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Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem

 

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davelepka  (D 21448)

Oct 31, 2012, 5:15 AM
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Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem Can't Post

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Radios breed dependency, dampen initiative, and reduce awareness building.

That's just silly, and you know it. Using a radio for the first 5 or 6 jumps does nothing but help the student to ensure that they have a safe canopy flight, and if used properly, they can help the student learn faster. Train the student as if there was no radio, and remind them that it could fail at any time, but in the end what could be better than having an experienced jumper literally in your ear during your first couple of solo canopy rides?

Again, the reason we have AADs and AFFIs is because you don't know how a student will perform. You plan for the worst and hope for the best. If you believe that the skydive is not over once the canopy is open (as I do), why would you stop the 'teaching' at that point when you don't have to.

Most injuries and fatalities these days happen after a good opening. To simply abandon a student at that point for no reason is non-sense. We help students though the first few exits, we help them though the first few practice (and actual) pulls, and we should be there to help them through the first few jumps under canopy.

Even if a student stays on the radio for 10 jumps, they'll have more than twice that many jumps by the time they get a license. Any dependency they have on a radio will have to disappear within 5 or 6 jumps of taking the radio off, or they will never meet the accuracy rewuirements for the license. We're not talking about dependency of GPS, or an audible altimeter, which would be present on every jump made well past the student training days, the radio is just another tool to help teach students, and is a valid and simple part of a good (and prudent) student training program.


(This post was edited by PhreeZone on Oct 31, 2012, 9:57 AM)


robinheid  (D 5533)

Oct 31, 2012, 9:51 AM
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In reply to:
Quote:
Radios breed dependency, dampen initiative, and reduce awareness building.

<snip>

Most injuries and fatalities these days happen after a good opening. To simply abandon a student at that point for no reason is non-sense. We help students though the first few exits, we help them though the first few practice (and actual) pulls, and we should be there to help them through the first few jumps under canopy.

Funny that you mention abandonment -- without even noticing that this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does as soon as the "FF" is over; plummet 2500K below the student so they can hurry up and make the next turn, leaving the actual under-canopy "instruction" to the bandaid that is a radio in the hands of one "instructor" juggling two or three radios because s/he drew the short straw.

Years ago, I developed a "follow-the-leader" canopy training program, wherein the instructor would fly ahead of and below the student, who would follow.

I developed this concept because, as a TI I would usually hand the toggles to the student after opening, point out the DZ to them and say "fly toward that" while I adjusted the harness to make them more comfortable. Usually, when I took control again, they were pointed at amost every direction of the compass except at the DZ.

However, when there was a camera flyer on the jump, I would point to the camera flyer and say "follow him" -- and they did it right every time.

Why the discrepancy? Because unless we're scuba divers or pilots, we never navigate in a 3D medium until we jump, and adding that extra axis gets confusing.

When following someone, however, you're still doing a 2D path even though you are moving through 3D space.

So I did it with low-timers (25-40 jumps) and even with the severe canopy training deficiencies of "AFF," they were landing within 15-30 feet of me every time.

I would dirt dive the basic setup-to-pattern-entry flight, then fly a precise pattern of crosswind, 1k-750; downwind, 750-500; base 500-250; final, 250-landing.

Additionally, I would dirt dive the "magic" of cheating your line tighter or wider on each leg to adjust as necessary as you went, along with all the other little pattern-flying tricks I won't go into here.

And it worked magnificently. It also radically increased their overall awareness and lurkfulness, because, as one of them put it, "when I'm in the pattern I know where I'm going and where I'm at so I can relax on that a bit and focus more on finding the other traffic so I feel much safer."

Moreover, by having someone to follow, they developed their "pattern eye" much faster, even when they made mistakes. In one case, our opening point was out of position from the norm and my student was afraid she wouldn't make it back by following me, so she broke away and ended up... not making it back. But as she ambled off into the weeds, she noticed that I once again landed in the center of the target, and she said afterward that she learned more from comparing what she did to what I did than she did by just following me.

These are the sorts of training benefits that can accrue when we do not abandon our students after opening and/or try to cover up that abandonment with the bandaid that is a radio held by someone standing on the ground.

But get this, Dave: when I proposed this to the honcho "AFF" instructors at my large turbine DZ -- that on each dive, one of them pulls higher and leads the student through canopy training, the immediately dismissive repsonse I got was, "but then I'd miss a turn."

So much for not abandoning the student, eh? Student abandonment is endemic in and a fundamental part of the "AFF" economic model, and the radio is the bandaid to camouflage the abandonment.

If you were really serious about not abandoning students after they open instead of just pronouncing it silly to replace bandaids with more and better training, you would no doubt have called for this kind of thing a long time ago, given your otherwise almost always stellar views and insights on things parachuting-related.

But you're as blind as the rest of the bunch on this one, so Samuel Jackson to you too, my friend, because, as you say, "we should be there to help them through the first few jumps under canopy" -- and sitting on the ground looking up at them through 5,000 feet of sky is not "being there," no matter what kind of bandaid you have in your hand.

44
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davelepka  (D 21448)

Oct 31, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Re: [robinheid] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
If you were really serious about not abandoning students after they open instead of just pronouncing it silly to replace bandaids with more and better training, you would no doubt have called for this kind of thing a long time ago, given your otherwise almost always stellar views and insights on things parachuting-related.

I have. Do a search for threads about radio use, and even the one about the gal at Lodi who hit the telephone pole, and you'll see I mention all of the same things, and more. Radio is a tool, and how a DZ uses it (or abuses) it does not change the fact that it can be a huge asset and given the cost, it's more or less a 'freebie' in the world of skydiving.

You're not going to build dependency or stem initiative over the course of 5 to 7 jumps. Even if you told the students every turn to make on all of those jumps, when you remove the radio, they will have to learn in short order, and once they do, any dependency will be lost, and your point moot.

I'm not syaing that it's the only way to teach it, or that every place uses them the right way, but at the end of the day, having the ability to guide students who are under canopy is clearly a benefit to the safety of all involved. To pass on that because of cost, or pride, or stubborness is doing a dis-service to the students.

If you don't want it used the wrong way, then enforce that with your instructors. Tell them to keep quiet until the student makes a mistake, and even then just offer the needed correction and go back to radio silence. This way the student gets the benefit of learning 'on the fly', and the back up of an experienced jumper in their ear if they should make a wrong turn or get into trouble.


Scrumpot  (D License)

Nov 1, 2012, 3:40 PM
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Re: [robinheid] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Funny that you mention abandonment -- without even noticing that this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does as soon as the "FF" is over; plummet 2500K below the student so they can hurry up and make the next turn, leaving the actual under-canopy "instruction" to the bandaid that is a radio in the hands of one "instructor" juggling two or three radios because s/he drew the short straw.

If that's how it's actually done at dropzones in your observation or experience Robin, then that is not only just a shame, it is, IMO - WRONG.

Sure, if you predicate your argument just strictly based upon that model or premise - you win - hands down. But this is clearly not the best, let alone what should be even accepted as any "industry practice" for student radio procedure/ops. Surely no-one would actually advocate that.

I am of mixed feelings on radio & radio use / perceived possible dependency. I can actually see both your points, and I know I have posted on this in much greater detail (than I care or have time right now to get into here) before elsewhere. I think I may have even myself somewhere once, actually even started a thread, with very similar title.

I will either find it and reference it, or weigh-in with my experience examples on more proper radio protocol procedures I've observed, later. But this example given, is just plain - sad. Disappointing to say the least, if anywhere this is truly, some(s) actual practice.

P.S. - Quick Edit to add: I take exception at your comment / premise that: "this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does..."

Robin, I am an AFF instructor, and this is *NOT* what I do! ...Nor is it what any other AFF instructor I either work with, or have recently observed at several dropzones I've experienced does in fact and/or in practice either! Mad


(This post was edited by Scrumpot on Nov 1, 2012, 3:46 PM)


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Nov 1, 2012, 3:41 PM
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Re: [robinheid] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

>But you're as blind as the rest of the bunch on this one, so Samuel Jackson to you too,
>my friend, because, as you say, "we should be there to help them through the first few
>jumps under canopy" -- and sitting on the ground looking up at them through 5,000
>feet of sky is not "being there," no matter what kind of bandaid you have in your hand.

Hard to imagine people once survived learning via the static line method, where there was no one there to help them through any part of their first few jumps.


ruleofpull  (Student)

Nov 1, 2012, 4:50 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting discussion. Does anyone know when radios first began being used for student jumps? And, what was the motivation behind radios being used (train students but have a back-up device should something happen, etc.)? (I did a search, but didn't really see a topic that covered this-after not looking too hard).


obelixtim  (D 84)

Nov 1, 2012, 6:39 PM
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Re: [ruleofpull] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

 When large, student friendly canopies came out, I switched from PC's to squares back in 1987. To go with the switch in canopies, I had to come up with a completely new set of canopy control protocols and training, which I gave a lot of thought to.

At the time I was most concerned about the extra distance a student could get under canopy, and had to allow longer spots. This often put the students out of range of the old ground based "follow the arrow" canopy control method.

There were very few suitable radio systems around at the time, so I went with an intense course of canopy flight training, giving students altimeters and waypoints over the ground.(incidentally this canopy flight phase of training I have never had to modify, so I got it right)

First load of first jumpers I put out, all landed safely, although scattered over a wide area.

Right then, I realised that radios were essential, and went about procuring a set for students.

The difference was amazing. I was able to get the students right back where I wanted them, proving that the radio was part of the minimum equipment to be given to students. Especially on a busy airfield with sometimes 20 or 30 first jumpers per day.

I continued to train the students to fly themselves, and only told them about the radio immediately before the jump. Then they were only given commands when they headed off the wrong way. Most students were off the radio within 3 or 4 jumps max.

I was prolly one of the first in the world to switch to square student mains, certainly I had to design my own programme for them, as there were no precedents to go on, as far as I knew.

Radios were as essential as any other vital piece of equipment, once the roundies were retired.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 1, 2012, 7:58 PM
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Re: [ruleofpull] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Does anyone know when radios first began being used for student jumps?

That's hard for me to say, because radios were in use when I started jumping in 1995.

However, we know that they weren't around when students jumped rounds, and probably for the first little while when they switched to squares. It would have been the combination of the technology not being available (at a reasonable price), and just not knowing all that was going to be involved in teaching canopy control.

What I do know is that before radios, DZs used paddles to direct their students. Some of them were different colors, or the operator would use a combination of movements/positions to indicate left turn or right turn. The overall idea is that people wanted to communicate with the students because the benefits were obvious.

Think about this - how many times have you been standing at the DZ watching something bad happen, like a low cutaway or jumper making some really bad choices under canopy, and someone (or multiple people) start yelling, 'Pull!' or 'Cutaway!' or 'Flare!'? We've all seen it, and if you haven't, check out the video of the Russian wingsuiting lady who had the collision at Perris not too long ago. There are a buch of people shouting instructions to her, but she's way too far away to be able to hear them.

The point is that being an outside observer to an emergency situation, you may have a better perspective or state of mind, and can more easily see the solution or best course fo action. In terms of a student with 5 jumps or less, there's a good chance you'll know more than them, and have a better idea than they will if something should go wrong.

So would you rather be standing there shouting instructions to someone who will never hear them, or speaking into the radio, where you're probably the only thing they can hear?


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 1, 2012, 8:08 PM
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Quote:
Hard to imagine people once survived learning via the static line method, where there was no one there to help them through any part of their first few jumps

Why is that hard to imagine? For many years, static line was done with rounds, where canopy control was less of an issue. Once DZs started to use squares, it became more of an issue, and some of them started to use radios.

My first 4 jumps were static line jumps with square canopies, and I was given a radio. It was a big help for the first few jumps, and then after having flown a canopy a few times, I was able to stop using the radio and had 'good' canopy control on my first 'no radio' jump.

Could I have performed that way on my first jump with no radio? Maybe yes, maybe no. I'm gald it was there in case I needed it, and it gave me the ability to experience canopy flight, and drop the radio when I felt like I could do it on my own. I don't see a downside to that scenario.

Again, it's a tool, and it's effectiveness is related to how it's used. Use it wrong, and you'll get less out of it. Use it right, and you can help to accelerate the learning curve. In either case, you maintain that line of communication to your student should things go 'off plan', and that's the real value.


melanie91  (C License)

Nov 2, 2012, 4:09 AM
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What's with the past tense? Static line is still used, and I've seen quite a few instances of radios failing/students not hearing them and at least 75% of them landed safely on the dz. Just about all of the rest landed safely but off the dz; and a very small number sustained minor injuries on landing either on or off the dz. This has been in the past 5 years and it's a reasonably small landing area.


Amyr  (C License)

Nov 2, 2012, 4:17 AM
Post #11 of 58 (5547 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

As a new jumper I remember how glad I was to get off radio. BUT I also remember how glad I was to have that radio on my first jump after the canopy opened. I am glad I had that (Band-aid) on my first few jumps. So I didn't learn old school >real skydiver way. After 50 jumps can you tell who learned on radio their first 5 or so jumps to those who learned hard core?


jimjumper  (D 11137)

Nov 2, 2012, 6:59 AM
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Re: [ruleofpull] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a radio on all my student jumps in 1983 but with jumping T-10's about all you could do from 2500' was change the view. Radios on students even then wasn't anything new. The dropzone was surrounded by scrub trees and it was easier to keep the students out of them than haul out an axe ad cut the tree down.


fcajump  (D 15598)

Nov 2, 2012, 8:33 AM
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Re: [Scrumpot] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Funny that you mention abandonment -- without even noticing that this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does as soon as the "FF" is over; plummet 2500K below the student so they can hurry up and make the next turn, leaving the actual under-canopy "instruction" to the bandaid that is a radio in the hands of one "instructor" juggling two or three radios because s/he drew the short straw.

If that's how it's actually done at dropzones in your observation or experience Robin, then that is not only just a shame, it is, IMO - WRONG.

Sure, if you predicate your argument just strictly based upon that model or premise - you win - hands down. But this is clearly not the best, let alone what should be even accepted as any "industry practice" for student radio procedure/ops. Surely no-one would actually advocate that.

I am of mixed feelings on radio & radio use / perceived possible dependency. I can actually see both your points, and I know I have posted on this in much greater detail (than I care or have time right now to get into here) before elsewhere. I think I may have even myself somewhere once, actually even started a thread, with very similar title.

I will either find it and reference it, or weigh-in with my experience examples on more proper radio protocol procedures I've observed, later. But this example given, is just plain - sad. Disappointing to say the least, if anywhere this is truly, some(s) actual practice.

P.S. - Quick Edit to add: I take exception at your comment / premise that: "this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does..."

Robin, I am an AFF instructor, and this is *NOT* what I do! ...Nor is it what any other AFF instructor I either work with, or have recently observed at several dropzones I've experienced does in fact and/or in practice either! Mad

When I was a SL student (1990) radios were the normal, but at my DZ there was a designated ground-radio instructor for each load with a list of the students and what they were jumping. It was also STRESSED that radios fail and the instructors tried to keep their instructions minimal and only as needed.

A DZ I was at later did something that made me very uncomfortable with their AFF students... not only was there the drop low and rush to get the next student after dumping the last, the radio instructor WAS one of the AFF instructors... they would land as quick as possible, pull the radio out of their jump suit and then look up at the 2-4 students already under canopy and try to talk them all down. This system was made worse by the student canopies all looking the same and made no allowance for the occasions when the instructor landed off...

I think its a good 1st jump instruction aid (it helped me wake up to what was next on my first jump) but must be kept from being a crutch to either the instructors or students.

JW


dthames  (B 37674)

Nov 2, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

I learned better and faster if I was left along. But if I was headed for an accident/injury the radio could have been used to get me back on track.

I did a jump or two where the radio person thought I was a remote controlled device and I felt like I learned very little on those canopy flights. But for the most part, the radio help was kept to a few suggestive instructions.

Some people need more help than others do. I have known some that were concerned about losing their radio ôlifelineö.


jackwallace  (Student)

Nov 2, 2012, 11:21 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

I see radios as a necessary evil. In the days of round canopies, and openings at 2500 feet, or less, if the spot was good the student couldn't get very far away from the DZ. With squares and openings above 3500 ft, they can cover a lot of distance. The student can have a much harder time finding the DZ now days. Higher altitude at opening and a lot of DZ's are in much higher population areas. Picking out the DZ from an industrial park, baseball field, football or soccer field can be difficult for them. Radio's like the tunnel are a tool. Used properly they ad safety and skills to the student. Used improperly they become a sloppy crutch that can cause more harm than good.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Nov 2, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Re: [jimjumper] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I had a radio on all my student jumps in 1983 but with jumping T-10's about all you could do from 2500' was change the view.
LaughLaugh
Radios with T10s? I gotta ask...WHY?????
LaughLaugh

One reason:
"Jumper 1, turn 180 so that you can see the tree you are about to hit."


RyanFYF  (C 41792)

Nov 2, 2012, 2:09 PM
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Re: [jackwallace] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

They used radios on my aff jumps but I only got talked to on my second jump. I was actually suprised that no one said anything on my first jump, the second jump all I got was "doing good, watch your altitude, ok good turn, there ya go!, flare! PERFECT!"

then jumps 3-7 never heard anything. A few times the instructor would even ask if someone told me to turn or to flare and when I said no, he just nodded and said "oh, cool. good job"

That was just my personal experience but I never found the radio destracting or a crutch I guess because they barely used it on me. But if I was doing something wrong on the first jumps I would hope someone would scream at me to turn lol


robinheid  (D 5533)

Nov 2, 2012, 4:13 PM
Post #18 of 58 (5335 views)
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Re: [Scrumpot] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Funny that you mention abandonment -- without even noticing that this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does as soon as the "FF" is over; plummet 2500K below the student so they can hurry up and make the next turn, leaving the actual under-canopy "instruction" to the bandaid that is a radio in the hands of one "instructor" juggling two or three radios because s/he drew the short straw.

If that's how it's actually done at dropzones in your observation or experience Robin, then that is not only just a shame, it is, IMO - WRONG.

Sure, if you predicate your argument just strictly based upon that model or premise - you win - hands down. But this is clearly not the best, let alone what should be even accepted as any "industry practice" for student radio procedure/ops. Surely no-one would actually advocate that.

I am of mixed feelings on radio & radio use / perceived possible dependency. I can actually see both your points, and I know I have posted on this in much greater detail (than I care or have time right now to get into here) before elsewhere. I think I may have even myself somewhere once, actually even started a thread, with very similar title.

I will either find it and reference it, or weigh-in with my experience examples on more proper radio protocol procedures I've observed, later. But this example given, is just plain - sad. Disappointing to say the least, if anywhere this is truly, some(s) actual practice.

P.S. - Quick Edit to add: I take exception at your comment / premise that: "this is precisely what every "AFF" instructor does..."

Robin, I am an AFF instructor, and this is *NOT* what I do! ...Nor is it what any other AFF instructor I either work with, or have recently observed at several dropzones I've experienced does in fact and/or in practice either! Mad

Let me get this straight:

1. You've never seen a large turbine DZ where a "ground instructor" manned 2-4 radios at the same time to talk down 2-4 students while the test of the "AFF" instructors high-tailed it off the landing area to get their next student?

2. On every "AFF" jump you make, you pull near student altitude and lead them down to landing?

3. On every "AFF" at your DZ, one of the instructors pulls near student altitude and leads the student down to landing?

4. On every "AFF" jump at the several DZs you've visited, one of the instructors pulls near student altitude and leads the student down to landing?

44
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peek  (D 8884)

Nov 3, 2012, 4:34 AM
Post #19 of 58 (5257 views)
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Re: [RyanFYF] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
They used radios on my aff jumps but I only got talked to on my second jump. I was actually suprised that no one said anything on my first jump, the second jump all I got was "doing good, watch your altitude, ok good turn, there ya go!, flare! PERFECT!"

then jumps 3-7 never heard anything. A few times the instructor would even ask if someone told me to turn or to flare and when I said no, he just nodded and said "oh, cool. good job"

That was just my personal experience but I never found the radio destracting or a crutch I guess because they barely used it on me. But if I was doing something wrong on the first jumps I would hope someone would scream at me to turn lol

Good story. In my opinion that is exactly how radios should be used. Have them available if they are needed, but don't say anything unless really needed.

If the training is reasonable, they should at least be able to land in the vicinity of the normal landing area.


(This post was edited by peek on Nov 3, 2012, 4:35 AM)


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Nov 3, 2012, 7:41 AM
Post #20 of 58 (5224 views)
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Re: [jimjumper] Radios on AFF students: WAS - Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I had a radio on all my student jumps in 1983 but with jumping T-10's about all you could do from 2500' was change the view.
This is an often used saw. It is however patently false. A modified T-10 has a forward speed of ~8 mph. I used to smoke jump with T-10s. During training it was made clear that landing more than 30m from the target was not an option. I used to select which tree I was going to snag the canopy on for a softer landing.


Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
Moderator
Nov 4, 2012, 8:21 AM
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Re: [robinheid] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

Robin, I jump at a DZ that has radios assigned to each instructor. The Main side instructor is responsible for also landing in the student landing area and using their radio to guide their student down. We frequently put 10-20 AFF students out per day on the weekend out of multiple turbines and a few weekends we do 60+ with a yearly count of AFF Cat A & Cat B students in the several hundreds if not nearing 1000. The instructors are there for the deployment of the student and then freefall to their own deployment altitude and then are responsible for getting to the Student Field and being present to watch/radio their student under canopy for that portion of their skydive for debriefing. They are also the instructor that does the full debrief and fills out the students logbook. It is extremely rare that a "ground instructor" is ever used. Reserve side instructor can land in the experienced jumper area and can turn loads if needed. There is a pay difference but at the end of the day they make about the same money either via more jumps or more per jump.


Abedy  (D 10153)

Nov 4, 2012, 8:39 AM
Post #22 of 58 (5125 views)
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Re: [PhreeZone] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a jolly neat and well-working scheme!


robinheid  (D 5533)

Nov 4, 2012, 11:36 AM
Post #23 of 58 (5090 views)
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In reply to:
Robin, I jump at a DZ that has radios assigned to each instructor. The Main side instructor is responsible for also landing in the student landing area and using their radio to guide their student down. We frequently put 10-20 AFF students out per day on the weekend out of multiple turbines and a few weekends we do 60+ with a yearly count of AFF Cat A & Cat B students in the several hundreds if not nearing 1000. The instructors are there for the deployment of the student and then freefall to their own deployment altitude and then are responsible for getting to the Student Field and being present to watch/radio their student under canopy for that portion of their skydive for debriefing. They are also the instructor that does the full debrief and fills out the students logbook. It is extremely rare that a "ground instructor" is ever used. Reserve side instructor can land in the experienced jumper area and can turn loads if needed. There is a pay difference but at the end of the day they make about the same money either via more jumps or more per jump.

Thanks for that. What you describe is sure better than ganging the radios to one "ground instructor," but if the "AFF" instructor is spending the time talking the student down, why not use that time more effectively by showing them the way down?

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Premier PhreeZone  (D License)
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Nov 4, 2012, 11:53 AM
Post #24 of 58 (5084 views)
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Re: [robinheid] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

The instructors only give radio corrections if the student is doing something incorrect. The "Follow the Leader" does not work if the student is on a 280 and the instructor is on a 79 Velocity. At our DZ is is way more likely that the AFF instructors are on canopies that are loaded 1.8 or higher than not. You can hang in brakes as deep as you want on a small canopy but its not going to help the situation if the student does not pick your one canopy out of the rest of the canopies that are in the air at the same time or another situation arises like needing to have a cutaway as the instructor or changing the landing area and now the "follow the leader" situation is shot since the student has no idea what is going on. In those cases its better to have the radio there to give assistance if needed to help guide them to a better landing.


I can say this has worked great on probably 3500 AFF Cat A and B's over the last 6 years so take it for what its worth.


robinheid  (D 5533)

Nov 5, 2012, 10:16 AM
Post #25 of 58 (4967 views)
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Re: [PhreeZone] Bad Tandem [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The instructors only give radio corrections if the student is doing something incorrect. The "Follow the Leader" does not work if the student is on a 280 and the instructor is on a 79 Velocity. At our DZ is is way more likely that the AFF instructors are on canopies that are loaded 1.8 or higher than not. You can hang in brakes as deep as you want on a small canopy but its not going to help the situation if the student does not pick your one canopy out of the rest of the canopies that are in the air at the same time or another situation arises like needing to have a cutaway as the instructor or changing the landing area and now the "follow the leader" situation is shot since the student has no idea what is going on. In those cases its better to have the radio there to give assistance if needed to help guide them to a better landing.


I can say this has worked great on probably 3500 AFF Cat A and B's over the last 6 years so take it for what its worth.

Good to hear that your input is only to correct, not direct, but it's still a bandaid on a flawed process and I must also correct you on a key element:

Follow the leader ONLY works when the instructor flies a smaller, faster canopy. I started out on a canopy loaded at .8 or thereabouts because, like you, I thought I needed to be on a canopy similar to that used by the student.

When I actually did it, however, I discovered that was the wrong approach because I couldn't maneuver myself properly into the "leader" position.

As soon as I switched to a more heavily loaded canopy, presto, problem solved! And the thing is, you don't "hang in brakes;" you brake just enough to slow your vertical and horizontal speed to stay within 1,000-1,500 feet or so.

Also, as I discovered initially by having tandem students "follow" the photog... they can follow a flight path even when the "leader" is far below them. It's a natural consequence of having their 3D navigation problem converted to 2D by having someone to follow. They see where the leader goes and they follow, even if the leader slowly moves farther ahead of and below them.

Finally, none of my followers ever one time had even the tiniest problem with picking my canopy out of the mix. Why? Because, for one thing, we're pulling higher and later than the mob. Perhapos even more importantly, part of that opening-near-student-level thing AND using a smaller, faster canopy is that I would fly right over to where they were and establish contact/communication/whatever, then I would turn and lead them down. Yes, I would outpace them, but they still followed easily.

Thomas Paine wrote that "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.ö

We are still in the first phase with regard to converting from bandaid radios to follow-the-leader canopy training. There are all sorts of formidable outcries in defense of custom but at some time down the road the "AFF" community will quit abandoning their students just when they need them the most.

It's funny, but the late great Jerry McCauley was onsite when I was doing my follow-the-leader training and when I disucssed it with him, he said that not only did he do that in the SEAL teams, they added a "graduation" wrinkle called "show the leader."

This meant that, after the leader felt that the low-timer was up to speed, he made the low-timer the leader and his task was leading not just his instructor but the whole team to a safe landing in the right spot.

So rather than defend what you do now, and make excuses for why you can't do follow-the-leader, maybe you ought to consider the advice of Morpheus to Neo and... "phree your mind."

To help you in that quest, I have attached the two articles I wrote on the subject in 1996 and 1998 for Skydiving Magazine.

44
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NOTE: Edited to add attachments


(This post was edited by robinheid on Nov 5, 2012, 10:57 AM)
Attachments: Follow The Leader181.doc (46.0 KB)
  Follow The Leader205.doc (51.5 KB)


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