May 28, 2015

NPTC Training

I've learned something over time, if people get to know you it doesn't matter what letters you have next to your name, character/experience/respect mean everything. For everyone else, if you don't have it certified, how can they know whether your are a good source of info without a several hour story. "So, there I was, a baby in a crib."

I tend to collect a certification, only if it's required to do something. A Ham Radio License, a Drivers License, Motorcycle License etc. The more years I teach the more I realize that having some optional certifications can be important to inspire confidence in those you teach. Although most of my knowledge has been taught to me by experiences, mistakes and some fantastically intelligent people, I needed to make it more concrete.

Last weekend I got myself NPTC certified, helped my better half get certified and helped teach a new student on the topics of Offroad Driving, Winching and Vehicle Preparedness.
I have never taken or taught a class of any type without learning in the process. To do so would prove to me that I didn't have an open mind. It's impossible not to learn, even if you are the most knowledgeable person on a subject.

We started by reviewing the basics of winching. From preparing your vehicle, mounting points, gear, winch, line/rope, technique, environment and communication. There is a lot to it, but my favorite part is that everything is logical once you understand the reasons behind it.

Whatever hand signals you use, just make sure all parties understand them. We use the most internationally recognized ones for clarity, but in a pinch make something up and stick to it.

 photo DSC01257 1.jpg Women learn quickly! Much faster than us guys, in my humble opinion. Here K takes signals from the spotter, but operates the winch while left foot braking and driving while keeping tension on the line.  photo DSC01264 1.jpg Hold up!  photo DSC01263 1.jpg 20PSI on a 35" tire doesn't show a lot, but it sure makes a big difference.  photo DSC01266 1.jpg Going up. Of course it NEVER looks as steep as it really is. Points off for putting the pin handle down!  photo DSC01271.jpg Trouble!  photo DSC01277 1.jpg  photo DSC01284 1.jpg
We spent the rest of the time out on a trail I had mapped out to try and represent "most" of the obstacles and conditions you might run into on a trail. We had a nice cross axle area where lockers may be needed and good line choice was necessary. There was a water crossing that, although not critical in depth, provided a good visual for teaching. There were some good side hills as well as dips and mounds to demonstrate techniques.

Moving right along...
Brits love Tea. I consume more Tea in a day than I do all year when I'm around them. Watch out, once a Kelty Kettle get's going the heat is immense and it can boil a full load of water in under a minute.
   photo DSC01289201.jpg

 Although most of the weekend was again filled with work, I did get some good pictures of a fairly complex tire change. We used my truck to winch in, via a snatch block at the base of a very large tree anchor, to the top of a smaller tree, to a new "soft" shackle made out of dyneema rope, to a very heavy and overloaded Defender 90. Check out these old Goodyear Mud's. Foreign military spec. This set had been on this planet only slightly less time than I have. It's time to change these relics out before they blow.  photo DSC01317 1.jpg You can see the soft shackle between the two yellow rings in this pic.  photo DSC01336 1.jpg  photo DSC01341 1.jpg Then it was time for everyone favorite... respooling the line correctly. This takes a while and can be a pain to get perfect. The OCD side of me is never happy with the finished product. Haha.  photo DSC01305 1.jpg Always have a lizard on safety watch.  photo DSC01365.jpg  photo DSC01364.jpg You can learn more about the soft shackles here. They are a light weight alternative to heavy metal bow shackles. I've decided to order up a pair to see how they last. I love this truck. I'm a Toyota guy for many reasons, but you just can't deny the charm of a simple workhorse of a truck like this...  photo DSC01298.jpg  photo DSC01296 1.jpg  photo DSC01295 1.jpg  photo DSC01294 1.jpg

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