USPA Central Region
Rating Currency issues
This information is being provided as a separate "letter" from my usual "check in" email
for Safety and Training Advisors in the USPA Central Region. I have also included
drop zone owners in this email.
The question is, "How do these people expect to stay current?" (The requirements to
stay current are listed in the USPA Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) and in the
IRM Essentials documents. The IRM cannot be downloaded from the USPA web site
at this time, but the IRM Essentials can be.)
- For many years now I have observed tandem jumping increase in popularity to the point
where it has affected the number of skydiving students who learn to skydive via solo
methods. If your drop zone is large, this probably does not affect you much, but some
smaller drop zones do not have many solo students.
- A the same time, I have noticed that people continue to get ratings and to mainly
frequent drop zones that do not have many solo students.
As I consider the various dropzones and their instructional staff, I sometimes do some
math in my head, and sometimes the numbers just don't make sense - the number of
instructional jumps needed for all of the instructional rating holders to stay current
does not match or exceed the number required by the rating holders.
I often ask new rating holders, or people discussing getting an instructional rating,
how they plan to stay current, and often I just get a puzzled look. (Are examiners
not emphasizing this enough in their courses?)
There are two choices for being current as an instructional rating holder:
Some years ago I suggested a change in the currency requirements for IAD
and static line ratings, which was passed by the USPA BOD. I realized that IAD and
static line instruction was in decline, and if we did not have any current
instructors in those methods, that the decline would increase.
- 1. Do enough yearly instructional jumps in that training method
- 2. Go to an Examiner
The other ratings are different.
- For IAD and static line ratings, an instructional rating holder can dispatch
experienced jumpers acting as student to meet the currency requirements for those ratings.
- Tandem rating recurrency jumps have always involved experienced jumpers.
- AFF rating currency does not allow for experienced jumps acting as students.
So, here are my suggestions and comments:
Perhaps during your first Instructional Rating Renewal Seminar for the season, all of the
instructional rating holders should get together with the DZO and deternine how they are
going to stay current. Have an IRM or IRM Essentials with someone.
If a drop zone does not provide its instructional rating holders with enough student jumps
to stay current, the instuctor will need to find another way to retain currency. It is
just that simple, (but may not be easy.)
There will be no "pencil whipping" of rating renewal requirements.
Unfortunately in the past I have discovered renewals questionable enough that I have had
to ask the rating holder for more documentation. In one case, I needed to work with USPA
heaquarters to "undo" a rating renewal. Both of these things are very unpleasant for everyone
involved, but I will continue to investigate questionable renewals.
In previous mailings, I have suggested to S&TAs and drop zone owners that they need to
ensure that their instructional staff is current, for several reasons, including
to reduce their legal liability. In the past I have found some instructors
that were uncurrent by many months.
I maintain a list of instructional rating holders to spot-check ratings currency
as well as membership currency. I have found that it is helpful to remind instructors
when they go uncurrent.
Drop zone owners, if you feel like you do not have the resources to keep track
of your rating holders and would like me to add your instructors to this list, simply
contact me with their name and membership number. It is very easy and quick for either
of us to check.
I do not make money from skydiving instruction. In fact, it costs me money.
Why do I do this? 1. I can represent skydivers as a USPA BOD member far better
if I continue to teach skydiving students. 2. I enjoy teaching students.
- At the time of my writing this letter, I am not current doing tandem jumping, and
will need to go to a tandem examiner to stay current.
- A couple of years ago, I retained my currency in IAD instruction by seeing an examiner
and doing a currency jump with them. I will need to do this again to become current.
- In the past, I have had to travel significant distances at significant cost to
keep my AFF rating current.
- It I can do it, anyone can do it.
Gary Peek, USPA Central Regional Director, first created 2/23/16