Section 4 of the Skydiver’s Information Manual contains the Integrated Student Program, now in its 18th year as the progression that USPA recommends for students working toward the A license. It is a very detailed program, which can make it look intimidating to the casual observer, but it’s actually easy to implement and use. The program makes it simple to track exactly what students have completed and what they still need to accomplish as they work through each of the tasks required for the USPA A license.
The ISP is really nothing more than an outline that defines each of the USPA A-license requirements. The same requirements existed for decades prior to the ISP, but USPA updated them to include additional training for group freefall and canopy skills. Prior to the ISP, there was no real structure or syllabus for canopy training, except for the basic landing-pattern and landing-accuracy requirements.
With the ISP, all students—whether tandem, IAD, static line or AFF—receive the same training for the A license. Although the first few jumps are different in each discipline, once a student is up to longer freefalls (Category C), the jumps are very similar from the perspective of the student. Freefall is freefall, and the only difference is how the instructor interacts with a student depending on whether the instructor holds an IAD, static-line or AFF rating. Once a student finishes aerobatic maneuvers with an instructor, a USPA Coach takes over the freefall training, helping the student to learn basic group freefall skills. As the student progresses beyond Category C, each of the remaining categories adds emphasis on canopy skills.
Many drop zones provide excellent student programs for those who are pursuing a skydiving license. Unfortunately, there are still others that need improvement. Take an honest look at your student program. There is a good chance you will see it needs some changes. The ISP and the four-sided USPA A-License Progression Card provide a program that has proven to create skilled and knowledgeable A-license holders. It is a flexible program and easy for both students and instructional staff to follow. So why not switch to a well-established program that already has all the supporting forms and documentation in place? It only makes sense.
Jim Crouch | D-16979
USPA Director of Safety & Training
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