Oct 5, 2001, 7:25 AM
Post #1 of 24
Progressing RW skills!
My question is based on my observation of Belly Fliers and Free Fliers. Why is it that Free Fliers continue to push the envelope of their flying skills yet so many Belly Fliers are satisfied with flying in the box? Is it a fundamental difference between the two or groups? Or the fear of failure, not being in your slot and ruining the skydive, that has restricted so many belly fliers from trying something different that might improve their skills and abilities.
Or the fear of failure, not being in your slot and ruining the skydive, that has restricted so many belly fliers from trying something different that might improve their skills and abilities.
Good morning. IMO, for the younger generation of belly fliers it has nothing to do with fear or not wanting to learn something new. Being that I dabble in both disciplines I can understand the thrill of both. I have also seen many freefliers that cannot perform a decent RW dive, so the same could be said for them....don't they want to improve their flying skills? For some people, the thrill and comradery of flying with say, 4 to 300 other people in the sky in such a huge team effort is what they want to get out of skydiving. To get good at freeflying you jump solo after solo and then start with the 2 ways, and that doesn't appeal to some. Nor does flying headdown with one other person in the sky geeking each other....some people would say big whoop to that when they can do a technical dive with 20 others. I see the fun in it, but to others, it just isn't.
Tee made some excellent points.... now, let me start by saying that I do tend to do more RW than Freefly dives, but from the exposure I've had so far, I'd rather freefly. Why? Simple.. probably because that discipline is newest to me right now. What gets me is the common misconception that freeflyers are somehow better 'body pilots' than someone whose chosen to do RW. The simple truth is, in my opinion, that RW takes a hell of a lot more dedication & determination.... have you ever seen some of these hard-core formation flyers, it's serious business to them (probably another reason I prefer freeflying LOL). While a freeflyer of a comparable skill level doesn't really care how many times he/she touches their partner(s) in the sky, just as long as it was fun (which is very cool). You almost never hear the term 'slot-perfect' in a freefly dive, but go make an RW dive with some competition team or former competitors.... I've had an old-school RW guy tell me that no matter where I am in the sky "this is your slot.. period!" So, I don't think it has anything to do with failure or missing your slot. Some people just prefer one discipline over the other, and regardless of which one you choose, as long as you stick with it & push yourself, you ARE pushing the envelope of your discipline... Have you ever watched a video of Arizona Airspeed or the Golden Nights 8-way teams.... tell me that crap's not intense!?
Another statement that I hear a lot is that freeflying makes you better at RW (and visa versa). WTFever, I do RW all the time & I can't freefly for shit, and I've seen & heard of several hard-core freefliers that can barely dock on someone while in the box. I think freeflying makes you better at freeflying & RW makes you better at RW.... simple! It's not really fair to generalize & assume that freefliers are automatically better all around pilots because it simply isn't true.
I know that I'm kinda riding both sides of the fence here, but, like most newbies now days, I want to become an "all around" body pilot. Someone that can do it all! I have major respect for those who can turn 15 points on a 4-way, then turn around & transition their proverbial ass off on a freefly dive. Hell, I pretty much respect all skydivers, no matter what you can do! LOL
What makes you think that belly fliers AREN'T pushing their own envelope and/or working to improve their flying skills and abilities?? If you've never done it, you have no clue how hard it can be to turn 10+ points on a four way (or 4+ points on a 10 way for that matter). It takes most belly fliers hundreds of jumps to get good enough to do that, just like it takes most freefliers hundreds of jumps to get good enough to be on a 10 way freefly jump (or for that matter, to learn how to dock while head down...).
I, like many others, have just as much fun on a "serious" RW dive as I do on a freefly dive. CRW is pretty damn fun too, as is freestyle. It's all skydiving, it's all good, we're all trying to get better at whatever we're doing. No one discipline is better than another, no one discipline has cornered the market on improving skills and abilities, no one discipline pushes the envelope more than another.
In reply to:
You almost never hear the term 'slot-perfect' in a freefly dive,
You almost never heard that on a casual RW dive ten years ago. I predict you will hear it on casual freefly dives ten years from now. I'd put money on "points" being part of freefly competition dives in the next few years. Five years ago, docking while head down was something very few jumpers could do; most freefly dives involved taking grips out the door, then not touching anyone for the rest of the dive. Today there are lots of freefliers capable of making repeated docks while head down, standing up or sitting - the flying has progressed to the point where building more than one formation on a freefly dive is now done regularly.
pull and flare!
"I feel so alive, for the very first time, and I think I can fly" - P.O.D.
I believe my comments were misunderstood. I am not saying that freefliers are better fliers than RW. In fact I am primarily a belly flier usually 4 way, because I personally enjoy turning many points in a skydive, I have trained in the wind tunnel, on my belly, and have jumped with those we have competed nationally in four way, so I love RW. My question more specifically should have been why don't more people try to fly in a mantis type position. It has dramatically improved the speed and control range of my movements. As I transition between points and looked around to see where people are at it seems that those still flying in the box as taught during the first jump course are moving around alot more than those in a mantis type of position. This is even more noticeable during larger dives, probably because there are more people and it takes longer to build a point. My only reference to freeflying is that they are continual trying different techniques and the majority of those flying facing the earth aren't.
Hope that helps and eleviates any need for defense. Mike
It is my opinion that more RW jumpers don't use the mantis position because: 1) they have never really been exposed to it in real life, or haven't been coached to do so; or 2) At the speed they are transitioning, they really wouldn't realize it's potential. That, or they might be absolute kick-ass jumpers and still fly boxman or some other derivative.
Personally, I fly generally "mantis" in 4-way and 8-way sequential, but when swooping to big-way stuff it looks completely different. I guess it all boils down to what you are comfortable with.
"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy"
I hope I can explain it in a manner that will give you an idea without totally confusing you. From the box position bring your hands and arms more in front of your body. Your hands should be under your chin in a position similar to if you were trying to catch a football. The elbows are wider than your hands. If you can picture the arms of a praying mantis I assume that is where they came up with the name. This position allows me to turn and make small adjustments much easier, forward, backward or up and down. The basic way to turn using just your arms, if you rotate your right elbow upwards, the key is making your right and left forearms parallel to one another. They should be parallel, but still angled in this manner ( / / ). When you do this you have both surfaces deflecting the wind and you will turn left.
I hope this give you some idea of the basic position. Hopefully some one at your dropzone can demonstrate so you can get a visual picture. Mike
I did an hour of tunnel time back in July, most of it with Eliana Rodriguez and learned the basics of flying in the mantis position. She was fabulous and I had the best time and learned so much. I was real excited to come home and try it but it just hasn't gone that way. I'm still pretty new and in the actual air I tend to just fall back into the box position. When I've mentioned learning more about doing it in the mantis position I've been told to forget about what I learned there because it's really just for people with over 600 jumps who fly 4 way competitively. I've found this discouraging. Eliana had felt it was much more efficient way to fly and that if people learned it sooner before the boxman type position became so ingrained that it would be easier. It seemed to make a lot of sense to me and I plan on keeping at it. I'd love to get down and do some more tunnel time too. It's great to be able to do long stretches of learning at a time instead of 1 minute sessions a few times a day on weekends. I think the learning curve goes way up when you do 4 two and a half minute sessions in a half hour which you can give your full concentration to. I'd be interested in hearing other more experienced RW jumpers opinions on lower timers learning the mantis.
The tunnel is where I got my first exposure also. My experience when I got back was different though. There are five or six people who also fly in the mantis position at our dz and they were excited about what I had learned. We talked about what was explained to me and they were very eager to help me become comfortable with the new positions. I am very thankful they took an interest; sometimes we would just to 2 way drill dives and they never even charged me for their time. Too bad you aren't in this area they really enjoy helping those with a desire to learn.
It's not that people around here aren't willing to help you learn, I just don't think too many really teach the mantis. They just aren't that experienced with it themselves. A bunch are planning on a tunnel trip this winter so I'm hoping they get into it and maybe we can all work on it next summer. That'd be fun. If not, guess I'll just have to come visit you.
ahhhh that's Bull Crap. you can start to fly mantis at any time. It is more of an unstable flying position though. -- but you can move faster, so there is a trade off. If you are comfortable in the air, fly it! I started getting coached in the mantis position with less than 200 jumps (ironically by Boxman - who flies mantis, go figure). you fly a little head high vs. the Box position, but you have more range of motion. The tunnel is definately an excellent way to learn -- repetition is the key to build muscle memory - the tunnel will definately give you that. Coaching is also important. Doug Park , Joey Jones, Aispeed camps - they all provide excellent coaching (Doug and Joey are a lot less expensive and they are local)
Well I guess you have never seen Airspeed in action or watched and serious team in action. Its amazing sticking your head out the door and watching Airspeed pull off three points in the first five seconds of the dive, this includes pieces and flying over one another. If you’re watching you weekend leisure jumper round up a 4 way for a fun jump, it’s easy to come these conclusions, because most of them are out having fun and could care less if they pull off 20 points.
There is no doubt the best teams in the world are working to improve their skills, that is why they are the best, and I would bet most of them fly mantis. I don't understand why the best in the world fly one way and the general population flys another. It makes no sense if a fun jumper has fun turning 5 points wouldn't their enjoyment increase if they turned 10 points how about 15.
The majority don't fly mantis because it's relatively new and they've never heard of it. From what I've seen only those who have (or can jump with those who have) done some tunnel training or are involved in serious RW competition have any idea what the mantis position is right now. Give it time; like all new technology in skydiving it will eventually filter down to the "little guys", just like the boxman position did some years ago. It's just a matter of the information getting out there... which you are helping by these posts
pull and flare!
"I feel so alive, for the very first time, and I think I can fly" - P.O.D.
believe it or not the mantis is slightly slower, by pushing your elbows down and bringing your arms in a little, you're actaully grabbing more air, that's why it's faster, puts you a little chest/head high and is slightly slower. The typical boxman postion the elbows are ear high, the mantis elbows are pushed down into the air.
Sorry - faster turn rate -- slightly slower fall rate. the turn rate speed happens cause you're already loading up pressure on the air. The slower fall rate is because you are pressing down into the wind to make the first part happen.
Thanks, that makes sense. It also helps clarify why a friend tells me to squeeze the air and then intiate the turn. I guess that squeezing of the air builds up additional air pressure so when it is released your turn is faster.
It's a good idea for AFF and static lines students to stick with belly flying for a while and RW'ing with very experienced jumpers. Although I do some head down every now and then by myself, I don't feel safe enough to freefly for fear of freefall injuries.
I had a freefall injury last Saturday @ the San Marcos DZ when my RW partner pulled my right arm out of my socket, leaving me with only one working arm to pull my reserve handle and fly the reserve canopy back down. I can only imagine the nasty things that could have happened to me freeflying and smacking into something/someone with only 40 jumps on me. I had no RSL/AAD.
(This post was edited by christoofar on Nov 5, 2001, 12:01 AM)