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CASE REVIEW OF HIGH FIDELITY SIMULATOR TRAINING AND ITS EFFECTS

ON SKYDIVING PERFORMANCE

By

Kevin Grishkot

A thesis

submitted in partial fulfillment

of the requirements for the degree of

Bachelor of Science in the Department of Kinesiology

University of Maryland, College Park


May 2002

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THANKS TO:..........................................................................................................1

ABSTRACT............................................................................................................2

Key words:.......................................................................................................................2

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................3

Research Questions..........................................................................................................3
Research Hypotheses.......................................................................................................4
Delimitations....................................................................................................................4
Limitations.......................................................................................................................4
Assumptions.....................................................................................................................5
Definitions........................................................................................................................5

CHAPTER TWO...................................................................................................10

Literature Review ...........................................................................................................10


Simulator Research........................................................................................................11
Vertical Wind Tunnel Simulator....................................................................................12

CHAPTER THREE...............................................................................................14

METHODS............................................................................................................14

Subject Selection............................................................................................................14
Procedures......................................................................................................................14
Performance Measure....................................................................................................24

CHAPTER FOUR.................................................................................................26

RESULTS.............................................................................................................26

Measured Results...........................................................................................................26

CHAPTER FIVE....................................................................................................28
DISCUSSION........................................................................................................28

Research Questions........................................................................................................28
Special Observation ......................................................................................................29
Case Review Format......................................................................................................30
Classroom Learning, Rehearsal Time and Task Time...................................................31
Biomechanical Issues.....................................................................................................32
Standards Issues.............................................................................................................34
Simulator Fidelity..........................................................................................................35
Skill Transfer and Retention..........................................................................................35
Future Research.............................................................................................................36

CONCLUSIONS...................................................................................................36

BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................37

APPENDIX A, IRB COMMITTEE SUBMISSION.................................................40

APPENDIX B, INFORMED CONSENT FORM....................................................52

APPENDIX C, IRB APPROVAL MEMORANDUM..............................................57

..............................................................................................................................59

..............................................................................................................................60

APPENDIX D, CENTER OF GRAVITY ANALYSIS............................................61

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Thanks to:

The author would like to thank these people for their unselfish assistance

and boundless patience during this project.

Dr. Marc Rodgers

Dr. Rosemary Lindle

Dr. B. Don Franks

Susan Griffiths

Doug Forth

Tom Timmons.

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Abstract

A pilot study to examine the effects of training in a high fidelity simulator

on the relative work (RW) performance of a novice skydiver was conducted in

this study. Training took place over three days at the Skyventure vertical wind

tunnel in Orlando FL. Training sessions in the simulator were preceded by

classroom sessions and all simulator sessions were recorded on videotape.

Simulator sessions were two (2) half hour sessions on consecutive days and one

(1) fifteen (15) minute session on the third day followed by an evaluation jump

conducted at Skydive Deland in Deland FL. Results were equalized for time

against the reference standard and noted a five hundred (500) percent

improvement over the reference standard of two (2) points documented in test

subjects level five (5) student jump. Results were not consistent with standards

for practice (Ericsson, et al. 1993) but could be accounted for by faulty standards.

No other skydiving simulator studies were located during the research phase of

this study, making comparison to other research impossible.

Key words:
Simulator, Skydiving, Wind Tunnel, Parachuting, Freefall, Relative work, AFF.

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Chapter One

Introduction

Given the advances in research and technology, it would seem likely that

a standard for practice structure, duration, use of simulators and other issues

would have emerged as being the most efficient, but no such standard has

emerged (Newell, 1991). Beyond the limited realm of aviation and spacecraft

simulators, there are very few studies that involve skill transfer from simulator to

task. There are no studies that examine skill transfer relevant to skydiving or

skydiving simulators.

It is important to study skill transfer from skydiving simulators in order to

begin to fill a gap in the research that currently exists. There is a possibility that

information learned in this area could have influence in other areas of knowledge.

Therefore the purpose of this study is to examine the effects of wind

tunnel training on skydiving performance and to serve as a pilot study to justify

further research.

Research Questions

This pilot study address the following research issues:

1. What is the effect of simulator training on skydiving performance?

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2. How does this training compare with the established criteria of Ericsson,

Krampe, & Tesch-Römer?

3. How does skill transfer from the simulator compare to existing standards?

Research Hypotheses

It is expected that sessions in the simulator will have a positive effect on

performance in the task of skydiving.

Delimitations

This study is limited to:

• The limitations of a single subject case review.

• Studies in which the test task was relevant to a real world task.

• Studies available in English language.

Limitations

This study is limited by:

• The number of available studies.

• The limitations of a single test subject case review.

• The availability of existing studies.

• The time constraints given for this course.

• Studies available due to heightened security due to the events of 9-11-2001.

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Assumptions

For purposes of this study, the following will be assumed:

• The data supplied in the published works are correct.

• The data are not biased in any way.

• The data was correctly interpreted in the published works.

Definitions

For this study the following definitions will apply. These definitions come

from the literature and are considered standard.

Automaticity: A characteristic of a skilled performance; indicates that a person

uses knowledge and procedures automatically, without requiring attention

resources. Also, psychological efficiency. (Magill, 1998)

Blocked practice: Practice that has a given or set number of repetitions of a

selected motor skill. (Magill, 1998)

Contextual Interference Effect: The learning benefit resulting from practicing

multiple skills in a high contextual interference practice schedule (as in random

practice), rather than practicing the skills in a low contextual interference

schedule (as in blocked practice). (Magill & Hall, 1990)

Contextual Interference: The interference that results from practicing variations of

a skill within the context of a practice situation. (Magill, Hall, 1990)

Distributed Practice: A practice schedule in which the amount of rest between

trials or groups of trials is relatively large. (Magill, 1998)

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Explicit learning: Learning that is available to the level of cognition. (Magill, 1998)

Implicit learning: Learning that is not available to the level of cognition. (Magill,

1998)

Intertask Transfer: Transfer between tasks or skills. (Magill, 1998)

Knowledge of performance (KP): A type of augmented feedback that gives

information about the movement characteristics that led to the outcome of the

movement or skill performance. (Magill, 1998)

Knowledge of results (KR): A type of augmented feedback that gives information

about the outcome of a movement or skill. (Magill, 1998)

Learning Improvement of a skill that occurs as a result of practice. (Ericsson, et

al. 1993)

Negative Transfer: The negative effect of prior experience on performance of a

skill, so that a person performs the skill less well than he or she would have

without prior experience. (Ericsson, et al. 1993)

Massed Practice: A practice schedule in which the amount of rest between trials

or groups of trials is either very short or non-existent, so that practice is relatively

continuous. (Ericsson, et al. 1993)

Mental practice: Use of imagery and non-physical rehearsal prior to or in place of

performance of a motor skill. (Magill, 1998)

Performance: the motor behavior exhibited on a task that can be measured.

(Ericsson, et al. 1993)

Positive Transfer: Enhancement in performance of a skill due to prior experience.

(Magill, 1998)

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Practice: Deliberate and purposeful rehearsal with the goal of increasing the

proficiency of a motor skill. (Ericsson, et al. 1993)

Psychological efficiency: A characteristic of a skilled performance; indicates that

a person uses knowledge and procedures automatically, without requiring

attention resources. (Magill, 1998)

Retention: Skill level maintained during a period of non-practice. (Magill, 1998)

Skill: an underlying capability or potential to perform at a given level. (Magill,

1998)

Study Specific Definitions

The following definitions are specific to skydiving and will describe aspects

of skydiving and wind tunnel training as it applies to this study.

Above ground level (AGL): Altitude above the surface of the Earth regardless of

mean sea level. (USPA, 2001)

Accelerated free fall (AFF): A seven level program of instruction developed by

the USPA for training student skydivers. (USPA, 2001)

Break Off Altitude: A pre-established altitude at which the skydive is terminated

and the parachute is deployed. For this study, break-off altitude is 4000 feet,

AGL. (USPA, 2001)

Circle of Awareness: A check of conditions during a skydive. These conditions

are: heading, altitude, and other skydivers. (USPA, 2001)

Fidelity: The degree to which a device or a facility simulates a machine or a

system. (Yuan-Liang, 1984)

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Grip: A specific area on the jump suit or a skydivers body (hand, feet, etc…) that

another jumper is designated to contact.

Piece and piece flying: A piece consists of a part of an RW formation that

contains two or more members but is not complete. Piece flying refers to

maneuvering of a piece in order to transition from one point to another.

Points: In RW skydiving, a point is scored for every new formation created on a

given skydive. (USPA, 2001)

Relative Work (RW): Skydiving that is characterized by flying in an orientation

that maintains a belly to earth position. (USPA, 2001)

Simulator: A device or facility that represents a machine, system or environment

and its functions. (Yuan-Liang, 1984)

Skydiving: The descent of a person, to the surface from an aircraft in flight, when

he intends to use, or uses, a parachute during all or part of that descent. (USPA,

2001)

Training: Exercise that increases the physical capabilities of a person. Not

necessarily connected with a given motor skill. e.g. strength training in

endurance athletes.

Transfer Effectiveness Ratio: A measure for assessing the effectiveness of a

simulator. Expressed in time on a real system as a function of time spent in the

simulator. (Yuan-Liang, 1984)

SkyVenture Tunnel: A vertical wind tunnel used for skydiving simulation. Located

in Orlando FL. AKA: tunnel or the tunnel.

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Tunnel Camps: Seminars and workshops hosted by skydiving instructors,

coaches, team members and other experienced skydivers for the purpose of

practicing, enhancing or correcting skydiving performance.

Way: The number of skydivers on any given jump. e.g. two-way, three-way,

(USPA, 2001)

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Chapter Two

Literature Review

There are many reasons to use a simulator as a training or instructional

tool. Among them are issues related to safety, cost and task constraints.

Although there is a great deal of research on simulators available, outside the

realm of airplane and spacecraft simulators, there is very little published

research. For this study, resources from the University of Maryland, College

Park library system, the National Institute of Medicine, Medline, the NASA

technical reports server and the resources of Sport Discus search engine were

utilized. These resources yielded a total of 318 articles for this study. Of those

studies, 22 were selected for review and inclusion in this study. Additional

resources included textbooks, technical reports, federal regulations and training

standard manuals.

There was no published research on skydiving simulators. Therefore,

studies covering aircraft simulators, practice and learning theory, motor control

and sport psychology were reviewed for relevance to this subject. Most

interesting for this study were works that involved skill transfer in simulators

(Gopher, et al. 1994), practice theory (Al-Ameer & Toole, T. 1993), (Ericsson, et

al. 1993), (Fitts, & Posner. 1967), (Helsen, et al. 1998), (Hird, et al. 1991), (Pigott

& Shapiro. 1994), skill acquisition (Al-Ameer & Toole. 1993), (Hatfield & Hillman.

1999), (Hird, et al. 1991), (Magill, & Hall. 1990), (Mohler. 2000), (Newell. 1991),

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(Pigott & Shapiro. 1994), (Wulf, et al. 1998), neuropsychology and EEG

research (Haufler, et al 2000), (Pascual-Leone, 1994), (Stearman & Mann.

1995), (Willingham. 1998).

Simulator Research

From these studies a picture of the state of simulator use and theory has

emerged. There is a direct correlation between the fidelity of the simulator and

its effectiveness as a training tool (Yuan-Liang, 1984). Specifically, when the

simulator can deliver a sufficiently high degree of fidelity combined with a

sustained time on task component, those simulators demonstrate a higher

degree of skill transfer to the real world task (Ericsson, et al. 1993), (Gopher, et

al. 1994), (Magill & Hall 1990), (Wulf, et al. 1998), (Yuan-Liang, 1984). The

sector that uses simulators to the highest degree is the military, airlines and

NASA. The highest degree of simulator fidelity is used by these three entities. It

is common knowledge that the airline simulators that incorporate computerized

virtual reality are the highest of high fidelity simulators.

Simulator fidelity is of particular concern to this study. It is known in the

literature that statistically significant skill transfer can be gained through the use

of low and medium fidelity simulators, the most effective training is derived from

simulators that have a high degree of fidelity (Gopher, et al. 1994). Simulator

fidelity is defined as the ability of the simulator to reproduce the behavior of the

real equipment or system (Yuan-Liang, 1984). This fidelity takes on several

aspects. First is the issue of equipment fidelity. This is the degree to which the

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control inputs match the real world inputs. Second is the environment fidelity.

This is the degree to which the simulator reproduces the physical environment of

the task or environment. Last is the issue of psychological fidelity. This is the

degree to which the simulator creates the perception of the real environment of

the task or system (Yuan-Liang, 1984).

Vertical Wind Tunnel Simulator

As a comparison, the facility used in this study, the SkyVenture wind

tunnel in Orlando FL, compares highly to the previously mentioned standards.

Users report that the design of this tunnel is a substantial improvement over

previous designs. The SkyVenture facility is the de facto standard for skydiving

simulators in the industry.

With respect to the issue of equipment fidelity, the equipment used at the

simulator facility is an exact match for that used in the sport of skydiving. For this

study, the test subject wore the same jumpsuit and helmet she uses on a

recreational skydive. The only substantive difference in equipment fidelity

between this simulator and the real world task is the absence of the parachute

harness and container equipment.

The simulator is an exact duplicate of the environment encountered in

skydiving. The only difference in environment fidelity is there is no change in the

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relative wind direction normally encountered on exiting the aircraft in the actual

task. This is not considered a factor in this study.

The issue of psychological fidelity is the only element where the wind

tunnel simulator does not meet. The visual cues and indoor environment do not

resemble the freefall environment in any way. However this is thought to be an

enhancement rather than detraction. Given that there are no fixed reference

points in the skydiving environment, and therefore fixed points to reference to,

the presence of fixed points such as walls and the floor grate enhances the effect

of training in the simulator. This is consistent with observed effects of both

removal of and enhancement of contextual interference (Magill & Hall, 1990). By

having fixed reference points, in the simulator, contextual interference is removed

and the subject can receive instant feedback for error correction. By contrast,

contextual interference in increased by the restrictive nature of the tunnel itself.

By having to confine flight to a relatively narrow area, errors are magnified and

the need for immediate correction is significantly greater than that of the freefall

environment. The issue of psychological fidelity is an area for further research.

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Chapter Three

Methods

Subject Selection

The subject for this case review was a 26-year-old female skydiver who

has completed her student training, earned her class A license from the United

States Parachute Association (USPA), and had amassed 39 sport skydives. This

subject participates in skydiving independently of the student investigator and

this project. This subject was selected because she has been trained to a level

where she is competent and licensed in the sport but not yet an expert. She also

was selected due to the fact that she had all her student instruction documented

by videotape.

Procedures

In order to understand the nature of the skills involved in this case review,

a brief description of the nature of sport of skydiving and of the risk involved is

needed. The Federal Air Regulations, Part 105, § 105.1 (b), defines Skydiving

as: “For the purposes of this part, a parachute jump means the descent of a

person, to the surface from an aircraft in flight, when he intends to use, or uses, a

parachute during all or part of that descent.” (Original italics) The part that states

“…part of that descent…” is known as freefall and is the essence of skydiving.

There are five main disciplines within skydiving:

1. Freefall Relative Work (RW)

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2. Canopy Relative Work (CRW)

3. Freestyle

4. Style and Accuracy (SA)

5. Free Fly or Freakflying (AKA, Vertical Relative Work, or VRW)

All student skydivers first begin by learning freefall relative work. With the

exception of canopy relative work, all skydiving skills are based on RW skills.

Students are taught using a seven level syllabus, developed by the United States

Parachute Association (USPA) that has the goal of imparting the skills needed to

fly one’s body in a flat, belly to earth, position, maneuver in a horizontal and

vertical plane, recover from disturbances to one’s stability and maintain

situational awareness (e.g., altitude, position of other skydivers, position relative

to the drop zone and emergency procedures). These are the basic skills that a

student skydiver acquires prior to graduating the program. Although it is possible

to graduate from this program in seven jumps, most students take longer to

complete the program. From graduating a student program (known as “being off

student status”), beginning skydivers then concentrate on meeting the

requirements for the basic license. There are four classes of skydiver license the

USPA issues: class A, basic, class B, intermediate, class C, advanced and class

D, master. The requirements for obtaining a class A license are:

a. Completed a minimum of 20 freefall jumps.

b. Be able to pack their own main parachute.

c. Successful completion of a written exam.

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d. Completion of the license skills proficiency check off card.

Once a student has completed this process, that person is considered a

fully licensed and competent skydiver and is allowed to:

a. Participate in group jumps.

b. Pack a main parachute.

c. Perform water jumps.

Skydiving is a meticulously planned event. All jumps are pre-planned and

rehearsed on the ground, this process is known as Dirt Diving. The purpose of

this process is to enhance safety, to ensure a dive goes as planned and to

maximize the fun that each participant will have. On any individual skydive there

is always, at minimum, the following amount of pre-planning:

a. Type of dive to be done, e.g., RW, CRW, VRW.

b. Individual maneuvers for that particular jump.

c. Exit altitude.

d. Break off and deployment altitudes, that is, stop free fall activities, get

clear of other jumpers and pull parachute.

Because weather plays an integral role in the conduction of jump

activities, the following information is relayed to all jumpers at the skydiving

center for that day and is updated as conditions change:

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a. Wind direction and speed at the surface and aloft for 3000 ft, 6000 ft,

9000 ft, and 12000 ft.

b. Direction of the jump run, expressed in terms of compass heading, the

pilot will fly.

c. Recommended secondary landing areas.

d. Significant weather hazards for that day, e.g., turbulence at 5000 ft,

high heat and humidity warnings (known as high density altitude days).

The minimum weather conditions needed to allow jumping are:

a. Five miles horizontal visibility.

b. Minimum cloud ceiling of 4000 ft.

c. Winds below 20 mph steady at the surface or gusts to 15 mph at the

surface.

d. Confirmation from FAA flight service of weather conditions and

forecast prognosis.

The minimum equipment that any skydiver must have to make a jump is:

a. An FAA approved harness and container system.

b. An FAA approved reserve parachute.

c. A serviceable main parachute.

d. Goggles or other eye protection (e.g., full-face helmets, tight glasses).

e. A working visual altimeter gauge.

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Optional equipment, in addition to the minimum equipment that was used

for this case review was:

a. Jump suits.

b. Full-face helmets.

c. Audible altitude alerting devices.

d. Gloves.

e. Shoes.

f. Altitude Activated Devices, (AAD’s), an altitude and descent rate

sensor that will automatically deploy the reserve parachute in the event

that the rate of descent is above a preset rate at a preset altitude.

Once the basic safety requirements are met and the dive has been planned, the

dive will take place and will be scored to assess the dive. NO dive is considered

complete until all jumpers are accounted for; the dive is reviewed and logged.

After the dive is logged, the dive is scored for points.

Tunnel Procedures

The structure and format of this project closely follows the structure of

workshops known as tunnel camps that are commercially available in the

skydiving community. A tunnel camp typically involves a session of classroom

instruction followed by a session in the wind tunnel and a review session

following the wind tunnel session. This process is repeated over the course of

two or three days with the final day consisting of a series of evaluated jumps at a

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local skydiving center. The instructor(s) for this study were provided on location

by the wind tunnel facility.

The case review subject underwent three sessions of training in the

classroom and practice in the wind tunnel at SkyVenture in Orlando, FL. The

training and practice sessions took place on three consecutive days in the wind

tunnel. On the fourth day an evaluation jump from an airplane was conducted.

The student investigator served only as the evaluator for the jump that took place

on the fourth day. The test subject’s performance on the evaluation jump was

compared to the baseline performance established during her student training.

There were five possible skydiving centers available in the Orlando area. The

one chosen for the evaluation jump (Skydive Deland, Deland, FL) was chosen

according to the weather conditions on the day of the evaluation jump.

The specific skills that the subject practiced were:

1. Basic body stability skills: These entail remaining stationary in the

vertical and horizontal aspect relative to either a fixed point in the

tunnel or a second skydiver while maintaining a belly-to-earth

position. Although the subject is proficient in this skill to the level

required for graduation from student to basic class A license,

enhancement of this fundamental skill beyond mere proficiency will

increase both safety and future skill acquisition.

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2. Basic relative work skills (RW) are free fall maneuvers that are

performed in relation to another jumper or, for purposes of this

study, a fixed point in the vertical wind tunnel. These are the

fundamental skills from which all other skydiving skills and

disciplines evolve. These basic skills are classified as:

a. Fall rate control – control of fall rate relative to another

jumper.

b. Flat turns – staying on the same horizontal plane as another

jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while turning 45, 90,180

and 360 degrees.

c. Forward motion – moving forward relative to another jumper

or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on the same

horizontal plane.

d. Rearward motion - moving backward relative to another

jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on the same

horizontal plane.

e. Lateral movement – flat movement left or right relative to

another jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on

the same horizontal plane.

f. Circular horizontal movement - orbiting a fixed point while

staying on the same horizontal plane.

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3. Specific relative work (RW) skills. These specific skills must be

learned for a jumper to become proficient in multiple jumper

formations.

a. “Mantis” position is used for turning quickly and maintaining

a fast fall rate by reducing wind resistance and presenting a

smaller surface area to the wind. The arms are held close to

the body, with elbows bent and the knees are bent and feet

tucked very close to the body.

b. Two way “piece” flying. Two skydivers with a firmly

established grip on each other maneuver as one unit

vertically and horizontally.

c. Grip presentation. A horizontal or vertical turn by one

skydiver that allows the other skydiver to grip him or her by

the body part that is presented.

Instruction in these skills was provided in a classroom setting by instructors

employed by Sky Venture, not the student investigator. These skills were then

practiced in the tunnel under the supervision of the same instructor(s). The

student investigator acted as the other skydiver for practicing maneuvers that

required two skydivers.

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First Day

This consisted of one fifteen-minute session of classroom instruction

involving body position instruction, maneuvering instruction, tunnel safety and

general orientation procedures. This classroom session was followed by one

thirty-minute session divided into fifteen two-minute blocks or “flights”. An

instructor certified by United States Parachute Association to the level of Coach

(or higher) supervised these sessions. Tunnel instruction sessions were

provided by the same instructor and followed classroom instruction. Classroom

review sessions followed all tunnel sessions.

1. The first objective of the first session was to evaluate the test

subject’s basic body stability skills as listed above.

2. The second objective was to correct any deficiencies that exist in

her basic body stability skills. This was be accomplished in the

classroom session that follows all tunnel sessions.

Second Day

This consisted of a thirty-minute tunnel flight session divided into six five-

minute blocks

1. The first objective in this session was to practice skills needed for flying

with a second jumper in the tunnel.

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2. The second objective was to introduce the skills to be evaluated in the

post training evaluation jump. This will be a re-enactment of the level 5

student jump.

Third Day

One fifteen-minute tunnel flight session, divided into three five-minute

flights. The student investigator supervised this session. No classroom

instruction was included in this session.

Fourth Day

The evaluation jump took place at Skydive Deland in Deland, FL. The

student investigator evaluated the skills that were improved in the tunnel training

and practice sessions. The performance was evaluated by assessing the total

number of points scored on this jump when compared to the total number of

points scored on the accelerated free fall (AFF) level 5 student jump that was

performed by the subject in July of 2001. (The point system will be discussed in

detail in the following section.)

The Point System

Skydiving uses a point system to gauge performance and to serve as a

quantitative measure for competition. The point system involves two or more

jumpers establishing a two handed grip on another skydiver, or in the case of

more than two jumpers, a one handed grip on two different jumpers. When

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established, a completed grip has the effect of making the individual jumpers into

a formation. These formations have specific names and are used in establishing

a competitive standard. For the purpose of this study, the naming of formations

does not apply. When a grip has been established, a point is scored. On a

relative work skydive, the objective is to complete as many points as possible

between the time that the airplane is exited and the time the established break off

altitude is reached. Most often, videotape is used to judge the total points scored

on any given jump. In this study, videotape was used to assess performance

both in the wind tunnel and on the evaluation skydive.

Evaluation Jump

The student and the evaluator exited the aircraft with a grip already

established. When the airspeed reached terminal velocity (acceleration stops

and both jumpers are at a steady state speed), the evaluator cued the student to

begin the maneuvers. The student completed as many points as possible by

establishing and releasing grips on the evaluator until a pre-determined altitude

was reached. When the pre-determined altitude was reached (known as Break

Off Altitude), the student and the evaluator turned 180 degrees and moved away

from each other to deploy their parachutes.

Performance Measure

The measure of performance was the number of points scored on the

evaluation jump. This was compared to the number of points scored on the level

5 student jump. The score was also equalized for the time noted on the level 5

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student jump. The specific skill on this jump was to exit the plane with an

established grip, release that grip, complete a 360-degree rotation and re-

establish a grip on the evaluator. For each time the grip was re-established, a

point was scored. Rotations were made in both the right and left directions.

Performance was rated by review of the videotape of both jumps, establishing a

working time based on the duration of the student jump, then measuring the

performance on the evaluation jump using the established working time.

Professional video camera personnel provided by the skydiving center recorded

the videotape.

The established criteria for this study was a score of two points in a

working time of 00:00:52:29. This was compared to the number of points scored

on the evaluation jump and then a percentage rating for positive, negative or no

skill transfer. This data was used to test for compliance with the established

Transfer Effectiveness Ratio (TER) using the following formula:

TER= (c-e)/te

Where

C= time to reach some criterion on the real system.

E= corresponding value for test subject.

TE= time test subject spent in the simulator. (Yuan-Liang, 1984)

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Chapter Four

Results
Measured Results

The test subject completed three sessions of tunnel training and

completed one evaluation jump, as per the proposed schedule. The total tunnel

time was recorded as 00:43:41:00. The results measured demonstrate a

successful completion of thirteen (13) points on the evaluation jump. When

adjusted for the working time established by the original level 5 student jump, the

yield was twelve (12) points. This score is further adjusted by subtraction of two

(2) points scored on the original level 5 student jump giving a net observed result

of ten (10) points total. This score represents a measured improvement of five

hundred (500) percent.

TER Evaluation

A second measure of simulator effectiveness is the Transfer Effectiveness

Ratio (Yuan-Liang, 1984). The TER serves as a method of measuring the time

savings that a simulator yields. We can evaluate the simulator in terms of time

needed to reach a specified criterion vs. time spent in the simulator. In this study

the time criterion for expert level performance is one hour or 3600 seconds

(USPA, 2001). When the values of 2350 seconds for prior experience and 2621

seconds are considered, the formula TER= (c-e)/te can be worked as follows:

Where:

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C=3600 seconds

E=2350 seconds

T=2621 seconds

This produces a result of:

(3600 − 2350 )
= .47
2621

This is understood as each second of simulator time has a value of .47 seconds

of real time on task. Thus, the simulator can essentially reduce by approximately

half, the time needed to achieve expert level performance.

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Chapter Five

Discussion

Research Questions

As expected, a positive skill transfer from the simulator to the task was

measured. With a measured improvement of five hundred (500) percent, this

gain is considered a significant result. However, this result raises more

questions than it answers. Given the limitations of a single subject case review,

it is not possible to test whether this result is reproducible or is an isolated event.

Additionally, there is no research available for comparison in simulators of this

type, so even an evaluation against a normative standard is impossible.

When viewed in terms of time, the observations are not consistent with the

literature. The established theory of practice states that to acquire expert level

performance, one must practice between one (1) and three (3) hours a day for

ten (10) years from the beginning of interest in the task(s) (Ericsson, et al. 1993).

In this study the test subject reached the standard for expert performance in a

time period that would take a subject who did not use the simulator at least one

hour of on task time to accomplish (USPA, 2001). Given that if a subject were to

spend six (6) minutes a day in on task time, it would take sixty (60) consecutive

sessions to amass the time needed to acquire expert level performance. When

this is extrapolated to the typical structure of participation on weekends, then the

time needed to complete sixty (60) sessions would take over one (1) year to

28
accomplish. This can mean either the standard is faulty, or, there is some

characteristic of the task and the simulator that are not accounted for.

When compared to existing literature and standards of practice, the effects

of this simulator are both consistent and inconsistent. When issues of the

practice sessions and their structure are reviewed, the observations are

consistent with known and established standards of random practice sessions

and the accompanying skill transfer (Al-Ameer & Toole. 1993) (Fitts, & Posner.

1967) (Hird, et al. 1991) (Magill & Hall. 1990) (Newell. 1991) (Wulf, et al. 1998).

In general, these standards state that when skills are acquired through

deliberate, purposeful practice, the practice sessions that are random in nature

as opposed to blocked are more successful in producing positive skill transfer

and superior retention. The sessions that the test subject completed were set up

in such a manner that the same skill was not repeated twice in the same session.

This, by definition, is random practice with a high degree of contextual

interference. Further, with the practice sessions distributed over a three-day (3)

period, rest and recovery were maximized. In this format, the expectation of

positive skill transfer was both reasonable and anticipated.

Special Observation

During the evaluation skydive, a significant event occurred. Upon exit, the

test subject noticed that the student investigator had not secured the face shield

on his flight helmet. During the first few seconds of the evaluation jump, she

29
noticed this, reached over and pushed the face shield down, all without breaking

form or becoming distracted on the dive. This is anecdotal evidence that

sometime during the simulator training, the test subject reached a level of

competency where she now has a degree of psychological efficiency.

Case Review Format

Despite the results, this case review raises more questions than it

answers. As a pilot study, the data, the results and the interpretation of the data

must be considered a suggestion for the need for further research under much

more stringent controls. The basic issues that were not controlled for in this

study and which must be accounted for in further research are:

1. The nature and structure of classroom learning, rehearsal practice, time

on task after formal training is completed.

2. Biomechanics issues between the simulator and the task.

3. The standards of performance established for this task.

4. Fidelity of the simulator and how it compares to other high fidelity

simulators.

5. Skill transfer across a large number of test subjects.

6. Skill transfer between this simulator and other simulators.

7. Skill transfer between test subjects of different skill levels.

8. Skill retention from this simulator.

In the following sections, the questions and issues raised by the results will be

discussed.

30
Classroom Learning, Rehearsal Time and Task Time

The duration, structure and content of the classroom learning were not

controlled for in this study. Classroom learning that occurred prior to the

involvement of the test subject in this study was beyond the ability of the student

investigator to control for. Classroom sessions at the simulator were not

controlled for content or duration either. It is thought that controlling for these

issues would not have an impact on the results in this or future studies.

The rehearsal time involved with skydiving in general and with this study in

particular would suggest that there is some learning that takes place as a result

of the rehearsal process. This would need to be examined in the context of how

this fits in with current theories of practice and learning in general. If the time

spent in rehearsal is added to time spent on task, the total time spent on the

activity then begins to approach the standards set forth in the literature (Ericsson,

et al. 1993). However, time spent in rehearsal will only double the time spent on

the task. This would still leave a wide gap between the standard and the

observations.

Time spent on task between the end of the student training for this test

subject and entry into this study is still another intervening variable that this study

did not account for. The test subject spent 2350 seconds in 39 sport skydives

prior to entry into this study. Although there was no formal training during this

31
time and some of the skills acquired in the tunnel were new, the value of even

recreational experience must be considered an intervening variable.

Biomechanical Issues

There exist significant differences between the fidelity of the simulator and

the actual task. Among these are biomechanical issues. Most significant are

issues relevant to center of gravity, terminal velocity and flexibility.

Center of Gravity

An analysis of the center of gravity for a sample skydiver took place at the

Biomechanics lab at the Kinesiology department (Calculations performed by

Richard Williams, T/A biomechanics). The reference skydiver was measured in

two conditions: with equipment and without. These measurements were needed

to compare conditions in the simulator with conditions in the task. The reference

skydiver demonstrated a center of gravity in the first condition (without gear) of .

858 m. The second condition (with gear) produced a center of gravity of .898 m.

This produces a difference of 4cm and is not considered a significant difference.

Although these measurements were taken on a subject other than the test

subject, it is considered that the results will be consistent if the measurements

were to be repeated on the test subject for this study.

Terminal Velocity

Terminal velocity is the speed at which the aerodynamic resistance is

equal to the weight of the skydiver. This speed varies among jumpers and is

32
correlated to the weight of the jumper vs. the surface area that faces the airflow.

Skydivers who present large surface area and lighter weights have a slower

terminal velocity than a jumper who presents the same surface area yet weighs

more. In the simulator, the subject will practice without a parachute system or a

dummy system and therefore, will operate at a lower airspeed than that of a

skydive. This is a result of the increased weight of the parachute system that he

or she is wearing. The reference skydiver has a gear weight of twenty-two (22)

pounds. Although air speed measurements were not taken in the simulator, or on

the reference jump, it is thought that this would not be an intervening variable

due to the subject’s inability to control airspeed regardless of configuration.

Flexibility

The last biomechanical issue is that of flexibility. A parachute system

increases both load and size constraints such that it is considered an intervening

variable. The system used in the reference standard for this study was designed

for student use. This system is both larger and heavier than the system the test

subject used for the evaluation jump and for subsequent recreational jumps. The

system used on the reference jump has a weight of XX pounds while the weight

of the system used by the test subject on the evaluation jump and recreational

jumping weighs twenty-two (22) pounds. The student system is also significantly

larger than the system used in the evaluation jump. These two factors combine

to hamper the ability of the test subject to move and complete the specified

maneuvers. It is thought that this difference could account for a decrease in

33
performance on the reference jump by limiting the ability of the test subject to

move and complete the maneuvers.

Standards Issues

It is quite possible that the standards set to define expert level

performance are too low. The standard for expert level performance as defined

in terms of time and experience required to earn a class D license are one (1)

hour of freefall time and 200 skydives (USPA, 2001). This does not compare

favorably with the experience level and time in the sport that top-level

competitors or instructors have achieved. For a candidate to receive an

instructor rating the minimum qualification is an accumulated freefall time of six

(6) hours, although instructors typically have much more than the required time.

To achieve this status, one must spend three hundred and sixty (360) minutes in

freefall. This would require, at minimum, sixty (60) consecutive weekends where

a minimum of six (6) jumps per day were accomplished in order to meet the time

requirements for entry into the instructor course. If the minimum standard for

instructor is three times as high as an expert license, the standards for expert

license would appear to be set too low. This is thought to be a problem for

measurement of skills in this study.

34
Simulator Fidelity

It is clear that this simulator meets the definition of a high fidelity simulator

as defined in the literature (Yuan-Liang, 1984). Given that the simulator meets

those standards, it can be demonstrated that it even exceeds them. This

simulator is the only simulator that offers a true three hundred sixty (360) degree

axis of rotation in any direction. Not even the highest fidelity airplane simulator

offered that level of congruency in all directions (Gopher, et al. 1994). However

the limitations of a single case study make a detailed analysis or comparison to

other types of simulators impossible.

Skill Transfer and Retention

The inherent limitations of a case review prohibit an in depth discussion of

skill transfer and retention across a number of subjects. A study that would

involve a number of equivalent test subjects and the accompanying controls

would be needed to determine the level of skill retention across a number of

subjects. This work would also need to be replicated using subjects of higher

experience levels in order to test skill transfer in higher experienced individuals.

Given the constraints of a single subject case study, it is not possible to

determine if the results observed in this study would be consistent with skill

transfer observed in other simulator environments. For those questions to be

answered, a much larger study would need to be undertaken. This study would

also have to examine the issue of what would be the average skill transfer

35
between a large number of test subjects and what the normative average would

compute to be.

Future Research

Research exists that can be replicated to address these issues.

Studies that compare skill transfer between high fidelity and low fidelity

simulators exist in the literature and would easily adapt to study skydiving

simulators and their skill transfer components (Gopher, et al. 1994). Only the

component of longevity would need to be addressed if the existing study format

were to be used on a significantly large number of test subjects.

Conclusions

From the results observed, the objective of measuring skill transfer from

the simulator to the task of skydiving has been reached. The test subject has

been advanced to a new skill level as a result of the training received and has

since obtained a higher level of license (class B, intermediate) and is a much

more capable skydiver than before her participation in this study.

Although there is a significant level of skill transfer observed in this study,

the lack of controls and the atypical results mean that this study can only be

taken as anecdotal or suggestive evidence. At a minimum, further research must

control for various forms of practice session structure, classroom learning, and

skill retention. Also, due to the limiting factor of a case study using only one test

subject, further research must replicate the results across a large number of

subjects.

36
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39
Appendix A, IRB Committee Submission

IRB Committee Submission


8/20/2001 Revised 2/11/2002
Case review of high fidelity simulator training, effects on
skydiving performance.

Abstract
This is the description of a KNES 497 project for the spring 2002
semester. This project will serve as a pilot study and to evaluate the effects on
performance before and after practice sessions in a high-fidelity simulator. The
project will use the format of a case review and will be limited to a single subject,
with all the inherent limitations of such a study. The data for this pilot study will
be collected under field conditions and will serve as a learning experience for the
student investigator for future research.

Goals and objectives


This project is intended to serve as a pilot study and to address the following
research issues:

1. To examine the role and use of simulators in skydiving training.


2. To investigate the type and amount of practice used by skydivers in
comparison to the established criteria of Ericcson, Romer, et al.
3. To quantify skill transfer from the simulator environment.

Subject selection
The subject for this case review will be a 26-year-old female skydiver who
has completed her student training, earned her class A license from the United
States Parachute Association (USPA), and has amassed (as of this writing) 49
sport skydives. This subject participates in skydiving independently of the
student investigator and this project. This subject was selected because she has
been trained to a level where she is competent and licensed in the sport but not
yet an expert. She also was selected due to the fact that she had all her student
instruction documented by videotape.

Student Investigator’s Qualifications


The student investigators qualifications are as follows:
1. Holder of a USPA class D (Master) license.
2. Fifteen years experience in the sport.
3. A total of 355 jumps.
4. FAA licensed pilot.

Procedures

40
The structure and format of this project closely follows the structure of
“Tunnel Camps” that are commercially available in the skydiving community.
Tunnel Camps are conducted by skydiving instructors, skydiving team members,
safety and training advisors and others within the skydiving community as a way
to enhance the skills of the participants. They typically involve a session of
classroom instruction followed by a session in the wind tunnel and a review
session following the wind tunnel session. This process is repeated over the
course of two or three days with the final day consisting of a series of evaluated
jumps at the local skydiving center. The wind tunnel is an indoor skydiving
simulator that uses a vertical stream of air drawn upward by overhead fans. The
instructor(s) for this study will be provided on location by the wind tunnel facility.

The case review subject will undergo three sessions of training in the
classroom and practice in the wind tunnel at SkyVenture in Orlando FL. The
training and practice sessions will take place on three consecutive days in the
wind tunnel. On fourth day an evaluation jump from an airplane will be
conducted. The student investigator will serve only as the evaluator for the jump
that will take place on the fourth day. The test subjects’ performance on the
evaluation jump will be compared to the baseline performance established during
her student training. There are five possible skydiving centers available in the
Orlando area. The one chosen for the evaluation jump will be chosen according
to the weather conditions. Furthermore, tunnel sessions may be omitted or their
sequence altered to accommodate the weather due to the construction and
operation of the tunnel itself. If there are delays due to weather, only skills
practiced in the tunnel will be tested. Also, the student investigator will pay the
costs of the tunnel training and practice sessions, subsequent evaluation skydive
and the videotaping of both tunnel sessions and evaluation jump. These
expenses will be paid directly to the facilities involved and the test subject will be
responsible for all expenses relating to travel, lodging, food and local
transportation.

The specific skills that the subject will practice are:


4. Basic body stability skills: These entail remaining stationary in the
vertical and horizontal aspect relative to either a fixed point in the
tunnel or a second skydiver while maintaining a belly-to-earth
position. Although the subject is proficient in this skill to the level
required for graduation from student to basic class A license,
enhancement of this fundamental skill beyond mere proficiency will
increase both safety and future skill acquisition.

5. Basic relative work skills (RW) are free fall maneuvers that are
performed in relation to another jumper or, for purposes of this
study, a fixed point in the vertical wind tunnel. These are the
fundamental skills that all other skydiving skills and disciplines
evolve from. These basic skills are classified as:

41
a. Fall rate control – control of fall rate relative to another
jumper.
b. Flat turns – staying on the same horizontal plane as another
jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while turning 45, 90 180
and 360 degrees.
c. Forward motion – moving forward relative to another jumper
or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on the same
horizontal plane.
d. Rearward motion - moving backward relative to another
jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on the same
horizontal plane.
e. Lateral movement – flat movement left or right relative to
another jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on
the same horizontal plane
f. Circular horizontal movement - orbiting a fixed point while
staying on the same horizontal plane

6. Specific relative work (RW) skills. These specific skills must be


learned for a jumper to become proficient in multiple jumper
formations.
a. “Mantis” position is used for turning quickly and maintaining
a fast fall rate by reducing wind resistance and presenting a
smaller surface area to the wind. The arms are held close to
the body, with elbows bent and the knees are bent and feet
tucked very close to body.
b. Two way “piece” flying. Two skydivers with a firmly
established grip on each other maneuver as one unit
vertically and horizontally.
c. Grip presentation. A horizontal or vertical turn by one
skydiver that allows the other skydiver to grip him or her by
the body part that is presented.

Instruction in these skills will be provided in a classroom setting by instructors


employed by Sky Venture, not the student investigator. These skills will then be
practiced in the tunnel under the supervision of the same instructor(s). The
student investigator will act as the other skydiver for practicing maneuvers that
require two skydivers.

First day
This will consist of one fifteen-minute session of classroom instruction
involving body position instruction, maneuvering instruction, tunnel safety and
general orientation procedures. This classroom session will be followed by one
thirty-minute session divided into fifteen two-minute blocks or “flights”. An
instructor certified by United States Parachute Association to the level of Coach
(or higher) will supervise these sessions. Tunnel instruction sessions will be

42
provided by the same instructor and will follow classroom instruction. Classroom
review sessions will follow all tunnel sessions.
3. The first objective of the first session is to evaluate the test
subjects’ basic body stability skills as listed above.
4. The second objective is to correct any deficiencies that exist in her
basic body stability skills. This will be accomplished in the
classroom session that follows all tunnel sessions.

Second day
This will consist of a thirty-minute tunnel flight session divided into six five-
minute blocks
3. The first objective in this session will be to practice skills needed for
flying with a second jumper in the tunnel.
4. The second objective will be to introduce the skills that will be
evaluated in the post training evaluation jump. This will be a re-
enactment of the level 5-student jump.

Third day
One fifteen-minute tunnel flight session, divided into three five-minute
flights. The student investigator will supervise this session. No classroom
instruction will be included in this session.

Fourth day
If the weather conditions allow for skydiving, the evaluation jump will take
place. The student investigator will evaluate skills that were improved in the
tunnel training and practice sessions. The performance will be evaluated by
assessing the total number of points scored on this jump when compared to the
total number of points scored on the accelerated free fall (AFF) Level 5 student
jump that was performed by the subject in July of 2001. (The point system will be
discussed in detail in the following section.)

AFF level 5
The evaluation jump for this study is a reenactment of the level 5
accelerated free fall student jump. The specific skill on this jump is to exit the
plane with an established grip, release that grip, complete a 360-degree rotation
and re-establish a grip on the evaluator. For each time the grip is re-established,
a point is scored. Rotations are to be made in both the right and left directions.
A satisfactory score for graduation of this level is two points. This sequence of
maneuvers comprises the same dive that this student previously performed
successfully. It is familiar to both the student and the evaluator. Because this is a
re-enactment, there will be no unusual or added risk to the subject during this
procedure.

Evaluation Jump
The student and the evaluator will leave an aircraft with a grip already
established. When the airspeed reaches terminal velocity (acceleration stops

43
and both jumpers are at a steady state speed), the evaluator will cue the student
to begin the maneuvers. The student will complete as many points as possible
by establishing and releasing grips on the evaluator until a pre-determined
altitude is reached. When the pre-determined altitude is reached (known as
Break Off Altitude), the student and the evaluator will turn 180 degrees and move
away from each other and deploy their parachutes.

The Point System


Skydiving uses a point system to gauge performance and to serve as a
quantitative measure for competition. The point system involves two or more
jumpers establishing a two handed grip on another skydiver, or in the case of
more than two jumpers, a one handed grip on two different jumpers. When
established, a completed grip has the effect of making the individual jumpers into
a formation. These formations have specific names and are used in establishing
a competitive standard. For the purpose of this study, the naming of formations
does not apply. When a grip has been established, a point is scored. On a
relative work skydive, the objective is to complete as many points as possible
between the time that the airplane is exited and the time the established break off
altitude is reached. Most often, videotape is used to judge the total points scored
on any given jump. In this study, videotape will be used to assess performance
both in the wind tunnel and on the evaluation skydive.

Performance Measure
The measure of performance will be the number of points scored on the
evaluation jump. This will be compared to the number of points scored on the
AFF level 5-student jump. The measure will be accomplished by reviewing the
videotape of both jumps, establishing a working time based on the duration of the
student jump, then measuring the performance on the evaluation jump using the
established working time. Professional video camera personnel provided by the
skydiving center will record the videotape.

Risks vs. Benefits

Risks of Skydiving in General


In order to understand the risks involved with this case review, a brief
description of the nature of sport of skydiving and of the risk involved is needed.
The Federal Air Regulations, Part 105, § 105.1 (b), defines Skydiving as: “For the
purposes of this part, a parachute jump means the descent of a person, to the
surface from an aircraft in flight, when he intends to use, or uses, a parachute
during all or part of that descent.” (Original italics) The part that states “…part of
that descent…” is known as freefall and is the essence of skydiving. There are
five main disciplines within skydiving:
1. Freefall Relative Work (RW)
2. Canopy Relative Work (CRW)
3. Freestyle
4. Style and Accuracy (SA)

44
5. Free Fly or Freakflying (AKA, Vertical Relative Work, or VRW)

All student skydivers first begin by learning freefall relative work. With the
exception of canopy relative work, all skydiving skills are based on RW skills.
Students are taught using a seven level syllabus, developed by the United States
Parachute Association (USPA) that has the goal of imparting the skills needed to
fly one’s body in a flat, belly to earth, position, maneuver in a horizontal and
vertical plane, recover from disturbances to one’s stability and maintain
situational awareness (i.e., altitude, position of other skydivers, position relative
to the drop zone and emergency procedures). These are the basic skills that a
student skydiver acquires prior to graduating the program. Although it is possible
to graduate from this program in seven jumps, most students take longer to
complete the program. (Specific program information as to the exact
programming provided for student skydivers is available on request.) From
graduating a student program (known as “being off student status”), beginning
skydivers then concentrate on meeting the requirements for the basic license.
There are four classes of skydiver license the USPA issues: class A, basic, class
B intermediate, class C, advanced and class D, master. The requirements for
obtaining a class A license are:
1. Completed a minimum of 20 freefall jumps.
2. Be able to pack their own main parachute.
3. Successful completion of a written exam.
4. Completion of the license skills proficiency check off card

Once a student has completed this process, that person is considered a


fully licensed and competent skydiver and is allowed to:
1. Participate in group jumps
2. Pack a main parachute
3. Perform water jumps

Skydiving is a meticulously planned event. All jumps are pre-planned and


rehearsed on the ground, this process is known as Dirt Diving. The purpose of
this process is to enhance safety, to ensure a dive goes as planned and to
maximize the fun that each participant will have. On any individual skydive there
is always, at minimum, the following amount of pre-planning:
1. Type of dive to be done, i.e. RW, CRW, VRW, etc.
2. Individual maneuvers for that particular jump.
3. Exit altitude.
4. Break off and deployment altitudes, that is, stop free fall activities,
get clear of other jumpers and pull parachute.

Because weather plays an integral role in the conduction of jump


activities, the following information is relayed to all jumpers at the skydiving
center for that day and is updated as conditions change:
1. Wind direction and speed at the surface and aloft for 3000 ft, 6000
ft, 9000 ft, and 12000 ft.

45
2. Direction of the jump run, expressed in terms of compass heading,
the pilot will fly.
3. Recommended secondary landing areas.
4. Significant weather hazards for that day, i.e. turbulence at 5000 ft,
high heat and humidity warnings (known as high density altitude
days).

The weather conditions that jumping takes place in are, at minimum:


1. Five miles horizontal visibility.
2. Minimum cloud ceiling of 4000 ft.
3. Winds below 20 mph steady at the surface or gusts to 15 mph at
the surface.
4. Confirmation from FAA flight service of weather conditions and
forecast prognosis.

The minimum equipment that any skydiver must have to make a jump is:
1. An FAA approved harness and container system.
2. An FAA approved reserve parachute.
3. A serviceable main parachute.
4. Goggles or other eye protection (full-face helmets, tight glasses,
etc..)
5. A working visual altimeter gauge.

Optional equipment, in addition to the minimum equipment, to be used for


this case review is:
1. Jump suits.
2. Full-face helmets.
3. Audible altitude alerting devices.
4. Gloves.
5. Shoes.
6. Altitude Activated Devices, (AAD’s), an altitude and descent rate
sensor that will automatically deploy the reserve parachute in the
event that the rate of descent is above a preset rate at a preset
altitude.

Once the basic safety requirements are met and the dive has been
planned, the dive will take place and will be scored to assess the dive. NO dive
is considered complete until all jumpers are accounted for; the dive is reviewed
and logged. After the dive is logged, the dive is scored for points.

Skydiving is perceived as a sport that involves extreme risk. Although


skydiving, like flying, has inherent risks to it, it can, and is, done safely. In the
year 1999 there were 311,511 registered skydivers in the US. These skydivers
made 3,400,000 jumps. Of these jumps, 27 resulted in fatalities. The probability
of a fatality occurring on any given jump is 1 in 125,925 jumps. (Source, USPA,

46
Parachutist magazine, May, 2001 annual fatality survey) In the year 2000, there
were 32 fatalities, but no data on total number of sport jumps is available as yet.
In 2000, the fatalities broke down as follows:
1. Low pulls or No pulls, 5 (16%)
2. Malfunctions of main parachute, 3 (6%)
3. Reserve parachute problems, 6 (16%)
4. Collisions, 4 (13%)
5. Landing problems, 11 (34%)
6. Other, 3 (9%)

A discussion of Landing Problems is appropriate here. The term Landing


Problems is used to define a landing that involves an error made during high
speed landing maneuvers performed by advanced jumpers using a new type of
high performance parachute. This category does not apply to this study, due to
the fact that the test subject is neither equipped nor trained in the use of high
performance parachutes. In fact, this skydiver owns equipment that is docile
even by student standards. If Landing Problems are subtracted, then the
applicable fatality rate can be calculated as 1 in 215,500 jumps.

The risk rate associated with skydiving compares favorably with the risk
associated with treadmill studies. The mortality rate quoted in the 6th edition of
the ACSM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription is 1 per 10,000.
Therefore, for the purposes of this study, the risk is minimal.

Risk of participation in this study


The data collection for this study will be incidental to the participation of
both the student investigator and the test subject. No risk is incurred at any point
in the study that does not exist in general participation in the sport. Further, the
use of additional equipment, planning and the nature of the evaluation jump, are
well above the basic safety requirements for sport skydiving.

Evaluation jump
This study involves a degree of risk that is substantially reduced from what
would normally occur in the pursuit of recreational skydiving. For both the test
subject and the student evaluator, the level of activity associated with the wind
tunnel training and the evaluation jump are greatly reduced. To illustrate, this
study involves an evaluation jump of two skydivers, where a typical recreational
skydive would involve a group of at least four and possibly up to eight skydivers.
The test subject has recently participated in jumps involving four, five, six and
eight skydivers. As the number of skydivers increases, so do the attention
resources needed to keep track of the other jumpers. By reducing the number of
skydivers on the evaluation jump to two, the attention resources needed are
greatly reduced. Also, by reducing the complexity of the jump and by performing
only those skills that were practiced in the tunnel, skill transfer will be more
effectively measured. The skills tested, the training environment and the
evaluation method are at the minimum level needed to achieve the research

47
objective and present a reduced risk when compared to that of recreational
skydiving. The risk incurred on the evaluation jump is necessary to measure the
skills learned from the wind tunnel and it is not possible to measure these skills in
a way that would be free from risk and obtain the data needed for this study.

Wind tunnel flight


There is no data available for injury or fatality statistics in the wind tunnel.
Investigation reveals that the facility has never had a fatal incident in its entire
history. Although it is possible to be injured or killed in the wind tunnel, it is a
highly remote possibility at best. As of this writing, a telephone interview with the
owner of the facility reveals no information on specific injuries or rates of injuries;
however, the owner describes the occasional injuries as “not much beyond
bruises…” Also, a research of records indicates that for the period of July 1st
through December 31st, there were no calls for ambulance services from Orlando
city.

To say that there is no risk to this project would be unrealistic. However,


by participating in this study, the subject exposes herself to no greater risk than
she would encounter in the normal and everyday pursuit of her interest in the
sport of skydiving. In fact by participating in this study, the test subject will
enhance her safety in the sport by becoming a better skydiver. Also, risks
incurred in the tunnel are much less than on any given skydive and the limited
nature of the evaluation jump (having only two people on that jump) reduces the
risk even further. The procedure of this study very closely follows the structure of
“Tunnel Camps” that are commercially available in the skydiving community. The
principal difference here is one of scale. Typically a tunnel camp will have 15-20
participants and would cost between $1500.00 to $1800.00 (depending on who
the corporate sponsor is). With the scaled down structure of this project, the cost
will range between $750.00 and $900.00. These costs will become more exact
as the trip for the study approaches due to seasonal fluctuation in prices at the
wind tunnel. (Cost to be borne by the student investigator and paid directly to the
facilities involved).

Coercion
In a study that has this type of structure, there exists a possibility for safety
to be compromised by the test subject feeling coerced into performing beyond a
safe limit. The issue of coercion is controlled for by the structure of the
evaluation. As previously discussed, skydives are thoroughly planned in
advance. This jump in particular will be planned in such a manner that if the
subject attempted to perform in excess of what will be pre planned, or safe, the
excess will be neither recorded nor scored. Specifically, the evaluation jump will
only be scored on maneuvers accomplished between exit altitude and the pre-
established break-off altitude of 4000 feet above ground level (AGL). At this
altitude, both the evaluator and the video cameraman will be leaving the area,
thus rendering any excess performance moot. By leaving the area, the evaluator
and the cameraman also provide a cue that the jump is over and it is time to

48
deploy the parachute. The cue of leaving further addresses both the issue of
coercion and the possibility of loss of altitude awareness on the part of the test
subject. It must be said that compromises in safety cut deeply against skydiver
ethics. Safety is constantly drilled, discussed, and reinforced at great length
within the skydiving community. Compromises in safety are not tolerated. The
issue of limits for this particular jump will be addressed again at the pre-plan
session of the evaluation jump. The jump will not proceed unless all safety and
structural issues are fully understood. Additionally, the subjects' participation in
skydiving is completely independent of both this study and the evaluator in this
study. She has made 10 additional jumps since the original submission of this
proposal. All of these jumps have been without interaction of any kind with the
student investigator or any other personnel involved in this study. Also, none of
these jumps has been under the guidance of an instructor or coach, they have all
been recreational in nature.

Although the issue of costs associated with the tunnel training and
evaluation jumps are to be paid by the student investigator, this should not enter
as a coercive element. The costs of transportation to the tunnel site, drop zone,
rental car, food and lodging will account for more than half of the expected total
costs of participation in this project and will be paid by the test subject. These
expenses are, as of this writing, projected to be as follows:
1. Airfare of $275 for a round trip ticket from Baltimore to Orlando.
2. Hotel expenses of $42.00 per night for four nights ($168.00)
3. Rental car fees of $ 32.95 per day for four days. ($131.80)
4. Food expenses of approximately $100.
With the total expenses of this trip expected to be at least $674.80, the expenses
to be borne by the student investigator will be less than $200.00 more than what
the subject will be paying. Further, the expenses of the tunnel training and the
evaluation jump are to be paid directly to the facilities involved, not to the test
subject. There will be no payment of any kind to the test subject. Also, the test
subject has expended $1840.00 on her lessons and $2389.00 in gear for her
pursuit of the sport prior to her involvement in this study and her acquaintance
with the student investigator. Her participation in the sport is totally independent
of both this study and the student investigator. With a total outlay of $4229.00, it
is unlikely that the expenses paid by the student investigator will serve as a
coercive element.

Benefits
The functional goal of this and most other training in skydiving is to increase
safety, both for the subject and the sport. In context of Kinesiology and Sport
Psychology, this would be expressed in terms of psychological efficiency. When
a learner has become psychologically efficient at a given task, the task then
becomes automatic. When this level of performance is reached, the cognitive
resources needed to tend to that task drop dramatically. In basic terms,
psychological efficiency is reached when cognitive resources can be devoted to
strategy instead of task. For example, a tennis serve becomes psychologically

49
efficient when the server can think in terms of placing the ball in a selected area
of the court as opposed to simply completing the task. In terms of this study, skill
enhancement will result in a greater degree of psychological efficiency allowing
for a much greater degree of situational awareness. This will translate into an
enhanced degree of safety for this skydiver.

The benefits to the subject by participation in this study are:


1. Skydiving skill enhancement. Tunnel training and practice of stability;
and movement skills will increase the skydiver’s level of expertise.
2. Safety enhancement. With increased stability and movement skills,
the skydiver’s safety and situational awareness will be enhanced. By
being able to devote less attention to maintaining stability and effecting
movements, she will be able to focus more of her attention on her
situation in the air.
3. Enhanced enjoyment of the sport of skydiving. By increasing
proficiency in basic skills, she will be able to progress to the next level
of expertise in the sport with more ease and at an accelerated rate.
4. Awareness enhancement. With gains in situational awareness, this
skydiver will be able to cope with the demands of the sport that
accompany the larger and more complex skydives that will she will
encounter as her time in the sport accumulates. With more items to
keep track of, an increase in attention resources available to devote to
outside factors, such as the position of other jumpers, will become
available.

The benefits to the sport of Skydiving are:


1. This study represents a first step in studying the efficacy of training
methods in skydiving.
2. Safety enhancement. With improvements in training, safety will
increase. As students’ attention to flying skills is able to decrease, their
awareness of their situation in the air can increase.
3. Future study of skill transfer in skydiving simulators will begin to fill a
gap in the research that exists in sport psychology. No studies exist on
the role of simulators in Skydiving. The student investigator intends to
begin to fill in this gap.

Confidentiality
The identity of the test subject will be kept secure by not revealing any
personal information at the level of presentation or documentation. Further, the
student investigator, for the purpose of future research, will retain the videotape
footage developed in conjunction with this project, with a copy forwarded to the
test subject for her use.

The subject will be fully informed as to the nature of the study, the
sequence of events, methods of training and evaluation, risks, purpose and

50
disposal of data and other pertinent information. She will sign a copy of the
enclosed consent form.

The study will be conducted at two separate locations. The first location
will be the Skyventure wind tunnel in Orlando Florida (6807 A Visitors Cir.
Orlando, FL). This will be the location for the high fidelity simulator training. The
second location, where the evaluation jump will occur, will be established at the
time the simulator training is conducted due to weather concerns. It will,
however, be in Florida as well. The subject’s student skydiving training was
conducted at Skydive Delmarva in Laurel Delaware from May to July 2001 and
did not involve the student investigator.

It must be said again that the subject described above is a fully licensed
and independent sport skydiver and did not enter into the sport for the purpose of
this study. Her participation in the sport is independent of the research being
conducted for this project. Any data collected in the course of this study is
incidental to her participation and the participation of the student investigator in
the sport of skydiving. She will agree to voluntarily participate in this study
because she recognizes this as an opportunity to advance her skills within the
sport.

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Appendix B, Informed Consent Form
Informed Consent Form
Project title: Case review of high fidelity simulator training, effects on skydiving
performance.

Statement of Age of Subject:


I ____________________________ state that I am over 18 years of age,
in good physical health, am an experienced skydiver and wish to participate in
the program of research conducted by Dr. Rosemary Lindle, principle
investigator, and Kevin Grishkot, student investigator, Department of Kinesiology
at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

Purpose:
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of vertical wind tunnel
training on skydiving performance. I certify that I am a licensed skydiver and that
my participation in this study is voluntary.

Procedures:
I understand that I will:
Undergo three sessions of training in the classroom and practice in the
wind tunnel at SkyVenture in Orlando FL. The training and practice sessions will
take place on three consecutive days in the wind tunnel. On fourth day an
evaluation jump from an airplane will be conducted. The student investigator will
serve only as the evaluator for the jump that will take place on the fourth day.
There are five possible skydiving centers available in the Orlando area. The one
chosen for the evaluation jump will be chosen according to the weather
conditions and proximity to the SkyVenture facility. Furthermore, tunnel sessions
may be omitted or their sequence altered to accommodate the weather due to
the construction and operation of the tunnel itself. If tunnel sessions are
eliminated due to weather, only skills practiced in the tunnel will be evaluated or
the experiment may be terminated. Also, the student investigator will pay the
costs for the tunnel training and practice sessions, subsequent evaluation
skydive and the videotaping of both tunnel sessions and evaluation jump. I
understand that I will be responsible for the costs of my transportation to the
SkyVenture tunnel, lodging while in Orlando, costs of jump(s) at the skydiving
facility, costs of rental cars or other forms of transportation, food and other
expenses as they arise.

The specific skills that I will practice are:


7. Basic body stability skills: These entail remaining stationary in the
vertical and horizontal aspect relative to either a fixed point in the
tunnel or a second skydiver while maintaining a belly-to-earth
position. Although I am proficient in this skill to the level to meet the

52
requirements for graduation from student to basic class A license,
enhancement of this fundamental skill beyond mere proficiency will
increase both my safety and future skill acquisition.

8. Basic relative work skills (RW) are free fall maneuvers that are
performed in relation to another jumper or, for purposes of this
study, a fixed point in the vertical wind tunnel. These are the
fundamental skills that all other skydiving skills and disciplines
evolve from. These basic skills are classified as:
a. Fall rate control – control of fall rate relative to another
jumper.
b. Flat turns – staying on the same horizontal plane as another
jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while turning 45, 90 180
and 360 degrees.
c. Forward motion – moving forward relative to another jumper
or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on the same
horizontal plane.
d. Rearward motion - moving backward relative to another
jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on the same
horizontal plane.
e. Lateral movement – flat movement left or right relative to
another jumper or fixed point in the tunnel while staying on
the same horizontal plane
f. Circular horizontal movement - orbiting a fixed point while
staying on the same horizontal plane

9. Specific relative work (RW) skills. I will be trained in these skills


over and above the basic skills mentioned above:
a. “Mantis” position is used for turning quickly and maintaining
a fast fall rate by reducing wind resistance and presenting a
smaller surface area to the wind. The arms are held close to
the body, with elbows bent and the knees are bent and feet
tucked very close to body.
b. Two way “piece” flying. Two skydivers with a firmly
established grip on each other maneuver as one unit
vertically and horizontally.
c. Grip presentation. A horizontal or vertical turn by one
skydiver that allows the other skydiver to grip him or her by
the body part that is presented.

Instruction in these skills will be provided in a classroom setting by instructors


employed by Sky Venture, not the principle investigator. I will then practice in the
tunnel under the supervision of the same instructor(s). Student investigator will
act as the other skydiver for practicing maneuvers that require two skydivers.

I understand that the planned agenda will be:

53
First day:
This will consist of one fifteen-minute session of classroom instruction
involving body position instruction, maneuvering instruction, tunnel safety and
general orientation procedures. This classroom session will be followed by one
thirty-minute session divided into fifteen two-minute blocks or “flights”. An
instructor certified by United States Parachute Association to the level of Coach
(or higher) will supervise these sessions. Tunnel instruction sessions will be
provided by the same instructor and will follow classroom instruction. Classroom
review sessions will follow all tunnel sessions.
1. The first objective of the first session is to evaluate the test my
basic body flight and stability skills as listed above.
2. The second objective is to correct any deficiencies that exist in my
basic body flight and stability skills. This will be accomplished in
the classroom session that follows all tunnel sessions.
Second day:
This will consist of a thirty-minute tunnel flight session divided into six five-
minute blocks
1. The first objective in this session will be to practice skills needed for
flying with a second jumper in the tunnel.
2. The second objective will be to introduce the skills that will be
evaluated in the post training evaluation jump. This will be a re-
enactment of the level 5-student jump. (See the next section for a
discussion of student progression.)

Third day:
One fifteen-minute tunnel flight session, divided into three five-minute
flights. The student investigator will supervise this session. No classroom
instruction will be included in this session.

Fourth day:
If the weather conditions are favorable, the evaluation jump will take place.
The principal investigator will evaluate skills that were improved in the tunnel
training and practice sessions. The specific skills on this jump are to exit the
aircraft with an established grip, release that grip from the evaluator, complete a
360-degree rotation and re-establish a grip on the evaluator. For each time the
grip is re-established, a point is scored. Rotations are to be made in both the
right and left directions. The performance will be evaluated by assessing the total
number of points scored on this jump when compared to the total number of
points scored on the accelerated free fall (AFF) Level 5 student jump that was
performed by me in July of 2001. (The point system will be discussed in the
following section.)

I understand that my performance will be evaluated by the following


criteria:

54
The specific skill on this jump is to exit the plane with an established grip, release
that grip, complete a 360-degree rotation and re-establish a grip on the evaluator.
For each time the grip is re-established, a point is scored. Rotations are to be
made in both the right and left directions. Only points scored between exit
altitude and 4000 ft AGL will be scored.

I understand that the evaluation jump will be pre-planned to include (at a


minimum) the following information:
1. Exit altitude.
2. Individual maneuvers for that particular jump.
3. Break off and deployment altitude.
4. Any other relevant information. (To be determined at the time and
place of the jump).

I understand the minimum equipment to be used on this jump will be:


1. An FAA approved harness and container system.
2. An FAA approved reserve parachute.
3. A serviceable main parachute.
4. Goggles or other eye protection (full-face helmets, tight glasses, etc.)
5. A working visual altimeter gauge.
6. Jump suits.
7. Full-face helmets.
8. Audible altitude alerting devices.
9. Gloves.
10. Shoes.
11. Altitude Activated Devices, (AAD’s),

Risks:
I understand the risks involved in both participation in this study and in
participation in the sport of skydiving and willingly accept those risks. Those
risks include extreme bodily injury and possibly death. I understand and accept
those risks. I understand that the risks associated with training in the wind tunnel
also include the same risks of bodily injury and possibly death as those
encountered in sport skydiving. I acknowledge and accept those risks.

Benefits, Freedom to withdraw and Ask Questions:


I understand that this study is not designed to benefit me personally, but
that the investigator hopes to learn more about the area of skill transfer in
skydiving using high fidelity simulators. I understand that I am free to ask any
questions or withdraw my participation at any time without penalty. I also
understand that I am to be given a copy of this form for my records.

55
Confidentiality:
I understand that all information collected for this study is confidential, and my
name will not be identified at any time. I understand that this study will involve the
use of videotape to record and evaluate the skills in question and that my image
will be used at the level of presentation and review in conjunction with this study.
I understand that videotape services will be obtained at the SkyVenture wind
tunnel and will be acquired at the location where the evaluation jump will take
place. I understand that I will provide a copy of my student jumps to the student
investigator for inclusion in this study. I understand that videotape collected in
this study will become the property of Student investigator and that I will be
provided with a copy for my personal use. Further, the student investigator, or
the University Of Maryland, College Park may use videotape collected in this
study, for future research.

Medical Care:
I understand that the University of Maryland does not provide any medical or
hospitalization insurance coverage for participants in this study nor will the
university pay any medical expenses or provide any compensation for injury
sustained in my participation except as required by law.

Contact Information: Contact for the IRB:


If you have any questions about your
Dr. Rosemary Lindle rights as a volunteer.
Department of Kinesiology Co-Chair IRB
University of Maryland 2100 Lee bldg.
College Park, MD 20742 University of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742
Kevin Grishkot, Student investigator 301-405-4212
7 Bailiffs ct. Unit 302
Timonium, MD 21093-7949
410-458-8254
kjgrish@comcast.net

Name of Participant (printed)

Signature

Date

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Appendix C, IRB Approval Memorandum

MEMORANDUM
TO:
Mr. Kevin Grishkot
Department of Kinesiology

FROM:
Dr. Joan A. Lieber, Co-Chairperson
Dr. Marc A. Rogers, Co-Chairperson
Institutional Review Board

DATE: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

PROJECT TITLE:
KNES 497 Project Submission (IRB Number 1177)

The University IRB reviewed your revised application on March 14, 2002 in
accordance with Public Health Service grant policy as defined in "The
Institutional Guide to DHHS Policy on Protection of Human Subjects", 12-1-
71, and in Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46.

The IRB effected an independent determination of (1) the rights and welfare of
the individual or individuals involved, (2) the appropriateness of the methods
used to secure informed consent, and (3) the risks and potential benefits of the
investigation. The IRB approved your application, subject to the completion of
the following revisions:
1. Under the Procedures section of the consent form, it indicates that the
student investigator will serve only as the evaluator for the jump on the
fourth day, but in the project description and on page 3 of the consent
form under "Third day" it states that the student investigator will
supervise on the third day as well. This should be clarified.

2. Also under the Procedures section, it indicates that the subject will
be responsible for the costs of the jump(s) at the skydiving facility but it
also indicates that the student investigator will pay for the costs of the
evaluation skydive. This should be clarified. Are the jumps to be paid

57
for by the subject additional recreational jumps at the facility? If so, this
should be deleted from the consent form.

3. In your memo to the IRB dated 2/13/02, on the third line at the top of
page 2 you state, "Also on page is a statement to clarify…." Please
indicate the appropriate page number.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about
the requests and comments indicated above. Thank you.

Mrs. Roxanne Freedman


Coordinator of Records & Submissions
Institutional Review Board
Office of Research Enhancement and Compliance
Blair Lee Building, Room 2100
301-405-4212 (voice)
301-314-9305 (fax)
www.umresearch.umd.edu/IRB (Web)

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59
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Appendix D, Center of Gravity Analysis

61
Honor Statement

I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized

assistance on this assignment/examination.

_______________________

Signed

62