Someone mentioned CSPA may want to 'watch' this development, so here goes:
This thread is my Journal for getting my spouse to an A license in Canada.
Aim is to get CSPA A license, but I had a schedule limitation:
As a travelling skydiver in North America, this is a challenge as I don't have a clear fixed home dropzone, because of my bigways endeavours that force me to travel. This forces me to the United States more often than in Canada as a result, so that meant a pratical consideration of considering USPA training, too. We live in Toronto, so...
Before July 2011
- Alain has had 10 minutes tunnel time, and 1 tandem jump in the last year. He has also had 6 static lines from 1995 at NouvelAir a long time ago, so it's pretty certain that Alain has the "skydiver smarts" to handle it, and no longer has the typical sensory overload scare of the "First Ever Jump". I start to shop around for my options for getting Alain Solo Certified, within the restrictions of our schedule.
- I finally become a car owner, expanding my options. However, for financial and practical considerations, I limit my dropzone search to dropzones that I was planning to visit for longer term (i.e. several days in one visit). This ended up being USPA dropzones, so I decided: USPA training, at least to begin with.
- Alain: JUMP COUNT: 7 (Note: two weeks later, he now has 21 jumps!)
- Birthday gift given to my spouse (Alain H Bureau) of a Freefall School Program: 10 jump USPA program (modified variant of integrated student program) at Skydive Cross Keys, near Philadelphia. Rationale: Rare time that I spend more than one week at the same dropzone. Perfect opportunity for spouse to get Solo Certified in one week at an 7-day operating dropzone.
- USPA membership purchased for Alain
July 31 - August 7
- We go to Skydive Cross Keys, since I have to host the annual Rainbow Boogie that was planned later in the week
- Alain's ground class started on Monday, August 1st, after one more tandem for altitude awareness and canopy instruction. Monday, a typically quiet day when instructors were available, and conveniently fill slots on light tandem loads.
- While my team runs the boogie, Alain does 10 successful AFP and/or solo jumps. One jump was repeated on his and my own request, even though it was not necessary.
- Alain gets Solo Certified, cleared for self-supervision without radio, on the final day of Rainbow Boogie 2011 (August 7th).
- I participated in two coached jumps where a coach/instructor jumped with us. I successfully held fallrate to Alain much better than the coach did. Due to my ~20 hours of tunnel time, I kept fallrate much better than the coach did (Alain falls SLOW! He just did his job, parking himself in a stable arch while waiting for the coach to come back to us, undocked side by side)
- Alain: JUMP COUNT: 18 .... (Entire program in just one week! +11 jumps)
August 8 - August 12
....I researched on how do I keep Alain current:
- Stay USPA? Convert to CSPA? USPA A license or CSPA A license? Which was easier?
- Parachute School of Toronto requires Alain to go through Ground School. Fair enough, I also wanted to do night jump and August 12 night jump was a convenient timing. Parachute School have weekend Ground School at a predictable time every morning, so Alain could sit through his 2nd ground school in just a few days. (because it's CSPA, not USPA)
- Niagara Skydive said they are a USPA dropzone and his USPA Solo is valid. Safer than Cross Keys (plenty of outs, not a forest-landlocked dropzone). Excellent, so Alain could at least 'stay current' if we couldn't jump at other dropzones sooner.
- Other dropzones did not respond to my Facebook posts quickly enough to catch my attention.
- I decided to give Parachute School of Toronto a chance first, because I eagerly wanted to do a Night Jump. And it seemed a likely place to call 'home' because I would rather Alain go to the same dropzone until he has his "A".
....I researched on how do I become a coach:
- I research on the fastest way to get Coach rating in Canada, but it appears I'm stuck. My favourite, Scott Mceown has an injury and is not teachig in Canada at the moment. I fail, deciding we have to go ahead with an A without any involvement from me as a coach rated skydiver.
- It looks like the alternative is to participate in coached/instructor jumps whenever it's allowed (whether USPA or CSPA), AND/OR pretend I'm a video guy (positioning myself as if I'm a video observer, or wear the CountorHD), staying away from all the danger zones. CSPA rules are more restrictive (perhaps for good reason; but remember: Alain has skyventure training)
Friday August 12
- After We drive to Parachute School of Toronto (with camping equipment) before finding out that their airplane is undergoing repairs (spare part needed). Night jump cancelled.
- We spend time with Adam Mabee discussing our options, whether it's easier to convert to CSPA or stay USPA. Unfortunately, it looked like the planes were the Murphy's Law preventing a jump opportunity. Enjoyed meeting my friends, but we decided to go home because of poor airplane prospects.
Saturday August 13
- I decided we'd go to Niagara Skydive and "take our chances" with a now-USPA dropzone located in Canada.
- My safety priority is to keep Alain current. At this instant, he's a highly current USPA Solo student who did 11 training jumps in just 7 days less than a week prior. (I sort of thought: Why should such a good and highly-current Solo Certified be forced to sit through ground school again just 7 days later after becoming Solo Certified in just a mere week??)
- Even though I already confirmed USPA Solo was already recognized, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to manifest Alain almost immediately, and we found an instructor who gave excellent orientiation to Alain, including transition gear change (I was concerned about the gear; but the main had only 300 jumps, and asked some questions that satisfied me) I feel Alain can stay the safest just by being able to jump at a farmland dropzone; lots of outs, grass already soft everywhere from the rain previous days -- so jump, he shall.
- Alain landed fine; no-radio standups in the correctly prescribed pattern. Safely gained excellent learning experience about wind layers on the sunset jump (strong winds at 1000, zero wind at ground), never landed outside the main landing zone. I think in this case; it was okay to trust a highly-current USPA Solo Certified to land.
- Coach jumped with Alain twice. One jump qualifies as a bullet on USPA grid, and one jump qualifies as a bullet on CSPA grid.
- We decided; perhaps it is now easier to continue our journey to get an A license for Alain at Niagara Skydive, since they a USPA dropzone where USPA Solo is valid at. It's a pratical consideration: need to keep Alain safe; need to keep Alain current. Best way to keep Alain safe is to keep him current.
- Priority is "stay current", even if it means continuing as USPA (even if I preferred CSPA)
- Alain: JUMP COUNT: 21 .... (+3 jumps, 2 of them Coach)
Suggestion to CSPA
It is hereby noted:
(A) There is USPA dropzones in Canada (i.e. Skydive Gananoque, Niagara Skydive, etc.) and this provides a convenient avenue for USPA Solo. Which might inadvertently indirectly hurt future CSPA business; therefore this becomes a CSPA BOD matter.
(B) It common for Canadian jumpers to visit USA for events (i.e. Nationals, Boogies, vacations, etc), which sometimes happen for a period long enough for someone (i.e. a spouse) to get Solo certified all at once in one visit.
(C) These USPA Solo-certified Canadians will obviously, on average, be safer skydivers than a slightly uncurrent CSPA student who got Solo Certified 29 days ago.
(D) It is in CSPA dropzones' business interest to accept more skydivers, especially USPA spouses (like mine) of CSPA skydivers (like me)
Therefore, CSPA should rightfully make an unilateral move to recognize USPA Solo within strict conditions:
(1) "Travelling Skydiver" amendment, such as a spouse that gets certified in one week, to allow Ground School to be waived if the student completed Ground School at an approved dropzone, less than 14 days ago in an approved country (i.e. USA) and completed their entire student program in the preceding 14 days (or mutually agreed stricter time range than for CSPA).
(2) They must have one coached/instructor freefall jump to verify skills.
(3) To gain CSPA Solo equivalence, take the CSPA Solo test, to cover the minor (and /usually/ insignificant) differences in CSPA vs USPA rules. The mistakes that some USPA Solo students may do in CSPA Solo tests, will be excellent debrief material with an instructor. Reasonable fee is okay; to cover the dropzones' time.
(4) Such jumpers are not required to redo ground school.
(Thus, freeing up one of the main bottlenecks at getting a USPA Solo spouse to jump at a CSPA dropzone)
So in a span of less than 14 days, Alain has gained 14 jumps!
Alain has both CSPA and USPA membership. So I've financially supported CSPA there.
But pratical/safety consideration: Will it be easier USPA Solo to get a CSPA A license or USPA A license as a Canadian?
I shall find out; focus on us as an excellent case study. Keep tuned!
-- Mark Rejhon