After nine days of intense training the 2013 Skydive Twin Cities Accelerated Free Fall Instructors course is DONE! Five out of the six candidates are now qualified to throw innocent students out of perfectly good airplanes and see if they can catch them. The last part of the course was my favorite because that’s when we give the candidates real life training situations complete with made up student personas. The two I used this week were dead country singer John Denver and a rich Saudi prince named Mohammed. We use the personas to challenge the candidate’s ability to train challenging students and not get distracted. As evaluators we have a lot of fun trying to get the candidates to mess up. While Mohammed was a complete jerk who wouldn’t pay attention to instructions or even bend down to pick up his parachute, John Denver was the complete opposite, getting easily distracted offering to sign autographs and pose for pictures when his instructors were trying to give him instructions on the next jump. On the way to altitude I/John even led the plane in a rousing rendition of “Thank God I’m A Country boy” The poor candidates trying to keep me focused were beside themselves. But in the end, all but one managed to pass the course and have been released into the wild to teach falling and stuff. Seeing that I taught four out of the five that passed how to skydive in the first place made me quite proud.