3 3
Gators1240

Is it normal for AFF students to not care?

Recommended Posts

I Just went through ground school this past weekend again after almost a decade away from the sport and happened to have someone else going through it at the same time (didn’t know him beforehand). 
 

For some reason, this guy didn’t seem to really care about learning anything and just thought that he had to go through the AFF jumps (didn’t know it was pass/fail) and then jump anywhere he wanted. He never really asked any questions except asking me a bunch of stuff during our breaks about when he could do things like wing suit jumps, etc... I could tell he really hadn’t done any research at all before signing up for AFF and throughout the class I could see our instructor getting visibly angry and worried. 
 

We made it through the class and got on a load for our first jump and even on the way up, other jumpers had to tell him to stop playing with his harness, he still had issues remembering emergency procedures (throughout the class and on the plane, he practiced by pulling his cutaway and reserve handles at the same time).

 

I was out before him and had a fairly ok jump and when we landed he told me that they made him pull almost immediately because he couldn’t get stable. After his debrief (which I overheard, they recommended 20-30 minutes of tunnel time) he told me that they told him not to come back. That’s not exactly what happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had heard them say that. 
 

is that typical of some people starting AFF? It blows my mind that someone would be so carefree when entering a sport like this and makes me a little nervous both for them, and everyone else sharing a load with them. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just a fun jumper, I don't teach but I usually try to interact with them after 10-20 jumps. From my experience, most are eager to learn. I would say that 5% got into the sport because of wingsuit BASE and are only interested in that topic because they saw it on Youtube and Skydiving is BASE jumping right. They usually don't last long or they change their mindset with wingsuit BASE as a goal for everything they do. We have a lot of BASE jumpers at my DZ and they are good at pushing skydiving first then, in time, they will open up about BASE.

What scares me the most is the 60-100 jumps A-B license holder buying their first rig or 200+ jumper buying their second rig and relying completely on a rigger to choose the equipment that will save their lives. There's a lot of easily accessible information on the internet to help you understand what all the options are.

From what I gathered, those jumpers are too lazy to put in the effort to research and READ about the equipment. They usually don't know what reserve they will be using in case of a cutaway. They have no clue what a RSL / MARD is. They all say they have a Cypres in their rig when it's a Vigil or M2. I usually don't bother asking them if they know their activation altitude at that point.

I will gladly transfer knowledge to someone that is eager to learn. I do it even with someone that doesn't want to know anything except jumping to give me good conscience if they ever find themselves in a malfunction.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That blase' atitude is rare among skydiving students. The vast majority listen carefully in class and try to perform well during their first jump.

Have trained hundreds of static-line and IAD first jump students. I have also done hundreds of Progressive Freefall (harness hold) jumps with first time freefallers.

I can only count on one hand my number of freefall jumps with first timers (AFF).

Oh! ... and I have done more than 4,000 tandem jumps with first-timers.

I definitely prefer starting students in a wind tunnel, a few IAD jumps (until they land decently) then take them up for their first freefall. No single method is perfect ... just "best" at one stage in the learning process.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, riggerrob said:

That blase' atitude is rare among skydiving students. The vast majority listen carefully in class and try to perform well during their first jump.

Have trained hundreds of static-line and IAD first jump students. I have also done hundreds of Progressive Freefall (harness hold) jumps with first time freefallers.

I can only count on one hand my number of freefall jumps with first timers (AFF).

Oh! ... and I have done more than 4,000 tandem jumps with first-timers.

I definitely prefer starting students in a wind tunnel, a few IAD jumps (until they land decently) then take them up for their first freefall. No single method is perfect ... just "best" at one stage in the learning process.

Good to now it’s not normal. Based on what he said I think that guys calling it quits after his aff1. Shame, we have a tunnel like 20 minutes from where he lives too

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2020 at 6:50 AM, Gators1240 said:

 

I've learned a term to describe this type... "DiGIT" - Dead Guy In Training.

Fortunately from what I've seen (on the outside of training), there aren't all that many and most get encouraged to go somewhere else.

 

JW

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, fcajump said:

I've learned a term to describe this type... "DiGIT" - Dead Guy In Training.

Fortunately from what I've seen (on the outside of training), there aren't all that many and most get encouraged to go somewhere else.

 

JW

Yeah, he actually texted me and told me that they told him never to come back

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/21/2020 at 2:19 PM, tabouare said:

What scares me the most is the 60-100 jumps A-B license holder buying their first rig or 200+ jumper buying their second rig and relying completely on a rigger to choose the equipment that will save their lives. There's a lot of easily accessible information on the internet to help you understand what all the options are.

From what I gathered, those jumpers are too lazy to put in the effort to research and READ about the equipment. They usually don't know what reserve they will be using in case of a cutaway. They have no clue what a RSL / MARD is. They all say they have a Cypres in their rig when it's a Vigil or M2. I usually don't bother asking them if they know their activation altitude at that point.

Yeah, the level of technical illiteracy that I have witnessed with some skydivers is beyond anything that I have seen in any other hobby. It is like people don't have the slightest idea how their equipment works, that certain parts (lines and closing loops) wear over time, and that it might be a good idea to replace them before they break. Cypress is apparently used as a generic name for any AAD, regardless if it is mechanical or digital (as if you ask some people, they are all the same), and peoples knowledge of RSL begins and ends on the question on their A license exam, where it is basically described as "something that opens your reserve automatically if you cutaway".

A further aggravating factor is that students are actively taught against using internet or finding information by themselves at some places, because god forbid that a student asks a meaningful question that will challenge the schools program which was last edited some time in the last millennia. 

Rant over. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Kenzdik96 said:

Yeah, the level of technical illiteracy that I have witnessed with some skydivers is beyond anything that I have seen in any other hobby. It is like people don't have the slightest idea how their equipment works, that certain parts (lines and closing loops) wear over time, and that it might be a good idea to replace them before they break. Cypress is apparently used as a generic name for any AAD, regardless if it is mechanical or digital (as if you ask some people, they are all the same), and peoples knowledge of RSL begins and ends on the question on their A license exam, where it is basically described as "something that opens your reserve automatically if you cutaway".

A further aggravating factor is that students are actively taught against using internet or finding information by themselves at some places, because god forbid that a student asks a meaningful question that will challenge the schools program which was last edited some time in the last millennia. 

Rant over. 

What bothers me _most_ is seeing jumpers who have recommended to them gear that "just happens" to match what the local rigger/DZO happens to have on the shelf...
 

As to looking on the Internet, I think some of that is the same caution instructors give over students listening to other (non-instructor) jumpers...  often the most vocal/eager sources of information ARE the 50-200 jump wonders...  you're right, there is some GREAT information on the Internet, but there is also some dangerous stuff out there.  I would suggest to a newbie, go out and look/learn, then come back and talk through all what you think you learned.

 

JW

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, fcajump said:

What bothers me _most_ is seeing jumpers who have recommended to them gear that "just happens" to match what the local rigger/DZO happens to have on the shelf...
 

As to looking on the Internet, I think some of that is the same caution instructors give over students listening to other (non-instructor) jumpers...  often the most vocal/eager sources of information ARE the 50-200 jump wonders...  you're right, there is some GREAT information on the Internet, but there is also some dangerous stuff out there.  I would suggest to a newbie, go out and look/learn, then come back and talk through all what you think you learned.

 

JW

 

It’s weird, both times I’ve been in student status almost everyone I met who was also doing AFF would barely ask any questions to our instructors, but during breaks would ask me a billion questions about things from gear, different dzs, license requirements, etc... instead of asking instructors and I’m just sitting there most of the time like, “dude, I know just about as much as you do, why are you asking me”. 
 

maybe it’s an intimidation thing and they don’t want to look stupid for not knowing when asking more experienced people or maybe it’s just the dz they are at. 
 

I had a guy last week on a 20 minute call before his AFF 2 who asked me to teach him how to turn because he had no idea...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(edited)

I'm surprised they let your friend jump at all. At one dropzone there were two young women who were treating the entire class (with other students) like it was just a wild hoot. The instructor (also a woman) came over and told them to go back to the office and get their refund, she was kicking them out of the class. End of story. Considering that this is a sport that can actually kill someone, I think instructors have a duty to not allow a student to jump if they just don't get it or act like they just don't care.

Edited by tbrown
  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, tbrown said:

I'm surprised they let your friend jump at all. At one dropzone there were two young women who were treating the entire class (with other students) like it was just a wild hoot. The instructor (also a woman) came over and told them to go back to the office and get their refund, she was kicking them out of the class. End of story. Considering that this is a sport that can actually kill someone, I think instructors have a duty to not allow a student to jump if they just don't get it or act like they just don't care.

I wouldn’t necessary call him a friend, I met him during the fjc, but yeah I was pretty surprised they let him jump myself. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/29/2020 at 3:24 PM, fcajump said:

 

As to looking on the Internet, I think some of that is the same caution instructors give over students listening to other (non-instructor) jumpers...  often the most vocal/eager sources of information ARE the 50-200 jump wonders...  you're right, there is some GREAT information on the Internet, but there is also some dangerous stuff out there. 

 

This reminds me of something recently - we are a small Cessna dropzone with a whole of students - everyone is super friendly and chats and has a great time.  I had a level 3 I think a couple of weeks ago when we were discussing the staged flare and such, tell me that that was not what he had heard was the best way to do it.  He explained to me that some other person there - who had 14! jumps but apparently jumped the same student gear :-) told him that flaring at 10-12 feet with a staged flare did not work well and he should wait till way lower and then just slam the toggles down.  Laugh.  I am completely sure that the 14 jump kid meant well but I did explain to my student that I have closer to 14,000 jumps than 14 and I might be a better source of advice :-)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2020 at 3:40 AM, faulknerwn said:

He explained to me that some other person there - who had 14! jumps but apparently jumped the same student gear :-) told him that flaring at 10-12 feet with a staged flare did not work well and he should wait till way lower and then just slam the toggles down.

That is the way that some first jump factories teach their students to flare. It is easier to teach someone a single instruction, than it is a set of two, much easier to just yell "flare" over the radio at the proper time, than to follow through with the two stage. If by some miracle those people continue jumping after their first jump, someone needs to unteach them the single stage and teach them the proper technique before they find themselves under a faster more responsive canopy that will not take kindly to having the toggles fully stabbed at 3 feet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Kenzdik96,

Canopy control is a complex process.

During the first jump course, we teach the bare minimum needed to walk off the DZ un-injured, then "layer" on more canopy skills after they stand up a few landings. Then every time they jump a new canopy, we help them set learning objectives and critique their landings with suggestions on how to improve their next landing.

It takes hundreds or thousands of jumps to master canopy control. The key is teaching new information in small doses.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
(edited)
On 11/5/2020 at 1:17 AM, riggerrob said:

During the first jump course, we teach the bare minimum needed to walk off the DZ un-injured, then "layer" on more canopy skills after they stand up a few landings.

Dear Riggerrob,

I believe that you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. I agree that canopy control is a very complex process and that you can't teach people everything at once. I am not advocating bombarding students with excessive information from day one.

The problem is that "bare minimum needed to walk off the dz un-injured" is all the instruction in canopy piloting that students at certain dropzones will ever get. One stage flare is taught for jump #1 and nothing else is taught for jumps #2 o wards. Landings will not be critiqued, as if you walk it off, it was a good one. Any kind of knowledge "layering" that occurs will be done by well meaning sport jumpers, and not by instructors, as they are busy teaching the next batch of first jump people.

If by some miracle people at those dropzones continue jumping and end up eventually buying that Sabre 2 190 as their first sport canopy (as there are plenty of places, at least here, that have nothing except of Navigators for rent), we have a problem because un-teaching someone who has been doing the same wrong thing for a hundred jumps is a serious task.

 

Edited by Kenzdik96

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Kenzdik96 said:

Dear Riggerrob,

I believe that you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. I agree that canopy control is a very complex process and that you can't teach people everything at once. I am not advocating bombarding students with excessive information from day one.

The problem is that "bare minimum needed to walk off the dz un-injured" is all the instruction in canopy piloting that students at certain dropzones will ever get. One stage flare is taught for jump #1 and nothing else is taught for jumps #2 o wards. Landings will not be critiqued, as if you walk it off, it was a good one. Any kind of knowledge "layering" that occurs will be done by well meaning sport jumpers, and not by instructors, as they are busy teaching the next batch of first jump people.

If by some miracle people at those dropzones continue jumping and end up eventually buying that Sabre 2 190 as their first sport canopy (as there are plenty of places, at least here, that have nothing except of Navigators for rent), we have a problem because un-teaching someone who has been doing the same wrong thing for a hundred jumps is a serious task.

 

I’m one of those new jumpers so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but my experience was pretty much like this. 
 

We are given the bare minimum (which at the start is good because skydiving in general has a lot of information to absorb) and then we are kind of sent into the wild to figure it out ourselves. A little bit more direction would be pretty helpful, even if it’s just “go look here” instead of teaching students individually. 
 

Canopy courses (especially flight 1) are amazing for this and the 101/102 give you all that info, but early on for me no one really said anything about them outside of “you’ll eventually need a canopy course before you can get your b license”. 
 

Even the basic info from those courses such as how to really plan a holding area/landing pattern based on winds at different altitudes and not just the wind on the ground was a gigantic help for me personally and made the difference between getting back to the dz or landing off in a few different situations.

Before taking that course, I had no idea how beneficial it could be to use brakes in a landing pattern (before final) or how to use harness input instead of brakes turns when low to avoid traffic while landing. 
 

students are often by themselves when landing so it’s not a huge deal, but as soon as you aren’t a student and you are dealing with a lot of other people trying to land at the same time having that additional knowledge can make all the difference and I wish we knew it sooner. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/7/2020 at 1:38 PM, Kenzdik96 said:

One stage flare is taught for jump #1 and nothing else is taught for jumps #2 o wards.

 

I would love to teach a 2 stage flare in the FJC. It's easy to teach "Ready - Set - Half Brakes - Flare" instead of just "Ready - Set - Flare". But it has to become FJC doctrine, and that means overcoming resistance from multiple instructors and management. Hell, I work with instructors that can't be bothered to say "Ready" or "Set" before "FLARE!" 

At any DZ it's important for procedures to be consistent among the instructors. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, JohnMitchell said:

I would love to teach a 2 stage flare in the FJC. It's easy to teach "Ready - Set - Half Brakes - Flare" instead of just "Ready - Set - Flare". But it has to become FJC doctrine, and that means overcoming resistance from multiple instructors and management. Hell, I work with instructors that can't be bothered to say "Ready" or "Set" before "FLARE!" 

At any DZ it's important for procedures to be consistent among the instructors. 

i would like to add a line also, i wonder how well that will be taken?  i would like them to say, "feet and knees together for a good plf, ready, set, flare".  that will keep the students from sliding in and breaking tailbones. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, JohnMitchell said:

I would love to teach a 2 stage flare in the FJC. It's easy to teach "Ready - Set - Half Brakes - Flare" instead of just "Ready - Set - Flare". But it has to become FJC doctrine, and that means overcoming resistance from multiple instructors and management. Hell, I work with instructors that can't be bothered to say "Ready" or "Set" before "FLARE!" 

At any DZ it's important for procedures to be consistent among the instructors. 

It really depends on the dropzone. I was taught two stage flare from jump #1. I was given zero canopy piloting instructions on jumps #2 and onwards, I was forced to learn stuff from sport jumpers / internet / and eventually canopy courses when I managed to attend them, so it doesn't really mean that the dropzone was good, it was just the method used there. 

As for your last sentence, I can agree with you but only up to a point. I think that you shouldn't teach students something which you believe is fundamentally unsafe, just because it is the way the dropzone does it and you want to be consistent with the rest. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sit through FJC one day as an assistant and also to help my dad understand better about what was taught (English is not our first language) and there was a girl who already took FJC once before and this was her second time. She got her phone out and didn't pay attention in class and failed the test again at the end of the day. Lol. The instructor who taught FJC complained. It's eye opening that some people don't care to learn how to save themselves when participating a dangerous sport like skydiving. 

But gotta admit, FJC is a lot of stuff. I felt stressful even I sit through it for the second time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AFF is not a good form of training. It is an extremely high pressure scenario, from the start.  The amount of information and skill required is overwhelming for many people. They can only process so much, and coupled with the mental and emotional effort required to carry everything through, makes it very difficult to assimilate what may be rationalised as "less important" information. 

There is also pressure from outside factors, family/friends, financial, in some cases, time and weather.

Add all these together, plus in some cases less than competent instruction/instructors, ill suited equipment, and you have a formula for failure.

I've never liked AFF as a way to train first jumpers, and I believe it will eventually see the death of the sport. I've seen it happen in my own country where the number of operations training first jumpers has declined from 15 - 20 to just 2 over the last 20 years. Tandem carnival rides will become the only way to experience jumping within another 20 years, and even that will decline as less people will be around to qualify as TIs.

One of the other reasons AFF students may not "care" much, is that their instructors are not teaching them to "care" about the minutae, and not going the extra mile for them unless they open their wallets and pay for information that used to come for free. Its not the students fault.

Just re read the OP, and it illustrates the point about the instructors lack of quality. 

If it was apparent to him, that the guy you were talking about was paying no attention during class, why did he let him jump at all? He should have told him to take a hike before letting him anywhere near the plane. He put that guys life at risk, as well as everyone else on the load. 

I think I know the answer to that, and at my DZ, such poor judgement would probably result in a loss of rating. Money does not compromise safety. Part of the job is to sometimes tell people they should take up bowling.

 

Edited by obelixtim
added to post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear obelixtim,

Some DZOs narrow their focus to who pays the bills. Back when I started jumping (1977) static-line was the only way to make your first jump, so DZs focused on training large numbers of static-liners. Once the day's First Jump Course finished their class-room training, licensed jumpers were forced to wait until all the students had jumped, before they could resume fun-jumping.

Then along came AFF and the emphasis changed to pumping out as many AFF students as possible.

Then attention shifted to tandem, so DZs focused on tandems as a quick way to make a buck. Meanwhile, fun-jumpers sat on the ground until all the tandem students had jumped and gone home. A second advantage is that you rarely have to cut them out of trees after they wander off under canopy.

 The only advantage to AFF and tandem was that the airplane consistently climbed to full altitude and a fun-jumper or two could slip onto a high load if they bribed manifest with beer, sex or recreational drugs.

Another

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, nwt said:

What sort of training do you prefer?

Static line. Cheaper, simpler, safer, staged progression in logical steps (learn how to fly and land the canopy before progressing to FF) develops more confident students, not subject to so many holds due to cloud base issues, able to train larger groups. 

 

  • Like 1

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.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

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.

3 3