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mcordell

Working toward AFF

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I just wanted to know, from those who have been through the USPA AFFI course, what are some good ways to prepare for the practical?

I'm looking for specific freefall skills that an AFFI candidate should make sure to work on to be prepared for the testing. I have spoken with some AFFIs at my DZ and they have said it was one of the hardest things they did so I wanted to cast a wide net and get answers from more than just local instructors. I plan on hitting a course to get my AFFI rating next summer and want to spend this summer doing some freefall drills to prepare me for whatever they throw at you during the practical test.

Thanks!
www.facebook.com/FlintHillsRigging

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First off, focus as much or more on TEACHING skills as flying skills.
Get a SIM and IRM and start working on lesson plans for the teaching topics. Refine them and practice, maybe teaching real students with an AFF I supervising and get feedback. Sit in on GOOD instructors teaching the catagories you will be teaching for the course (and maybe all of them) and steal everything they do that works. Make lots of notes and show up for the class prepared to teach.
As to the flying, your profile says you're a belly flyer. This alone puts you way ahead of anyone who is a free flyer.
Things that will help you in the class;
Jump a lot with students and low timers. Chasing/staying with them will give you skills you don't develope doing tight FS with good flyers ie constantly adjusting your fall rate to stay on level, side/back sliding to stay relative to them, etc.
Learn to fly with your legs, can't use your arms if you're holding on to a student.
Make sure your tracking is efficient. You will be finishing these jumps in the basement, but still have to track far enough to gain separation from your evaluator and deploy above 2500'. If your tracking is more dive than flat, it won't work well.
If you have decent flying skills, the mental part is what makes it hard. I've been watching rating candidates "mentally melt" for years during IRC's. The ones that don't are the ones that are best prepared for the teaching.
All that being said, the bottom end of an AFF eval dive is the most intense thing I've ever been through. Nothing you can do to prepare for that.
Good luck
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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I highly recommend a lot of 4 way to help you prepare for your AFF-I. 4 way where you are commonly the weak link, this will constantly push your skills. AFF-I's who have trained well at 4 way have almost always done well during their course. As an AFF-I you need to have strong slot flying skills and be able to anticipate what your student is doing by reading their body position. During 4 way you are constantly flying slot and reading your partner, both extremely productive for AFF-I.

Wind tunnels are another valuable tool in preparing. I have seen several candidates who have done some prep work in a tunnel and it usually helps. IFly recently opened their first Houston tunnel (with the second opening this month) and I have worked with a couple of their instructors to create better training program for AFF-I candidates in the tunnel. We use drills that work on your ability to fly slot, present signals (while flying slot and static), various hook and block drills that lead into stopping spins and eventually roll overs.

DJ Marvin
AFF I/E, Coach/E, USPA/UPT Tandem I/E
http://www.theratingscenter.com

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I might add - try to take an AFF Pre-Course Before... Like 6 months or a Year before you attempt your own.. That gives you time to learn, than practice what they will expect.. Pre-course from the Evaluator you plan to participate with is BEST...

When I went, I dedicated like 50 jumps just to Pre-aff stuff.. I did include some of the other suggestions also (well no tunnel).. I worked with one of the AFF evaluators who was helping with my course, starting in August/September.. The Course was the end of October..

Not cheap to pay two slots, a "tip" for the guy and gas/food for the trip.. But it gave me a pretty good understanding what I was in for..

My Partner had been through the Pre-Course; She was WAAY ready for the "Game"....

Good Luck..

Just Remember - The Course is NOTHING... The REAL Students are the ones to be Afraid Of!!!;)

Once the plane takes off, you're gonna have to land - Might as well jump out!!

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ufk22

your profile says you're a belly flyer. This alone puts you way ahead of anyone who is a free flyer.



What? :P A good Free Flyer can use every axis and fly it well. That includes belly! ;)
Life is all about ass....either you're kicking it, kissing it, working it off, or trying to get a piece of it.
Muff Brother #4382 Dudeist Skydiver #000
www.fundraiseadventure.com

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Rstanley0312

***your profile says you're a belly flyer. This alone puts you way ahead of anyone who is a free flyer.



What? :P A good Free Flyer can use every axis and fly it well. That includes belly! ;)Sorry, seen enough rating candidates over the years that went straight to freeflying off student status and couldn't close a belly two-way.[:/]
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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Sorry Buddy i have to disagree with you here.

I know of plenty of really good FS jumpers (read the worlds best 4 way FS jumper as well) who failed their AFF-I course. And dirty glue bag Free Fliers who passed theirs with flying colours.

In hind site looking back now. You can set yourself up for success by working on your ground skills (teaching and coaching) and your in air skills.
Ground skills -
1 - Be presentable
2- Be prepared and know your subject matter (def follow a good instructor as mentioned above)
3 - Spend time on refining your manner and the way you teach/coach people. (have a number of ways to teach things so you can explain things multiple ways if they just don't get it)
4- Don't let the students get away with anything on the ground (some instructors may try and test your observation by doing weird things like pulling with their left hand MAYBE).

In Air -
1 - Smile (shows your relaxed and gives the student a relaxed feeling)
2 - Learn to fly with your legs (as mentioned above)
3- NEVER STOP COACHING THEM, sounds obvious but your not observing the jump, your part of it.
4- Release the students as soon as you safely can, and only re doc if you have to. (you can be marked down for being too hands on, on turns, if they spin, let them spin. They need time to correct it, if they can't, then redock).
5- Safety first, Safety second and Safety third.

These are just a few that spring to mind, I've done the USPA and BPA AFF-I course. And there both horrible, but there both awesome at the same time. It will test your flying skills to the limit, if your not panting, bleeding and out of breath at the end of the jump, then they were taking it easy on you.

Somebody gave me a word of advice when i passed my BPA course. 'Your not a true instructor until you loose your first student'. I didn't get it, until i lost my first student. I was devastated, how could i not be good enough to catch them?
And he was right, i became a better instructor after some self reflection and refining how i teach and fly. So never stop learning.

Good luck, its a worth while course.

Andy
At long last the light at the end of the tunell isnt an on coming train!!!

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ufk22

******your profile says you're a belly flyer. This alone puts you way ahead of anyone who is a free flyer.



What? :P A good Free Flyer can use every axis and fly it well. That includes belly! ;)Sorry, seen enough rating candidates over the years that went straight to freeflying off student status and couldn't close a belly two-way.[:/]

I believe it... I am not a fan of FF after student status and I really do not think it should be allowed. I like 150-200 jumps before you FF as a good mark for jumps needed. Off of student status NOBODY has the air awareness to even try a lot on their belly let alone in FF or "tumbling" which is what they start off doing. Still, I stand by what I said.... a "good" free flyer. ;)
Life is all about ass....either you're kicking it, kissing it, working it off, or trying to get a piece of it.
Muff Brother #4382 Dudeist Skydiver #000
www.fundraiseadventure.com

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andym148

Sorry Buddy i have to disagree with you here.

I know of plenty of really good FS jumpers (read the worlds best 4 way FS jumper as well) who failed their AFF-I course. And dirty glue bag Free Fliers who passed theirs with flying colours.

I don't think we really disagree. Reread my post. I didn't say freeflyers can't do AFF well. I also didn't say that being able to do great 4-way was the key.
"Jump a lot with students and low timers. Chasing/staying with them will give you skills you don't develop doing tight FS with good flyers ie constantly adjusting your fall rate to stay on level, side/back sliding to stay relative to them, etc.
Learn to fly with your legs, can't use your arms if you're holding on to a student. "
This is just my opinion based on seeing jumpers that focus on FF and not developing belly skills prior.
A lot of AFF candidates go into it with the minimum jump numbers needed for the rating.
I do agree with everything you said, especially the "panting, bleeding and out of breath at the end of the jump".
One other piece of advice.
Get 20 minutes (or more, of course) of tunnel time with a good coach who knows how to prepare you for AFF.
Doing spin stops, roll-overs and proxy flying in the tunnel is great prep for the course.
This is the paradox of skydiving. We do something very dangerous, expose ourselves to a totally unnecesary risk, and then spend our time trying to make it safer.

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I jumped with AFFIs as "student" and while that was helpful, NOTHING compared to the Pre-Course with the Director. There you get to see what you will see in the course itself. He/She will make you a better flyer!

After 7 years as an AFFI, I only have about 300 AFF jumps (as we are a Cessna 182 tandem factory) and I still have fun and get surprised every now and then.

steveOrino

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I was thinking about putting this on the "Best AFF Pic" thread, but the pic is a sucky quality off of a screen grab..

But I just found this video and think this may become one of my Favorite AFF pics;)

Like Steve just said - Fun and can get surprised every now and then.. This was a Level 5 Student...:P I don't know if you would say I'm doing a pull up, or overhead lift with Him [laughing]...

And, like I mentioned above - Don't Fear the AFF Course, The real students are the ones to watch...

:)

Once the plane takes off, you're gonna have to land - Might as well jump out!!

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What really helped me was jumping as many coach jumps as I could and pounding out the tunnel. Once spin stops and roll overs are down, general belly flying in the tunnel is a huge help.
You stop breathing for a few minutes and everyone jumps to conclusions.

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andym148


4- Don't let the students get away with anything on the ground (some instructors may try and test your observation by doing weird things like pulling with their left hand MAYBE).

One of the most common weaknesses I observe in some instructors is this one right here. Some of them rarely correct the student who demonstrates tasks poorly or incorrectly. Too many times my "dirt dive" time with AFF 1's ends up being "retraining" time. :S Train 'em well and your job gets much easier. ;)

Edited to add that any practice towards the rating is good practice. You can even practice roll overs on the carpet with a friend wearing a rig and spin stops using creepers. It's not quite the wind tunnel but it lets you work on the technique and practice sight picture.

Another thing is to work on flying aggressively. We often worry too much on our belly jumps about making soft docks and not moving the formation. AFF is a different mind-set. If you need to be somewhere, you need to be there NOW. ;)

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