The Rating Corner

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 »

Rules, Reasoning, Liability and Ethics

Does an instructional rating holder have more liability than those not coaching or instructing? more »

Creating an Emergency Grid System

Four years ago, Chicagoland Skydiving Center relocated from its longtime home to its current location in Rochelle, Illinois. The drop zone had a challenge on its hands: It needed to educate a new community about skydiving and establish an effective system of communication with the police, emergency medical services and fire department. more »

Separating Landings

It’s been seven years since the USPA Board of Directors mandated that all USPA Group Member drop zones separate those making high-performance landings from those flying standard landing patterns. The Group Member pledge now includes the following requirement: more »

Procedure Versus Style

As an instructor, you’ve probably been there: The first-jump course students are still in the classroom, and it’s late afternoon already. “He loves to hear himself talk,” another instructor murmurs in your ear. “True,” you think sarcastically to yourself, “but at least he covers the information, unlike some people I know.” more »

Maintaining Professionalism

Attitude, experience, proficiency, knowledge, judgment, responsibility and professionalism: These are the seven qualities that the USPA Instructional Rating Manual states that a coach or instructor should have. Earning a USPA rating and training students to skydive means that you need to step up your game on every level. more »

Follow the Plan

Whether you are assisting with a Category-A first jump, performing an A-license check dive or instructing one of the levels in between, your student can perform well only if he is trained properly for the task and you supervise him correctly and in a manner consistent with his preparation. Students often struggle just to accomplish the basic maneuvers required for each freefall and canopy dive flow, so any last-second changes to procedures will lead to confusion and could place your student at additional risk. more »


One of the most important duties of a USPA instructor or rating course examiner is handling the administrative requirements for jumpers’ USPA licenses and ratings. While some do a great job of taking care of their paperwork, USPA is forced to reject a substantial number of license and rating applications because the people responsible for submitting them did something wrong. The end result is often an angry license or rating candidate and a backlog in the processing of all licenses and ratings. Essentially, everyone is paying the price—in the form of delayed applications and a system that is moving much more slowly than it should—for those who are making mistakes. more »