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Is it normal for AFF students to not care?

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11 hours ago, obelixtim said:

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. 

 

I have to say that, until I was put straight some time ago by Riggerrob on a different thread, I always thought that static line was an impossible way to train for a freefall licence. However, having read more comments like the captioned one, I now realise that, as an older AFF student, my path to A licence might have been a bit less tense and fraught had I chosen the static line route. Many students with natural ability will sail through AFF. Many others of the less athletic or older, less supple, type may fall by the wayside or will only get there through sheer doggedness and a refusal to be beaten - and a refusal of course to check that monthly bank statement.

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also more effective at a cessna dz since one jumpmaster (coach in some cases, instructor in others) can put out three students on a load, rather than one on one for aff.  my opinion, and only an opinion, is that iad is better than static line.  it gets the same thing done without the need for the static lines.  i have jumped in all three programs for comparison (not intentionally, just the way it worked out).

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9 hours ago, sfzombie13 said:

also more effective at a cessna dz since one jumpmaster (coach in some cases, instructor in others) can put out three students on a load, rather than one on one for aff.  my opinion, and only an opinion, is that iad is better than static line.  it gets the same thing done without the need for the static lines.  i have jumped in all three programs for comparison (not intentionally, just the way it worked out).

I think some people consider IAD to be a bit more dangerous than other options.

I think my DZO told me one of the main reasons he doesn't do IAD or static line anymore is that it's a lot of training effort for people who mostly only want to jump once and would otherwise do a tandem. I do see the advantages, though.

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6 hours ago, nwt said:

I think some people consider IAD to be a bit more dangerous than other options.

I think my DZO told me one of the main reasons he doesn't do IAD or static line anymore is that it's a lot of training effort for people who mostly only want to jump once and would otherwise do a tandem. I do see the advantages, though.

I trained thousands of SL students. When Tandem came along we thought SL would dry up, and it was interesting to compare the reactions between the SL jumpers and the Tandem ones. Of course the tandems had experienced freefall, but the SL students seemed to be prouder of their jumps because they had done it themselves, alone. And the Tandem students actually appeared to be a bit jealous of that. As for progressing to FF, I had many SL students do 25 jumps and achieve their A licence within a week, when the weather co operated.

 I once trained a group of 70, weekday evenings, in split classes, which we got out the door on one weekend. That was just 2 of us, doing the whole job, including packing. How long would it take to train that many to do AFF? 

And yes, a lot only ever did the one jump, but at one stage, the NZPF secretary told me I had produced 25% of all A licence holders in the country. A lot of those students went on to become Jumpmasters, Instructors and Tandem masters. At least 5 operations were started by ex students of mine.  

 The most difficult part was drinking all the beer those students fronted up, with post jump.

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I wouldn't call any form of training "best". They each have their time and place. 

For the first jump, static line or IAD work well, and I would lean towards static line as it removes instructor skill out of the equation (IAD does give you less line twists which is better for the student, but it can also attach a student to the horizontal stabilizer of the Cessna, which is less fun for all involved). You (as a student) will have a canopy safely above you without having to do anything, and it will help you grasp the feeling that you are alone in the air. I remember my first jump (static line), it was so intense I barely knew which way was down. I would not like to ever have that feeling in freefall. 

Once people have put a couple of jumps in, and have a basic understanding of flying their canopy, AFF will help them learn freefall stuff faster and in a more controlled environment (or tunnel plus AFF if they can afford it). While you can learn freefall using conventional methods, having a competent instructor holding on to you for the first couple of freefalls decreases the chances of a terminal reserve deployment followed by a cutter replacement. 

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(edited)
On 12/16/2020 at 9:37 AM, obelixtim said:

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. 

 

Bit late to this thread but, while this may be right for lots of people, my experience is completely different.

I started with static line or, as we called it in the UK, RAPS back in the mid '90s which was the only option at my local DZ. I could not get past dummy pulls and was therefore unable to move on to the freefall part. I found that, no matter how much I practiced on the ground, the dummy handle was never where I expected it to be due to the main container missing the canopy. I did more than 30 static line jumps over a couple of months with perfect exits, good form on trying to pull and never once managed to get the handle. I tried grabbing in different places in an attempt to get the handle but nothing worked.

Frustrated, I was about to give up but the chief instructor recommended I go to another DZ and do AFF (I didn't know this existed until he told me). I breezed through it in less than 3 days, never having any issues finding the handle when it was time to pull.

I'm sure static line works for many people but it was basically impossible for me.

Edited by base615
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On 12/16/2020 at 10:33 PM, obelixtim said:

 I once trained a group of 70, weekday evenings, in split classes, which we got out the door on one weekend. That was just 2 of us, doing the whole job, including packing. How long would it take to train that many to do AFF? 

I'm sure the specifics of our local market are a large factor. Most of our business is college students doing a one-off and we get about 2 AFF students a season. In that context it seems to make a lot of sense to not want to do a FJC every weekend for less money.

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On 1/26/2021 at 11:37 PM, base615 said:

Bit late to this thread but, while this may be right for lots of people, my experience is completely different.

I started with static line or, as we called it in the UK, RAPS back in the mid '90s which was the only option at my local DZ. I could not get past dummy pulls and was therefore unable to move on to the freefall part. I found that, no matter how much I practiced on the ground, the dummy handle was never where I expected it to be due to the main container missing the canopy. I did more than 30 static line jumps over a couple of months with perfect exits, good form on trying to pull and never once managed to get the handle. I tried grabbing in different places in an attempt to get the handle but nothing worked.

Frustrated, I was about to give up but the chief instructor recommended I go to another DZ and do AFF (I didn't know this existed until he told me). I breezed through it in less than 3 days, never having any issues finding the handle when it was time to pull.

I'm sure static line works for many people but it was basically impossible for me.

That tells me either one of two things...a: the gear was not set up properly, or b: your instructors were crap. 30 sl jumps is inexcusable, it sounds like you were just being milked. I've heard stories like that from the UK more often than from any other country, and having witnessed a couple of so called "instructors" in action first hand, I'm not surprised. Its amazing the number of students who give up on training in the UK, or being told to take up bowling, go to another DZ on the continent and fly through the training. I trained a few like that in NZ myself.  

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2 hours ago, obelixtim said:

That tells me either one of two things...a: the gear was not set up properly, or b: your instructors were crap. 30 sl jumps is inexcusable, it sounds like you were just being milked. I've heard stories like that from the UK more often than from any other country, and having witnessed a couple of so called "instructors" in action first hand, I'm not surprised. Its amazing the number of students who give up on training in the UK, or being told to take up bowling, go to another DZ on the continent and fly through the training. I trained a few like that in NZ myself.  

I don't think it was the instructors as they trained many jumpers successfully and most of the guys I did my first jump with had no issues at all. It was just me having the issues. In addition, it was a military DZ specifically for a display team so there wasn't really any need to push profit so there would be no need to milk anyone. They also asked the BPA if I could have an exemption on the dummy pulls based on the fact that they believed I would have no issues with a 3 second delay. This permission was denied.

Equipment setup issues is certainly possible. Back then there were not the rigs with adjustable main left web and I'm pretty short (5'4") with short arms and not great flexibility in my shoulders so I never felt like student gear fit me well.

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(edited)

A couple weeks ago now I did 4 IAD jumps at skydive airtight in skyatook Ok.    I highly reccomend this place! They were all so friendly and I had such a good time there!  Instruction was great and I did very well with my first 4 jumps.

 

A big factor here, is the static line/ IAD jumps are way cheaper than aff.  Had I been doing aff, I would have only been able to do two jumps total that day. Currently trying to find a place within 9 hrs of pittsburgh that does IAD/static line with some warmer weather so I can continue on with my program. Its very hard to find anywere doing these programs unfortunately. I kinda feel like most places do aff because it makes the drop zone more money. Otherwise why not do IAD? No static line gear needed.

Edited by outdoort

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The biggest issue that I see with dummy pulls is rushing/going straight for where the handle is "supposed to be".

Slow down and go for your butt first, then bring your hand up to the pack and find the handle/paper.

Everyone can find their ass with one hand in the dark so just find your ass and move up to find the handle. Slow down, yes things will be happening/moving on your pack as the rig opens - don't let that get in your way, focus on your task. Find your ass, then find your handle.

That's how I train my students.

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5 hours ago, IanHarrop said:

The biggest issue that I see with dummy pulls is rushing/going straight for where the handle is "supposed to be".

Slow down and go for your butt first, then bring your hand up to the pack and find the handle/paper.

Everyone can find their ass with one hand in the dark so just find your ass and move up to find the handle. Slow down, yes things will be happening/moving on your pack as the rig opens - don't let that get in your way, focus on your task. Find your ass, then find your handle.

That's how I train my students.

Surely by the time you've done that the canopy is open and you've missed the window for getting the handle.

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40 minutes ago, base615 said:

Surely by the time you've done that the canopy is open and you've missed the window for getting the handle.

it's real hard to beat the chute.  that isn't a fail but not getting it out is.  not an instructor, but it took me years to get licensed so i had to do these all the damned time.

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9 hours ago, IanHarrop said:

The biggest issue that I see with dummy pulls is rushing/going straight for where the handle is "supposed to be".

Slow down and go for your butt first, then bring your hand up to the pack and find the handle/paper.

Everyone can find their ass with one hand in the dark so just find your ass and move up to find the handle. Slow down, yes things will be happening/moving on your pack as the rig opens - don't let that get in your way, focus on your task. Find your ass, then find your handle.

That's how I train my students.

Well, not everyone can find their butt, even with both hands and a flashlight. ;P

3 hours ago, base615 said:

Surely by the time you've done that the canopy is open and you've missed the window for getting the handle.

When I went through S/L training, I had that impression too, and had some difficulty.

My instructor was far more in Ian's 'camp'. He wanted to see a deliberate, focused, clean pull. If it didn't happen before the canopy was out, that was secondary to the rest of it.
I was jumping direct bag student gear, so the canopy was out really fast. 

Trying to 'pull before the canopy was out' was virtually impossible.

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Back in the stone age, when I was an S/L instructor, the goal was to be able to keep pulling your main in a coordinated and stable fashion even if the jump was going wonky. No jumpmaster would ever make the jump wonky deliberately, but sensory overload during such a short time generally made that unnecessary most. But the goal was to make sure the student would, in fact, pull their main, not as an act of desperation, but as a deliberate and focused act.

Wendy P.

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I am agreeing with Ian and Wendy.

I teach students that containers are going to shift. Then I teach them to grab their own ass and slide their right hand up until they feel the corner of the container (BOC). 

If they have short arms or difficulty with Method A, I teach them to slide their thumb down the right side of the container until they find the corner.

I also teach them to continue reaching for the BOC even if they feel the main parachute starting to open, because this is also a test of what they will do when things get "confusing."

Bottom line, pull the dummy handle in a methodical fashion no matter what time the main parachute opens.

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On 4/6/2021 at 12:56 AM, base615 said:

If it wasn't done in 3 seconds it was a fail.

I have to agree it's a pretty dumb arse way to assess whether someone is ready for freefall or not. My first freefall was a piece of piss compared to all the dummy pulls I was made to do.

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15 hours ago, Quagmirian said:

... My first freefall was a piece of piss compared to all the dummy pulls I was made to do.

Ha! I had a hell of a time getting stable in freefall. 
Maybe 3 or 4 really spectacular fails. 
I've noted this a time or two before, but it's been a while.

Then I did an AFF jump. The comfort of knowing I had a pair of 'training wheels' along for the ride let me 'find my groove' and get over that obstacle.

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Youtube etc. seems to also have created an influx of AFF students who seem hellbent on wingsuit proximity flying. Problem is that these people usually only see skydiving as a hurdle they have to pass/get over in order to do what they really want to do. This leads to people who just want to quickly get the jumps done, without showing to much care or interest in actually being part of the sport, or actually picking up a discipline.

200 ish jumps planking on solo tracking dives, and then quickly to wingsuit and wingsuit base.
It's thankfully not a big portion of students, but you do see it more and more often. And it's always very hard to motivate and get people to care and show interest in what they are doing when jumping from a plane. It's perhaps 'too normal'....I don't know...

Im still enjoying every single jump as much as the first one, and always interested in learning more...

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(edited)

Dear Mccordia,

Perhaps we should insist on "X" number of jumps, plus demonstrate "the following list of skills" ... sort of like Bill Von Novak's list of tasks before down-sizing to a smaller canopy.

Yes, we know that the better BASE Instructors insist on a minimum of 200 jumps, but even they are not interested wannabees who merely punched 200 holes in the sky. Hopefully the junior jumper learned a little on every one of those 200 jumps.

This also reminds me of the "gear selection exercise" that is part of every CSPA Rigger Course. When I taught that course in Switzerland, everyone thought it was perfectly normal for a student to want to wingsuit off a Swiss cliff at the end of his second season.

OTOH A British candidate wanted to punch out a student that ambitious. I tried to calm the Brit by telling him that I could keep the student busy doing 200 accuracy jumps ... on his way to a CSPA Exhibition Jump Rating (stand-up precision landing). In the end I did not care if the student jumped off cliffs, because at least he would be accurate on landing.

Edited by riggerrob
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42 minutes ago, riggerrob said:

Dear Mccordia,

Perhaps we should insist on "X" number of jumps, plus demonstrate "the following list of skills" ...

Those lists, and much much more have been available for more than 10 years. The problem sadly is one of attitude, shortcuts and instant gratification.

There is a huge community in all disciplines eager to teach and share knowledge, just not everyone is as interested in doing something with that..it's a very small percentage thankfully, but it does happen..

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(edited)
On 4/8/2021 at 8:57 AM, wolfriverjoe said:

I had a hell of a time getting stable in freefall. 

me too. it made for a very memorable 5 sec delay SL jump. the joy i felt once i got a canopy overhead was incredible. 

my area DZs now required 2 tandems before starting IAD. I used to think that was just a money grab (and i still think that is part of it) but I realize it does offer the student good exposure to the whole process that they can't get on their own.

Edited by SethInMI
typo
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