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.

Suggested changes usually come in to the director of safety and training at USPA Headquarters or the board’s Safety and Training Committee chairman. After receipt, the director or chairman places the suggested changes on the Safety and Training Committee’s agenda for discussion at the next USPA Board meeting. If the committee approves a change, it then comes before the full board for a vote. If the full board approves the change, USPA places a change document on its website immediately (so it’s available between print cycles) and adds it to the next printed version of the manual.

The IRM has benefitted from the input of some of the best and brightest instructors and examiners in the skydiving industry. With that in mind, it only makes sense for examiners to closely follow the course outlines so that they are training and testing candidates to USPA standards. In some cases, this may not be happening.

Many examiners teaching AFF Instructor Rating Courses are reporting that they’ve had to spend a lot of time getting candidates up to speed just to pass the ground training sessions. The candidates arrive to the course with a current USPA Coach rating but cannot conduct a teaching session using the methods taught in the coach course. If experts agree that a USPA Coach Course requires three days to complete—regardless of whether it has one or six candidates enrolled—and an examiner runs a one-day course, it is fair to assume that the examiner has left out a lot of the required training and evaluation. The result is a poorly trained coach.

The USPA IRM (and SIM) has evolved into a detailed manual that contains a wealth of valuable information, and USPA plans to continue editing and improving it. Every examiner must follow the course outlines to maintain the expected standards so that each candidate earning a USPA rating is truly prepared and ready to face the challenges that lay ahead.

Jim Crouch | D-16979 | USPA Director of Safety & Training

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