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.
USPA released the Integrated Student Program in July of 2000. With it came the four-sided A-License Progression Card, a tool that helps instructors keep track of student progress. Following the ISP and using the four-sided card is the easiest way for instructors to ensure that their students receive proper training and that they haven’t inadvertently missed something. As students progress through each of the eight categories, coaches (for the tasks coaches can document) or instructors date and initial the tasks. Then, when a student returns to the drop zone, any instructor can take a quick glance at the card to see what’s next. Also, accurate and detailed logbook entries help students keep track of their progress and provide helpful information for the next instructors who work with them.
Many drop zones choose to use the shorter, two-page A-License Proficiency Card and a homegrown student program. The two-sided card includes only the advancement criteria for each broad category (such as freefall, canopy, etc.) and does not list each of the required items within each category that students must complete to receive an A license. This requires the drop zone to have a very detailed method of tracking the student’s training to produce a properly trained A-license holder.
However, instructors are reporting that they frequently find that visiting students who are trained in this manner lack any documentation or the detailed logbook entries that will help them determine the next step to take. The reality is that students coming from this type of training environment are more likely to be missing some of the training and testing necessary to hold a USPA A license.
The ISP and all the supporting documents from USPA provide an easy path for both students and instructors to follow. This ensures that each student is truly ready to enter the world of skydiving as an A-license holder. If you are using the old program, consider switching: Your students deserve nothing less. You can find the ISP in Section 4 of the USPA Skydiver’s Information Manual.