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Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction

 

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GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Nov 11, 2013, 5:02 AM
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Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction Can't Post

It is not uncommon to hear older jumpers say something about new jumpers "not knowing how to spot" or "not knowing gear".

I believe that in many (but not all) cases this may due to inherent conflict of interest during some phases of skydiving instruction.

If packing a main is taught by people who make their living by packing mains for sport jumpers.... it is not in their best interest to train new jumpers to be good packers! It is in their best interest to train the new jumper only well enough to squeak through their A-license P-card, and then rely on the packers for the rest of their career.

If spotting is taught by the jump pilot, it is not in his best interest to teach jumpers to be good spotters. It is far better for him to train them so poorly that, after they get their P-card initialed, they rely 100% on his "exit" cue. That makes for FAR less grief for the pilot than would be the case with the jumper looking out the door and sometimes disagreeing with the pilot's selected spot.

Let me be VERY clear. I believe that these conflicts of interest are usually SUB-conscious. I don't think that many packers or pilots begin this instruction with the overt intent to screw the new jumper... but the these conflicts of interest can be influencing their behavior nonetheless.

Thoughts?


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 11, 2013, 5:20 AM
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Quote:
train the new jumper only well enough to squeak through their A-license P-card

I would suggest that this is the norm (or something close to it) for the majority of A license grads. I'm not suggesting that anyone is really 'shorting' anyone on instruction, just that there is such a volume of info out there, you really only can scratch the surface in the course of 25 jumps.

Think about it, how long could you sit down with a guy who has 26 jumps and go over stuff he doesn't know, but probably should?

I did just that when an old friends son started jumping. I mentored him through the A license, and then when he was ready to 'leave the nest' and go jump at another DZ, we met at a coffee shop and talked for 2+ hours about stuff I wanted him to know that didn't come up during the 'regular' training.

Try as hard as you may, the A license training is always going to produce a 'beginner' skydiver, with the rest being up to the jumper. Info is available, and there are people willing to help with whatever you need at every DZ out there, it's just a matter of the jumper having the drive and motivation to go after the 'higher learning'.

That's what I did. I spent time at the DZ during off hours, helped the DZO with rigging, showed up early and helped the pilots pre-flight the plane, hung out late and talked with the experienced jumpers, etc. This was 20 years ago, before the internet/youtube etc, today's jumpers have a much easier time accessing the info, but at the end of the day it's up to them to make it happen.


unkulunkulu  (C License)

Nov 11, 2013, 6:10 AM
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Somewhere far far away at our DZ near Moscow one has to complete the packing lessons to be licensed. And there are only two riggers (working as packers) who provide training (officially, supported by DZ). I was taught by one of them. I can say that no other skydiving instruction was given to me in more clean, straightforward, complete and easily understandable manner than these packing lessons. And by complete I mean everything I researched about packing later by watching videos, reading suggestions, tips etc was mentioned by him. But still, I'm one of the minority of jumpers who continue to pack for themselves and I often hear scary nonsense about packing and gear from some jumpers (who don't pack for themselves). So here I don't really see a connection with training practices. Spotting is not really taught here, unfortunately.


shveddy  (D 30995)

Nov 11, 2013, 6:13 AM
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Every packer I know can't wait to get students out of the way and packing for themselves because the canopies they jump are huge and unwieldy, and they often come in with tangles.

It's much easier and more lucrative to just pack a tandem or suck up to the guy who makes ten jumps in a day with two rigs and who always makes sure his brakes are set in the landing area and even puts his RDS on for you.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 11, 2013, 8:11 AM
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davelepka wrote:
Think about it, how long could you sit down with a guy who has 26 jumps and go over stuff he doesn't know, but probably should?
Boy, isn't that the truth? From walking to the plane to walking in from the field, there's not a moment of the jump I don't some advice for new jumpers.

Quote:
That's what I did. I spent time at the DZ during off hours, helped the DZO with rigging, showed up early and helped the pilots pre-flight the plane, hung out late and talked with the experienced jumpers, etc.
You often got stuck with helping change an engine or scrubbing down a plane, but you got paid back in knowledge. Smile

Spotting? Becoming a lost art. Cessna loads are kind of pricey at my DZ (haven't been in one in years) but I do miss opening the door and aiming the plane. GPS, of course, has changed the game.


PixieUK  (A License)

Nov 11, 2013, 9:02 AM
Post #6 of 47 (7148 views)
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Re: [GLIDEANGLE] Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction [In reply to] Can't Post

GLIDEANGLE wrote:
It is not uncommon to hear older jumpers say something about new jumpers "not knowing how to spot" or "not knowing gear".

I believe that in many (but not all) cases this may due to inherent conflict of interest during some phases of skydiving instruction.

If packing a main is taught by people who make their living by packing mains for sport jumpers.... it is not in their best interest to train new jumpers to be good packers! It is in their best interest to train the new jumper only well enough to squeak through their A-license P-card, and then rely on the packers for the rest of their career.

If spotting is taught by the jump pilot, it is not in his best interest to teach jumpers to be good spotters. It is far better for him to train them so poorly that, after they get their P-card initialed, they rely 100% on his "exit" cue. That makes for FAR less grief for the pilot than would be the case with the jumper looking out the door and sometimes disagreeing with the pilot's selected spot.

Let me be VERY clear. I believe that these conflicts of interest are usually SUB-conscious. I don't think that many packers or pilots begin this instruction with the overt intent to screw the new jumper... but the these conflicts of interest can be influencing their behavior nonetheless.

Thoughts?

Not sure if this applies more the USA than the UK - we don't need to know how to pack until our B licence but so far I haven't found packing to be particularly difficult.

We had a progression weekend last week at our dz where we went over everything from the Ops Manual to all the briefings required for JM1 (including flight line checking, spotting, load organising, emergency responsibilities etc) and packing. We spent time going over kit and what different containers look like and the pros and cons of different styles. We inspected a canopy that had been hung up, then spent time flat-packing (to understand the principles of preparing a canopy to go into its D-bag) then moved on to pro-packing.

I had a refresher with the instructor yesterday and jumped my own pack job afterwards (I'm not signed off yet, it was a supervised pack).

I have been encouraged since my consols to always be aware of where the landing area is, regardless of our height, and no-one has ever refused to answer any of my questions about spotting the landing area from altitude. In the UK that is the JM responsibility, not the pilot, and the JM can tell the pilot to go around or change the run-in or come back down, if required.


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Nov 11, 2013, 9:11 AM
Post #7 of 47 (7121 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it's a reflection of the impact of automation in nearly everyone's life these days (particularly in the US, most likely).

I don't know that many people who do their own car work any more, or who mend clothes. Much of what we have is designed to be used and discarded, rather than understood and maintained.

Except for gear. Knowledge and understanding are power when it comes to gear. So I don't think it's the packers who are discouraging newbies from learning, it's everything else, including their friends who'd rather look at the video of the recent jump -- if you're packing for yourself, you miss the video Shocked

Wendy P.


Scrumpot  (D License)

Nov 11, 2013, 9:24 AM
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Re: [GLIDEANGLE] Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If spotting is taught by the jump pilot, it is not in his best interest to teach jumpers to be good spotters.

I don't believe that for a moment, and MOST (good/professional anyway) pilots I know - actually APPRECIATE it when they know that there is someone actually back there, by the door, who is something other than just a "lemming", and knows his/her way around what is actually going on/what the AC/Pilot is doing, and CAN (and correctly proficiently, when needed) SPOT.

That is just my experience/observation though.

Having that "capability" though, also does not mean you have to "inflict it" upon the pilot(s) either - and most times, when I am spotting (if I am by the door - you can bet I *AM* spotting every jumprun) - no one may ever even be aware of it (unless they too, are paying attention Wink) ...And my "spotting" simply becomes nothing more than a silent "confirmation" of the pilots procedure(s), our location & speed over the ground (re-confirm exit-separation) & clearance from other traffic and/or cloud clearance the pilot themselves may not be aware or readily see.

Just another perspective on that one aspect, FWIW is all.

EDITED: TO ADD QUOTE TO BE SPECIFIC TO WHAT I WAS REPLYING TO


(This post was edited by Scrumpot on Nov 11, 2013, 9:33 AM)


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Nov 11, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Re: [wmw999] Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Wendy,

Quote:
these days

Not too long after Istel and Sanborn opened their PI dz at Orange, MA, Istel came up with idea of a 'chute' where you just dropped your rig at on the edge of the target pit, it was then pneumatically shuttled into a packing area where it would be ready for you to go again by the time you walked over there.

That was about 1962 or so.

Tongue

JerryBaumchen


piisfish

Nov 11, 2013, 3:05 PM
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JerryBaumchen wrote:
Hi Wendy,

Quote:
these days

Not too long after Istel and Sanborn opened their PI dz at Orange, MA, Istel came up with idea of a 'chute' where you just dropped your rig at on the edge of the target pit, it was then pneumatically shuttled into a packing area where it would be ready for you to go again by the time you walked over there.

That was about 1962 or so.

Tongue

JerryBaumchen
Hey Jerry,
what happened to this idea ? Did the next guys come by and didn't want to walk, but instead got a pickup by the turbocharged golf cart ? LaughLaugh

Here in Switzerland in most DZ's you learn to pack early, sometimes before your 1st jump as you will be jumping your own pack job. Plus the hired packer thing is "almost unknown/unused" here. If you can't pack, you can jump. Once. And then learn to pack Laugh


(This post was edited by piisfish on Nov 11, 2013, 3:08 PM)


JerryBaumchen  (D 1543)

Nov 11, 2013, 6:17 PM
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Hi Nic,

Quote:
what happened to this idea ?

It probably ended up where a lot of my 'good' ideas ended up; in that old pile of horsepuckey out behind my house.

Wink

JerryBaumchen


airtwardo  (D License)

Nov 11, 2013, 7:24 PM
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Re: [piisfish] Conflicts of interest in skydiving instruction [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Here in Switzerland in most DZ's you learn to pack early, sometimes before your 1st jump as you will be jumping your own pack job. Plus the hired packer thing is "almost unknown/unused" here. If you can't pack, you can jump. Once. And then learn to packLaugh

I love that about your country! Cool



...that & those cool, red pocketknives!! Wink


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 11, 2013, 7:32 PM
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airtwardo wrote:
...that & those cool, red pocketknives!! Wink
The ones with the roach clip? Smile


Premier wmw999  (D 6296)

Nov 12, 2013, 4:50 AM
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Quote:
The ones with the roach clip?
Spoken like a former federal employee who lives in Washington Laugh

Wendy P.


theonlyski  (D License)

Nov 12, 2013, 6:19 AM
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I would always make sure to go over the gear to the extent that the students probably thought it was too much.

A few times I even managed to find a reserve that needed repacking and show them how the system works... I think it helped their confidence and dispel any thoughts that what's in the container was just pure magic and unicorns.

Whenever I would teach packing after they were comfortable and thinking they were ready to be signed off, I'd give them a student rig how they can look after a non attentive student brings it in, step thrus, unstowed brakes and all. After a couple of minutes of them trying to figure it out, I'd show them how to untangle it and how to check to make sure it was completely untangled.

I always hated when a student/fresh A-license holder would get frustrated because they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping, the packers are busy with tandem rigs, everyone else is packing their own rigs... so they are stuck sometimes with no help for a while.


piisfish

Nov 12, 2013, 6:52 AM
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theonlyski wrote:
I always hated when a student/fresh A-license holder would get frustrated because they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping, the packers are busy with tandem rigs, everyone else is packing their own rigs... so they are stuck sometimes with no help for a while.
isn't that what instructors and coaches are paid for ? and even if they are not paid, shouldn't they give forward to newer jumpers that kind of knowledge ?


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Nov 12, 2013, 6:53 AM
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theonlyski wrote:
I always hated when a student/fresh A-license holder would get frustrated because they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping, the packers are busy with tandem rigs, everyone else is packing their own rigs... so they are stuck sometimes with no help for a while.
I, and I'm sure you too, get snagged a lot walking thru the packing area by student packers. "Hey, can you come look at this?" Laugh I usually have at least a minute or two I can spare.


theonlyski  (D License)

Nov 12, 2013, 6:55 AM
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piisfish wrote:
theonlyski wrote:
I always hated when a student/fresh A-license holder would get frustrated because they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping, the packers are busy with tandem rigs, everyone else is packing their own rigs... so they are stuck sometimes with no help for a while.
isn't that what instructors and coaches are paid for ? and even if they are not paid, shouldn't they give forward to newer jumpers that kind of knowledge ?

I'm very lucky to not have to rely on skydiving for income anymore (and only did for a brief while). Being a rigger with lots of free time, I do like helping people out and feel bad when they're struggling. I always made sure that I was very in depth with the gear portions of the A-license prof card but sometimes I still run into people that look at me funny when I tell them they should replace their main closing loop and hand them a new one.


theonlyski  (D License)

Nov 12, 2013, 6:56 AM
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JohnMitchell wrote:
theonlyski wrote:
I always hated when a student/fresh A-license holder would get frustrated because they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping, the packers are busy with tandem rigs, everyone else is packing their own rigs... so they are stuck sometimes with no help for a while.
I, and I'm sure you too, get snagged a lot walking thru the packing area by student packers. "Hey, can you come look at this?" Laugh I usually have at least a minute or two I can spare.

Yep, whenever I got snagged I tried to take as much time as I could helping them understand what's wrong and how to fix it. Does them no good if I fix it for them... Teach a man to fish and all.


Scrumpot  (D License)

Nov 12, 2013, 8:21 AM
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In reply to:
...they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping

I'm sorry - but shouldn't an integral part of being a "new A License Holder", be knowing (i.e. read: TAUGHT) already how to gather up your gear upon landing, at least such that it is not all so inexorably tangled by the time you walk back to the packing loft with it, in the 1st place?


theonlyski  (D License)

Nov 12, 2013, 8:23 AM
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Scrumpot wrote:
In reply to:
...they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping

I'm sorry - but shouldn't an integral part of being a "new A License Holder", be knowing (i.e. read: TAUGHT) already how to gather up your gear upon landing, at least such that it is not all so inexorably tangled by the time you walk back to the packing loft with it, in the 1st place?

Yes, it SHOULD.


DrDom  (Student)

Nov 12, 2013, 8:51 AM
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Scrumpot wrote:
In reply to:
...they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping

I'm sorry - but shouldn't an integral part of being a "new A License Holder", be knowing (i.e. read: TAUGHT) already how to gather up your gear upon landing, at least such that it is not all so inexorably tangled by the time you walk back to the packing loft with it, in the 1st place?

I think it is. My main instructor after my AFF1 walked right out to me on the ground and showed me "what to do", stowing brakes, how to untangle, how to carry and NOT drag the bag or PS. I was grateful since my packer thanked me for "unmessing the mess". I had to ask my instructor to show me again after my second jump because I think when I landed after jump 1 I was still shaking, sweating, and probably making not much sense. But its a good thing to learn...

I find it hard to imagine people do not take time to understand the gear their life depends on... but it may be a habit from my aviation days.


dthames  (B 37674)

Nov 12, 2013, 10:24 AM
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Scrumpot wrote:
In reply to:
...they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping

I'm sorry - but shouldn't an integral part of being a "new A License Holder", be knowing (i.e. read: TAUGHT) already how to gather up your gear upon landing, at least such that it is not all so inexorably tangled by the time you walk back to the packing loft with it, in the 1st place?

But odd things can happen....
One windy and wet morning I was on the first load and landed way off. Trying to kept my canopy from getting wet and muddy, I struggled to keep it all in my arms for the very long walk around fields and barbed wire, back to the DZ. With all of the slipping and regrouping of the main, I had it well tangled when I got back. I did want to keep jumping but I was in over my head. I always pack for myself but on that day, I paid a packer to come get the thing untangled for me. I am sure I could have got it by myself but my time at the DZ is precious because I live hours away.


nigel99  (D 1)

Nov 12, 2013, 2:37 PM
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I don't think it is conflict of interest. I believe it is the transition from club to business. Dz is no longer a club where everyone pitches in as members, but we are staff or clients.

The problem is that the system still assumes the club mentality is prevalent, when it is not. While not popular the answer is to develop short courses to cover ALL the skills. For example a friend has started a packing course, and it is working well. I'm looking at spotting from the 182 without gps as another skill.


(This post was edited by nigel99 on Nov 12, 2013, 2:44 PM)


feuergnom  (D License)

Nov 13, 2013, 2:26 AM
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Quote:
Whenever I would teach packing after they were comfortable and thinking they were ready to be signed off, I'd give them a student rig how they can look after a non attentive student brings it in, step thrus, unstowed brakes and all. After a couple of minutes of them trying to figure it out, I'd show them how to untangle it and how to check to make sure it was completely untangled.

I always hated when a student/fresh A-license holder would get frustrated because they're standing there trying to untangle their canopy so they can keep jumping, the packers are busy with tandem rigs, everyone else is packing their own rigs... so they are stuck sometimes with no help for a while.

fixing and packing a tangled chute is a skill you have to know, if you want to pass the packing test. well at least in my little corner of the world.
I could never get the mindset of people relying on packers. although I know that things change when you turn heavy rotations in competitive skydiving or tandem


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