Providing Your Students the Best

One of the most important of an instructional rating holder’s tasks is ensuring that each student receives proper training for the USPA A license. Part of this responsibility includes making logbook entries and initialing required items on the USPA A-License Proficiency Card or A-License Progression Card to properly track and document this training. Some instructors are very good about making logbook entries and updating the license cards, but many could use improvement, and drop zones handle this process in a seemingly infinite number of ways. more »

Updated Rules and Requirements for Rating Holders

As a USPA rating holder, it is important to stay on top of changes to the instructional rating system. Each USPA Board of Directors meeting usually produces changes, and USPA posts these to its website soon after the meeting concludes. The USPA Board approved several changes at its February meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Some of these place additional responsibilities on examiners to ensure that candidates meet the necessary experience requirements and that USPA Headquarters receives the proper documentation with each new rating. Others changes clarify course requirements and instructor responsibilities. more »

Helping with Safety Day

For many, Safety Day—a day full of refresher training and important life-saving presentations—signals the start of the skydiving season. Like a bugler blaring reveille to signal a charge, a DZ announces Safety Day as a call to action. March 11 (although some DZs will select another date) is right around the corner, so you and your fellow coaches and instructors should already be helping your Safety and Training Advisor with plans for the day. more »

Demonstrating Good Sense

Skydivers have to demonstrate a variety of skills and knowledge to earn the USPA PRO rating, which many of the public demonstration jumps conducted around the country each year require. Jumpers must train to jump with smoke and flags, learn to file a request for authorization with the local Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, complete 10 accuracy jumps and demonstrate proficiency in many other ways. But one of the most important attributes that every PRO jumper must have is not on the test: knowing when to say no and call off a demo jump. more »

2017 Instructor Examiner Standardization Meetings

In 2015, USPA conducted four AFF Standardization Meetings at various locations across the United States, plus a fifth meeting in Poland. USPA requires all AFF Instructor Examiners to attend one of these meetings every two years. That same year, USPA also participated in five Tandem Instructor Examiner Standardization Meetings organized by United Parachute Technologies, and all UPT Tandem Instructor Examiners were required to attend one of the meetings. Both the AFF and tandem meetings were well received and successful, so USPA elected to make the tandem meeting a requirement for all USPA Tandem IEs in 2017. more »

Rigging Knowledge for Instructors

Should USPA require instructional rating holders to also hold a Federal Aviation Administration Rigger Certificate? Jumpers have bounced this question around at lots of bonfires and argued both sides at various skydiving industry meetings through the years. Currently, no USPA rating holder needs to hold a rigger certificate, but under the old version of the USPA Instructor Examiner rating (retired in 2005) it was a requirement. more »

Personal Boundaries

Working with students is challenging in many ways. Instructors have a lot of responsibility to ensure that they thoroughly train and properly supervise each student on every skydive. To do this, instructors must also interact with students on a somewhat personal level. Training and harnessing students—especially tandem students—often requires instructors to get very close to them. more »

Administrative Professionals

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. more »

Choosing the Right Goal

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa are credited with being the first to summit the world’s highest mountain, Sagarmatha, or as we know it, Mount Everest. But that’s not true. There were undoubtedly several who reached the summit before them. However, they were the first to summit and return back down safely.

Setting just any goal won’t do. Choosing the right goal is crucial. more »

Enjoying the Flight

One of the great things about being a tandem instructor is the longer canopy flight that comes with making tandem jumps. On hot and busy days, it provides a chance to relax in cooler air, breathe deeply and spend a few minutes providing up-close canopy training to the student. It’s also nice to enjoy the clearer airspace and limited canopy traffic for the entire descent. Pulling the drogue release around 5,000 feet leaves a tandem pair with most canopy traffic far below and only other nearby tandem canopies to worry about during the descent. It also provides more time and altitude to deal with any canopy problems. An easy day. more »