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Ground School days earlier than the first jump?

 


peek  (D 8884)

Oct 16, 2013, 6:19 PM
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Ground School days earlier than the first jump? Can't Post

I've seen some references in some of the other forums on dz.com where a new skydiver speaks of having "graduated the Ground School", and seemingly not having done their first jump yet.

Am I misinterpreting some of these posts, or is there a trend in skydiving instruction now where DZs are holding ground schools on an earlier day (or days) than on which the jump is made?

I know of a small DZ in my area that prefers to do it that way, and in general, I think it is a very good idea, because it lets much of the instruction "sink in", and possibly provokes more questions when the student is later in contact with their instructor.

If so, do you think that this is because tandem jumps have taken the place of many "same day" classes/jumps that we used to have more of?


DrDom  (Student)

Oct 16, 2013, 6:43 PM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

peek wrote:
I've seen some references in some of the other forums on dz.com where a new skydiver speaks of having "graduated the Ground School", and seemingly not having done their first jump yet.

Am I misinterpreting some of these posts, or is there a trend in skydiving instruction now where DZs are holding ground schools on an earlier day (or days) than on which the jump is made?

I know of a small DZ in my area that prefers to do it that way, and in general, I think it is a very good idea, because it lets much of the instruction "sink in", and possibly provokes more questions when the student is later in contact with their instructor.

If so, do you think that this is because tandem jumps have taken the place of many "same day" classes/jumps that we used to have more of?

I guess they graduated FJC so they can make a first jump. I said I 'completed ground school' but did not feel I passed until I landed a canopy. The only reason mine was separate was simply the fact the weather was crap on my FJC day

I did have a chance to read and hit the tunnel before I jumped... which wasnt bad. Not sure what the best to do is but I know a few people went to the FJC and never returned to jump Unsure


dirtbox  (D 31759)

Oct 16, 2013, 7:11 PM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe the German federation requires a 24hr cooling off period between FJC and the first jump (happy to be corrected if wrong?). I do like this for a whole host of reasons ranging from educational to performance of the student.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Oct 16, 2013, 7:12 PM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

Back in Hemet, California, the vast majority of students did a tandem jump before AFF ground school. Then the AFF Instructor dragged out ground school until sunset on Saturday. He encouraged students to return for their first AFF jump on Sunday morning, because he found that the ground school lessons sank in better over-night and half the "first freefall jitters" had subsided before Sunday morning.
Bottom line, AFF students performed better if they jumped the day after ground school.
If they waited more than a week, they needed some refresher training.


dthames  (B 37674)

Oct 16, 2013, 7:22 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

riggerrob wrote:
Back in Hemet, California, the vast majority of students did a tandem jump before AFF ground school. Then the AFF Instructor dragged out ground school until sunset on Saturday. He encouraged students to return for their first AFF jump on Sunday morning, because he found that the ground school lessons sank in better over-night and half the "first freefall jitters" had subsided before Sunday morning.
Bottom line, AFF students performed better if they jumped the day after ground school.
If they waited more than a week, they needed some refresher training.

I could not jump because of wind. I went home and showed my wife and then later my son the steps of getting to the exit position, the exit count, the dive flow, checking the canopy. I had went through it several times before I went to bed. To me there was some benefit of the overnight wait.


DrDom  (Student)

Oct 16, 2013, 8:30 PM
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Re: [dthames] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

dthames wrote:
riggerrob wrote:
Back in Hemet, California, the vast majority of students did a tandem jump before AFF ground school. Then the AFF Instructor dragged out ground school until sunset on Saturday. He encouraged students to return for their first AFF jump on Sunday morning, because he found that the ground school lessons sank in better over-night and half the "first freefall jitters" had subsided before Sunday morning.
Bottom line, AFF students performed better if they jumped the day after ground school.
If they waited more than a week, they needed some refresher training.

I could not jump because of wind. I went home and showed my wife and then later my son the steps of getting to the exit position, the exit count, the dive flow, checking the canopy. I had went through it several times before I went to bed. To me there was some benefit of the overnight wait.

Actually, this is pretty true as well.. I hadnt thought of it but I went home and watched a series of Australian videos I think called "cutaway" showing various malfunctions and clearing, looked at canopy pics, went through arch, control, mentally walked through the exit and landing.

I think I would have been fine jumping the same day but it would have probably been "OMG I'm in a plane!" followed by "AHHH! DOOR" followed by a fall I dont remember and a PLF.

Either way, I have to admit I really enjoyed ground school, there were only 4 of us and it really made me comfortable on the first jump... 3 days later ;)


Premier DSE  (D 29060)

Oct 16, 2013, 10:56 PM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I know of a small DZ in my area that prefers to do it that way, and in general, I think it is a very good idea, because it lets much of the instruction "sink in", and possibly provokes more questions when the student is later in contact with their instructor.

Although this isn't common, my experience has been that the best students fall from this tree.
However, it also seems that it's more expensive (in that the student might not jump that day, and scheduling can become challenging on a busy DZ), and yes...the student frequently has more questions if it sits overnight or for a few days.
Personally, I prefer a student have an overnight waiting period.


Schwinny  (Student)

Oct 17, 2013, 2:17 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

I recently went for my groundschool instruction.. the amount of information/the time it takes to go through everything leaves one pretty exhausted.. if i knew i was jumping the same day i'd be thinking about the jump rather than letting all the class stuff sink in..


dragon2  (D 101989)

Oct 17, 2013, 3:58 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

We used to do SL jumps on the same day if possible, but starting last year we're not 'allowed' to let students make their first jump after a full day of groundschool. Sleeping on it seems to make for better students Smile


PixieUK  (B License)

Oct 17, 2013, 4:41 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was given the option of jumping the same day (my ground school was on a Friday) or of leaving it until the next day. I wobbled between wanting to get it over with and wanting to sleep on it, and eventually the weather made the decision for me so I couldn't jump.

Due to winds, I wasn't able to jump all weekend and had to come back the following weekend. I arrived on Friday night and didn't actually get to jump until Sunday morning - and that was the only jump the weather permitted, despite me being there on Monday as well.

Each day that I was at the dz, I had a 'refresh' session where I went over the whole jump with an instructor (standing and on creepers), practiced EP drills and practiced the exit from a mock up doorway.

My first AFF jump went extremely well - I did all of the exercises required in plenty of time, they were so deeply engrained that my body started doing them even before my mind had stopped freaking that I had actually jumped out of a plane, lol.

In retrospect, I think having more time between ground school and my first jump was a good thing in terms of knowing exactly what to do, without having to think about it too much, though it was very frustrating at the time.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Oct 17, 2013, 6:15 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

We schedule the first jump on the same day. HOWEVER, if WX or student preference dictates, we readily re-scheudle for another day. In addition to all the good educational and psychological reasons cited above, there is another advantage to delay..... FATIGUE. For many students, the FJC is all that they have energy for in one day. Also, sometimes it is a blessing for the insructors if the FJC students defer to another day, because the instructors are fatigued by the end of the day too! Being dog tired, hungry, and ready for Beer!, is a tough time to take up a fatigued, nervous nelly of a L1 student.


DrDom  (Student)

Oct 17, 2013, 8:06 AM
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Re: [GLIDEANGLE] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, never even thought about instructor burnout but I know that on the weekends the AFFIs at our place are running around like crazy. They manage to do it and make every student sure they have the time and attention they need... but I'm sure if there is an instructor who cant do that at 100% it sure does help.

Having an EP refresher the day of the jump REALLY was a good thing because I knew that it had stuck, and that felt good. I figured if i remembered nothing else, I'd have instructors holding me, and a radio guiding me, so long as I had a good canopy. Coming in 3 days later and knowing what to pull and why... confidence booster for sure.


Ron

Oct 17, 2013, 9:23 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

A military club I worked with, we would teach at night for a few hours for a week. They would also learn to pack in that time. They would then get a pre-jump briefing and then jump that SDR AM.

I thought it worked well.

My FJC.... A whole other story.


frogerina  (Student)

Oct 17, 2013, 1:05 PM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

I sort of wish I'd had a little rest/think time...I did FJC most of a day on a Saturday (after getting up at the CRACK of dawn to get there in time and, let's face it, not having the most...complete and restful night's sleep the night before). Was manifested onto a load that afternoon, got up to altitude, then the instructors decided to bring me back down due to wind gusts. (I am very glad they didn't let me jump out into those high-end of legal winds.) I stayed fully suited up, and waited another hour or so to be sent up again (this time, winds were a go). I did not have the most elegant first jump ever. And I think a part of it was exhaustion -- long day, added to a long time fully outfitted and waiting, plus information overload.

My instructors did a fantastic job with me that day, and in the jumps since. I still appreciate their decision to do a no go on the winds. I don't know if a night's sleep would have made for a better (or a more nervous) jump the next day...but it is interesting to consider.


ChrisD  (No License)

Oct 18, 2013, 10:49 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

I get your point and fully agree that "time" (as in length) of instruction should be increased , but the reasons why are perhaps more important to understand than simply calling it a rest period. Although I fully agree that a "rest period" for a multitude of reasons is a good idea...

The first point is that we simply , as humans, don't assimilate lots of material very well, and when that material has a lot of emotion attached, think stress, we don't really retain much at all....


This is why I constantly refer to the fact that: "You can't teach a student skydiver well enough to handle every situation that they may be required to perform."

It may not be possible to teach a student everything they need to know especially in the beginning. This is just the facts, it's how we are constructed as humans....

The information required isn't accessible when its needed. It may be there, in some sense, but you can't get to it when it's needed. This is actually well established psych fact, and unfortunatly skydiving instruction is a matter of economics, in this day and age, but it is disturbing that we have so much documented research and practical experience that gets ignored on a large scale.

We really do tend to teach and do the things that have been done to us. That doesn't make this right however....


That said:

Anything that improves practice time, rehearsal, or whatever is a positive thing...we are really skill building here folks...

If some of the "inconveniences" (book learning, etc.) can be further incorporated and rehearsed in our minds this takes some of the load off the student and frees their minds making stuff more accessible and for the most part for those students they have better outcomes.

The military has done exhaustive studies, and before they studied the crap out of everything their face value observations told them that the multi day training programs just plain old work better. And all they really have to do is just jump under a round and perform a few basic tasks.

We on the other hand ignore this and fully prepare, (for a Cat A) a jumper to handle just about every contingencies we can think of and we want them all to get this in less than, (on average) 4 hours. (Not including jump time.)

This is not only wrong when you think about it, it is just stupid and reckless. It really demonstrates a real cavalier attitude on the part of those engaging in this behavior.

C


Unfortunatly most multi day "Ground Schools" are scheduled in advance but whether the weather co-operates is another matter. This is a poor excuse for a multi day class....


I have been around long enough to see a big shift in how we treat students and an even larger shift regarding skydiving instruction. The move towards getting every penny from a student has costs, cost's that all of us are paying whether we realize this or not.

I miss the days when skydivers helped each other. Holding a ridicliously overpriced canopy class and or the vidioes and instructional material hostage is just one example of how things have changed and not for the better. When we can get rid of paid instructors or perhaps find a better way to teach and fund instructors on a larger scale than every tom dick and harry wanting to get rich teaching aff and beyond...this would become a moot question. We are in fact limiting growth and hindering skydiving as a national pastime. They way things are now we have AFF / Coaches in it for the cash, they really aren't going to be able to earn a living but in the mean time this behavior just promotes derision and confusion.


erdnarob  (D 364)

Oct 20, 2013, 1:41 PM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Gary,
I used to be an instructor for about 12 years. The 7 first years, I was giving FJC spread on Tuesday and Thursday. The new students were jumping on the following weekend weather permitting. After each session of the ground school, I was giving my students homework like rehearse at home, exit, count, arch...etc. The 5 last years at another DZ and using Instructor Activation Deployment (IAD) method, the ground school happened to be on Saturday morning and the students were doing their first jump on the afternoon. Despite I didn't see a difference between the 2 ways, I still believe that some time elaspsing between ground school and the first jump could be beneficial to most of the beginners. One says that to remind something, you have to learn it and forget it and again 7 times...Wink. Things we believe people to forget are actually sunk in their mind and come back in force when they have to rehearse it with help of an instructor. I guess, at every DZ, before each first jump, there is a sound rehearsal at the mockup. OTOH, putting some time between FJC and the first jump makes students getting mature about what they are about to do. Some candidates like the ones who have been influenced by friends and who want to jump just to do like the gang...have the time for reflection and can decide more freely to show up in order to jump or not. I have seen all kind of excuses for not doing a first jump after a FJC like: too busy, not feeling well, my grand mother is dead, an emergency at home...which could be true or not but that shows that some candidates were not that ready to do their first jump.


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Oct 21, 2013, 12:21 PM
Post #17 of 19 (1841 views)
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

Both of the military clubs on Fort Bragg (Green Beret Sport Parachute Club and 82nd Club) ran their first jump course over five days, generally starting at around 1700 after duty hours. All students were signed off to pack their own mains by Friday evening and all jumped their own pack job on their first jump. I loved those programs, but they would simply not be practical at most civilian dropzones. We did a tremendous volume back then though and the only flaw to the program was when we got weathered out and classes overlapped.

In the days since then I've worked at a lot of dropzones where after seven hours in the classroom the usable jumping day was over due to winds or it being too close to sunset to safely put up First Jump Students. Another reason I've seen is the staff being so overwhelmed with late-afternoon tandems due to winds/weather early on that we simply didn't have time to finish both the tandem load and also accomodate the AFF class. On those occasions we always have the AFF students show up first thing in the morning to get them in the air before they forget everything they've been taught.

Chuck


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Oct 21, 2013, 7:53 PM
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Re: [DSE] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

DSE wrote:
Quote:
Personally, I prefer a student have an overnight waiting period.
You assimilate knowledge short term during the day. A good night's sleep will collate it into long term memory. In a perfect world, I think every student would train, get a good night's sleep, then jump the next day. Smile


Arvoitus  (D 3917)

Oct 22, 2013, 4:22 AM
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Re: [peek] Ground School days earlier than the first jump? [In reply to] Can't Post

When I teach FJC (static line) it begins on saturday, continues on sunday then a rest day and the 3rd day is usually tuesday/wednesday and on the 4th day the students get to jump. They also have to do an EP refresher and exit practice refresher on the jump day before they actually get to jump.

I wouldn't feel at all comfortable doing it all in one day and in my experience having it spread out on multiple days helps as they learn better.



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