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Thomas.foster2@gmail.com

Class A Hasn't Jumped in 15 Years

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Hey Everyone, 

My wife is going to kill me, but I'm checking to see what I would expect if I showed up at a DZ as a Class A who hasn't jumped in 15 years. I don't expect much at all, especially since I have no proof that I completed AFF. I used to have my Class A card but I think it's long gone. Will I have to do AFF all over again or just do a tandem for a one time jump? I honestly don't want to do go solo even if it was an option but I don't want to tandem either. I think one or two AFF instructors would be plenty. Let me know if you've encountered a similar situation at your DZ.

THANKS!

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I had about 1300 jumps before I took a 16 year hiatus and my first couple of jumps back were honestly worst than some relatively talented AFF students I’ve seen, possibly made worse by the fact that I was absolutely shitting myself. My experience was that it’s not like riding a bike.

If you only had an A license before, I’d say it’d be like you never jumped before after that gap and I’d recommend doing AFF again, irrespective of what they make you do.

Don’t let that stop you though, it’s awesome to get back in the air. I can’t believe I stayed away for so long and it would take me going in to leave the sport again.

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First off - welcome back! I would be prepared to repeat the entire AFF course. Although your license technically never expires (USPA membership does) I personally would not be comfortable with just a refresher and then turning you loose. Things have changed since you've been away. Things like angle flying and XRW did not exist back then and you should be prepared to encounter them in the air. Not only do you have to learn to fly again, but there's all the book stuff as well. 

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15 hours ago, base615 said:

I had about 1300 jumps before I took a 16 year hiatus and my first couple of jumps back were honestly worst than some relatively talented AFF students I’ve seen, possibly made worse by the fact that I was absolutely shitting myself. My experience was that it’s not like riding a bike.

If you only had an A license before, I’d say it’d be like you never jumped before after that gap and I’d recommend doing AFF again, irrespective of what they make you do.

Don’t let that stop you though, it’s awesome to get back in the air. I can’t believe I stayed away for so long and it would take me going in to leave the sport again.

I knew I wasn't alone but your experience shows that I'm not crazy. I'll try to do AFF all over again. 

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You and I are in the same boat! I just got back into the sport after 10 years. Log book long since tossed out. I renewed my A license and called my old DZ. just did my refresher and safety over the weekend. Thankfully I have a Ifly close to me so I got some time in their which…woof! …rusty is an understatement!!!!

skies didn’t hold up well for me to jump this weekend but my instructor basically wants to go up 2 times with me until she is ok with letting back out on my own.

Welcome back!!!!!! Btw things are still expensive haha. Blue Skies!

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With only a Class A, you have not practiced those skills the ten thousand times needed to burn them into long-term memory.

Even skydivers who have long experience tend to do a bit of refresher training before resuming jumping. The Australian Parachute Federation has published some excellent training aids. 

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On 8/4/2022 at 11:34 PM, [email protected] said:

Hey Everyone, 

My wife is going to kill me, but I'm checking to see what I would expect if I showed up at a DZ as a Class A who hasn't jumped in 15 years. I don't expect much at all, especially since I have no proof that I completed AFF. I used to have my Class A card but I think it's long gone. Will I have to do AFF all over again or just do a tandem for a one time jump? I honestly don't want to do go solo even if it was an option but I don't want to tandem either. I think one or two AFF instructors would be plenty. Let me know if you've encountered a similar situation at your DZ.

THANKS!

If you had a USPA license, you still have a USPA license.  There are no currency requirements for licensed jumpers and, technically, to be a current license holder you need only renew your USPA membership, which you can do online. Having said that, it is very unlikely that any DZ would allow you to jump without some currency training and that could consist of everything from a full ground school, or, to just spending an hour or two with an instructor who can evaluate your skills and knowledge, all depends on the DZ.

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(edited)
21 minutes ago, michaelmullins said:

There are no currency requirements for licensed jumpers

I was under the impression that USPA does have currency requirements to actually jump at a DZ that follows its rules.

https://uspa.org/Discover/News/currency-trainingits-not-just-another-jump

Edit, currency training  is recommended, but not required. https://uspa.org/SIM/5

Edited by gowlerk

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Had a 10yr break and honestly it was like riding a bike. I did ground school in a harness and jumped once with an instructor for recurrency.  Landing was a little difficult to be honest. Took a few jumps to get flare right. Haven’t looked back.  

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13 hours ago, gowlerk said:

I was under the impression that USPA does have currency requirements to actually jump at a DZ that follows its rules.

https://uspa.org/Discover/News/currency-trainingits-not-just-another-jump

Edit, currency training  is recommended, but not required. https://uspa.org/SIM/5

I haven't jumped at that many different DZs, but EVERY one considered 'currency' to be a requirement. Several required fullon coach jumps.

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20 hours ago, wolfriverjoe said:

I haven't jumped at that many different DZs, but EVERY one considered 'currency' to be a requirement. Several required fullon coach jumps.

The normal exception for currency regulations at DZs I have jumped at is the spring season startup, most everyone is un-current, but no one is like "everyone needs to jump with an instructor before anyone else"  But of course that is a 6 month layoff, not a 10 year one. 

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3 minutes ago, SethInMI said:

The normal exception for currency regulations at DZs I have jumped at is the spring season startup, most everyone is un-current, but no one is like "everyone needs to jump with an instructor before anyone else"  But of course that is a 6 month layoff, not a 10 year one. 

That has not been my experience.

 

I know that SDC & SDMW have required coach jumps (their coach, jumper pays for the coach and his/her slot) for uncurrent jumpers. I don't know for sure if they still do or not. It makes the first few days of spring both busy and difficult to get on the schedule.

As someone who learned via S/L, I have a slightly different path.

Sit down with an instructor, go over emergency situations and procedures, then do a hop & pop. 
If it's early in the spring, the Safety Day discussions and presentations can suffice for the 'sit down with the instructor' portion. 

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On 8/9/2022 at 8:48 PM, tustinr said:

Had a 10yr break and honestly it was like riding a bike. I did ground school in a harness and jumped once with an instructor for recurrency.  Landing was a little difficult to be honest. Took a few jumps to get flare right. Haven’t looked back.  

Definitely not my experience. It’s about 450 jumps since I returned and I’m back to flying sub-100 parachutes because I really focused on that but it was slow going and, as for freefall, I can’t freefly for shit since coming back. Sure I’m safe enough as long as I stick to 2 or 3 ways, but no chance I’d feel safe on anything bigger. I think you often don’t realise what you’ve forgotten until put in a stressful situation so I think it’s best to err on the side of caution.

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I also returned after an extended absence, a little over 20 years ago. I had about 1100 jumps, and did a refresher course with a friend of mine who was an instructor. We did a normal 2-way, with me jumping rental Cypres-equipped gear (I'd quit before the Cypres), and then I did a solo with the same gear, and then I was on my own, with my own gear.

This was with someone who knew me well, and while it wasn't like getting back on a bike (so much had changed -- there were doors on Otters!, and canopy speeds were so much faster.

I'd say that he made me take my at-quitting-time competence back about 5 levels for the first jump, and I thought it was a safe approach. He used the refresher to gauge how much it seemed like I might have forgotten, and so was able to tailor it. As a former instructor myself, I appreciated the individualization. Thanks, Mike T.

So as an A license holder, if you can find an instructor willing to work with you on doing at least 1-3 AFF-style jumps, and then evaluate you as an individual for further progression, go for it. But if you can't, then you're pretty much going to have to do whatever the dropzone says you need to do. They have to plan and account for the worse, and not just trust to the best.

Wendy P.

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