Most skydiving instructors would call themselves skydiving professionals, and most have the excellent teaching skills and air skills needed to be a pro. However, rating holders also need to be knowledgeable about the Federal Aviation Administration regulations and USPA requirements to really achieve pro status.
Candidates in coach and instructor rating courses receive a ton of information in a short period of time and often equate it to drinking from a fire hose. It’s easy to understand how they may forget some of the information they’ve learned. For this reason, new coaches and instructors should take some time to read through their course syllabi again after they earn their ratings, to help reinforce the vast amount of information covered in the course.
Candidates are supposed to obtain the Skydiver’s Information Manual (SIM) and Instructional Rating Manual (IRM), read through the course syllabus and complete the written exams before arriving at their courses. This helps each candidate become familiar with the rating process and course materials ahead of time. But judging by the communications USPA receives from new rating holders, some examiners may be glossing over some of the material or not covering it at all.
The commonly repeated errors that USPA sees are largely administrative. This makes sense, since coach and instructor rating courses tend to focus attention on other areas such as student training and in-air evaluations. But that does not relieve new coaches and instructors of the responsibility f or all of the duties of rating holders, including the more mundane areas of administrative tasks and paperwork. The subject areas in which coaches and instructors need the most help are:
• License applications and requirements for each USPA license
• Rating renewal requirements
• FAA regulations for skydiving
• USPA Basic Safety Requirements
A little self-study will go a long way toward brushing up on each of these subject areas. The SIM and IRM contain all of the necessary information. As a rating holder on the drop zone, you are now the go-to guy or gal when it comes to all sorts of topics. Do a little homework so you are prepared when the questions come your way. It’s part of what being a professional rating holder is all about.
Jim Crouch | D-16979 | USPA Director of Safety and Training