Smoothing the Paperwork Flow for Your Students

As a general rule, skydiving coaches and instructors have several things in common:

  • Good skydiving skills
  • Good canopy piloting skills
  • Good teaching skills
  • Really, really bad administrative skills

Hey, three out of four ain’t bad!

As a rating holder, you love to skydive and love to teach skydiving. But you sure can use some help when it comes time to document anything in a student logbook or fill out a license application! It’s a relatively common problem. The sun only shines for so many hours a day, and weekend days can get crazy busy with trying to get all of the students trained and in the air. Your pesky paperwork will just have to wait, or maybe you’ll make a quick logbook entry during the debrief just so the student does not have to hang around after the jump is finished.
Eventually, when the student is almost done training for the A license, the logbook is barely understandable and half of the A-license card is not even completed. What now? Usually, a hurried attempt at filling in all of the missing signatures and logbook entries. But correct logbook entries are critical for every student skydive, so spend a few minutes to make a clear and concise entry that addresses every part of the jump and the ground training the student received.
USPA is forced to reject a lot of A-License Proficiency Cards and A-License Progression Cards because of errors by coaches and instructors. Here are some helpful hints for submitting license applications to help ensure that the process goes smoothly:

  • Neatness counts. USPA needs to identify all of the signatures and initials on the license application. Write legibly and include your license number in the appropriate spaces.
  • Make sure your own USPA membership and ratings are current and that you hold the necessary ratings for the document you are signing.
  • Sign each individual line item. Writing your name and license number in big letters across the whole page is a definite no-no. Rating holders must date or initial (with a license number where indicated) each line item.
  • Verify the requirement you are signing. USPA often receives license cards with the block “Joined USPA” checked, but the applicant is not a member. What else are you signing for that you haven’t verified?
  • Make sure an instructor signs the proficiency card items. The shorter, two-sided proficiency card includes only the advancement criteria for the various A-license requirements (freefall skills, canopy skills, etc.). Each of these items requires the signature of a USPA Instructor. Each signature line indicates with an “I” that an instructor signature is required. A coach cannot sign for any of the items on the A-License Proficiency Card.
  • Sign the progression card appropriately. The shaded lines on the progression card require the signature of a USPA Instructor. A coach, pilot or rigger may sign other sections of the card. The line items denote who can sign for each line with the initials “C,” “I,” “P” and “R.”

Skydiving is a fast-paced environment, both in the air and on the ground. Slow down, take a breath and spend a few minutes to be sure your logbook entries and license applications are completed correctly. Your students will appreciate a trouble-free experience when applying for their USPA licenses.   

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

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