When I got my "D" rating in 1980, it was applied for at a S&TAs location
away from my local DZ. I'd heard the guy was "by the book" but fair. Thats
all I wanted. I felt that ANY possibility of the "buddy system" should be
avoided at our very small DZ.
Most ratings in those days (at least those I was aware of) were arrived at
fairly and "by the book." Even real water jumps into lakes or rivers HAD to
Then sometime in the mid to late 80s it appeared that too many people were
getting the "D" rating that didnt have the qualifications. This proved
itself not only on the field but also in the headlines when a so-called
"expert jumper" injured someone on a demo.
So USPA made the standards tougher by adding the PRO Rating. Now.... The
only problem I saw with that was the fact that the same "buddys" that handed
out the D ratings...were now handing out the PRO ratings. (and I saw this
Not only that... but the PRO rating is most often gotten by doing the
1... Only pick perfect wind and weather conditions to make your required
2.. Only jump at the same DZ that you have jumped at for many months (or
years) in order to line up with the known landmarks.
3... Only jump into an area as big as 50 football fields with no
obstructions. (most DZs)
Ok... now we have a PRO Rating. So on our first tight Demo, the winds are
10 to 15...the landing approach is over a power
line/buildng/crowd/...someone has managed to place themselves in your "safe"
area... And you're qualified to land within 15 feet of the crowd. Little
bit different in the REAL world isnt it?
A smart PRO "newbie" will find obstructions to practice with, LONG before
doing a real (tight) demo jump. Do they? I think its just a matter of
time until some PRO jumpers make the headlines just like the D raters did.
And as long as we're self policing...the buddy system is always lurking in
the background for some.
Having said that..... I understand that the FAA might adopt the USPAs
guidelines for PRO raters. I have no problem with that, as long as there's
a way to get the PRO rating without belonging to USPA. (I've been a member
for 20 years) But the very idea that the government could force you to join
a "private" club chills me to the bone.
Any hunters out there? What if the government said you HAD to belong to the
And photographers ? What if the government said you had to belong to the
USPA AND a camera club before you could take skydiving videos? Am I the
only one concerned with this? Having talked to USPA just last week... I was
informed that altho it was illegal... it WAS going to be the FAA rule soon.
Most FISDO guys arent going to give you any breaks when it comes to them
signing you off on a demo jump. And it USED to be that the USPA recommended
a FAA official watch you make an actual jump if you didnt belong to any
skydiving club or organization. Seems to me the same PRO guidelines could
be applied in this respect.
There HAS to be a way to get the rating without allowing the government to
force you to join ANY club for ANY reason. I told myself that I wasnt going
to used this word in this post, but I cant help it: Communism? God I hope
not. Blue Skies.....