4-3 An Introduction
USPA recommends that skydivers complete training in the Integrated Student Program (ISP), an effective means of preparing a student for the USPA A license.
B. What is the ISP?
- USPA developed the ISP as a comprehensive training outline that meets the USPA Basic Safety Requirements (BSRs) for student training in all training methods.
- Some schools have developed equivalent programs that train the student to meet all the qualifications of the USPA A license.
- A prospective student should be able to ask a school to compare its program against this industry standard program.
- USPA recognizes the following training methods, or disciplines:
- USPA Accelerated Freefall (AFF or harness hold), where the student exits with two instructors who hold the student by the parachute harness for guidance and observation.
- Instructor-Assisted Deployment (IAD) and Static Line, the same method using different equipment during the initial jumps
- pilot chute deployed by the instructor as the student exits (instructor-assisted deployment)
- deployment via a static attachment to the aircraft that separates once the parachute deploys (static line)
- Tandem, where the student’s harness is attached to the front of the instructor’s harness as part of a specially designed and built parachute system for tandem skydiving
- vertical wind tunnel training, where a student receives instruction and practices basic freefall control and maneuvering
- As ISP students progress, those training in one method demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge and skill as ISP students trained in other methods.
C. Choosing a school
- Many regions are served by more than one skydiving center, so shop around.
- Ask questions (personal observation is even better) about the types of training offered, the type of equipment used, staff qualifications, etc.
- Skydiving schools are often listed in the local yellow pages under "parachute" or "skydiving."
- USPA maintains a list of current Group Member drop zones on the USPA website, uspa.org.
D. What to expect
- Upon arrival at the jump center, register with the skydiving school.
- All jumpers will be required to fill out a registration form which will usually ask for name, address, age, height, weight, occupation and the name, address, phone number, and relationship of someone to contact in case of emergency.
- Liability release
- Each participant will also be required to agree to and sign a liability release.
- This release will verify that the person understands that there is risk involved in skydiving and that the participant freely agrees to accept that risk.
- The legal release will usually contain a contract or covenant by which the participant agrees not to sue the skydiving school or anyone else if the participant is injured.
- All participants in skydiving must meet the USPA BSRs for medical fitness.
- A person should be in good health and physical condition to skydive and should not be on medication; however, some conditions can be properly managed if the instructor knows about them.
- An FAA flight physical or a doctor’s statement of fitness for skydiving may be required in some cases.
- The instructor also needs to know about any recent donations of blood.
- People who participate in SCUBA?diving should not fly for at least 24 hours afterward.
- Refer to faa.gov/pilots/medical/ for more information on medical fitness for flight.
USPA Statement of Medical Fitness "I represent and warrant that I have no known physical or mental infirmities that would impair my ability to participate in skydiving, or if I do have any such infirmities, that they have been or are being successfully treated so that they do not represent any foreseeable risk while skydiving."
"I also represent and warrant that I am not taking any medications or substances, prescription, or otherwise, that would impair my ability to participate in skydiving."
- All participants in skydiving must meet the BSRs for age.
- Upon completion of ground school and before the first jump, students should be required to pass written, oral, and practical tests.
E. Student equipment
- Students are provided with additional safety devices not usually found on equipment used by non-students.
- Special requirements for student parachute systems are listed in the BSRs.
- From the start, a student should be taught to be self-reliant and to respond quickly to emergency situations.
- Safety devices and features should be designed as emergency overrides or backups only, in the event that the student does not properly perform emergency procedures.
- Students should never use these features as a substitute for proper training and supervision
- Emergency back-ups give confidence to the student and peace of mind to the instructor.
- Student equipment should be well maintained.
- Changes in type of equipment and procedures should be avoided or minimized whenever possible during student training.
- When changes are made, adequate transition training must be provided in compliance with the BSRs.
- Foresight should be used to minimize the need to change emergency procedures as a student progresses.
- Canopies used for students should be large, docile, and appropriate for the student’s weight.
F. Training priorities
- The most important skill a skydiver must develop is the ability to cope with and respond to emergency situations. A student should review emergency procedures at the beginning of every jump day. The review must cover emergency procedures for these areas:
- Development of these skills should start with the first jump rather than at a point where supervision of jumping activities is reduced.
- Initial training, even if the student intends to make only one jump, should be designed to establish a foundation for the continuing growth and development of skills.