The Rating Corner

Tandem Gear Checks

There is probably no more important task before each jump than conducting a basic gear check. This is doubly true of a tandem skydive, where two lives are at stake. You’d think that all tandem instructors would perform thorough gear checks as part of their pre-jump procedures for every skydive. After all, this is something they all learned—or should have learned—during the tandem instructor certification course. Unfortunately, instructors do not always do so, and this neglect occasionally results in an equipment-related emergency. more »

New Tandem BSRs

At its March 27-29 meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida, the USPA Board of Directors approved two important Basic Safety Requirements relating to tandem skydiving: more »

Tandem Selfie

Should tandem instructors allow their students to wear small video cameras such as the GoPro to film their own jumps? This question came up at a recent standardization meeting for tandem instructor examiners—which included some of the most experienced tandem skydivers on the planet—and none of them felt that it is reasonable to allow a student to wear a camera of any type. Additionally, Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 6-8 recommends that skydivers have at least 200 jumps before using any camera on a skydive. However, some drop zones are allowing it. more »

Ramping Up

As the student schedule starts to fill and the summer skydiving season begins to ramp up in most of the U.S., it only makes sense to fully prepare for the long and often hectic days to come. A little effort ahead of time can help ensure that you make a smooth transition from a long layoff or slow winter season into more demanding days ahead. more »

Interviewing Jumpers After an Accident

When a skydiving accident, fatal or non-fatal, occurs at a DZ, the USPA Safety and Training Advisor (or a USPA Instructor appointed by the S&TA) will need to find out what happened to help prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future. In most cases, many people witnessed some part of the accident, and the DZ staff member will have to interview them all. How the S&TA or instructor conducts the investigation will have a large bearing on the accuracy and usefulness of the information gleaned. more »

Improving Your Time Management

Each year, the second Saturday in March—USPA Safety Day—signals the time that many DZs, especially those in the northern hemisphere, begin thinking of the upcoming skydiving season. Spring is the perfect time to plan improvements to your student program even if you think your current program is working well. more »

Avoiding Negative Training Transfer

Most skydiving instructors learn about the whole-part-whole training method for the first time when attending an instructional rating course. Using the whole-part-whole method is an outstanding way of teaching the first-jump course; however, instructors can also accidently teach bad habits while using it. This is known as “negative training transfer.” The good news is that it is easy for an instructor to reduce the possibility of this happening by incorporating four steps that create muscle memory. more »

Updated License Tests | AFF Standization Meeting

License Tests
As of January 1, 2015, every student must complete the USPA-developed, 40-question written exam as part of the requirements for receiving an A license. USPA created new A-License Proficiency and A-License Progression Cards that include a signature line and area to record the written A-license test score. USPA recently distributed the new test to all Safety and Training Advisors, as well as Group Member drop zones. A USPA Instructor, Instructor Examiner, S&TA or board member must administer the test. more »

Tandem Emergencies

As a tandem instructor, are you fully prepared to handle emergency situations? Each of you reading this is probably nodding your head up and down and thinking, “Yes!” However, several recent incidents seem to indicate that we are not as prepared as we should be. Maybe now is a good time for you to spend some time with your fellow tandem instructors and go through some refresher training? more »

Using Cue Words for Efficient Practice

Cue words can help you become a more effective coach or instructor. A cue is simply a short command given during the practice section of a dirt dive to guide your student’s performance. The effectiveness is in its brevity. Here is an example: more »