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Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do?

 

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JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jul 14, 2014, 10:02 PM
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Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? Can't Post

Talking to an instructor the other day and they told me of a level I AFF student that was a total soup sandwich from the moment they got in the door. Bad exit, back flip, no pull, the works. I asked "Well, how did he do during ground practice?"

The reply was "Oh, totally screwed it up."

My question is this: Would you actually go up in the plane with a student like this?

My rule: If they can't do it right on the ground, I don't take them up in the air, period. I don't care how long I have to retrain or how many loads they miss.

Any thoughts from my distinguished colleagues out there?


piisfish

Jul 15, 2014, 5:50 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

JohnMitchell wrote:
My rule: If they can't do it right on the ground, I don't take them up in the air, period. I don't care how long I have to retrain or how many loads they miss.
not an instructor, but Wingsuit First Flight Coach...
"Your rule" should be a standard.


GooniesKid

Jul 15, 2014, 9:35 AM
Post #3 of 34 (6510 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

JohnMitchell wrote:
Talking to an instructor the other day and they told me of a level I AFF student that was a total soup sandwich from the moment they got in the door. Bad exit, back flip, no pull, the works. I asked "Well, how did he do during ground practice?"

The reply was "Oh, totally screwed it up."

My question is this: Would you actually go up in the plane with a student like this?

My rule: If they can't do it right on the ground, I don't take them up in the air, period. I don't care how long I have to retrain or how many loads they miss.

Any thoughts from my distinguished colleagues out there?

I'm not a skydiving instructor, but i am a scuba instructor. If a student cannot show proficiency and comfort in the pool first i never ever bring them out in the open ocean. Similarly to your personal rule I would have to agree.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Jul 15, 2014, 9:56 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm neither distinguished nor a skydiving instructor, but the one who "totally screwed it up" was the instructor. Fortunately, no incident occurred. Had there been one, it would have been entirely preventable - by the instructor.


yoink

Jul 15, 2014, 10:12 AM
Post #5 of 34 (6425 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you ask what his reasoning was for putting the student out of a plane after failing ground school?

Someone needs remedial training, and it ain't just the student...


hookitt  (D License)

Jul 15, 2014, 11:16 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

We are in agreement.

When a student is not able to perform on the ground, I try to convince them it's their idea to sit this one out. Failing that, I will back off the load for them. I have had to do this on very few occasions.

I have had a couple students who I've straight up told that I won't let them jump till they pay attention, retrain, and demonstrate they have the mental capacity to perform their duties. That only happens to a few cultural phenomenons who clearly know more than the instructor, and we should be honored to have them students Smile


monkycndo  (D License)

Jul 15, 2014, 1:53 PM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

When teaching wingsuit first flight courses, part of the course early on is telling the student that we will only manifest once they can do a complete dirt dive successfully without any prompting from me. I do lots of ground prep to develop as much muscle memory on the ground as possible. If they are having a hard time, I will give them a break to run it through their head to visualize and hopefully sink in. Often it is just nerves and a break can do wonders.

I have had only a few that I felt were just not ready and asked them to come back another time when they could focus on the task at hand.


mark  (D 6108)

Jul 15, 2014, 4:42 PM
Post #8 of 34 (6016 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

The instructor failed to learn what his student was teaching him.

Mark


pchapman  (D 1014)

Jul 15, 2014, 4:55 PM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Clearly nobody likes what happened but one can understand how it happens.

"Sigh... our load is in 20 minutes, the guy paid for one jump and will hopefully never return, we've wrestled and dumped students before, and we don't even need to let go on this level. I'm paid per-jump so I'm not taking the time to keep on working with this goof who should take up bowling. Yeah, one shouldn't give up on someone that fast, and if instructors were patient and worked with him some more, maybe some day he'll be a good jumper, but I'm busy today. We're expected be able to handle stupid rigid dearched students anyway and I don't feel like arguing with him. Let's just get this show on the road and get it over with..." Crazy


(This post was edited by pchapman on Jul 15, 2014, 4:55 PM)


Bertt  (D 99999)

Jul 15, 2014, 7:51 PM
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Re: [pchapman] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I can understand how a guy drives a car into a tree, but I'm sure neither of us condones things that shouldn't be done.

I'd break this down into two cases:

The student is getting it but slowly. Spend more time on the ground, even if he has to come back tomorrow (or later) to actually jump.

The student will never get it. Yes, this happens. Not everybody can or should skydive. I generally find that going over the exercise slowly and carefully with positive corrections will eventually let the student see that he's not getting it. More often than not, the student will say something like, "I don't know if I'm ready for this" or "I didn't know it would be this hard". At that point, I say "Why not do a tandem for your first jump? There's less pressure and they're lots of fun." By this time, the student is usually looking for a way out, so they agree immediately. If they've already done a tandem, I suggest a second tandem. If they just aren't getting it and don't realize they aren't, I'll tell them something like "When you jump out of a plane and the adrenaline hits, you're going to revert to habit. Whatever you're doing on the ground is what you're going to do in the air. If you can't go thru the exercises here on the ground, I can't let you get on that plane." It's rare that things get to that point, but that usually does it.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jul 15, 2014, 8:28 PM
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Re: [monkycndo] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

monkycndo wrote:
I have had only a few that I felt were just not ready and asked them to come back another time when they could focus on the task at hand.
Oh yeah, I remember you telling me that at LP. Smile


diablopilot  (D License)

Jul 15, 2014, 8:28 PM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sadly this is exactly the type of instructor we can expect to make it through the course these days.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jul 15, 2014, 8:34 PM
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Re: [mark] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

mark wrote:
The instructor failed to learn what his student was teaching him.
Ooo, I like that. Very, very Zen. Cool

I remember being a very new instructor and learning so much by watching my students' mistakes. I can't tell you how many times I rewrote my syllabus after teaching a class.

Thank you, all of you, for the thoughtful and intelligent responses. Pchapman, you perfectly describe the pressures that can be felt at large commercial DZ's. I'm lucky to work at what I feel is a very professional school, yet there's always the pressure of the 20 minute call and back log of students waiting to go. May all of us continue to use our best judgement and make the calls that are the best for the student's safety.


(This post was edited by JohnMitchell on Jul 15, 2014, 8:35 PM)


JFish

Jul 15, 2014, 8:53 PM
Post #14 of 34 (5766 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I just did my first jump course on the weekend and I find it incredibly scary that an instructor would let a student jump that they felt couldn't perform the jump successfully. I'm pretty self aware, so I would not do the jump if I felt I wasn't prepared, but there are a lot of people out there that wouldn't be aware enough to realize they aren't getting it.

Even if the jump is AFF there is still a lot that could go wrong. I've seen videos of instructors losing an AFF student during free fall, that obviously would be a bad thing for this student. During the canopy flight the instructors won't be with the student to do what they can't. There are so many ways for this student to seriously harm/kill themselves that it would be irresponsible to let them jump.

On top of the moral obligation to prevent a student from becoming injured, the potential liability for the DZO/instructor should be enough to stop the instructor from letting them jump. Waivers, despite what they may contain, generally don't cover gross negligence. I think letting a student jump that obviously can't perform the skydive successfully would rise to the level of gross negligence.


dthames  (B 37674)

Jul 16, 2014, 4:11 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

JohnMitchell wrote:
monkycndo wrote:
I have had only a few that I felt were just not ready and asked them to come back another time when they could focus on the task at hand.
Oh yeah, I remember you telling me that at LP. Smile

Sending someone home to study and to practice, to return another day sounds a lot better than the bowling speech. Kudos to the instructors that are willing to work with the challenged.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Jul 16, 2014, 5:10 AM
Post #16 of 34 (5465 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

JohnMitchell wrote:
Talking to an instructor the other day and they told me of a level I AFF student that was a total soup sandwich from the moment they got in the door. Bad exit, back flip, no pull, the works. I asked "Well, how did he do during ground practice?"

The reply was "Oh, totally screwed it up."

My question is this: Would you actually go up in the plane with a student like this?

My rule: If they can't do it right on the ground, I don't take them up in the air, period. I don't care how long I have to retrain or how many loads they miss.

Any thoughts from my distinguished colleagues out there?

I don't know about distinguished, but I wouldn't even consider taking a student up unless they can get it right on the ground. It would be a waste of the student's money and could be downright dangerous.

Not sure how that instructor ever got the impression that was an ok thing to do.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Jul 16, 2014, 5:12 AM
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Re: [mark] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

mark wrote:
The instructor failed to learn what his student was teaching him.

Mark

Well said.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jul 16, 2014, 12:50 PM
Post #18 of 34 (5181 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

AHA!
That explains why the FJC instructors used to hand the occasional student off to me.

"Let me introduce you to our best tandem instructor."
Those students usually flailed all over the sky (even with me strapped tightly to their backsides).
As much as I did NOT enjoy those tandem jumps, I had to remind myself that they were still easier than doing PFF with students who back-loop off the step.


irishrigger  (D 297)

Jul 17, 2014, 4:29 AM
Post #19 of 34 (4882 views)
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Re: [mark] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

That def sums it up very nicely. that also should be in the top 10 commanments for instructors!
i will never let a student go on a jump if i have any doubt whatsoever. i have no hessitation to pull the student of the load. which i have done a few times. if i was reserve side and only turn up for they jump i always go through a couple dirt dives. any doubt i stand down witht he student.

to me it is obvious that this instructor was just money hungry.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jul 17, 2014, 8:06 AM
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Re: [irishrigger] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

irishrigger wrote:

to me it is obvious that this instructor was just money hungry.
Knowing the person and that they are pretty new, I think it was more of the pressure of a commercial DZ to "get 'em up in the air" and maybe the instructor learned a lesson. Maybe it's a subject that needs a little more emphasis. Wink


jackwallace  (Student)

Jul 19, 2014, 11:06 AM
Post #21 of 34 (4368 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

 John of course you are right. You just forgot the 2x4 method of instruction. Only its the instructor that needs the eddumbafication.
This is a problem with modern skydiving. It's now a way to make a living. Take the money and run. Back when we road our dinosaurs to the DZ we taught people how to jump, cause we wanted people to jump with. People now think all this automatic stuff is going to save lives. We knew the only thing that really works is that idiot you look at in the mirror in the morning.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jul 19, 2014, 8:39 PM
Post #22 of 34 (4193 views)
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Re: [jackwallace] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

jackwallace wrote:

This is a problem with modern skydiving. It's now a way to make a living. Take the money and run.
Yeah, I'm glad there weren't any tandem factories when I was a young man. I probably would have never gotten a career. Laugh

It really IS big business these days, and sometimes we expect to churn students out like widgets on an assembly line. Maybe this is a good reminder that some students and DZO's need to hear "no, you need more training" occasionally. Wink




JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jul 19, 2014, 8:55 PM
Post #24 of 34 (4175 views)
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Re: [stayhigh] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

stayhigh wrote:
AFFI tend to teach better when there is no one on reserve side.

Get rid of reserve side affi. problem solved.
Hell, they always drop off if anything goes wrong anyway.Laugh

I try to train really well. I like boring AFF jumps. Wink


DrDom  (Student)

Jul 19, 2014, 10:54 PM
Post #25 of 34 (4133 views)
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Student can't perform in ground practice, what to do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Aviation and skydiving are not very different...
would you put a PP student up solo if they could not perform at ground school?

We should be setting a very high standard before we lob someone out of a plane. An unsafe student is dangerous to himself and both the instructors who have to wrestle and dump him.


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