The relationship between a skydiving instructor and a tandem student is a special one. There is a vested trust that extends reciprocally: the student has to trust the professionalism and experience of the instructor, and the instructor must trust the willingness of the inexperienced student to listen.
One of the ways this pivotal relationship is facilitated is, in truth, by having a good skydiving instructor but – as you may be thinking right this very moment – the term “good” sure is vague. So, what, precisely, makes a good skydiving instructor?
Take a peep at our reviews, and you will see that our fantastic skydiving instructors get a shout-out in nearly every one. Now, this comes as no surprise to us because we make a concerted effort to hire only the best and brightest to join the team at Skydive Orange. Want to know what makes a good skydiving instructor? Keep reading to see what we look for.
A good skydiving instructor holds themself to a high standard. They expect the best from themselves and from the dropzone they seek employment from, especially when it comes to equipment, instructional aptitude, and aircraft awareness.
Above all, a good skydiving instructor views themself as a professional skydiver. Even if the individual has a full-time job during the week, s/he treats their weekend employment as a skydiving instructor with the full respect and attention it deserves. Likewise, each tandem skydiving student should be made to feel comfortable and confident and should be treated with respect.
It’s important to remember, even as a tandem skydiving student, that completing a tandem skydive is much different than being the passive participant on a ride at an amusement park. On a tandem skydive, you have a role to fulfill. Your tandem skydiving instructor will serve as a guide on your first jump excursion. They will walk you through the process and reiterate the information from your training class – including, but not limited to, freefall body position, hand signals, and proper form for landing.
Aside from being informative, a good skydiving instructor can inspire every tandem student s/he is working with. Because skydiving is a mental and emotional challenge, the tandem skydiving instructor must know how to bring the best out of each student. To the nervous passenger, the tandem skydiving instructor will seem super zen, comforting, and compelling the student to continue onward and upward. Working with a particularly zealous student may mean that the instructor matches energy levels. It’s going to vary from person to person, but the particularly good tandem instructor makes this motivator role look easy peasy.
First and foremost, becoming a skydiving instructor requires a significant amount of skydiving experience and proper training. The experience requirements to become a skydiving instructor are a total of 500 accrued jumps and a minimum of three years in the sport. Skydivers interested in receiving the tandem instructor rating also need to have obtained a D license (the most advanced skydiving license) and hold a USPA Coach Rating or other Instructor Rating.
After achieving these prerequisites, an interested individual needs to take a tandem instructor rating course through an approved United States Parachute Association instructor. Tandem skydiving instructor candidates also need to take an equipment-specific course through the equipment manufacturer to ensure they know the proper deployment techniques and emergency procedures for the gear. Lastly, before taking passengers, a tandem skydiving instructor must also obtain an FAA Class III Medical indicating that they are in good health.
While proper training is of the utmost importance to becoming a quality instructor, there is something else that distinguishes a great skydiving instructor from a mediocre one. You see, it takes a truly special personality to become a high-caliber skydiving instructor.
Because skydiving instructors interact with people at a moment that has the potential to be, arguably, one of the most vulnerable moments of their life, the instructor has to have certain defining qualities – namely empathy, compassion, and of course, professionalism. Trust us, you can be one of the most skilled professional skydivers there is, but if you don’t have the right personality, you will not make a good skydiving instructor.
Luckily, here at Skydive Orange, we have a group of skydiving instructors we wouldn’t trade for the world. Are you ready to meet our awesome team? Come and jump with us – book now!
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.