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Cajundude

Beginning AFF Tandem question

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Hello all! I have pretty much decided that I want Skydive Spaceland to be my dropzone and training site but am wondering about the 2 tandem requirement. My question is this: Are there advantages to be required to do 2 tandems before you can go solo? I would rather do my first jumps solo because it worries me less if I have a chute and reserve on my own back. With the tandem you are pretty much completly at the mercy of the instructor right?

If it bothers me that much should I go over to the other DZ in Houston?

I prefer to go with Spaceland for a few reasons but I am just looking for some justification for the tandems first.

Thanks for you help!

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My OPINION, is that you should do tandems first. You will get the sensation of freefall, and direct coaching/instruction on canopy control during the second half of it. Sensory overload is common with first jumps, wouldn't you want to have an instructor there in case you freak out? It is in my opinion the best way to go. You would be hard pressed to find a better dz to start and learn from.

Never look down on someone, unless they are going down on you.

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The main reason (in my opinion) some DZs require 1 or 2 tandems before AFF is financial. They make a shitload more money off of tandems than AFF students. But that's what keeps regular jump tickets cheap.

I started with AFF and definitely have no regrets. Finally did a couple tandems after I had 100 jumps... my first tandem was the instructor's 7th. Just slightly freaky. But there are people that completely freak out on their first jump, and they'd be a whole lot better off doing a tandem than AFF. If you're pretty sure you are gonna do fine, and you know you wanna go all the way with it, skip the tandems if you can.

Dave

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With the tandem you are pretty much completly at the mercy of the instructor right?



True, but the instructor has a lot of experience, and whatever happens to you happens to him immediately afterward, so it's in his interest to take care of you.

That said, I'm neither for nor against "making" people do Tandems.

You can always go anywhere you like. My suggestion is to go wherever you feel most comfortable with the people and the level of safety. (And if that means not doing tandems because you don't feel comfortable with it, there you go.)

-=-=-=-=-
Pull.

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I definitely want to go all the way with it. I hung up my scuba instruction license of 10 years and am selling all of my gear so I can go jump out of planes. I've done a static jump before and thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I can only imagine how much I will love the freefall. I am like that, I will jump in head first and go all the way. I like to achieve high ratings in whatever I do.

I also like to stick with the people I start stuff with, i.e. Skydive Spaceland because if I go somewhere else Spaceland will probably eventually be my home DZ so it seems only fair that I start with them.

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I have never done a tandem. . .I started with AFF, though the instructors did try to talk me into doing a tandem first. I have never regretted it, but I can see where it would have been MUCH less stressful for me to have done a tandem first. I am neither for or against starting with tandems.

As for Skydive Spaceland, I just reviewed their progression towards the A license and think that they have a great program. . .complete with video that gets you licensed. The tandems count towards your licensing, so why not go where you feel most comfortable and enjoy their expertise. . .I am sure they turn out skilled skydivers. You will enjoy it a lot.
________________________________________
Take risks not to escape life… but to prevent life from escaping. ~ A bumper sticker at the DZ
FGF #6
Darcy

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The main reason (in my opinion) some DZs require 1 or 2 tandems before AFF is financial. They make a shitload more money off of tandems



Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit.

At Aggieland, with our tandem progression you will save a bit over $300 then the traditional AFF program.

Not only that, but the students coming off of the tandem progession seem to learn faster, do better and complete AFF with less jumps (less repeats, etc). It all comes down to the amount of information taught at a time, you learn faster with skydiving by learning little blocks of information at a time, then trying to digest 8hrs worth of groundschool at once.

Then again, this is only my opinion as an instructor and a coach.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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The main reason (in my opinion) some DZs require 1 or 2 tandems before AFF is financial. They make a shitload more money off of tandems



Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit.

At Aggieland, with our tandem progression you will save a bit over $300 then the traditional AFF program.

Not only that, but the students coming off of the tandem progession seem to learn faster, do better and complete AFF with less jumps (less repeats, etc). It all comes down to the amount of information taught at a time, you learn faster with skydiving by learning little blocks of information at a time, then trying to digest 8hrs worth of groundschool at once.

Then again, this is only my opinion as an instructor and a coach.



Thanks Dave, that is exactly the justification I was looking for. I'll let ya'll know how it goes. My plan is to jump on my B-Day which is May 5 (work permitting) but it will certainly be the 5th, 6th, or 7th of May.

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Have fun and let us know how it went :)
~D
Where troubles melt like lemon drops Away above the chimney tops That's where you'll find me.
Swooping is taking one last poke at the bear before escaping it's cave - davelepka

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tandem progression is the way to go imo. just my .02 USD. i don't believe that some DZ's offer tandems for $$$ reasons. it's simply the best way to go if your intention is to become a sky diver. you'll be acclaimated to free fall (big advantage) and you'll get to steer the parachute while in direct communication with the TM. will you be at the TM's mercy? i think not. most of the time the TM's are at the mercy of the passenger! all this said, go with your heart, as far as which DZ, both of the ones you mentioned have great gear, and great TM's so you'll be good at either place. SDAL is also a great place to go, they pay more "personal" attention to their clients than any other DZ i've been to. Good Luck.
--Richard--
"We Will Not Be Shaken By Thugs, And Terroist"

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The thing that tandems do for students who wish to progress is to acclaimate then to the environment. Freefall can be an overwhelming expirience. Those who do tandems first are better adjusted to the freefall environment. Those who do tandems first seem to have less of a tendency to freeze and brainlock. This makes for safer students.
Skydivers don't knock on Death's door. They ring the bell and runaway... It really pisses him off.
-The World Famous Tink. (I never heard of you either!!)
AA #2069 ASA#33 POPS#8808 Swooo 1717

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At Aggieland, with our tandem progression you will save a bit over $300 then the traditional AFF program.

Not only that, but the students coming off of the tandem progession seem to learn faster, do better and complete AFF with less jumps (less repeats, etc). It all comes down to the amount of information taught at a time, you learn faster with skydiving by learning little blocks of information at a time, then trying to digest 8hrs worth of groundschool at once.



So you train students in each program method?

Still in the midst of the traditional sequence (years after two separate tandems) I'm stuggling to see the gain it presents. The financial one you list is a good one - fewer jumps with 2 instructors. But how much can you see of their body position when you're TM instead of AFFI? My legs are my problem.

There seems to be great potential for canopy training, but only if the scope is well beyond what AFFs typically (well, me) got. Turns, patterns, flaring is pretty straightforward. It's the riser turns and flat turns that I'm interested in getting to.

As long as it's cheaper, it doesn't matter. I'd recommend it just so they can quickly get in the air - rather than wait 4 hours and then 2 weeks because of wind and fog issues - for the first jump. I'm just not sold on the 'better' part.

There is still a financial benefit to the DZ - it's a lot less effort to earn $189 doing a tandem than $300 for doing the FJC+AFF-1 if most aren't coming back for another.

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I'm calling bullshit on that too.

Doing the first two or three AFF jumps as a tandem costs more with the training. If you're made to do a "fun" tandem before starting level 1 (cat A) then that is bullshit.

There are pros and cons to starting to both ways of beginning AFF.

Keith

''Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.'' - Ernest Hemingway

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So you train students in each program method?



Yes. We have AFF, Tandem progression and IAD.

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But how much can you see of their body position when you're TM instead of AFFI? My legs are my problem.



I can see and feel ALL of their body position! Any TM can. If you're having problems, then you need to talk to your instructors about it and fix it. Its not hard to fix, there are a couple specific drill dives you can do and a lot of work on the ground you can do to fix that. Its not the problem of the method, its an individual thing that can be easily fixed.

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There seems to be great potential for canopy training, but only if the scope is well beyond what AFFs typically (well, me) got. Turns, patterns, flaring is pretty straightforward



Its well beyond, simply because you learn hands on with an instructor right then and there while flying the canopy. Students learn more faster about canopy control that way, then just on their own during AFF and S/I (and IAD).

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There is still a financial benefit to the DZ - it's a lot less effort to earn $189 doing a tandem than $300 for doing the FJC+AFF-1


If you actually knew and understood the cost breakdown of that jump, you would actually understand that you are not correct. Get your DZO a beer sometime and ask him/her to break down the costs and profits for everything involved. Be prepared to spend a few hours of your time.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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Well it looks to me that it is a good idea even though I have done a static jump and I'm pretty sure I won't freak so I am glad I asked this question. Here are the main points I am going by:

"Sensory overload is common with first jumps";

"I can see where it would have been MUCH less stressful for me to have done a tandem first";

"students coming off of the tandem progession seem to learn faster, do better and complete AFF with less jumps (less repeats, etc)";

"you'll be acclaimated to free fall (big advantage) and you'll get to steer the parachute while in direct communication with the TM";

"Students learn more faster about canopy control that way".

Can't wait another 2 weeks!!:(

Haven't figured out how to do multiple quotes yet from different posts. Oh well.

Thank you all for all of the input you've given me.

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probably the safest way is via Tandem, but we still have no mandatory tandem requirement - it is really up to you and what you want to do.

You cna learn a lot either way, but I also believe that it is all new anyway - so AFF throws you into the deep end of the swimming pool and teaches you how to swim - does nto amtter as long as the training is adequate.

TK

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interesting question......but if you want to be part of this thing and get advice and what not.....why don't you fill out your profile ? are you really thinking about diving or just trying to get info for some other reason? i'm chicken shit to do a tandem. they tried to talk me into it but i personnaly want to control my own destiny. with good instructors and full effort and concentration on your part you'll do fine....if your gonna be a bear, why not be a grissly right?
_________________________________________

people see me as a challenge to their balance

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In my limited experience (just about to get AFF started), Tandems are great ways to get ready for the feelings of freefall without the added stress of COAs, drills, ect. That said, it's also a good way to learn basic canopy control before doing AFFs. Hope you have fun!
UCSC's very own FLYINGSLUGS!

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I just started AFF and think the tandem progression is the best way to go.With the tandems you become acclimated to the freefall, your body position, and canopy control. You get the milelage so to speak you need before your set free to do solos. This is your life and it's in your best interest to spend the time and money on the tandems to make sure that everything you are doing is correct. Good luck with which ever one you decide to do.

B|
TPM Sister#130ONTIG#1
I love vodka.I love vodka cause it rhymes with Tuaca~LisaH
You having a clean thought is like billyvance having a clean post.iluvtofly

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I just completed the training program at Skydive Spaceland on March 21st. I did my first tandem on February 16th. They have an awesome program, and the good thing about it is that through the AFF course you are alone or w/ coach from your 7 or 8th jump on until you have your required (25) jumps to get your A-license. By going through their program, you are with an instructor up until your 20th jump! That only leaves you be for 5 more jumps! The instructors out there are extremely educated as well. I was driving 1 hour every day after work in order to get at least one jump in, instead of going to another drop zone about 5 minutes from where I work. I WISH YOU LUCK AND SEE YOU OUT THERE!!! Oh...and like I was told...welcome to your newest addiction ;)

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I believe everything depends a lot on mentality and motivation of each particular student. The fact is most of the people never return to make a second skydive after their first tandem jump. What's a point of sitting through the whole AFF class is you are not sure whether or not you will make a second dive? If the person is not sure about taking it seriously, then I believe the tandem is a way to go because it is easier - requires less commitment, training and responsibility for students personal safety. The safety part, however, is questionable (as far as I know, the first student jump fatality rate is very low), but I am not instructor and do not have a lot of experience to argue about it. On the other hand, a lot of people (including myself) started AFF right away and they do not seem to regret about it. It is up to you to make a decision.

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I did a level one tandem on Saturday after a 20 year layoff from a static line program. I was completely comfortable and had a great jump,I guess from my novice point of view--why not just do a tandem first? If 175 or so dollars is really a burden on your pocketbook-you probably shouldn't be spending the cash to begin with. I found out that my body and mind was well adjusted to that enviroment and can't wait to get back in the sky. IMHO its a win win situation. Just remember skydiving isn't for everyone and some REALLY freak on their first jump and never come back. Go with your heart and best of luck.
***********
Freedom isn't free. Don't forget: Mother Earth is waiting for you--there is a debt you have to pay...... POPS #9329 Commercial Pilot,Instrument MEL

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If 175 or so dollars is really a burden on your pocketbook-you probably shouldn't be spending the cash to begin with.



I've never said money was the problem, I was just looking for opinions on solo vs. tandem from the beginning. I have decided from these other posts here that I will in fact do the tandem first and it will probably be next week on Wednesday. As a matter of fact Spacelands tandems are very fairly priced and do count towards your license. I can't wait! It looks like I will be able to get away from the office and go on my B-day. Wish me luck! Oh yea, the weather is supposed to be perfect M-W next week.

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