Early "AFF" in Pietermaritzburg, SA?

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Posted (edited)

I came across this post on a local FB group:


An absolute legend. And what many civilian skydivers never realised, was that the Recce's under the guidance of Koos Moorcroft, were doing AFF, over PPC, years ahead (of) the civies. Late 70's.

The Recces mentioned in the quote is a special forces (reconnaissance) brigade of the  SA Defence Force.

I wonder if anyone here can tell us more?

Edited by Erroll
Fixed grammar

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I don't know specifics of the program at Pietermeritzburg, but several civilian DZs were doing assisted freefall jumps well before Ken Coleman invented the AFF program and sold it to USPA circa 1980.


Bob Sinclair was one of the first with his "buddy-Jump" system that saw him leaving the airplane holding his students' arms. Bob also invented an extended main ripcord that was sew to the student's left sleeve. This zap-handle allowed Bob to pull a student's ripcord even if they started spinning.

Tom McCarthy developed his own assisted freefall program in Gananoque, Ontario during the 1970s. He started by giving every student a KAP3 auto-opener and teaching them how to pull their own ripcord during their first jump.

Other Canadian DZs (e.g. Claresholm, Alberta) deveoped CSPA's Progressive Freefall Program. A key difference from USPA's AFF program was an insistence that students demonstrate a few stable exits from lower latitudes (S/L or IAD) before going to the top with a pair of PFF instructors.

Few DZs do "pure AFF" any more. Instead, most DZ use a variety of methods to teach AFF students pre-skills like canopy control and the basics of freefall stability using tandems, solo IAD jumps and wind tunnels. Once a student has demonstrated basic skills, they often do assisted freefall accompanied by only a single instructor.

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