In 2017, USPA conducted five standardization meetings for all current AFF instructor examiners and tandem instructor examiners, as well as those pursuing an examiner rating or attending purely for educational purposes. This was USPA’s first attempt at hosting the AFF and tandem meetings in one location and condensing the length of each discipline’s meeting to one day instead of two. The meetings went well, but the shorter meetings meant leaving out a lot of valuable information and discussion.
In addition, instructor examiners running rating courses have been telling USPA about course candidates who have arrived woefully unprepared, having never been trained properly during their coach courses. The USPA Coach Rating Course is the most important course that any USPA member who wants to teach skydiving will take. It sets the foundation for skills that are essential not only for the coach rating, but also for all of the USPA Instructor and Instructor Examiner ratings. If coaches do not receive proper training, they arrive at instructor rating courses already way behind the curve and less likely to pass. Bad coach courses also create cascades of failure that extend past the candidates to their students, who do not receive proper training and supervision. And that is the saddest part.
At the July USPA Board meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Safety and Training Committee decided to address these issues by changing the meeting format back to two days for each discipline, which will allow the inclusion of important content. The committee also decided to add coach examiners into the mix by requiring each of them to attend a 2019 standardization meeting. This will be a great opportunity for all coach examiners to receive much-needed input about the program from other examiners and also receive continuing education from USPA.
The 2019 meeting dates and locations are as follows:
• February 7-10 in Dallas, Texas, in conjunction with the Parachute Industry Association Symposium
• April 30-May 3 at Skydive Sussex in New Jersey
• July 16-19 at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois
• October 15-18 at Skydive San Diego/TACAir in Jamul, California
• December 3-6 at United Parachute Technologies in DeLand, Florida
Every coach examiner and instructor examiner or anyone who wishes to become an examiner must attend one of the 2019 meetings. Each meeting location will have the same schedule:
Day 1—coach examiners
Day 2—all examiners
Day 3—tandem instructor examiners
Day 4—AFF instructor examiners
Day 2 will consist of general information that is essential for all examiners. The other three days will be specific to the rating. Getting back to a two-day agenda will provide the time to include valuable content and make the meeting worthwhile for examiners of any discipline. This continuing education will develop a stronger group of examiners, and that benefits everyone in skydiving.
Jim Crouch | D-16979
USPA Director of Safety & Training