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This is a must watch video for all adventure sports instructors who work with students in potentially dangerous activities. Learn how to help your students avoid fear as well as how to deal with a student who is already intensely fearful. Everyone experiences fear at some point in their life but how they react makes a huge difference in their overall success, both in that activity and in life. Learning how to help your students overcome their fears and reach optimum performance will help them, and you, thrive in adventure sports and in life. Brian Germain has been a skydiving instructor for over 25 years, has researched the topic of fear extensively and authored the book Transcending Fear: The door way to Freedom and other books. Brian travels the world teaching, speaking and helping others create positive change in their lives. Format: Download and/or Stream Purchase video here: https://www.adventurewisdom.com/store#!/Helping-Students-Deal-with-Fear/p/33188719/category=7094902
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And What You Can Do To Fix It Image by Gary Wainwright I’m not a teacher. I’m forehead-slappingly, eyes-avertingly, hide-your-facingly terrible at it, actually. Luckily, I’m lucky enough to count as friends some of the best airsports teachers in the world. (Whew.) This article is a collection of short answers from several of these. They’re top-level coaches/instructors/examiners, and their experience spans in several disciplines. They’re also incredibly wise, beautiful souls. I went to them with this question, so important for all of us students on the edge of the world: If you could cure all your students of one thing they do that gets in their own way, what would it be? Here’s what they had to say. Listen up. “Rushing. I see a lot of students that are determined to pack too many things into one jump. Then they end up flailing; when they don't nail the first part, they're confused as to whether to go back and work on the first part or move on to the next part anyway. They lose a lot of time, and they get very frustrated. Pick one thing. Do it perfectly. Stop. Then move on to the next thing.” - Joel Strickland: Freefly & Tunnel Coach; Double British National Champion, Freefly & Freestyle “If I could cure all my students of one thing, it would be to erase the idea that everything about them is static and unchangeable. Once a student believes in their own self-efficacy -- believes in the idea that all that they are is changeable in a positive direction -- believes that everything from their physical reactions to their fears can be modified and updated -- anything is possible for them to learn. - Matt Blank: Wingsuit Skydiving Coach, Lightning Flight Wingsuit & Freefly School “I’d get them to stop watching YouTube. That creates pre-conceived notions of what they should be doing. Either that, or I’d encourage them not to freefly from jump 26 to jump 199 -- when they do, their belly skills suck dust when it comes to their FFC.” - Douglas Spotted Eagle, Wingsuit Skydiving Instructor “Often, they don’t respect the progression and embrace their inexperience. You must do both. It makes sense to one day aspire to wingsuit BASE jump from a cliff, but it can be difficult to focus your efforts where they are the most effective if you’re fast-forwarding years into your career. Your instructor, who you possibly selected because he or she wingsuit BASE jumps, wants you to focus more on finding the range of your beginner or intermediate wingsuit -- and recovering from instability in it -- before talking about how the wingsuit BASE start works. I find that many students seem to want faster returns for their efforts, and they seem to get frustrated with their own learning process. I can appreciate the way that we latch onto that dream of human flight, but i want to pass on an outlook where each individual skill is a whole and complete activity by itself that takes time and effort to master before being combined with other skills. So when you combine a set of skills (for example: rigging, canopy control, site selection, weather, bodyflight, wingsuiting and experience in the subterminal base environment), then you can make smart decisions. When you lack experience or skills in a certain area, you begin to lose the full picture.” - David Covel: Wingsuit Coach, BASE FJC Instructor, AFF Instructor, TI “I would cure them of self-doubt. It takes courage and confidence to challenge yourself to change your behavior and improve your skill in any area of your life. It's amplified when applied to an extreme sport. A lack of belief in your own potential can manifest itself in many ways: fear, nervousness, indifference even laziness. Understanding that you have the control and ability to consciously change your own actions is a very empowering fact that can unlock all levels of improvement. You have to commit to change.” -Maxine Tate: Canopy Piloting Instructor, Flight-1; US & UK National Champion; Coach Examiner; AFFI/Evaluator “I would cure this one thing that gets in students’ way: hubris. Assume you know nothing about the sport you are learning. No one assumes that they know everything about the sport they are learning, but the worst students just aren't really listening when the instructor is talking. In general, girls are better at listening than the boys. I think with the boys, especially with really good skydivers, there is a certain amount of ego that prevents accepting that there are things in BASE that they know nothing about. Think about this: almost EVERY BASE course that my partner Marta [Empinotti] and I teach, we learn something. This is because we know we don't know everything, so we keep our eyes and ears open, hoping to learn something new that we can analyze, assimilate and share with others in our beloved sport.” - Jimmy Pouchert: Co-Founder & Chief Instructor, APEX BASE; Freefly Coach “Over-amping. The ability to breathe even (especially) when scared, and to get into a focused zone before a jump, makes the biggest difference between a skydive that feels rushed and out of control and one in which a lot of learning and growth takes place. Even very experienced skydivers often feel nervous before their first wingsuit jump or when trying something new. The key is to trust that your ground preparation will serve you in the air, and to focus on one thing at a time starting with deep breaths, releasing tension, and visualizing the perfect exit.” - Taya Weiss, Owner/Head Instructor at Lightning Flight "We all have a tendency to look at the negative first, so I would remind all my students to start by pointing out three positive aspects about their previous skydive and then focus on one or two -- maximum, two -- areas of improvement. Positive reinforcement, combined with constructive criticism, goes a long way towards improving performance and attitude." - Lawrence de Laubadere: Freefly Coordinator, Lightning Flight Wingsuit & Freefly School “If I could cure all my students of one thing, it'd be expectation. As I tell them all, “If it's not fun, it's not worth it!” Learning to fly is not unlike so many other things in life: sex, making friends, etc. The harder you try, the harder it is. When I try to teach someone something in the tunnel, they often feel (natural) disappointment if they can't do it how they see others doing it. But it's not my goal to get you doing perfect layouts from the start. I'm looking for the components from my students: staying relaxed, looking where they should be, keeping the legs straight, etc. All I need them to do is smile, have fun, and keep making those baby steps. No expectations, no disappointment. In the end, I think attitude is one of the trickiest skills in progression.” -Dave Rhea: Instructor, Bodyflight Stockholm
You're off student status, you have your own gear, and you're ready to strike out on your own for a change of scenery. Here's what you can expect to find, and here are some things to know, when you go to a new dropzone. It's worth spending some time to prepare for your adventure. Before Leaving Town There are many sources for finding dropzones, online or in print. Before leaving town, look up all of the possible dropzones listed within a reasonable range of where you'll be going. Start be searchng the Dropzone.com Dropzone Database. You can also try the USPA web site or search on Google for the state+skydive. Don't forget to ask other people about places they've been. Also, just because a dropzone doesn't have a turbine-engine plane, don't rule it out of consideration. You often learn more in one day at a small dz, finding out or applying things that aren't emphasized at larger dropzones. Check that your gear is in good condition and that your re-pack and AAD are in-date; more dropzones require and check both of these items. Bring a camera to take pictures with the people you meet. You may also want to bring water and food, because not all dropzones have this on site and may be far from a nearby gas station. If in doubt, call ahead and find out the specifics. Finding The Dropzone Mapquest is a great way to find your way to the town where the dz is located, but it's usually up to the dropzone to provide the final details for finding the actual facilities - this is a hit or miss situation, when it comes to how accurate this information is. Some places assume that you live in the region and are familiar with the area - then you find that not all of the road signs are visible or even present. Not all of the local gas station clerks will know of the small airports in the area, much less the dropzone. Be sure to have the dz number handy but don't be surprised if the phone is busy, or if you get diverted to an answering machine during the weekend, so be prepared and have printouts of all possible directions. Look for signs to the airport outside the city, or the large orange balls on power lines - these are dead give aways! However, there are times when two small airports are close together, confusing matters for you. If you time things right, you'll find canopies in the air and loads of cars parked out front, covered with skydiving stickers. What to do when you arrive at a new DZ Manifest is the best place to start - and every good dropzone should have someone who's willing to help you get in touch with the right people, for a complete briefing of the landing area and dropzone "rules", as well as hooking you up with some of the local jumpers. Be open and ready to jump with people of all skill levels, plus both styles of jumping (Freeflying and RW) - the more limits you put in place, the more likely you'll be stuck doing solo jumps. Be ready to do some solo jumps, in case you don't get hooked up with other jumpers who are willing to jump with you or when no one else is available to jump that day. You must be the one to ask others to jump with you; after all, you are the new kid on the block. At manifest, complete their waiver, get a gear check, and find a spot for your gear bag. Depending on the size and location of the dropzone, be prepared for anything, when it comes to the bathroom facilities. Get the scoop on jump tickets - How-much-to-how-much (cost/altitude). Check on the charging and refund policy on jump tickets; often there is a charge-card percentage fee, slightly raising ticket prices. Most will give a full refund of the ticket value, but not the charge-card fee. Some will not refund your jump tickets but they usually don't have and expiration date, so you can use them whenever you happen to return. Buy only what you need, depending on these policies. Get the lowdown on the manifest procedure for getting on a load. Do you pay in advance, pay as you go, pay at the end of the day? Also, do they use monitors to show the loads, do they announce names for the loads, or do they assume you know the load number you're on when they call it? Is there a separate window for manifesting, or do you go back to the main office? Get a briefing on the basics: The exit-order and separation rules - some places have very specific procedures and rules on these, others leave it up to you and your skills - ask and watch others. Landing area obstacles - in addition to buildings, power lines, bodies of water, and the local farmer McNasty, some places have well-known areas of turbulence, small but harmful ditches, hills, or slopes, and hints on landing patterns to avoid them. Most places have several landmarks they use to locate the landing area, like highways, rivers, or lakes that form visual arrows pointing in the direction to look. Ask what is considered a good vs/ bad spot, for that particular dz, and the landmarks used for estimating this from the plane. Always ask where the beer line is located, if they don't mention it to you first. Hard Decks - Some dropzones have set a hard deck as high as 3,000 ft AGL, for good reasons. It doesn't hurt to check on this, especially when the landing area is tight and surrounded by trees, lakes, or densely developed land. Outs - Most dropzones have a good selection of areas to land out, but it's up to you to always stay aware of your surroundings; look out the plane's windows from time to time, to locate the landing area and the open areas around it - check with others to be sure you're not looking at swamps or thistle fields. The prevailing winds - some places have both tetrahedrons and wind socks but not all of them use both or will have rules on when to use which of the two wind indicators. Find out what is most reliable because tetrahedrons tend to rust and stick. Landing patterns - these vary as much as the winds - ranging from the first-one-down sets the pattern (and hopefully into the wind), to always using a left or right-hand pattern, or no particular rule except to avoid others. It's best to stay clear of others when possible and land a little further from the main landing area.. Swooping and hook turns - each dropzone owner has the discretion of allowing hook turns and often have an area designated for this and or swooping. If there is no area for this, keep alert while under canopy and ask if the people before you are going to hook turn or not, so you know not to follow their landing pattern (if the first-one-down rules are used). Loading the plane - If you're lucky, you can walk to and from the plane and landing areas; everywhere else will require a bus, van, or trailer to one or both of these areas. Find out where you need to go for any of these options and how the loads are announced, so you don't miss your call for boarding the bus to the plane or hold up the trailer back to the packing area. Gear Check - few places have a set rule for jumpers to do gear checks for the person sitting next to them. Therefore, it will often be up to you to ask for this. Ask a lot of questions. Ultimately, you're responsible for your actions and should know all that's necessary to jump safely. Your First Jump You may end up doing a solo "orientation" jump as your first jump. Hopefully that will be the only solo you do and use it to take a good look at what happens on jump run, while others are exiting, and the ground features when in freefall. Have in mind a jump and an exit you'd like to practice. This helps you feel more at ease with what to expect. When jumping with others, this avoids the conversational volley of questions, "Whadaya wanna do? I dunno, whadayou wanna do?" Keep it simple; you're likely to end up working on matching fall rates on your first jump. Be sure to agree on a break-off altitude that's comfortable for you and not the people who have done the last 200+ jumps at their home dropzone. If the plane is different from any one you've been in, ask for suggestions for the exit. Depending on your home dz location, in some areas it's a good idea to wear gloves, especially for your first jump, so you don't freeze your hands or in the event you land out and your landing isn't so smooth, and your hands run into rocks or "other natural abrasives". Check that your altimeter is zeroed, your dytters are set, and your AAD is activated. Gear check, gear check, gear check - touch all handles and check all straps, then check those of the people around you and ask for someone else to check yours before exiting. You're taking in a lot of new information, so make sure you don't overlook anything. You wouldn't be the first to mis-route a chest strap but it could be the last time you'd ever jump. On your way to altitude, remember to look out the windows so you can familiarize yourself with the surroundings and look for the landing area. Have in mind your landing approach. If you're doing a solo, and you're not sure about spotting, don't be afraid to ask the person before or after you to check the spot for you. It's a good idea to pull high, (be sure to let manifest and the jumpmaster and others on the load know) in order to give you enough time to adjust to the area and to have plenty of altitude to make it to the landing area. Keep your head on a swivel. You're in new territories and you want to make it safely back to the landing area - avoid aggressive canopy pilots, hopefully they'll be on the ground before you land. Elect to land in a distant, wide-open area, which has less traffic; then move in closer on the next jump, if you feel comfortable. At larger dropzones, there's usually a "packer's area" - ask, so you're not getting in someone's way of making money. Sometimes, if you accidentally set your rig in a packer's area and leave for a drink, you'll come back to find a packed rig and someone asking for payment. Smaller dropzones may not have any packers, so be sure you haven't forgotten how to pack your own rig. Also, at larger dropzones, there are sometimes separate packing areas for belly flyers and free flyers - a strange and unfortunate thing, in most cases. Your Next Jumps Some dropzones have landing areas at a different altitude than the packing area, especially when a bus/van/trailer is involved in moving between the landing area and loading area. Make the necessary adjustments to your AAD, hand altimeter, and dytter settings. When You Leave If you plan to go to a second dropzone during the same day, turn off your AAD before leaving and turn it back on again at the next location. Also, take pictures with the people you jumped with that day and add them to your logbook. Don't forget to swap e-mail addresses when you can. Find out if the dropzone has a stamp to put in your logbook, almost like a customs stamp for your passport. Where To Stay There can be many choices or just your car, so be sure to ask what's available; again, manifest is a good place to start. Many places have something on site, ranging from a couch in the hangar to a full-fledged house with all of the trimmings, and ranging in price from free to something that's usually within the budget of an avid skydiver. If you made friends that day, the local jumpers may offer to let you stay at their homes, another good reason to jump with others and not sticking to solo jumps. If you're not satisfied with these options, then nearby hotels often have discounts for skydivers, be sure to ask before making a reservation. Going to different dropzones is a wonderful experience and it's even more exciting when you go alone, seeing it through your own eyes and not through someone else's expectations. You see and do things differently than you would in familiar surroundings; this also keeps you from becoming complacent in this unforgiving sport. The people you meet become instant friends, if you let them, given the common bond of skydiving. Karen Hawes has jumped at dropzones in all 50 US States, 4 Canadian Provinces, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and The Bahamas.
This glossary of skydiving terms accompanies the Student Skydiver's Handbook, by Bryan Burke. Click on the letter corresponding to the first letter of the word you are looking for: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Use the "Back" button on your brower to return to the top of the Glossary to search for more words. The Letter A AAD. Automatic Activation Device. A device that senses rate of descent and altitude and which will attempts to mechanically activate the reserve parachute if the skydiver passes below a set altitude at a high rate of descent. A/C. Aircraft. Accuracy. Also known as Precision Landing, this is a competition discipline in which the skydiver attempts to land on an established target. At the National level the target is 3 cm in diameter, about the size of a quarter. Accuracy landings of various difficulty, from 20 meters to 2 meters, are required for USPA licenses. See the SIM for details. AFF. Accelerated Free Fall. An AFF student receives training on freefall jumps of 40 seconds or longer, accompanied by a qualified jumpmaster, as opposed to Static Line training which does not involve long freefall in the initial training phase. AGL. Above Ground Level. Altitudes are in reference either to Ground Level of Sea Level (see MSL). Skydivers always use AGL when referring to altitude. Airspeed. The speed of a flying object through the air, commonly used in reference to aircraft or canopies. Altimeter. A device indicating altitude. Angle of attack. The angle at which the wing is presented to the apparent wind. With square parachutes this changes when the brakes are applied. Angle of incidence. The angle at which a canopy is trimmed to glide through the air. Apparent wind. The wind perceived by an observer. See relative wind. ASP. Skydive Arizona's version of AFF, the Accelerated Skydiving Program includes two tandem jumps and an enhanced version of the AFF syllabus. ASTRA. An AAD made by FXC Corporation. Aspect ratio. The ratio of a canopys width (side to side) to breadth (front to back). Seven cell canopies typically have an aspect ratio of about 2.2 to one, while nine cell canopies are usually between 2.8 and 3.0 to one. The Letter B Backslide. To move backward in freefall relative to a neutral reference. Usually unintentional and undesirable, caused by poor body position. Bag. The deployment bag in which the canopy is packed. Base. The core around which a formation skydive is built. Can be a single person or a group of people, depending on the number of skydivers involved. BASE jump. A jump made from a fixed object rather than an aircraft. BASE is an acronym for building, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliff). Beech. Short for Beechcraft, an aircraft manufacturer. Usually used in reference to a Beech D-18, a.k.a. Twin Beech. At one time these were common skydiving planes, but they are becoming obsolete. BOC. Bottom of Container. Refers to the location of the pilot chute. An increasingly common position for main deployment devices, as opposed to belly or leg mounted. Body position. Ones freefall body posture. Variations in body position are what make a wide range of freefall maneuvers possible. Boogie. A gathering of skydivers, usually focused on fun rather than competition. Big drop zones host several boogies a year, often on long holiday weekends. Bounce. To land at unsurvivable speed. Also to frap, or go in. Box man. A neutral, face to earth body position in which the arms form right angles at shoulder and elbow, and the legs are spread at about 45 degrees from the long axis and bent 45 degrees at the knees. Generally considered the ideal position for Formation Skydiving. Brakes. The brake lines of the canopy are synonymous with steering lines. Used together, they slow the parachute. Used independently they result in a turn. Break off. To cease formation skydiving by tracking away from the formation prior to deployment. Bridle. The thin webbing strap from the pilot chute to the top of the canopy. Part of the deployment system which consists of pilot chute, bag and bridle. BSR. Basic Safety Requirements. BSRs are USPA guidelines. They do not have force of law but are generally regarded as excellent minimum safety standards. Burble. The area of turbulence behind an object going through the air, whether a person in freefall or a canopy in flight. The Letter C Call. The time remaining until you are to board the aircraft. For example, a fifteen minute call means you will board in fifteen minutes. Canopy. The construction of fabric and lines used to land safely after a freefall. Usually used in conjunction with a type reference (round, square, zero-p, main or reserve). Cascade. The point where two lines join together so they run smoothly into one. Cascading the suspension lines results in reduced bulk and drag. Cell. Square canopies are made up of pressurized cells, usually seven or nine. Each cell consists of a load bearing rib at each side to which the suspension lines are attached. A third, non load bearing rib runs down the middle of the cell. The cell is pressurized through the open mouth at the front and also through cross ports in the ribs. Adjacent cells share load bearing ribs. Center point. The point around which movement takes place. In an individual the center point is considered to be in the middle of the torso. In a group, it is the point that the formation centers around. Cessna. An aircraft manufacturer. Single engined Cessnas such as 180s, 182s and 206s are the workhorse of smaller drop zones, carrying four to six jumpers. Chute assis. French for sit flying, or freefalling with one's seat presented to the relative wind. Closing loop. The small loop that holds the flaps of the container closed once the pin has been guided through the loop. Coach. A skydiver with some formal training in the art of instructing freefall technique. Container. The element of the parachute that houses the canopies. Technically, the Harness/Container but usually just referred to as the container. Crabbing. A canopy is crabbing when it is flown at an angle sideways to the ambient wind, resulting in a path across the ground that is sideways as well as forwards. Creep. To creep is to practice formation skydiving sequences while laying prone on a creeper. Creeper. A board equipped with wheels on which a skydiver lays to simulate freefall maneuvers. Cross ports. Holes in the ribs of a cell that allow air to flow from one cell to another. Current. To "be current" is to have jumped recently enough to retain proficiency in the sport. Uncurrent skydivers, depending on their experience, must be supervised to some degree when they resume jumping. See the SIM. Cut away. To release the main parachute, cutting away is a standard emergency procedure prior to deploying the reserve. More properly known as a breakaway, the technique did involve using a simple release system activated by pulling a handle. CRW. Canopy Relative Work, now officially known as Canopy Formations. CRW involves flying open canopies in close formation, where the pilots actually take grips on each other's parachutes. CYPRES. A type of AAD. Made by AirTech of Germany, this is the most common type of AAD and the first modern design to be widely adopted by expert skydivers. The Letter D DC-3. A type of aircraft, the Douglas DC-3 is a large, twin engined airplane capable of carrying over 40 jumpers. Like the Twin Beech, DC-3s are being rapidly replaced by more modern turbine engined aircraft. De-arch. To flatten out or reverse one's body position from the normal arched box man. A de-arch results in a slower fall rate than an arch. Dacron. A common construction material for canopy suspension lines. Dacron lines are thicker and softer than so called "microlines". Data card. Every parachute carries a data card with information on the reserve parachute, including type, last date packed, owner, serial number, etc. Dead spider. Slang for de-arch. Decision altitude. The altitude at which a skydiver is trained to begin execution of emergency procedures. Usually 2,500 feet AGL for students, and 1,800 feet for expert skydivers. Deployment system. The components of the parachute that control deployment of the canopy. Includes pilot chute, bridle and bag. Dirt dive. To rehearse a skydive on the ground. Dive floater. A dive floater is a skydiver who is inside the airplane in the exit line up, but leaving prior to the base. This configuration only occurs on large formations. Dive loops. Many advanced skydivers have loops or "blocks" on their front risers to make it easy to grip the front risers for steering purposes. Also called front riser loops. Diver. Anyone diving out of the plane during a formation skydiving exit. Door jam. To practice an exit in the aircraft door of a mock up of it prior to the skydive. DOS - Double or Dual Action System Down plane. A CRW formation with two canopies, both pointed toward the ground. This can also occur to a single skydiver with both main and reserve deployed. Drop zone. Common slang for a skydiving center, also DZ. Dytter. A brand of audible altimeter. The Letter E Elliptical. A wing shape characterized by a tapering leading and trailing edge so that the middle of the canopy is wider, front to back, than the ends. This configuration is typical of many high performance canopies. End cell. The cell furthers out on a canopy. Exit weight. The total weight of the jumper and all equipment and clothing. The Letter F F-111. A fabric common in mid range canopies, F-111 is slightly permeable to air and wears faster than zero-p fabric. Pronounced "F one eleven". FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration is the agency of the US government that regulates aviation activity, including skydiving. FAI. Federation Aeronautique International. The international organization governing air sports. FARs. Federal Aviation Regulations, the laws governing aviation. Fall rate. The speed at which a skydiver falls. Matching fall rate is essential to successful formation skydiving. This is done with jumpsuits, weights and body position. Finger trap. A method of installing a loop in a brake line without producing rough spots on the lines, the finger trap is accomplished by sliding one line into the other. The loop serves as a method of setting brakes in the desired position for the parachutes deployment. Flare. The act of pulling down the brakes of the canopy in order to slow it down, resulting in an increased angle of attack and reduced descent rate. Floater. Skydivers who leave the airplane before the base are called floaters since they must use a slow fall rate to get up to the base. Floating also refers to an exit position outside the airplane. Freestyle. A type of skydiving characterized by acrobatic individual flying, reminiscent of gymnastics. FS. Formation Skydiving, formerly known as relative work. In FS, skydivers attempt to go through a predetermined sequence of freefall formations. Formation. 1) A freefall skydiving formation of more than one jumper. 2) A flight of more than one jump plane. Funnel. A funnel occurs when one or more skydivers find themselves in an unstable body position and end up in a skydivers burble. The resulting loss of stability for the other skydivers usually causes the formation to break up. FXC. A company manufacturing AADs. One FXC design is common on students but considered by many to be unsuitable for expert skydivers. A new FXC design, the ASTRA, went on the market in the spring of 1996 and is relatively unknown. The Letter G Glide ratio. The distance a canopy flies forward compared to down. A canopy with a 3:1 glide ratio flies three feet forward for every foot of vertical descent. GPS. Global Positioning System. By picking up signals from satellites, a GPS receiver can tell the user position over the ground. Used in skydiving aircraft to spot the exit. Grips. Using the hands to hold onto another skydiver in freefall or during the aircraft exits. In formation skydiving, the formations are scored as complete when every skydiver has taken the correct grips. Grippers. Hand holds built onto formation skydiving jumpsuits to make it easier to take grips. Ground speed. The speed of an airplane or skydiver over the ground, as opposed to through the air. The Letter H Hand deploy. To activate the parachute by manually deploying the pilot chute as opposed to pulling a ripcord. Harness/container. The webbing and fabric holding the main and reserve canopies to the skydiver. Heading. The direction an aircraft, skydiver, or parachute is facing. The ability to recognize and maintain heading is crucial to jumping with others successfully. "On" or "off" heading are terms commonly used to describe exits and deployments. Holding. When a parachute is flying directly into the ambient wind, it is said holding. See running and crabbing. Hook knife. A small knife carried in the jumpsuit or on the parachute harness, the hook knife is designed to cut lines or webbing. A small razor blade is recessed in a hook shaped handle to prevent unintentional cuts. Hook turn. A turn of 90 degrees or more executed close to the ground. Because of the high risk associated with this maneuver, hook turns have an unfavorable connotation. Hot fuel. When the airplane does not shut down during fueling. Do not board the aircraft while fueling is in progress. The Letter I In date. A reserve packed within the previous 120 days is said to be "in date". If more than 120 days have elapsed since the reserve was packed it is"out of date" and illegal to use. Instructor. Someone who has held a USPA jumpmaster rating for at least one year and passed an Instructor Certification Course. IPC. The International Parachuting Commission oversees sport parachuting. It is a committee of the FAI. The Letter J Jump run. The flight path taken by the jump plane to put the skydivers in position over the airport. Jumpsuit. A cover all type garment designed for specific skydiving applications such as FS, freestyle or accuracy. Jumpmaster. Someone who has successfully attended a USPA Jumpmaster Certification Course. A jumpmaster has all of the privileges of an Instructor except that they cannot supervise a first jump course, sign off licenses, or manage a student program without an instructor's supervision. The Letter K Key. A signal to move on to the next step in a skydive. King Air. A turbine aircraft made by Beechcraft and common in medium sized drop zones. The Letter L Line of flight. An imaginary line corresponding to the jump plane's path over the ground, the line of flight is a useful reference line on larger formation skydives. Also, during the jump run the skydivers will be distributed along this line of flight. Log book. Like pilots or sailors, skydivers log their activity and achievements in order to document their experience. LORAN. A navigational system similar to GPS except based on ground transmitters, LORAN is relatively obsolete. The Letter M MSL. Mean sea level. Used by pilots when defining altitude, MSL refers to feet above sea level as opposed to above the ground. Pilots always use MSL when referring to altitude. Main. The primary parachute. Manifest. 1) The list of skydivers on the jump plane. 2) The act of going to the office where this list is maintained to put yourself on a plane. 3) The location where manifesting takes place. MARDS - Main Activated Reserve Deployment System Microline. A modern type of suspension line considerably smaller than dacron line. The Letter N The Letter O Organizer. Someone with leadership skills and skydiving expertise who plans formation skydives. Otter. The DeHavilland Twin Otter, a very popular turbine jump ship carrying up to 23 jumpers. Out landing. Landing off target. Out of date. See in date. The Letter P Packing data card. See data card. Peas. Pea gravel, used in the landing area as a target reference and because it is forgiving of hard landings. Pin. 1) The skydiver who first gets to the base. Base/pin are the two people around which many formations are built. 2) The act of docking on the base. 3) The closing pin of the main or reserve container, which should both be checked prior to jumping. Pit. The pea gravel area. Pilot chute. A small, round parachute that acts as a drogue to extract the main parachute from the container and deploy it. PLF. Parachute landing fall. A technique used to minimize injury during rough landings, a PLF distributes the landing shock along feet, calves, thighs, hip and shoulder. Porter. A single engined turbine aircraft carrying up to ten jumpers. Post dive. Review of a skydive after everyone has landed. PRO rating. A USPA rating indicating competence to perform difficult demonstration jumps. Pull out. A type of hand deploy pilot chute where the pilot chute is packed inside the container and pulled out using a handle with a lanyard to the pilot chute. Pull up cord. A piece of cord or line used to pull the closing loop through the grommets of the container. Pud. Slang for the handle on a pull out pilot chute system. The Letter Q The Letter R RSL. Reserve static line. This is a line from the main risers to the reserve cable. In the event the main is cut away, it may pull the reserve pin. Note: this system is only effective in malfunctions where the main is at least partially deployed. RW. Relative work, the term used to describe formation skydiving until a change in nomenclature made by the International Parachuting Commission in the early 90s. Relative wind. The apparent wind felt by a jumper in freefall, relative wind is the result of the skydiver's speed through the air. Reserve. The auxiliary parachute carried on every intentional parachute jump. Rip cord. The deployment system on all reserves and most student parachutes. The ripcord is a piece of cable with a handle at one end and a pin at the other. When pulled, the pin comes out of the closing loop holding the container shut, and the pilot chute is released. Rig. Skydiver slang for the entire parachute, including main and reserve canopies and the harness/container. Rigger. Someone with a certificate from the FAA stating they have successfully met the requirements to be a parachute rigger. Rigger's certificate. The certificate possessed by a rigger as proof of competence. Senior riggers may make minor repairs and pack reserve and main parachutes. Master riggers may make major repairs and alterations as well as packing parachutes. Risers. The webbing that connects the harness to the suspension lines. At the bottom of the risers will be a mechanism for attaching and releasing the risers and harness, usually in the form of a three ring release. On the rear risers are the brakes/steering lines. The suspension lines attach to the top of the risers with connector links, also known as rapid links. Round. 1) A formation where each skydiver has grips on the arms of those next to him, also known as a star. 2) A round parachute, as opposed to a modern ram-air "square" parachute. Running. When a canopy is flying with the ambient wind it is said to be running. This produces the greatest possible ground speed. The Letter S S&TA. Safety and Training Advisor. The S&TA is a volunteer representative of USPA who attempts to disseminate information about safety and act as a liaison between the DZ and USPA. Most S&TAs hold instructor ratings. SCR. The oldest award for formation skydiving achievement, for those who have been in a star of at least eight people in which each person left the aircraft separately and flew to the formation. SIM. Skydiver's Information Manual. Published by the USPA, the SIM is a comprehensive manual on USPA policies and training methods. It also includes FARs pertinent to skydiving. SOS. Single Operation System. This system simplifies emergency procedures by combining the functions of the cut away and reserve handles in a single handle. Seal. Reserve parachutes have a small lead seal on a piece of red thread around the closing pin. This seal indicates the reserve has not been opened since it left the riggers hands. Sentinel. A type of AAD. Single operation system. See SOS. Skygod. Although on the surface this term refers to a superior skydiver, in drop zone use skygod is a derogatory term for a skydiver whose ego has grown faster than his skydiving ability. Slider. A rectangular piece of nylon fabric with a grommet at each corner through which the canopy's suspension lines are routed. Packed at the top of the lines, the slider controls the opening of the canopy by preventing the parachute from expanding too rapidly. Slot. A position in the skydive or on the plane. Uses: "dock in your slot", or "two slots left on the next Otter". Spectra. A material from which microline is made. Spot. The position of the aircraft when the jumpers exit. Spotting duties (selecting the spot) can be done by a skydiver or the pilot. Square. A ram air parachute as opposed to a round parachute. Stabilizer. The vertical strips of cloth depending from the end cells of the canopy. Stabilizers improve the canopy's ability to fly straight ahead and enhance efficiency by reducing tip vortices. Stall. When the angle of attack of a wing becomes too high to sustain lift, the wing is said to be stalled. Static line. In static line deployments the parachute deployment system is attached to the airplane, with a cord ten to fifteen feet long, resulting in deployment immediately after exit. Steering lines. The lines that run from the steering toggles on the rear risers to the trailing edge of the parachute. Steering toggles. Handles attached to the end of the steering lines to facilitate their use. Toggles and lines are configured so they can be stowed in a partially down position to enhance the opening of the parachute. Stow. To neatly arrange suspension lines on the deployment bag or steering toggles in their keepers. Style. A type of freefall competition where an individual skydiver attempts to execute a predetermined sequence of maneuvers in the shortest possible time. Suspension lines. The lines from the risers to the canopy. They are normally in four groups, labeled from front to back as A, B, C and D. They can be further divided into right and left or front and back riser groups, and by type of material. Swoop. 1) To dive down to a formation or individual in freefall. 2) To aggressively approach the landing area in order to produce a long, flat flare and an exciting landing. The Letter T TAF - Tandem Accelerated Freefall where the 1st 3 or 4 stages are done on tandem and then the AFF one on one jumps are done as per the standard AFF program. Tandem. Parachute jumps in which two skydivers, usually an instructor and student, share one parachute system. The student is in a separate harness that attaches to the front of the instructor's harness. Terminal velocity. The speed at which drag matches the pull of gravity, resulting in a constant fall rate. Typical terminal velocity for formation skydiving is in the 120 to 135 mile per hour range, but speeds as high as 300 miles per hour have been reached. Three ring. A parachute release mechanism that utilizes three rings of separate size in a mechanical advantage system. Invented by Bill Booth in the late 70s, the three ring release is almost universally considered the best cut away system available. Throw out. A deployment method in which the pilot chute is stowed in a pouch on the belly, leg of bottom of container. Toggles. Handles on the steering lines. Track. To assume a body position that creates a high forward speed. Used to approach or depart from other skydivers in freefall. TSO. Technical Standard Order. A technical standard that all American parachutes must meet before they can be marketed. Unless specifically exempted by the FAA, a parachute must have a TSO placard to be legal. Turn around load. When the aircraft does not shut down between loads, but lands and picks up skydivers for immediate departure. The Letters UV Uppers. The upper winds, or winds at exit altitude. The "uppers" are often much stronger and occasionally from a different direction than ground winds. USPAThe United States Parachute Association is a non profit skydiver's organization. USPA offers guidance and assistance to skydivers in training, government relations, competition, and many other fields. Most drop zones require USPA membership of individual skydivers because such membership includes third party liability insurance. The Letter W Wave off. Prior to deployment a skydiver should make a clearly defined arm motion to indicate to others nearby that he is about to open his parachute. A good wave off is essential to the avoidance of deployment collisions. WDI. Wind drift indicator. A paper streamer thrown from the jump plane to estimate winds under canopy and determine the spot. Weights. Many lighter skydivers wear a weight vest to allow them to maintain a fast fall rate. Wuffo. Skydiver slang for people who don't jump, from "Wuffo you jump out of them planes?" Wind line. An imaginary line from the desired landing area, extending directly along the direction the wind is blowing. Winds aloft. See uppers. Wing loading. The ratio of weight born by a wing to its surface area. In the US, divide your exit weight in pounds by the square footage of the canopy. The Letter XYZ Zero-p. Common slang for a type of fabric relatively impermeable to air. The less air that flows through the fabric wing of a ram air parachute, the more efficiently it flies.
All Images by Scotty Burns Scotty Burns Breaks Down Your Pre-FJC Checklist Scotty Burns is a skydiver with fixed-wing pilot blood in his veins. He started skydiving on his 18th birthday, because his first commercial aviation gig--towing banners--included an obligatory parachute. He decided that he wanted to learn how it worked, just in case he had to use it. The rest, of course, is history. While today Scotty owns and operates the Flyteskool wingsuit academy in DeLand, Florida, his airborne specialties go far beyond inflatable nylon. For almost two decades, he’s held Commercial Multi-Engine Instrument Airplane (and helicopter) ratings, with a couple thousand hours of PIC (pilot-in-command) time. It’s his Wingsuit Instructor Examiner role that most folks in skydiving recognize Scott in most readily, however, as he’s spent the last ten years training over a thousand baby-bird wingsuit students at dropzones all over the world (and as the Wingsuit I/E for Skydive University). Scotty’s pilot-first-skydiver-also training techniques have helped to make wingsuit flying safer for everyone over the years--and, in the process, he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to wingsuit wannabes. If you’re interested in the good and interested in avoiding the bad and the ugly, listen up. Scotty has a few things to say to you before you show up for that wingsuit FJC. Here it is--in his own words... Slow Your Roll A lot of the issues that we’re starting to see over and over these days point right back to the same root cause: rushing. People are really wanting to start flying wingsuits as quickly as possible, almost in spite of the rest of the sport. To save money, they’ll get in and do 150 hop-and-pops. They just jump their ass off for the numbers and don’t focus on building actual skills in freefall or under canopy. Their canopy skills are especially crappy, because hardly any of these guys have done any canopy coaching. They just want to get to jump number 200 and they assume they’ll figure it out. Round out your skills. One of the first things that I would recommend people do that want to get into wingsuiting is to laser focus on building a well-rounded set of skills, and to do so early. On your way to that first hundred jumps, learn all the other disciplines that you can. Go out and do a bunch of RW jumps. Learn how to turn points and do different exits, and get comfortable doing that. Learn how to do some head-down. Get into some angle flying and tracking jumps, because it is really going to help you learn how to control the air as you get further into your skydiving career. Flying a wingsuit is not an unrelated accessory to this progression. It requires all the work that comes before. That said: As you learn to fly a wingsuit, you are becoming a lot more of a pilot or an airman than you are a skydiver. There are a lot of differences between jumping with a wingsuit and jumping without a wingsuit. There are a lot of skills and experience that you need to have that you really don’t learn in any other form of skydiving. That is not an oversight on the part of your teachers; these skills are simply not necessary in other disciplines. Learn to fly your canopy, then your wingsuit. Your wingsuit is not how you land. Your canopy is. And in our discipline, it is much more common to have to land out, in a place you don’t want to--like someone’s backyard, or a parking lot--under a reserve, not so uncommonly. Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to get injured close to the ground in that wingsuit. Your ability to put yourself down safely in a place you wouldn’t normally want to go because you didn’t have any other choice is an extremely important skill. Get canopy coaching, and plan on the worst possible case scenario. Ease off the YouTube. Don’t spend your time watching every wingsuit video on Vimeo. It is cool and all, but it becomes a liability at a point. For instance: I had a student come out just the other day who has been working in the industry for a couple of years and has been waiting to start flying wingsuits. At my ground school, he was talking over me half the time and telling me what he had learned through all of these BASE videos that he had seen. He was acting unteachable. He is a really nice guy, but if he wasn’t in the industry, I would have had to tell him to go home. Take it easy. Then take it easier. Because one of the most important things about flying a wingsuit is your ability to relax, there is a huge difference between what most people see in videos before they learn how to fly and what they should actually be doing when they first put on that suit. There is a huge difference between what people do that are BASE jumping with a wingsuit--the decisions they’re making, and the gear they are flying--versus what somebody at 200 jumps is going to do. And it’s also important to remember that a lot of the guys in those videos are no longer with us. Some of the most talented human beings you would ever know or ever dream up. So what does that tell you? That means that it doesn’t take much to screw up, so you’d better take the long, thorough road. On that first jump, remember: You’re not trying to go out and break any records. You’re trying to make sure that you can get out safely and fly a pattern and pull with stability. You should aim to fly at 60 or 70%. You wouldn’t jump into a brand new race car and mash the pedal to the floor to get it out of the dealership. he amount of drag that you produce in that wingsuit versus the drag you produce on a normal jumpsuit is 6 or 8 times as much--easily--so it only takes about an eighth of the amount of input to get the same kind of response. The more you can relax, the better off you will be. Planning for Plan B is not optional. Planning for that worst possible case scenario has always got to be in the back of your head because it is going to happen. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but it is going to happen and it is probably going to happen at the worst possible time. Making sure that you have got that out is very important. Modern wingsuits are tiny little F16s without engines. It is really easy to find yourself miles away from where you were supposed to be. I have had to land in more people’s backyards than I care to admit to. Most of the time it wasn’t that I personally made a mistake; it was because shit just happens in this sport, and you have to be ready. You can make great decisions and still shit can go down. Then you end up having to rely on emergency skills that you had better hope are there. Keep it simple. Most people that are getting into it just want it so bad and they try too hard. If you can just relax and smile, listen to your coach and do as you were taught (and not what you learned from videos), you can keep yourself doing this for the next 15 or 20 years--versus being broken, giving up on it, or worse. It is incredible to see how far the wingsuiting discipline has come. It’s really sad that so many of our friends aren’t still around to see the changes. That’s why it is even more important for people to seek out the best information--and the best instruction--they can.
You just graduated AFF or you got your A license. You can execute all the skills required of you in the sky. Now it is time to take it to the next level. Tunnel flight can help you hone your skills that you have already, and most definitely help you learn some new skills. The wind tunnel can give you confidence, awareness and much needed experience at a time when it is hard to come by any of those things. The wind tunnel is perfect for anybody. Wind tunnel coaching through the whole AFF and A-license experience is standard issue for all Central Florida drop zones. Coordinating the circle of awareness, motion, fall rate, turns, docking and practice pulls are all possible in the wind tunnel. The first thing that you should learn is the relative work position. The position is the root for all movement. The reason is every time you want to move; you always start and stop in the learned belly position. Your chin should be up. Your eyes should be focused in front of you, not looking down. Your arms should be relaxed so they do not cup air or carry stiffness. You should have pressure on your shins so you do not back slide. You should be bent slightly at the knees so you do not constantly move forward. Your body should be symmetrical. Asymmetry causes turning. Your hip should be in its most arched position. Sometimes it takes a bit of moving down to actually get a good arch. After the neutral position is learned then the 6 points of motion are taught down, forward, backward, up, and sidle siding left and right. The first thing I teach after the standard position is to move down. The reason is the worst thing that can happen to a newbie in the wind tunnel is to catch air and ascend high up; so the instructor cannot reach you easily. Anything above 8ft high off the net makes it challenging for your instructor and dangerous for you at first. To move down, simply arch more. If that does not do the trick, take up less surface area by getting smaller. You should move right down to the net. Some times I keep first time students on the net for a rotation or two so they do not bounce around. In the lower wind speed it is easier to make mistakes and not fly up against the wall. Once general body awareness is attained, the controller can turn up the speed a little more. The first time student can fly off the net with a little more speed after they can go down. I also teach going down first, so if the student does get up a little higher than they like, they can easily come back down. The next thing to learn is motion forward and backward. Most people come into the wind tunnel with built in movement in their technique. In order to stay perfectly still you must learn to go forward and backward first. Forward motion is accomplished by putting both feet back at the same time and then relaxing back into the neutral position and coasting to a stop. Moving backwards is done by putting both arms forward in front of you while you relax your legs towards your butt and coast back in to a neutral position for a stop. I do not teach "braking" until the student can do the first 4 points of motion. The reason is for most students early on braking is too much to think about. Initiating subtle movements and coasting to a stop slowly is more effective in the beginning. Flying in the sky is like flying on a football field, plenty of room to roam. Flying in the wind tunnel is like flying in a bottle, close proximal flying. Small movements are a necessity. Deep diaphragmatic breathing will lessen the tension carried in the body and relax your mind. After a student can go down, forward and backward; I teach them how to go up. The two easiest ways to teach a student how to go up is by them taking up more surface area or de-arching with their hip. The easiest way to move up is to get longer with your arms and legs and flatten your torso. This cups air and pushes your body up like a board. The second way to move up is to de-arch at your hip. This will catch air in the pocket your hips and torso make and accelerate you upward. Each method for going up works in different scenarios. If a person you were jumping with slowed up very quickly de-arching at the hip would be a good way to slow down in the sky. Keep eye contact with the person! If that same jump partner ascended relative to you very slowly then getting longer and flatter would be optimal. Side sliding would be your next skill to learn. Side sliding is moving sideways while facing forward. It is very important to do this with a straight torso. Bending at the torso is inefficient and usually causes a turn. To keep your torso straight and move side ways, use your arm and leg at the same time to push you across the tunnel. The most popular rookie mistake is to push with just your hand. If you push with just your hand you will turn instead of side slide. You should push both your foot and your hand at the same time. Initiate the movement and then cost to a stop. This will create a seamless side slide. Make sure to arch when you side slide to keep on the same level or plane that you initiated the motion on. Once you can go back and forth seamlessly both ways with out changing levels at all; then learning more advance side slide techniques would be warranted. Turning is also a very important skill that can be learned in the wind tunnel. I start to teach turning usually right after the first 4 points of motion are learned. I progressively perfect my student's turn as side sliding is attained. The most important turning skill is to turn slowly in the wind tunnel. More often then not students like to "crank" turns out when they start. In the sky that might be all well and good, but most students are moving when they turn. If you turn with precision at first, then the progression will come easy. Keep your head up and maintain a huge arch when you turn. Most students look down and de-arch when they turn. The sheer act of spinning creates lift. Coupled with de-arching spinning can send you up to the huge fans that power the wind tunnel. It is important to arch even harder when you turn to maintain your levels throughout. Another popular mistake is to relax your legs on your butt when you turn. This makes for interesting times. Relaxing your legs will make you back slide while you are turning. Keep the shin pressure you have when you turn. Some students need to think of putting their feet out when they turn, just to keep the legs in the same place through out the completion of the turn. The Mantis position is popular in more advanced relative work. We will cover it in the scope of this article because the vast majority of new fliers want to learn it. My opinion is that it should be learned after 6 points of motion, 90 degree turns and 360 degree turns. Early on in the progression, I believe that most students are too stiff to learn the Mantis properly. Once a student can move their arms freely without causing instability or motion, then it is time to refine the basic relative work position into the Mantis. The student should try to bring their hands closer to their ears first to reduce drag on the arms. Remember the whole idea of the Mantis is to fly a more aero-dynamic position not to learn it because it looks cool. Most students press their elbows down at first. This usually causes tension. After a student can fly with hands closer to their ears instead of the basic relative work position, all the time, perfecting the Mantis position should be tackled. The hands should come closer together like you are hugging a small volley ball while laying your body on a flat surface. Dropping your elbows down into the standard Mantis position should be the last step to learning it. It is very important to fly in the wind tunnel. The wind tunnel is the most revolutionary tool to be introduced to the sport of skydiving since the three ring system and tandem jumping. Now that wind tunnels are popping up all over the world, they will subject more and more people to our sport. Our numbers will grow in a prolific fashion and we will finally get the market penetration that our sport has long yearned for. If you get frustrated in the tunnel keep trying. In all likelihood your frustration stems from only a few places. A bad instructor, people looking at you when you fly, the constant presence of glass or chicken wire and the inability to just go "buck wild" like you can in the air can lead to frustration. The wind tunnel is so much fun. With the right training regimen, repetition and a good instructor the sky is truly the limit to your skills. Steven Blincoe is the founder and head coach of the New School Flight University in Orlando, Florida. He has 4,000 skydives and 500 hours of wind tunnel time. He specializes in wind tunnel camps and will scower the globe in the next few years to spread the art of tunnel coaching. Please feel free to contact him at www.blincoe.org or 530-412-2078.
admin posted an article in SafetyThis is a lot of info I have learned over the years about interviewing potential tandem customers and AFF students who are either elderly, or have some disability or medical condition. I always try to relate the physical aspects of the skydive to that person and what might the consequences be. In particular, the airplane ride, the opening shock and the landing. All of these events have specific physiological effects on people and each person have different risks and will react differently to these effects. 1. What is your height and weight? Obvious question. Do not exceed the weight limits of the gear. For tandems, weigh yourself with gear and everything on to know what your exit weight is going to be. Most tandem manufacturers have a 500lb (227kg) limit for their gear, so easy math will help you know what YOUR personal maximum tandem student weight is. Do not exceed the TSO for the AFF students rig. If you do and they get hurt, then that is simply defined as ‘gross negligence’ on your part and the waiver will mean virtually nothing in the case of a lawsuit. 2. Do you have any metal in your body? Most people will know a great deal about accidents or surgeries that they have had and can tell you in great detail about it. A spinal fusion with plates/screws or a rod in a femur does not mean that someone cannot jump – but it might raise other questions about the stability of those joints and the consequences of a hard opening or a bad landing. But a rod in the lower spine could break several vertebrae if a hard landing occurs with the student landing on their butt, causing serious and/or more permanent injuries. 3. Do you have any artificial joints? The question needs to be asked of everyone. A hip replacement is a dangerous thing for a 70 year-old or 80 year-old candidate. Opening shock alone could dislocate the joint. Knees as well. What is the range of that knee? Can you raise your legs for landing? 4. Do you have any plumbing (catheters, colostomy bags, etc)? (Yes that’s right – I said COLOSTOMY BAG) While this may be awkward for you to talk about, it probably is not awkward for the student or person that might have one. If someone has one of these or similar devices installed, then it is probably as ‘normal’ to them as walking or breathing. But on a skydive, a catheter or bag can come loose or detach, and at the very least, would be a nasty mess to deal with. A lot of catheters are attached to a bag strapped to their leg. Many can be removed, relocated, drained or emptied prior to a jump. 5. Do you have any other medical apparatus (Pacemaker, insulin pump, etc)? Again, they could have internal or external devices on their body. A pacemaker is often not a big deal. A external defibrillator might be a problem if it became detached during the skydive. Same for an insulin pump or a catheter used to feed medications into their body? Where is it? Will the harness rub against it? Can it be removed, relocated? What are the consequences of something happening to it? 6. Are you taking a medication or something that can be administered by me in an emergency? Something like an asthma inhaler or a diabetic medication. If there is a chance of an asthma attack, then the tandem instructor can take the inhaler with them and administer it if needed. 7. Do you have issues with heart or breathing? Someone with a weak or other heart condition, or congenital breathing problems may not even be able to breath properly at 10,000’ in an airplane. Combine that with the stress of a skydive, and you may end up with a medical emergency. Have they flown recently? What precautions do they take if any? And no, I do not recommend bringing their oxygen system on board the plane. Can they deal with an accelerated heart rate for an extended period of time? We all know that heart rates can rise to some 140+ just prior to and during the exit out of the airplane. Not everyone is able to handle that if they have some condition related to heart or blood pressure. 8. What if my doctor says it’s OK for me to jump? While that may be good information to know, most doctors know little or nothing about skydiving. If you get the chance, talk to their doctor directly and explain the physical things that happen during a skydive. The airplane ride (hot, sweaty, cramped space and altitude issues). The adrenaline rush during exit and freefall (heart rate), the opening shock of the parachute, (several G’s of force and the potential for a very hard opening), the parachute ride (vertigo, motion sickness, tight and uncomfortable harness, reduced circulation) and the landing especially (forward motion instead of vertical, and how we can slide in (or not) and what is expected of the student during that phase and what can happen if it does not go well) 9. What will an injury do to your quality of life? I have learned that this is probably one of the most important questions you can ask. An 80 year old with Osteoporosis may be able to skydive, but if they break an ankle, they may never walk again. Bones may not heal and they could spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair or worse. It is much the same for disabled folks. I always try to get a feel for what would happen to their life if they break something, because it CAN and it DOES happen. 10. Do you have any sort of medical condition that can kill you in a 10-15 minute window? I ask this question as a catch-all. Basically there is a possible 10-15 minute window in the case of a tandem jump, (a high or early activation on a parachute resulting in a long ride down). During that time, the instructor cannot perform CPR, a tracheotomy, or rescue breathing. So if the student has any medical condition that would need to be attended to by emergency means, the tandem instructor is pretty much helpless to intervene during the skydive. If the student has any such condition, then perhaps a skydive is not a good idea. When in doubt, consult a doctor who IS a skydiver. There are plenty of them out there and most can advise you on the effects of a disease, surgery or medication on the process of skydiving. Just because the customer is standing in front of you right now and wants to jump right now, is not a reason to take them up. Offer to do some homework on their condition(s) and arrange for a future date to see if they can jump. I have taken up dozens of elderly, disabled, and paraplegic/quadriplegic students in my life. I have also REFUSED to take up dozens of them. Not everyone is capable of making a skydive. Not everyone should be making a skydive. David TK Hayes USPA D-18764 CSPA D-486 AFF, Tandem, IAD, S&TA;, Coach, PRO