The Rating Corner | Jun 01, 2020
Rating Corner | Bringing Back the Tradition of Logbooks

Michael Wadkins

Sometime over the past 10-15 years—probably due to the advent of phone apps, manifest programs and digital altimeters that track jumps—many jumpers developed an indifferent or apathetic attitude toward formally logging jumps. It once was a time-honored tradition for jumpers to sit around the bonfire with their beers and log all the crazy antics that took place during the fun jumps they did with their friends. And there is a lot of value in it. It is time for rating holders to educate their students and others whom they mentor as to why logging is important and encourage them to revive this tradition.

The longer a skydiver stays in the sport, the more likely it is that they’ll aspire to attain higher licenses or work in the skydiving industry. Professional skydivers—as well as many other professionals such as airplane mechanics, parachute riggers, truck drivers, scuba divers and pilots—use logbooks to verify competency and skills and to detail the completion of required actions, maintenance items and job proficiency tasks. It only makes sense for jumpers who wish to obtain licenses, ratings or awards to provide proof of their qualifications. Depending on the type of professional qualification the jumper is striving for, a Safety and Training Advisor, instructor, judge, instructor examiner or USPA Board member (or a combination) must validate the candidate’s logged information in accordance with Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 3—Classification of Skydivers. SIM Section 3-1 states that jumps offered as evidence for licenses, skill requirements, qualifications and ratings must be documented in an appropriate chronological log that contains the following information: jump number, date and location; exit altitude; freefall time; type of jump; landing accuracy; equipment used; and—most importantly—a verifying signature.

Although jumpers can use a digital device for logging purposes, it is important that the digital log contains the information required by SIM Section 3-1. Additionally, it must be possible to download this data to create a physical document or PDF file that the jumper can supply to a verifying official. USPA also recently added new guidance in SIM Section 3-1 that reads, “Special requirements and additional qualifying items needed for the coach, instructor and instructor examiner ratings such as first-jump courses, air evaluations, ground evaluations and teaching requirements must be logged, verified and signed by a S&TA, or member of the USPA Board of Directors, or an Instructor Examiner.”

Logging jumps has always been an important aspect of the sport. The leaders in the sport have neglected to stress its significance to our younger jumpers and our overall skydiving population. Let’s set the example and educate jumpers on why it’s wise to log diligently, as we did in the past. Let’s passionately keep a history of the things we love to do in the sky. Let’s bring back the tradition of keeping logbooks and pass it on to the next generation of skydivers so that they will be prepared for their next steps in their journey in this great sport.

North Central Regional Director Michael Wadkins | D-18691; Coach Examiner; AFF, Static-Line, IAD and Tandem Instructor Examiner
Chair, USPA Safety & Training Committee

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