Published: October 25, 2015
I WANT TO BECOME AN AFF INSTRUCTOR......NOW WHAT??
What a great goal ! You love skydiving and want to teach others about your passion. That is the right motivation that leads to great Instructors. You won't become financially rich but you will be so rich in other aspects. ... Living the dream!
Before you can become an Instructor there is some work to be done. First step in this journey is the USPA Coach rating. Holding the Coach rating is mandatory for any Instructional rating You can become a Coach with a B license and 100 jumps. If you have a minimum of 500 jumps you can take the Coach and AFF courses back to back.
I am a Coach, what do I have to do to become an AFF-I?
AFF Proficiency card
Good question. First step should be to print out an AFF Proficiency card and find an active AFF Instructor at your DZ to help you with the sign off's. There are quite a few pre-requisites that need to be signed off prior to arriving at a course. All those tasks are actually really good to do. Most of the tasks are assisting with teaching. Teaching the first jump class and the briefings for all of the AFF Categories. (A-E) An important part of being an AFF Instructor is teaching your student the basic canopy skills and handling the radio. This too is part of the pre-requisites. Take it serious and get with Instructors when they do the canopy plan briefing and when they are in the field with the radio. You learn something new all the time. Different Instructors have different pet peeves. Some have developed great personal training methods. Have fun with it so you will arrive at the AFF course fully prepared. If you want to get started with your AFF Proficiency card, just send a quick message to INFO@SkydiveRatings.com and we will send you one ,along with our course information.
If you wonder how to get the course outline: You can order the Instructional Rating Manual from USPA. The outline of all rating courses is in this Manual together with the open book exams, evaluation forms and anything else related to rating courses. Once you have your book you can use it for possible other future courses as well. New updates are on the download page of USPA's webs-site. The IRM together with the good old SIM are the course books for all USPA courses
What exactly is AFF pre-course and do I really need to do that?
The AFF course has 2 mandatory practice jumps. One for the Category C evaluation jump and one for the category D evaluation jump. In most cases it takes more than 2 practice jumps to be fully prepared for the evaluation jumps. Bram Clement developed 7 AFF pre-course modules. Being one of the most experienced AFF Examiners in the world, he knows exactly how to coach someone to be successful in the AFF course. In these 7 modules we work on the specific
in-air AFF Instructor skills. When I say AFF Instructor skills, think about things like:
-Flying hard exits where the student does anything but arching.
-Slot flying with a moving student: You let go of your student for the first time and your student is all over the sky
-Reading someone's body position and properly presenting the correct hand signals
-Stopping spins and
-Roll over a student who is on their back
-Assisting a student at the bottom end of the skydive in case they are not altitude aware, from making them aware to actually pulling for them if needed
It takes more than 2 jumps for the average skydiver to learn these skills and get comfortable with it. At SkydiveRatings you can progress at your own pace. Are you done in 2 jumps - great! Your next jump will be an evaluation jump. Do you need 10 jumps- Awesome too! We will make sure you have a positive experience learning and do the evaluation jumps when you are ready. AFF pre-course is the best part of the AFF course. It is where you will gain confidence and get to the point where you believe in yourself and know that you can be an AFF Instructor. Where you realize that you have what it takes! We look at AFF pre-course as an integral part of the actual course. It is the job of an AFF Examiner to teach the course candidates how to be a great AFF Instructor both in the air as well as on the ground teaching.
What preparation can I do between now and the course :
Number one is get the AFF Proficiency card signed off on the pre-requisites.
Number two is be current with "belly jumping" Forget about all the other disciplines for a while. Focus on belly stuff. Any type of belly flying is good. Whether it is a 2 -way, 4-way, big way. Jumping with newer skydivers or with people that fly a little better than you. Challenge yourself. Try to get slots that will make you fly. A great 2-way exercise is "follow the leader" : Fly your slot going up-down-left right and every direction in between. Practice approaches in a straight line -smart flying. Make sure your technique is correct. You need to have your arms/hands freed up so you can give signals to the student and reach for him without backing up. If you are comfortable staying with your "target" that is moving around that really is the best practice for this purpose.
If you have a chance to practice with an AFF-Instructor that is a great opportunity, especially if this Instructor recently went through the course. Be careful though ,sometimes AFF Instructors will present you with harder skydives than you will ever get in the course. A professional Evaluator plans carefully how much to challenge each person to make sure the practice is a positive experience and candidates learn and progress instead of feeling intimidated and/or frustrated.
What do I have to do to pass the AFF course
You have a total of 6 jumps: Two of those are the mandatory practice jumps.
You have to make 3 satisfactory evaluation jumps. One category C Main side, One category C reserve side and a Category D jump. You have one chance to repeat an evaluation jump.
On the ground you have to teach a full category C and a Category D ground briefing, including all the reviews and new information as put out in the SIM.
The IRM General Instructor and AFF exam passed with at least 75 %
How long does it take to do the course
An AFF course typically lasts 6 days. Roughly a day and a half of class, 2 days of jumping and 2 days of ground preps. Because there is so much to do, we can organize the course to what works best. We prefer to start with practice jumps. But in case of bad weather on the first day we'll go straight to class. What works really nice is when we do a half day pf jumping and some class mixed up. After all nobody enjoys sitting in class all day. We believe in an active class, meaning that you will work things out with the group and present your findings in class. It is a more fun way to get through all the material.
Most of the times you make friendships for life during the course. Because it is a 6 day course and an intense week you work together as a close team. You help each other, learn from each other and at the end of the course for sure, you will have some drinks with each other J
An AFF Instructor rating is something to be proud of. It is the premier rating in the rating discipline and definitely a rating to learn. Get out there and start doing AFF as often as you can. Learn from more experienced Instructors. Sit in on other Instructor's briefings and classes. Ask, travel to other DZ's if you have the chance, be active and most of all enjoy the privileges of this awesome rating!