0
Para5-0

Wingsuit Instructor/Coach Rating Input Needed.

Recommended Posts

Well said Jeff.

I honestly think I would be more in favor of this initiative if it weren't being driven by scare tactics.

If anyone were searching for options I think defining an Experienced Wingsuiter in the BSR as someone who also holds a current USPA Coach or above rating would be valid. That doesn't put any extra burden on the existing system but demonstrates that the person has the ability to share knowledge.
Summer Rental special, 5 weeks for the price of 4! That is $160 a month.

Try before You Buy with Wicked Wingsuits - WingsuitRental.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I didn't realize scare tactics were being used.
Improving safety isn't a scare tactic.

When lives are at stake, improving safety is never a drawback.

WHY is there always more to it than face value when it comes to wingsuiting?
More drama here than an office full of women.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, all the comments below are general statements and are not directed at anyone in particular. Trying to avoid superimposing onto the statements. Also look at the intent of the paragraphs and not a specific word.

After seeing this post I have talked to a number of wingsuiters ranging from novices to experienced to designers. Here’s some common ground:

Pros:
1. Consistent FFC instruction

Cons:
1. Fear of over regulation
2. Fear of additional costs
3. Will not get rid of poor instructors

My Points:

1. Role of the first flight course:

1.1 Outside perspective. This outside perspective helps when people are learning and even experienced jumpers. Just the other day someone with 300 wingsuit jumps was flying in a way that they were stalling the wings. When we talked about it he said “it seemed harder to fly” but did not know why. You do not need to be rated for this observation, but with enough instruction you learn what to look for in body position as a ratio of flight characteristics.



1.2. Introduction to:

1.2.1 Equipment:

1.2.1.1 Knowledge on how different designs fly. Some suits are designed to have a slower vertical but not as much horizontal, others are the opposite. Learning the pro’s and Con’s of the different designs helps you choose the best suit for your type of flying. This education also helps people to make the right wing choice relative to there upsizing.

1.2.1.2 Knowledge of the additional considerations of the bigger suits and why they have minimum jump numbers. This is from a flight characteristic perspective. Anyone can spread there arms and legs, but do you understand the physics of what is happening when you increase and de-crease the internal pressure in the wing? This knowledge helps you fly more consistently and allows you to get out of situations when you understand what is happening. “Things felt weird” doesn’t help you recover from a spin.

1.2.2 Aircraft

1.2.2.1 How to minimize movement / breaking things. I’ve seen lots of novices rip wings; pull zippers, etc in the aircraft as they don’t know how to sit, more around, etc. While not a safety issue it can get expensive and it’s definitely a nice to know that is often overlooked on FFC’s.

1.2.2.2 Different tail heights and configurations. It’s important to learn about all the common aircrafts and not just the one you are learning in. If you will ever travel chances are you’ll jump out of a different type of aircraft.

1.2.2.3 Different exit speeds. The higher the speed, the more likely a tail strike. If you pass within 24 inches of the tail it can take 0.16 seconds to hit if the plane has to apply an 8% power increase or pull up by 2 degrees (based on otter exits speeds). This was calculated using a variance flow model using the AAA aircraft design modeling program.

1.2.3 Exit

1.2.3.1 Staying low. Everyone knows you should keep your wings closed but saying “don’t do this” rarely works. with muscle memory you need to give another task to replace the bad habit, I recommend grabbing materials at the bas of the arm wings, this way when you do try and pull open to “arch” (as jumpers are used to) the encounter resistance to doing so. Once in a while people will simply let go, but I have seen a large increase in proper exits using this method then the “hold handles to your stomach method.

1.2.3.2 Staying stable. This bigger the suit, the longer the inflation period (as a loose correlation). If you exit and are not perfectly symmetrical then this pressurization can be asymmetrical and one side will start to fly before the other. On a small wing you will likely not notice, but on a big wing it’s easy for this to result in a spin.

1.2.3.3 Keeping awareness (of others). Learning how to speed and slow down is very important as it ensures that your flight is predictable. Flying wide to lose altitude and slow down and then tuck back in simply increases the chances of a sideways collision as you leave or come back in. With a forward speed of at least 100mph, an 8 degree rotation will result in a horizontal closing speed of 15mph or 14.6 feet per second, very easy to hit someone.

1.2.4 Flight

1.2.4.1 Flying comfortably
1.2.4.2 Flying calmly
1.2.4.3 Closing speeds
1.2.4.4 How to get up
1.2.4.5 How to get down
1.2.4.6 Flat spins and recoveries

1.2.5 Deployment

1.2.5.1 Reaching the handles. The bigger the suit, the more you have to pay attention to reaching your handles. You also need to have enough body position awareness to keep on flying. Often novices forget that they are still moving forward as they are reaching and stop flying. This results in a messy opening and developing a bad habit.

1.2.5.2 Keeping the wings and legs closed. The majority of line twist on a wingsuit is from novices who keep the leg wing open on deployment. They forget about the forward and vertical speed and expose an asymmetrical leg wing and propeller themselves into line twist. Having video of these deployments is very important as it will show what they are doing vs. what they thing they are doing.

1.2.5.3 Continuing to fly until the final snatch of the canopy.

1.2.6 Canopy

1.2.6.1 Un-zipping. One of the novices I know cut away the other day simply because he forgot to unzip or pull the cutaway handles. The line twist was easily solvable. This happened simply because he had not developed enough muscle memory to unzip out of habit and his first instinct was to reach up and try and kick out of the twist. He couldn’t reach up and he could not kick well because his legs were in a wing as well.

1.2.6.2 Landings and the extra drag from the suit (in the case of a HP landing).



1.3 Observations:

1.3.1 There has only been one fatality, but many more really close calls. These are not recorded, other then through experience of being on loads with broken helmets, altimeters and morale. Ask any of the really experience WS flyers and they will have seen many close calls.

1.3.2 Advanced techniques

1.3.2.1 Rotate downwards (towards the ground) if you keep opening your wings so that you fly down and away from the plane (slower aircraft only)

1.3.2.2 Grab material to exit. If you give yourself a tasks to do it is effective, if you say “don’t open” it’s much harder for your body to enforce.

1.3.2.3 Recovering from flat spins. I have seen from experienced wingsuiters struggle a lot to get out of a flat spin. When asked after they never really learnt the proper ways to deal with that situation as a young WS flyer and just had not run into that situation yet.



1.3.3 Addressing specific comments:
This is not a slight against the posters above; this is simply addressing the points as I have heard all these same comments from within the community at one point of another.

1.3.3.1 “Will an instructor rating prevent Wingsuit tail strikes? No chance.” It will not prevent it, but it can mitigate this issue among novices. I have seen a number of WS jumpers teach there friend to exit by holding the handles into there stomach. That works well for them as they have been doing this for a while but with a novice, often it doesn’t work. They are too used to “arch” as you leave the airplane and are at the autonomous stage of muscle memory and will always open. Proper FFC instruction will get them into the habit of physically grabbing material before you exit. Doing this ensure that when you try and spread your arms (which they will out of habit) the grip on the material stops there arms from going any further out.

1.3.3.2 “Ironically wingsuits is my discipline I have chosen one reason being I can get rid of airplanes and regulation and fly in the mountains alone away from this type of control/manipulatin.” This statement reflects what a lot of Junior BASE jumpers think; grab a suit and go. The lesson to learn is that all of the senior and experienced proximity flyers have done tons of aircraft jumps to dial in there suit before moving on to Balloons or Helicopter. That’s hundreds if not thousands of jumps before going anywhere near the hills. You might live through just grabbing a suit and going, but chances are if you get in trouble, it’ll be permanent. Look at simple things: Do you know how your suits going to fly if you blow a zipper? Do you have enough piloting time to be massively asymmetrical and still deploy? Or worse, have to keep flying to get out of the canyon before you can deploy? Too many people base there decisions of the perfect flight, not the worse case scenario.


1.4. The future:

1.4.1 If there are more incidents in the WS world the FAA will become a lot more involved. That’s bad as they are the ultimate in over regulation. If the USPA gets a program together then at least they can defend against the FAA. It’s the lesser of two evils: skydivers regulating or someone who knows nothing about what we do try to regulate us?

1.4.2 Suit sizes continue to increase. The next evolution will be hybrid suits with solid frame cross connectors to increase the span and cord thereby giving better glide and angle of attack. If we are in bad habits now then we will kill themselves as the suits get bigger and bigger. Remember when a GTI was a big wing?

1.4.3 Skydivers as a whole tend to over estimate there abilities as we all look at each situation as “what would I do” based on the perfect scenarios. Not “If I upsized, could I recover from a spin if I mess up the exit?”

1.4.4 Advanced flight courses. We have them for canopy piloting. It’s the same thing. Once you get comfortable doing the normal stuff it would be great to have a course to teach you the advanced techniques as right now most people are learning through observations of others, sometimes in-correctly.


1.5 Definitions (for me):

1.5.1 Novice wingsuiter:
1.5.1.1 Someone with less then 200 wingsuit jumps.
1.5.1.2 Someone who has only flown belly to earth orientated wingsuit jumps.

1.5.2 Over regulation: USPA or FAA rules and regulations which would limit the safe growth of the discipline, not enforcing minimum rules for the purposes of safety.

1.5.3 FFC: First Flight Course also encompasses novice training in addition to the physical first flight.

1.5.4 AAA: Advance Aircraft Analysis, a program used to design advanced aircraft through structural and hydrodynamic modeling.

1.5.5 Symmetrical: The even exposure to the wing or relative winds both vertically and horizontally.

1.5.6 HP: High performance.

1.5.7 Near tail strike: Any part of the flyer passing with 24 inches of the tail on any aircraft type.


1. 6 Summary
At the end of the day the wingsuter is 100% responsible for his own survival but at least a minimum quality of instruction would help to add a lot of the “little things” into the FFC’s that I don’t see very often when some experienced WS’ers show people how to fly. Often they take certain things for granted as they are so automatic for them to do that they don’t think about it and therefore do not pass on these points, points that are critical to the consistent success of a novice wingsuiters progression.

*Note: Editing for spelling only.
Downsizing is not the way to prove your manhood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Isn't 1.2.5.2 and 1.2.5.3 contradicting each other? On one hand you need to close your wings but on the other you need to fly through the opening. Or did I misunderstood what you meant by continuing to fly until the opening?
Your rights end where my feelings begin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hey Chris, about deployment, why not deploy in full flight? What are the downsides to deploying in full flight in the skydiving environment?

In the beginning I would collapse everything, arch and deploy and didn't like the feeling (or get good results with heading of canopy). I now always deploy in full flight and have had better success on my wingsuit jumps with heading control of my canopy and I also feel I eat less altitude during deployment while in full flight (good in case emergency procedures needs to be executed).

I am jumping a TS intro for my first few jumps and now a PF Vampire 2 the last 20 jumps (if that matters).

*I also always click my heels as a waveoff to develop the habit even on solo jumps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Might be handy to have a WSI to talk to.
:P



neeh...as that person would tell him to learn and fly a smaller suit to the max, before putting himself in a bigger that that the manufacturer recommends 180 to 200 wingsuit skydives minimum for.:ph34r:
JC
FlyLikeBrick
I'm an Athlete?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Quote

Might be handy to have a WSI to talk to.
:P



neeh...as that person would tell him to learn and fly a smaller suit to the max, before putting himself in a bigger that that the manufacturer recommends 180 to 200 wingsuit skydives minimum for.:ph34r:


Well, I dunno man the Vampire2 seems very inuitive to fly...moreso than the tonysuit Intro!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Quote

That looks like a twin otter, Yes? Other than exiting not fully closed and in one case unstable neither of those guys are in danger of stricking anything unless jump run was faster than usual. So your point is??? Unstable exits? You want to ban go-pros? Ban geeks?

Throw me a bone.



Steve Harrington died presumably being fully open out of a Twin Otter, in a suit smaller and less pressurized than a couple of the suits seen in these pix.



Was Steve poorly instructed? Or was it a moment's inattention by an otherwise very competent wingsuit flyer?
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Which is why proper instruction is so crucially important.
In wingsuiting, we're jumping different gear with a significant increase in range of performance.
Teaching basic skills into muscle memory is critical.
If it's so easy for an experienced wingsuit jumper to pop into an aircraft tail, somebody should be teaching the fucking new guy not to do that.



How much training and testing does it take for an "instructor" to be able tell a newbie "Keep your wings closed until you see the tail go by"?
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I am trying to say with my post is that even clued in skydivers screw up and die....or in this case get caught on camera. If that is the evidence being presented in FAVOR of additional and mandatory education then I would also like to present all of the exits by the majority of wingsuiters that do not come close to the tail...I guess these are the "near m
isses".


One problem I have with this statement is a comparison to canopy education. People are screaming at the top of the lungs to address the canopy fatalitys, downsizing, wingloading, and severe injuries. If I apply your logic to canopy education then based on the total number of safe landings which far far exceeds safe wingsuit jumps we really have no issue because people make stupid mistakes. By your logic we would need no more regulation in the canopy realm.

Just a thought if the rating did in fact prevent one fatality what exactly would the harm be of regulation or standardization? Unfortunately if the rating is implemented there will be no way to accumulate that data at all, unless we could see into the future of what would have happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I could do it in ten seconds. "Keep your wings closed until you are clear of the tail"

Problem is that needs to be reinforced with practice on the ground to attempt to build muscle memory. It requires actually doing it and having someone qualified to observe it then debrief it so you know exactly that the muscle memory you are building is correct. It also should require that the methods being taught are standardized throughout the community. Followed up by a method to check that the particular skydiver did receive the proper training before allowing them to jump a wingsuit, rent a wingsuit, or buy a larger wingsuit.

Now add the sleith of other things that are important to teach new wingsuitters (instability recovery, patterns, emergency procedures, deployment procedures) and you have yourself a first flight course

Just typing out loud to mself..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I said "that's all I had to say", but in reading on, I guess I lied.

I think some people are confusing two very different ideas.

I think the vast majority of us believe that a good first flight course is very important. There's lots of stuff to teach in such a class. Read SIM 6-9 for some of it. A good FFC can make the difference between a safe wingsuiter and someone who is a hazard to himself and others.

But that's not the question. The question here is "do we want to have a USPA-mandated and supervised first flight course, or do we want to continue with the lack of formalized structure?"

Personally, I think that a good argument for a USPA mandated course would be if we could point to poor instruction that is resulting in hazardous situations, injury or death. Then, having a uniform program would make sense.

Conversely, I think a poor argument for a USPA mandated course would be "it will help stop tail strikes", "it will reduce the likelihood of upsizing", or "it will reduce wingsuit/canopy collisions". As I said before, I don't think many of these are the result of lack of training - or lack of knowing what one "should" do. People who have completed the most amazing FFC on the planet (a) may still hit the tail if they get lazy (see, e.g., Steve Harrington); (b) may upsize suits too fast if they overestimate their skills (see, e.g., the dudes jumping Xbirds with 25 wingsuit jumps); and (c) may still fail to navigate well and may fly too close to canopies if they aren't vigilant. A USPA-mandated FFC does not stop those things, in the same way a USPA-mandated AFF does not stop low turns or people hooking it in.

If a wingsuiter has never been told to keep his wings closed, avoid upsizing too fast, and navigate to avoid endangering others (among other things, of course), then that wingsuiter's FFC was completely unacceptable, no matter who taught it. If we had evidence of these things, then - to me - that would support adoption of a USPA-mandated program, to make sure that all FFCs more or less cover these things and many more.

If, however, the wingsuiters were given these instructions clearly, and they just don't listen - which my gut tells me is far more common - then a USPA-mandated program won't make a lick of difference, at least with respect to those three topics.

So, to me, the question is "is the existing paradigm not instructing new wingsuiters well enough"?

Personally, I'm really on the fence on the whole matter. I think solid training is incredibly important in wingsuiting. That's why I helped to establish the wingsuit school that I do photography for. If a USPA-mandated program is approved by the USPA Board, I'd support it. However, if it doesn't pass, I'd support a collective effort on the part of all wingsuiters - in the US and outside the US - to commit ourselves to better education, training and awareness.

But regardless of what we decide to do, if we're going to take an action (or not take action) as a community, let's make sure we're thinking about this stuff clearly.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Excellent analysis, Jeff.

To what extent is there a real problem with instruction anyway? How many serious incidents have occurred that can be attributed to poor WS instruction? Clearly not Harrington's tail strike, and I'm not even sure I would count the jumper who didn't fasten his leg straps, since he was an experienced, licensed skydiver who shouldn't have needed to be told how to put on a rig.

And even if a mandatory structured program is found to be necessary (and I don't think it is), is a USPA WS rating the best way of implementing it? How will it be enforced?
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I could do it in ten seconds. "Keep your wings closed until you are clear of the tail"



Yes, that's what I was told and it worked. I don't see that a USPA rating is required to teach that.

Quote



Problem is that needs to be reinforced with practice on the ground to attempt to build muscle memory. .



OK, but I don't see that a USPA rating is needed for that either.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Quote

I am trying to say with my post is that even clued in skydivers screw up and die....or in this case get caught on camera. If that is the evidence being presented in FAVOR of additional and mandatory education then I would also like to present all of the exits by the majority of wingsuiters that do not come close to the tail...I guess these are the "near m
isses".


One problem I have with this statement is a comparison to canopy education. People are screaming at the top of the lungs to address the canopy fatalitys, downsizing, wingloading, and severe injuries. If I apply your logic to canopy education then based on the total number of safe landings which far far exceeds safe wingsuit jumps we really have no issue because people make stupid mistakes. By your logic we would need no more regulation in the canopy realm.

Just a thought if the rating did in fact prevent one fatality what exactly would the harm be of regulation or standardization? Unfortunately if the rating is implemented there will be no way to accumulate that data at all, unless we could see into the future of what would have happen.



Comparing this to canopy issues is where one of the problems lies in this whole argument. We are still a "free fall" discipline, not an "at the ground" discipline. We have more in common with Belly, Freefly and CRW than we ever will with something that if done 2ft wrong will kill you.

So, I totally agree that the canopy problems are real and killing people, we see that every week. I just heard of another skydiver paralyzed from a low turn.

The two issues are not as similar as we are trying to be convinced they are.

I did want to add, that I very much appreciate the input that was requested by USPA. I think there are a LOT more opinions out there than the "leaders' of our community try to present. So gathering input from many is important even if it proves my opinion to be in the minority.
Summer Rental special, 5 weeks for the price of 4! That is $160 a month.

Try before You Buy with Wicked Wingsuits - WingsuitRental.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Followed up by a method to check that the particular skydiver did receive the proper training before allowing them to jump a wingsuit, rent a wingsuit, or buy a larger wingsuit.




Lets look at this in a slightly different but similar light and then tell us how this is done by the USPA currently.

Followed up by a method to check that the particular skydiver did receive the proper training before allowing them to jump FF/RW/CRW/Skysurf, jump a camera/camera wing, or buy a smaller canopy.

We are talking about experienced skydivers here who have a minimum of 200 skydives. We have no requirements that says who can teach FF/RW/CRW to another experienced skydiver yet we have DZ's with people who mentor people in these skills every day and the sport has historically grown over the years as has the quality of the skydiving skills of the average skydiver in general. All without having a specific USPA instructor rating for these disciplines in place. Most, if not all of these disciplines, don't even have a written standard or syllabus for teaching this that is universally used by everyone. Wingsuiting on the other hand does and for the most part, all the different camps, follow the same methodology whether they care to admit it or not.

The bigger question and a pandaora's box that comes to mind is if this is implemented for wingsuiting will people now need a instructor rating to teach other skydivers how to do FF/RW/CRW/camera/etc? What about the wingsuiter who doesn't have a wingsuiting instructor rating who is teaching other experienced skydivers to fly a wingsuit? What recourse does the USPA have against said skydiver teaching another skydiver how to wingsuit?

What I can foresee happening if this is put in place is that we will see very few people willing to pay the USPA for a WS instructor rating for very long, there isn't a revenue stream like there is for tandem or AFF instructors which serves as a motivator to maintain said ratings. Second, it will create a burden on the USPA to set up and manage the program which means more time and membership money being diverted from other issues within the sport. I can also foresee underground "flight clubs" starting up where experienced skydivers wanting to learn how to wingsuit seek out other wingsuiters to teach them a FFC somewhere other than the DZ and then showing up at the DZ with their suit and possibly the person who gave them the FFC and making jumps anyways.

We need a WS instructor rating like motorcycles need seat belts, which would do nothing to make anything safer or prevent people from making bad decisions in the future.
"It's just skydiving..additional drama is not required"
Some people dream about flying, I live my dream
SKYMONKEY PUBLISHING

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's funny that some think there is so little revenue in wingsuiting.

Simon how's the rental business working out?
:P

Tony seems barely able to keep up with orders.

Wingsuit schools I'm aware of that have competent instructors are damn near solid busy.

People are already charging for instruction.
The USPA already has structure in place for ratings, adding another one only requires updating the SIM and the IRM - which is already accomplished every year to some degree.

Instructors DO make an impact on safety and behavior.
REAL ones do anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I think it's funny that some think there is so little revenue in wingsuiting.

Simon how's the rental business working out?
:P

Tony seems barely able to keep up with orders.

Wingsuit schools I'm aware of that have competent instructors are damn near solid busy.



Well, big way camps, 4-way camps, head down camps, tunnel camps, etc. are all busy making money too, (and Tony makes suits for them too) but no-one suggests a USPA Big Way Instructor rating, etc.
Quote



...

Instructors DO make an impact on safety and behavior.
REAL ones do anyway.



Yes, because REAL USPA instructors currently teach whuffos how to skydive.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0