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timrf79

How do you learn the AFF-I specific skills?

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Find yourself an AFFI who has been an AFF course evaluator and go to the tunnel. You can learn spin stops and flip overs very well in the tunnel so that you are not burning up skydives trying to learn the techniques.
Charlie Gittins, 540-327-2208
AFF-I, Sigma TI, IAD-I
MEI, CFI-I, Senior Rigger
Former DZO, Blue Ridge Skydiving Adventures

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fencebuster

Find yourself an AFFI who has been an AFF course evaluator and go to the tunnel. You can learn spin stops and flip overs very well in the tunnel so that you are not burning up skydives trying to learn the techniques.



+1

Nothing prepares you for the AFFI course like practicing Cat C&D jumps with an AFFI or a tunnel rat who knows what that is. And learn to teach a class. All the 4 way skills in the world won't help you with that part of the course. IMHO docking on a 4 way ain't nothing like chasing a student across the sky, stopping spins and flipping upside down students.

steveOrino
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I'd say both approaches that have been suggested are good, possibly sequenced. If you're like a lot of kids these days that went to freeflying soon after student status, and you haven't got a lot of belly experience, then find 3 like-minded people and start a 4-way team. You'll get fluent in the type of belly-flying skills that you'll use for AFF like linked exits, piece flying, and close-up relative flying, and you'll have fun and not feel like you're training. Then when you're closer to taking the course, find a coach and work on specific drills like spin stops, rollovers, and chasing unruly students.

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Try to sort out and cover the easy stuff early as much as possible. When I thought I was close to taking the course, I hired an I/E for a day to do 4 jumps. They included everything a real student would do. I specifically requested him to be the total asshole student that I knew I would meet someday. He was excellent! You will find out how good your teaching and flying skills are when your student is a tired, crabby, thirsty, hungry, know it all jerk! He also deliberately flew like a toad and debriefs were a tirade of why it wasn't his fault. He taught me so much on those 4 jumps that I had to take a break after each one just to take notes! Everything from classroom instruction to the debrief was fair game. If I made even the slightest error I was going to see it or hear it. BUT, I passed the first time I took the course and half the class I was in didn't. Oh, did I mention the course was one primarily for the Navy Seal demo team to get rated? There were only 5 civilians in the course and only 2 of us passed. Make your I/E work and it will really help you.

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fencebuster

Find yourself an AFFI who has been an AFF course evaluator and go to the tunnel. You can learn spin stops and flip overs very well in the tunnel so that you are not burning up skydives trying to learn the techniques.



+1 Good advice.

Just because you might be good at 4 way jumper does not necessarily make you a good AFF-I. I have found that my freefly back ground is of more use than my 4 way/FS skills, just try to be as rounded in your flying skills as you possibly can.

As some one said, the tunnel is an excellent place to learn the basics of stopping spins and roll overs. Also be nice and relaxed on the course. Smile, put your student at ease.

And remember dress for success, you can looks as cool as you want in your matching kit, but if your not there for your student....

Have fun and good luck!
At long last the light at the end of the tunell isnt an on coming train!!!

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You have to know how to teach, and you have to know how to fly.

My day job is an instructor for other skills, so I had a leg up on that.

As far as flying, I spent a lot of time at Perris doing big way camps (Mark and Darryld 40-ish ways) and other big way camps. Especially at Perris, they do a fantastic job of putting you outside of your skillset and debrief you on how you can get better. A little bit of tunnel here and there didn't hurt.

I then took a pre-course down in Texas. They run you through the ringer and really show you where your weaknesses are.

In big way camps, they spend a lot of time talking about "dressing for success". That's especially true for AFF-I. If your student is bigger than you, wear lead. If they're smaller than you, wear something floaty. My evaluator was bigger than me, and while I could fly up to them on their back, the moment I reached out to roll them I shot up like a rocket. The more you have to work to match a fall rate, the less you have to to work with when you need to fly fancy.

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Thanks all for the good feedback.

I am not a big tunnel fan, as the nearest tunnel is currently being build about 5 hours from my house.
The DZ is 20 minutes from my house... by the time i factor in gas, hotel, etc... SKydives are a lot cheaper and I get to enjoy a canopy ride.

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If the rules where you are allow it, offer to film outside video on some single instructor level AFF jumps. Even if the student is stable they will be moving around the sky and changing fall rate constantly. Jumping with newly qualified jumpers will also give you a similar workout trying to stay close throughout the jump.
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Another thing to try. Ask your local videographer for a compilation video of 15-20? AFF dives, preferably release dives, and use them to practice your signals and bottom end until you can teach your student as fast as you think. AFF Evaluators love to make things worse the longer you hesitate.

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A lot of good advice here.

One note is that, just like RW, some of the skills can be learned and practiced on the ground, such as rollovers, and on creepers, such as spin stops. Not necessarily the flying part, but the mechanics of it. It's a good way to start and it's free.

One difference between AFF and reg. belly flying is the aggressiveness often required in AFF. If you swoop slowly and dock gently, work on speed. If you're on level, it doesn't matter if your dock is a little on the "firm" side. Being there is much more important, esp. when you're approaching pull time and the student is not paying attention.

Coach jumping is also excellent experience. Gear checks, watching altitude, observing accurately and then giving good feedback are all parts of the AFF-I's job.

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Thanks all for the feedback.
I am doing as many coach jumps as I get.

But even better, I asked an AFFI at my DZ about helping me getting ready for AFFI (over the next 10ish month) and she was happy to help.

We did a simulated AFF jump (with her as student) and another friend videoed it.

Gave me much to learn/ to-do on my flying skills

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SkymonkeyONE

1500 jumps as an SL and tandem instructor plus 240 hours instructing military free fall in the tunnel made it easy 16 years ago

There was little access to tunnels in '83 when I got the rating, but almost all of us were gold wingers with SL ratings when we took the course. Much easier with that kind of head start.

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JohnMitchell

***1500 jumps as an SL and tandem instructor plus 240 hours instructing military free fall in the tunnel made it easy 16 years ago

There was little access to tunnels in '83 when I got the rating, but almost all of us were gold wingers with SL ratings when we took the course. Much easier with that kind of head start.

I fail to see, how being a static line/ TI would help in any way in an AFFI-course. What do I not know about SL/TI that would help getting the freefal skills required for AFF? Serious question :) I always thought and have experienced with others that throwing drouges kills freefall skills :):$
-------------------------------------------------------

To absent friends

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It helps in that you are already comfortable with teaching, training, doing gear checks, working with the particular psychology of students. Only part of AFF is freefall. Talking students down under canopy, working in the classroom, reviewing EPs, all are things familiar to SL instructors.

Plus we did a lot of sequential RW. That helped. :)

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I fail to see, how being a static line/ TI would help in any way in an AFFI-course. What do I not know about SL/TI that would help getting the freefal skills required for AFF? Serious question :) I always thought and have experienced with others that throwing drouges kills freefall skills :):$

You missed the 240 HOURS of wind tunnel part.... Someone earlier in this thread mentioned 4-way skills being a big help. In MY case I'm not sure that was the case; it actually hurt me. The first time I attended the AFF Instructor course I was a competitive 4 and 8-way RW jumper at Raeford. I had 1500 jumps and thought I had it dicked. Instead of practicing one-JM exits and dives, me and my piece partner were screwing around doing venezuelan-connection leg-lock exits during the "pre-course". Also, when we got to the release part of the evals with the course director (Don Yarling), the 4-way part of my brain just "knew" that when he spun he would orbit back to me; that was not the case. LOL.

What you need to understand, as an AFF-I, is that if you give a student more space than the length of your forearm, then they are going to fuck you....period. However you chose to train, just be SUPER aggresive and vigilant. If you get crowded, don't be afraid to burble-hop to the other side for the rest of the dive.

I've got 9,899 jumps now; the GREAT majority of them being AFF/MFF student dives. I love the work and I take it VERY seriously. AFF-I work is NOT for the casual jumper/instructor. It's a huge responsibility, but the work is very rewarding.

As this is an older post, perhaps there are tunnels closer to you now...

Chuck Blue
D-12501, AFF/SL/TM-I, MMPCI-18, MFFJM, S&TA

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steveorino

***Find yourself an AFFI who has been an AFF course evaluator and go to the tunnel. You can learn spin stops and flip overs very well in the tunnel so that you are not burning up skydives trying to learn the techniques.



+1

Nothing prepares you for the AFFI course like practicing Cat C&D jumps with an AFFI or a tunnel rat who knows what that is. And learn to teach a class. All the 4 way skills in the world won't help you with that part of the course. IMHO docking on a 4 way ain't nothing like chasing a student across the sky, stopping spins and flipping upside down students.

I’m not exactly sure how much four-way experience you have, but it isn’t exactly “docking on a 4-way.”. A lot of the skills required are flying other people around, starting and stoping fast spins etc. I trust DJ’s words because he has trained quite a few AFF-Is.

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