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Gary73

AFF 4 & 5 Heading Reference

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So here's a question that I've ignored for a while:  Why is it that we taught AFF 4 & 5 students to not use us as their heading reference?  Part of the dive flow is to dock on the instructor - why would they use anything but the instructor as a heading reference?

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Your profile says you're an AFF-IE with 45 years in the sport. Where do levels 4 & 5 include docks? I've been an AFF-I since '90, and every school I've taught at 4's & 5's are about heading control and turns - docking comes later.

Anyways, to my mind, having them use a point on the horizon for heading reference during turns makes them less dependent on us and establishes practices that they'll use on their solos. (Obviously on docking dives they would use us for that reference.) Indeed, on later levels I like to stay above and behind them. (Other than for docking), I don't want them to see me. I tell them that unless I'm giving them hand signals, just ignore me and do their thing.  One, this gives them the idea that they don't need us, and two, it gives me an idea how they're gonna act when we're not there.

On a side (but related) note, I always find this scenario funny: At the end of those dives I like to show up in front of them and give them a smile and a thumbs up, let them know they're doing a good job. Then I go to their side for the pull. Often they follow me. On the down side, I'm trying to get to their side so that I can watch the pull and assist if needed, and them following me makes that harder. On the UP side, that is usually their first intuitive turn. That is, they're not 'mechanically executing' a turn, they're just flying that way without thinking because that's where their attention is. It makes for a good teaching moment.

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I don't get out that much, but every place I've ever done AFF has always included docking on 4 and 5.  They left that out of the earlier AFF-like ISP dives, which I think is a mistake.  (Seems like the first docks should be with an AFF-I, not a Coach.  Likewise teaching tracking, which is a life-critical skill.  But whatever.)  Then on 6 and 7 we have them use ground references to keep them from tracking up or down jump run,  and yeah, generally stay out of their line of sight.

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Yes, and current as both AFF-I and AFF-IE.

Sure.

Sort of.  Like Static-Line, the original 7-level AFF program pre-dates ISP and was used successfully for years before ISP came along.  ISP was developed as an overarching program which is meant to cover all types of skydiving basic training.  As such, the creators of ISP took the 7-level AFF program and stretched it out to fit into the ISP categories. This variety of harness-hold training is technically called "USPA AFF", but that's too much trouble, so people just called it "AFF", which leads to confusion between the original and ISP versions.

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