The Rating Corner

Your First Priority

Despite all the advances in tandem skydiving, the increasing use of handcams by unqualified and underprepared tandem instructors is threatening to demolish the discipline’s improving safety record, the product of a 30-year collective safety effort by the tandem manufacturers and USPA. An ever-increasing number of tandem accidents are attributable to the use of handcams, either as a direct or indirect cause. Sadly, the mistakes leading to these accidents are easy to see in high-definition video, as the tandem instructors continue filming with a straight left arm even as the world around them is going to hell. more »

Instructional Rating Changes

At the July USPA Board meeting in Seattle, Washington, the Safety and Training Committee spent most of its meeting time discussing the instructional rating process. The results were multiple changes, some of which went into effect immediately and others of which will come into play at a later date. more »

Putting Your Name on the Line

Instructors and instructor examiners are responsible for lots of things when working with license and rating candidates. One of the most important and often overlooked tasks is the verification of license and rating requirements. Every USPA license requires the candidate to complete a minimum number of jumps and amount of freefall time. Every USPA rating requires a minimum number of jumps and amount of freefall time, and the candidate must hold a license of a certain level or higher. Every new examiner rating requires a minimum number of total jumps, student jumps and evaluation jumps. In other words, there is a lot to verify! It is important that the instructor or instructor examiner verifies these requirements through logbook entries or even drop zone manifest records to make sure that the candidate has met the jump number, freefall time and other requirements. more »

Expert Advice in the IRM

The Instructional Rating Manual (as well as the Skydiver’s Information Manual) is a continual work in progress. Every two years, USPA publishes the new manual, which include all the changes the USPA Board of Directors adopted since its last release. Some of the changes are significant and some are very small formatting or typographical edits. Where do these suggested changes come from? They come from you, the USPA member. Some come from students who are new to skydiving and others come from experienced coaches, instructors and examiners. more »

Foreign or Military License and Rating Conversions

As a USPA Instructor or Instructor Examiner, you may need to help a skydiver who holds foreign or military credentials obtain a USPA license or rating. USPA does not have a process for automatically converting non-USPA licenses or ratings into USPA licenses or ratings, but shortcuts are available in some circumstances. more »

Providing Your Students the Best

One of the most important of an instructional rating holder’s tasks is ensuring that each student receives proper training for the USPA A license. Part of this responsibility includes making logbook entries and initialing required items on the USPA A-License Proficiency Card or A-License Progression Card to properly track and document this training. Some instructors are very good about making logbook entries and updating the license cards, but many could use improvement, and drop zones handle this process in a seemingly infinite number of ways. more »

Updated Rules and Requirements for Rating Holders

As a USPA rating holder, it is important to stay on top of changes to the instructional rating system. Each USPA Board of Directors meeting usually produces changes, and USPA posts these to its website soon after the meeting concludes. The USPA Board approved several changes at its February meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Some of these place additional responsibilities on examiners to ensure that candidates meet the necessary experience requirements and that USPA Headquarters receives the proper documentation with each new rating. Others changes clarify course requirements and instructor responsibilities. more »

Helping with Safety Day

For many, Safety Day—a day full of refresher training and important life-saving presentations—signals the start of the skydiving season. Like a bugler blaring reveille to signal a charge, a DZ announces Safety Day as a call to action. March 11 (although some DZs will select another date) is right around the corner, so you and your fellow coaches and instructors should already be helping your Safety and Training Advisor with plans for the day. more »

Demonstrating Good Sense

Skydivers have to demonstrate a variety of skills and knowledge to earn the USPA PRO rating, which many of the public demonstration jumps conducted around the country each year require. Jumpers must train to jump with smoke and flags, learn to file a request for authorization with the local Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, complete 10 accuracy jumps and demonstrate proficiency in many other ways. But one of the most important attributes that every PRO jumper must have is not on the test: knowing when to say no and call off a demo jump. more »

2017 Instructor Examiner Standardization Meetings

In 2015, USPA conducted four AFF Standardization Meetings at various locations across the United States, plus a fifth meeting in Poland. USPA requires all AFF Instructor Examiners to attend one of these meetings every two years. That same year, USPA also participated in five Tandem Instructor Examiner Standardization Meetings organized by United Parachute Technologies, and all UPT Tandem Instructor Examiners were required to attend one of the meetings. Both the AFF and tandem meetings were well received and successful, so USPA elected to make the tandem meeting a requirement for all USPA Tandem IEs in 2017. more »