jump more like a Cat B (stability in 10 secs, altitude awareness throughout the jump, two good practice touches, body position and heading control, self deployment, no release) rather than a true Cat C.


AdD  (D License)

Oct 5, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Ground-launching is the best way to teach the basics of canopy control without the distractions of noise, freefall, etc.

Maybe ground handling, ground launching skydiving parachutes isn't a great idea for anyone let alone novices.


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Oct 7, 2012, 8:00 PM
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Quote:
Coming from tandems, I would want 2 successful deployments by the student minimum.

OK, so two students have completed 3 (or 4) tandems each. The last tandem was a diving exit (more on that later) with the students' arms out. COA, three practice touches, response to hand signals, altitude awareness, and solo pull. And then, of course canopy work all the way down.

Now what? There is an IAD instructor here. We talked about doing Cat C in three jumps, 3500 IAD, 4000 5 sec delay, and 4500 10 sec delay. There are only two of us, so while he is putting the students out, I guess I'll be doing radio. How does this sound to you?

So, back to the plane. We have a U206 with cargo door. When the plane came from the US, it had skydiving steps and outside handles and grab bars. I guess Panama doesn't like the FAA 337 and made us take them off. Any thoughts on how to rock this exit? About all I can think of is a rear diving exit.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Oct 10, 2012, 5:05 PM
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In reply to:
Quote:
Ground-launching is the best way to teach the basics of canopy control without the distractions of noise, freefall, etc.

Maybe ground handling, ground launching skydiving parachutes isn't a great idea for anyone let alone novices.

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

Nylon skydiving canopies tend to wear out pretty quickly when left laying in the sun - on a ground-launching slope.
However, the French found solutions to this problem 25 years ago ... back during the late 1980s, when they started making ground launching canopies from Dacron sail cloth.\The challenge is finding beginner ground-launching canopies that are trmmed similar to skydiving student canopies.
Ask New Zealand Aerospsorts/Icarus or Performance Designs.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Oct 13, 2012, 10:01 PM
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...

So, back to the plane. We have a U206 with cargo door. When the plane came from the US, it had skydiving steps and outside handles and grab bars. I guess Panama doesn't like the FAA 337 and made us take them off. Any thoughts on how to rock this exit? About all I can think of is a rear diving exit.
.....................................................................

Like I said - in an earlier post - sit the AFF Instructor in the rear of the door, with his right hand on the top of the door frame.
As the student approaches the door, the instructor grabs his/her right leg strap.
The student trails his/her right leg in an arch. Only his left cheek and thigh remain on the door sill. Both hands sandwiching the front of the door frame. Left knee in the front corner of the door frame, with his lower left leg outside.
The student gets a nod "Okay" from his instructor and looks towards the propeller.
The student leans out, leans in and leans out.
On the second lean out, he pushes off - with his left thigh, while his right arm reaches for the wingtip.
As the student pushes off, the instructor grabs his right shoulder.
The student keeps his eyes on the propeller.


markovwgti  (D 29993)

Oct 14, 2012, 7:56 AM
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Ask PARA5-0 rich winstock he is running for national director, he set it up for the most part at skydive long island and it has been running flawlessly!


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Oct 29, 2012, 4:38 PM
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Hey Rob,
With the weather being what it is, I finally got the chance to take up a student.

We did a seated exit, just a little differently. I crouched on my feet so that I could spring outside, and the student put his left foot on the step. We have a wind deflector that doesn't allow grips, so with two hands, the student did a "superman" out to the wing strut.

I guess I can say that no amount of tandems can prepare a student for freefall totally, but the jump went OK.

Interestingly, an instructor showed up from Columbia with a student and showed me a different exit. Student crouched in the door, with two hands on the inside to keep from falling out, and the instructor in almost a normal outside AFF position. The only thing that worries me is the flap being right there.

So far so good.


AdD  (D License)

Nov 2, 2012, 7:15 AM
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Hey Rob,

That exit is damn tricky from the instructor point of view. I did a bunch like that and ended up having a lot of trouble with my rig hitting the back of door and exits getting unstable.

I ended up going to a crouching, head-jam style with most of my body outside the door and the student seated. This was on a plane with a very small step though.


jonathan.newman  (D 30644)

Jan 15, 2013, 10:11 AM
Post #21 of 25 (2242 views)
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So far the program is a success. I've had 3 students transition from tandem to AFF successfully. I now have the student do a diving exit to the rear. I start on my feet with two hands on the student.

I am amazed at how well they do in both freefall and canopy flight after 3 or 4 instructional tandems. All of them were able to stand up their first or second landing, and not one even needed radio guidance.

On tandem #4 I was able to simulate a few difficulties for the student -- letting him get us stable after rolling out the door, giving him an uncontrolled turn until he did the alti-arch-legs-relax, and releasing a single toggle after opening. He was breathing hard when we got to the ground, but he felt a lot more comfortable in the air. He finished Cat C with a single AFF jump.

We only did that 4th tandem because of winds, but I feel it got him over the relaxation hump. I might add it to the program along with some dummy EP handles on the student harness.

So far, so good.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Jan 15, 2013, 11:12 AM
Post #22 of 25 (2223 views)
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In reply to:
The USPA system sort of worries me, as technically a T-I can oversee a student from their first jump to their A-License, but they're not trained for the freefall portions where the student isn't hooked up to them.
Not having a TI IRM in hand, I would argue against any TI participating in any AFF harness-hold jump.

In reply to:
No spin stops, rollovers, harness docks... none of it.
...for that very reason.

Personally I would refuse to jump AFF with a TI on the other side on a two-instructor jump.

In reply to:
If you read the SIM, cat c training is the rub for a TI or single-side AFF. You can't do it.
Because TI are not trained in the harness-hold method.

In reply to:
Once a student gets through Cat C, a tandem I can take him through D-H in the sl/iad progression.
I would argue that. Again, the old harness-hold training. Do you have something specific that says a TI can participate in a Cat D jump or higher?


(This post was edited by popsjumper on Jan 15, 2013, 11:13 AM)


ufk22  (D 16168)

Jan 15, 2013, 4:22 PM
Post #23 of 25 (2177 views)
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In reply to:
In reply to:
The USPA system sort of worries me, as technically a T-I can oversee a student from their first jump to their A-License, but they're not trained for the freefall portions where the student isn't hooked up to them.
Not having a TI IRM in hand, I would argue against any TI participating in any AFF harness-hold jump.

In reply to:
No spin stops, rollovers, harness docks... none of it.
...for that very reason.

Personally I would refuse to jump AFF with a TI on the other side on a two-instructor jump.

In reply to:
If you read the SIM, cat c training is the rub for a TI or single-side AFF. You can't do it.
Because TI are not trained in the harness-hold method.
In reply to:
No, because in the tandem progression, one S/L or IAD jump is required before the student is cleared for self-deployment (Cat C-1).
Or, if the cat C-1 is AFF, it requires two AFF-i's.


In reply to:
Once a student gets through Cat C, a tandem I can take him through D-H in the sl/iad progression.
I would argue that. Again, the old harness-hold training. Do you have something specific that says a TI can participate in a Cat D jump or higher?
The world of skydiving includes training that does not use or require a harness grip. A tandem I can put out a student and observe them. This is the static line program Cat D-H.
Read your SIM and IRM, specifically the Tandem I section of the IRM.


Mr17Hz  (A 47290)

Jan 22, 2013, 1:41 PM
Post #24 of 25 (1985 views)
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Contact Rook@SkydiveChicago.com, they have a great AFP program with courseware available. It's an 18 step program with canopy and freefall parts. I went through this training myself in 2004 and I can't say enough good things about the extended approach.


livendive  (D 21415)

Jan 24, 2013, 11:11 AM
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Leave tandems as optional if you want, but start them with IAD. Once they've gotten to the hop & pop stage, they're cleared to jump by themself. At that point, having an AFF instructor with them is better than going solo.

Blues,
Dave



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