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andie2skydive

Tandam Progression or AFF

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Oh I am gonna catch shit for this.......

I think Tandem progression is for people who are scared to jump on their own.

I don't think skydiving is for everyone, and I don't think it should be.

I personally think that if you have to have someone hold your hand to jump....That its not for you.

But then again, I am the jerk that thinks you should have to actually be able to pack.....Spot.....not be afraid to jump without an AAD....Actually do the damn night jumps, or don't get a "D", and not whine about it....

So my opinions are not popular with todays "I want it my way" group of skydivers.

Still Its one reason I like SL....It is all about you. No one to lean on. AFF is probley a better method of instruction, but SL has some things over it (This is for another thread....search and you will find like 1000 on it.) But I think the tandem progression is for people that are too scared to actually trust themselves to jump.

Ron
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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But then again, I am the jerk that thinks you should have to actually be able to pack.....Spot.....not be afraid to jump without an AAD....Actually do the damn night jumps, or don't get a "D", and not whine about it....


apparently there are two jerks here.....
I couldnt agree with you more;

Roy
They say I suffer from insanity.... But I actually enjoy it.

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I guess I would have to agree to both of you, Ron and Roy. Although I have not even 1% of the jumps you both have, it was very reassuring for me to do a hop & pop right after my first packing.....

S/L will give anyone the assurance to jump out of the plane, and land on your own.

Blue ones.
"According to some of the conservatives here, it sounds like it's fine to beat your wide - as long as she had it coming." -Billvon

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Well why do some dropzones favour doing tandem progression?



I think it is because of the greater profit and ease of instruction when compared to aff.

You don't need to know much to do a tandem, so you can get more students through the course in one weekend. You need half the number of certified instructors to take the student up, also allowing more students in a weekend.

How much can you really learn from a tandem? The only advantage seems to be canopy control. I did aff (pff here) and the radio for the landings worked fine, I didn't feel the need to be strapped to another person up there.
Flying Hellfish #470

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How much can you really learn from a tandem?

Well with the tandem portion of the progression;
I suppose you would learn altitude awareness, upper body position (the TM cannot see your feet), turns, how to deploy, canopy control, landing patterns all with someone holding your hand, so to speak...... I think thats about it, then you have to enter the AFF portion of your training.....and your whole world changes.....but hopefully you will be less likely to freak out because you have been exposed to freefall right from the beginning.

Roy
They say I suffer from insanity.... But I actually enjoy it.

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Ive never done a tandem so take what I say with pinch of salt (or a shot of sambuca if you prefer), but i cant see what me personally would of gained extra by doing tandems first. My first ever jump was AFF level 1 and doing it this way was definately right for me. I passed my AFF without any rejumps so ive got no complaints. Ive always viewed tandems as a sort of theme park attraction, your not skydiving, your along for the ride.

One thing I do think the tandem progression could help some people with is with the initial sensory overload some people experience making it less of an issue when they do their first solo.

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"Ive given up on sigs cos I make a mess of them!"
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OK, maybe i can shed a little light on this. I am currently in the AFF program after doing 3 tandems. I have learned about the COA, Altitude Awareness, Canopy control, and more than enything else to RELAX. More students get discouraged because they cant relax. Also now that i know basically what to expect i feel that i will do well going through the AFF program. On my 3 tandems i was not just a passenger, i got grilled on alot of instruction that would be reserved for an AFF student. Does this give me an advantage?? I would think so.

Blue Skies
KAI
www.stljump.com

There's no truer sense of flying than sky diving," Scott Cowan

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Ron, I also agree with you - I think a lot of skydivers share your feelings.

My opinion concerning Tandem Progression: As we all know, experienced jumpers don't keep a dropzone turning loads. A DZO needs to keep his airplanes running by throwing as many tandems as possible. I don't hold this against them like many people do - this is exactly what keeps you and me jumping, just the way it works. For a DZO, it is much more economical to throw a student Skydiver on three Tandems, then continue his AFF with only one instructor along with - saves room on the airplane. I feel that a Tandem progression is designed to train students in a manner to keep a steady cash flow, to keep the bills paid.
In my opinion, take a look around and see if you can find a DZ in your area that throws students on SL - much more economical from a students point of view. May take more jumps to get off Student Status, but you'll save money and do it ALL YOURSELF!!

BLue Skies,
=========Shaun ==========


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I’ll start by saying I learned to skydive at a DZ that only does PFF (I’m Canadian, give me a break).

I think it depends on the person jumping. Say a FJS is someone who is unlikely to make a second jump. In that case, a tandem jump makes sense. It will cost less then PFF, they won’t need to 6-8 hours of training that you might get in PFF, and I cannot imagine they would notice the person strapped to them. Sure, they would not spend as much time learning proper body position, but that’s ok because they won’t need it if it’s likely they’ll only do one jump.

On the other hand, if you have someone who is likely to make a second, third, etc jump; this seems to be were PFF has an advantage. You start learning the skills you will use in future skydives on your first jump.


“- - Sumo is the greatest of sports. It has power, grace, speed and cluture. And most importantly, two fat bastards smacking the shit out of each other. ”

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My personal vote would be for the tandam method. Yes, the first one was a fun jump. I took almost 30 days after my first one to make sure that I wanted to learn how to skydive. At each level I had to perform a number of tasks had to do my reading, answer question before and after each jump. This did not stop when I went to two AFF inst. then one.

I watched several static line students no thank you sorry visions of the line wrapping around my neck were dancing in my head.

It is your personal choice as to what method you choose to learn how to skydive. Do not give into peer pressure to do a certain method if you are not comfortable with it.

Then after you get your A remember you will always be a student and can learn from someone else. Now I have only been doing this for a couple of years and only have just over 400 jumps (and my D).
Go to the 4 way camps, tunnel camps, take extra coach jumps, go to canopy camps. Have fun, and be safe.

ps: I think that night jumps should be required for the D. (I just have to wait for enough darkness so I can jump at night again.

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This is a great thread for me. I did the "Fantasy Tandem" once, was scared shitless for about two thirds of the freefall, but even during that time was aware enough to arch right out of the airplane. The camera guy said I did a good job, and they didn't have to dub over any plaintive screams for Mommy with macho sounding music.

Once I got used to the sensation, it was great. My videographer was flying around us like he was a helicopter. I thought to look around for airplanes and jumpers, pulled at the right altitude, and my tandem master told me what to look for with the chute deployed. Of course, I was so happy to be alive that I missed a couple collapsed cells, which he fixed by stalling the chute.

Anyway, I'll do one more tandem jump before signing up for AFF. The reason is physical, since I had sinus problems after the jump. If it happens again, I can talk to a doctor about it before going forward.

I don't view that as hand holding. In the meantime it gets me up in the air again as fast as possible. I am truly looking forward to this, and from my cheap seat in the right field bleachers, I think AFF is a great program. I really want to fly on my own, overcome the initial fear I assume we all have, and I'll know for certain if I'm cut from the same nylon as the rest of you!!

Bob
Bob Marks

"-when you leave the airplane its all wrong til it goes right, its a whole different mindset, this is why you have system redundancy." Mattaman

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Ok Ron, lets lock horns. I like the Tandem Progression AFP program here at Skydive Chicago.

My point of view first. I have an expired IAD JM rating. I learnd from doing IAD. I do NOT have an AFF rating. I did go through the TM rating course and did some probationary jumps but did not complete the whole rating. 800 jumps. Jump pilot.

Now, I like the AFP program because you have to ask yourself how many jumps are the majority of people who show interest in the sport going to do? One. That's fact. Now, your experienced jumpers like fast turbine airplanes. AFF is cost and effort prohibitive and is set up for failure with too much information too fast to be efficient. The tandem progression allows an operation to give first time jumpers the freefall experience they desire. It allows for personal one-on-one coaching rathter than the AFF group class for hours on end with endless drills. AFP allows also for those TM students to make a turbine plane go to full altitude. We all know that we don't make as much margin off of experienced jumpers.

I like the SL / IAD progression method. But then you need two types of planes possibly and cause greater congestion in the sky at busy centers. We used to have SL 182s and two Twin Otters all operating at the same time at SDC. I'm glad we don't have that anymore. You also have to hire pilots that know what they are doing. It is much easier to employ a few pilots than a whole bunch to get things done.

Now back to the student. We don't run a joy ride type of TM. They go through the hour class to get the basic body position down and to learn a bit about steering. Remember, they are here to be safe and have fun. Why over load them with a lot of info for just one jump? Plus, the cost to the student for making one jump is much more palitable. It opens the doors to more students rather than having to shell out big $$ for ONE AFF class and jump. I see TM progression as the happy medium between a good SL / IAD progression operation and AFF. It is good economics for the DZ and helps the fun jumpers too.

Once you have the student out there and they have had a good time they may choose to do another jump but on another day. They've had to make two drives out. This is the habbit building stage. They left the DZ last time with a positive (and hopefully videod) experience and are now returning for something familiar. We offer our second tandem at a deep discount to encourage them to jump twice. So, the total for two jumps actually evens out much better than making two AFF jumps. And they also now have two freefalls with a personal coach. Whether they realise it or not they have now built some habits and gained some experience. They know a familiar face, they've been to manifest a couple of times, they've put on gear (ok, just a TM harness but it still the same really), and they may recognise a few familiar faces along the way. This is the community building.

Now, after two positive freefall experiences at a monitary rate that is much more palitable than AFF they are ready for the class to transition to solo gear. Their next jump is the third and not all things will be foreign to them when they return. They will be more relaxed because they have some expectation on how things willl go. A more relaxed student is a better student. I think you'd agree. They get all the schooling on gear checks, and canopy control, and use of flight plans that you are familiar with. But now when they look at an arial photo of the airport they will have real world experience having been up their with an instructor in a conversational tone (not squaking over a radio that can malfunction) as to where the airport is and how they are going to fly their pattern. They have something to draw from. They are much more likely to perform better on their first solo jump (solo under canopy not without a JM) than they might otherwise. And also, the class size will be much more manageable for the instructor who can spend more personal time with the students in class.

It was figured once how much the whole AFP progression cost and how much it would cost for AFF at most centers and then get your A license. It was actually the same cost and in some cases cheaper to do the AFP course. Oh, and we video our AFP jumps (not the TM jumps) for free so the student can look at their progress over and over at home. It also makes for better debriefing if every jump is videoed.

So, overall, my opinion is that AFP (tandem progression) is far superior to AFF for it's personal attention, and cost efficiency for the DZ.

edit to add: So I see that it has nothing to do with being scared or not. It is a valuable training tool and helps a DZ stay efficient while getting as many people exposed to our sport as possible.
Chris Schindler
www.diverdriver.com
ATP/D-19012
FB #4125

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I can see why its better for the Drop Zone.

Thats very clear.

However I still stand by the fact that it is a program that fosters dependence. And that it takes less nerve to do a Tandem than an AFF or a S/L.

And I think that there are people that would never jump without the Tandem program....I personally don't think its a bad thing that people who would not trust themselves don't skydive.

I willgrant you the fact thats its better for the DZ, but I don't think its a better method of instruction.

All of the good points you had also work for AFF and S/L.

I have a S/L I, a Tandem I.
I have been teaching S/L since 1994.

The perfect progression in my own little world is:
1 Tandem...That way they can just do one jump and never come back if they like, or they can learn a little about body position.

5 S/L to teach the most important part of skydiving PULL.

2 Hop N Pops to instill confidence.

7 AFF type jumps.

a whole slew of coaching to include wind tunnel.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Teaching dependence? I don't see that at all. If we were teaching dependence then they would only ever jump tandem. Right? As it is they do two tandems and then go on a solo rig with one JM. Not TWO JMs like AFF. Why 2 JMs? They just tell you to have one JM let go if anything goes tumbling. So what's the point? If anything that's the dependent program. You need extra training wheels and you are saying to the student "Don't worry. If you forget to pull then one JM is here to pull for you. If he forgets or doesn't make it to you in time then the other one will pull for you." That's how I see AFF.

A tandem can be done as a teaching dive. Arch, COA, practice pulls, COA, have fun, COA, pull! pull on time! pull with stability! With a tadem master arching behind them they may even learn that feeling of arching. How many AFF 1s have you seen go out completely dearched....tumble...one JM let's go....then they start to get stable. On a tadem, they can be taught right from the start what a proper, head high exit launch looks and feels like. "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." -Roger Nelson.

Your student progression scenario is very interesting. I think it does let you break down in the same fashion as AFP. You do your AFF levels after several introductory jumps that don't over load the student. So, I see it as we are basicly talking about the same concept but in different aplications as to how we are comfortable with teaching a student. Let's face it. If the JM isn't comfortable with the teaching progression it won't come across to the student well either.
Chris Schindler
www.diverdriver.com
ATP/D-19012
FB #4125

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Teaching dependence? I don't see that at all.



I know some people that would have never learned AFF or SL.
They neede to rely on the Tandem I for three jumps first.

One of these people still scares the hell out of me. Will not jump without an RSL or AAD at all. Does not know how to pack or spot. She would have never been jumping without the Tandem program...she told me this. Even since then I have seen a problem with this type of program.....

Quote

A tandem can be done as a teaching dive. Arch, COA, practice pulls, COA, have fun, COA, pull! pull on
time! pull with stability! With a tadem master arching behind them they may even learn that feeling of
arching. How many AFF 1s have you seen go out completely dearched....tumble...one JM let's go....then
they start to get stable. On a tadem, they can be taught right from the start what a proper, head high
exit launch looks and feels like.



But with AFF they are also told that they could be on their own to save their own life...with Tandem that will not ever happen.

Quote

"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." -Roger
Nelson.



This was also told to me by my martial arts teacher...so I don't think it is a "Roger Original".

Quote

Your student progression scenario is very interesting. I think it does let you break down in the same
fashion as AFP. You do your AFF levels after several introductory jumps that don't over load the student.



The only big difference is that in my program...The student has no one else to rely on. (Except the Tandem...but thats what Tandems are for.)
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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What about AFP? I did AFP as a student and from what I have gone through and heard it is much better than AFF or tandem progression but not many offer this type of training. In AFP you jump with an instructor until you get your A-license and you are not forced to knock out all the proficiency card on your own. Talking to my instructors they prefer AFP over anything.

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Ok, im going to throw my .02 cents here...

I am one of those who did AFP with the Tandem progression. Now would I have done AFF with no tandem at all...probably.

I think the option of doing a tandem lets the jumper get a feel for what is going to happen. No this sport is not for everyone I totally agree with that. If the tandem is done as a "Ride" it is then usless. AFP Requires the student pull, keep altitude aware etc...

When I started AFP after having done 2 Tandems (7 years apart btw) I understood exactly what I was doing and knew the sensation I was going to feel etc. It made it a bit easier on the nerves having been there before.

I have seen a lot of people come off of straight AFF, get there a license and have no landing or flying skills what so ever. I think one of the big things to be address, and this has been beaten several times here is canopy control during student progression. It was part of our training as we progressed thru AFP, we had freefall skills to work on, and Canopy flight skills to work on.

In addition we were able to concentrate on actual flying skills, docking turning, orbiting etc. Not all crammed into 7 levels, but 18. The price comes out the same, as if you did AFF, and what it would take to get your A, plus we got video...priceless....

Instructor "Your feet are on your ass, and your backsliding"

Student "No they arent"

video...Student...Doh..."Im using my ass as an ottaman"

Tandems themselves have nothing to do with this, they are more of a break in to what is coming. Even still there are people who do tandems and go on to AFP/AFF who have no business being in the air.....:S
She is not a "Dumb Blonde" - She is a "Light-Haired Detour Off The Information Superhighway."
eeneR
TF#72, FB#4130, Incauto

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I think it really depends on the person. I felt really ready to jump, I was mentally prepared for it and I knew I wouldn't freak out. I didn't do any tandems, went straight into AFF, and i've gotten through most of it in two wknds, next is my AFF8 (hop n pop) and that's it. I am so glad that I didn't waste my $$ on any tandems, cuz i'd have been likely to get a video, and having my video of my first jump being AFF1, I think it's awesome!! Also, I don't see how it would've helped me any to do a tandem.

I'm not the best canopy control artistB|, but, i'm getting better, i've stood up two landings and I feel really good about those.

For some people I think they are afraid how they will react when they jump. My girlfriend just did her first tandem this weekend. I personally do not think she would've been able to do AFF1 as she was just too frightned and she probably would've been one of those who went into sensory overload. She wants to do another tandem before considering AFF1. I think a lot of people are like this.

Angela.



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I went through the Tandem Progression and suggest it to just about everyone I talk to.

My experience with it was this:

First tandem: Went into this new, chaotic environment with a very experienced jumper attached to me; learned the importance of a good arch to stop that damn potato-chipping; did my practice touches; paid attention to my altimeter; wave off and pull at the correct altitude. Learned turns and flare; flew the pattern he showed me; landed beside the peas. Cat A passed.

Second Tandem: Completed Cat B with the added bonus of learning a good bit about spotting, how to make it back from a long spot and landing off-field (harvested corn field right beside our main landing area).

AFF Cat C: Single jumpmaster let go right off the hill did my thing, waved off and threw out to become the first BOC student at Skydive Orange (on a 1:1 wingloading). I didn't start the flare at 40ft like AFF 1 jumpers I see every weekend, who just override the radio and flare because their scared. I flared like I was taught. This worked out well; I had to intentionally fall down just to knock the PLF requirements out several jumps later.

Having someone over your shoulder, explaining canopy flight was just one of the benefits of the Tandem Progression. The average mind can only absorb so much information. In a bad situation, processing and employing that information correctly when needed is the big "if." I didn't have to really start filling my mind with emergency procedures until prior to the second jump. At that point, it was still a matter of awareness. By the third jump, I had a chance to digest the information and was ready to employ it, without the added stress of being on my first skydive.

I know of one current AFF/TMI who freaked right out the door on his first AFF jump and pitched at 13k. He ended up landing like 13 miles away in an ostrich farm. Crazy shit can happen on your first skydive. I'd rather have somebody attached to me for the whole thing, ensuring my safety, rather than leaving the pros right before the part of the jump that's most likely to kill you.

And that's my experience with it (at my dz) and my opinion. I still think this is an RSL-type question: Lots of opinions, but nobody will ever be right in every case.

mike

Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills--You know, like nunchuk skills, bow-hunting skills, computer-hacking skills.

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maybe i'm biased but i'll try to sum up my impressions.
first of all - i did a classic aff-training on a fairly big dz with a huge landing area.
when i had my license i went back home and faound me a new dz. the biggest differenze was (and still is) the landing area which in comaprison to other places i've jumped so far is "relatively" small - a field 200 x 200 meters surrounded by trees. i didn't have any problems with canopy-controll right from the beginning so i had no problem finding the right spot. but visiting jumpers from other dz's hesitated to land there.

that's where tandem progression comes in very handy - canopy controll! from what i saw first hand students (tandem progression) with say 5 or 6 jumps are much better in flying a landing pattern than the "normal" aff-Student at any other Dz in austria. and if they on't make it back to the dz because of a bad spot once they are solo they land in places i would hesitate to go in with no problem at all (there's a lot aof wineyards araound here)

i completely disagree with the opninion that tandem progression is all about money and making more profit. i am very sure it's about making skydiving for students even safer than previous methods.

this may sound/be controversial: the method stands or falls with one thing - the tandem master.
if he thinks of a "normal" passenger only as a piece of living cargo to be transported from 12k to ground level safely he's just transporting cargo. and don't tell me that you havent experienced this attitude yet and that it doesn't happen. it does!
on the other hand: if you really think that somebody doing a tandem could be a potential student you act differentely and people notice the difference (some of the customers at our dz have done tandems before so they know what they are talking about).

(maybe - i hope i don't get stoned for this - this is also connected to what kind of tandem gear you are flying. there seems to be a big difference between vector-tm's and strong-tm's.)


the answer to the question is a bit tricky cause every method has it's benefits. but if i were to make mylicense again i'd prefer tandem. gives you a lot more confidence in the first three jumps and you don't have to be worried bout the damn radio :)
The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle

dudeist skydiver # 666

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In reading through this thread, there is one thing that I have a question about.

How does tandem progression teach you better canopy control?

For background: I did 1 tandem as a pure passenger, just to have a fun jump before I had any responsibility, and to get over the initial sensory overload. I didn't really learn anything, just had the experience.

My aff I was taught what to do under canopy on the ground, and guided by radio for the first few jumps, and have had decent landings. To me, I just don't see how the tandem progression teaches better control. Is it just that you have someone right there talking to you?
~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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Simply because you (generally) have a very experienced canopy pilot on your back for 5,000 ft and can show you what various inputs are and what they do. It's the hands-on approach. "ya feel what that does? good" They can also show you where the points are for your pattern, and how to adjust that for the wind in real time.

On AFF, you are told what you are supposed to do and you get to possibly hear an instructor directing your landing. Or, you hear them directing another jumper, but you think it's your command so you fly a mile away downwind (have seen that happen more than once). Or your radio shits the bed and you get to hear static or nothing as you try to remember what that damn arial photo looked like and exactly where your pattern fit into the thing you are currently looking at down below your feet .

I just think there's more room to learn with the expert right there with you.

mike

Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills--You know, like nunchuk skills, bow-hunting skills, computer-hacking skills.

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