The Rating Corner

Y-Modifications to Tandem Harnesses

United Parachute Technologies held a standardization meeting March 31 and April 1 in DeLand, Florida. The company invited all Tandem Instructor Examiners (regardless of which manufacturer’s rating they held), and approximately 50 attended, as well as representatives from Jump Shack, Precision Aerodynamics and Strong Enterprises. The meeting included numerous valuable presentations and discussions among some of the most experienced tandem examiners in the world. The group spent the most significant amount of time discussing harnesses, specifically the Y-modification (an additional section of strapping on the back of the harness) and whether it should be mandatory for all tandem student harnesses. During an informal poll, about 50 percent of the examiners felt that it should be. more »

DZ Accident Preparedness

Additional Video Content Inside!

Unfortunately, just about everyone in this sport has witnessed a skydiving accident that required urgent medical attention and an ambulance or helicopter ride to the nearest trauma center. Some drop zones have a very well-thought-out medical-emergency action plan that staff can follow, while others just sort of wing it. How prepared is your drop zone for an emergency, and what steps can you take to ensure a smooth, efficient and effective working relationship with local emergency medical responders? more »

Flight Planners

Coaches, instructors and drop zone owners are always trying to find ways to improve student training and save time during busy days at the drop zone. USPA provides a very inexpensive tool that accomplishes both of those things: the flight planner. more »

Common Tandem Harness Adjustment Errors

It may seem like common sense to say that a properly fitted tandem student harness is required for every tandem skydive. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, instructors get lazy, forgetful or both, and many tandem students end up with an unpleasant canopy ride or even an injury upon landing. Small errors in harness adjustment can cause big problems for the student. more »

Crossing the Line

Just as they would expect as a patron of any other business, skydiving students expect to show up at a drop zone and find a professional staff that treats each customer with courtesy and respect. Unfortunately, some skydiving instructors may not always behave that way, crossing a line that turns a student’s first-jump experience into an event that makes them feel frightened and vulnerable due to real or perceived sexual harassment. It is essential that skydiving instructors and coaches treat all students appropriately and professionally. more »

Instructional Rating Renewal Seminars

Each year, USPA requires all instructional rating holders (which includes USPA Coaches, as well as Instructors) to participate in a Rating Renewal Seminar. The Skydiver’s Information Manual describes this as “a meeting of USPA instructional rating holders to exchange information, introduce and discuss new ideas, and to develop, improve or assure the quality of skydiving instruction.” more »

Utilizing SkydiveSchool.org as an Online Resource

USPA Instructors and Coaches are busy keeping our sport replenished, vibrant and growing at drop zones around the world, and the demand on their time is heavy. Drop zones can help their teams keep the quality of instruction high, minimize burnout, reduce liability, provide consistent curriculums and capitalize on new student enthusiasm, all without spending additional money, by using the website skydiveschool.org. more »

Canopy-Control Footage

For many students, video demonstrations of what they need to accomplish during their skydives are very helpful. Until now, there have been plenty of video demonstrations of various freefall maneuvers, such as turns or back flips, but very little canopy-control footage. more »

Packing and Gear Checks for Tandem Safety

The importance of a thorough gear check before every skydive is simple common sense, but in the world of tandem, it is doubly important. Tandem students rely on their instructors to guide them through their jumps with as little risk as possible. Just as competent aircraft pilots perform thorough pre-flights of their planes to ensure they are ready for flight, tandem instructors must perform thorough pre-flights of their tandem equipment. more »

Altimeters for Tandem Students

There are plenty of student training topics that always generate lively debate. One subject that always seems to generate two very different views is whether to equip tandem students with altimeters. Camp A says that each tandem student must be provided with his own altimeter and be trained to use it. Camp B says that the instructor’s altimeter meets the USPA Basic Safety Requirement that states each student must be equipped with a visually accessible altimeter, and that it is not necessary to equip a tandem student with his own. more »