Dec 12, 2001, 6:07 PM
Post #1 of 18
Doing head-down for altitude loss
It's amazing how much I don't know about RW today. Twenty five years ago, when I quit I thought I knew it all. Now that I'm starting back I'm finding I know very little. I was just wondering about rapid altitude loss to get down to a formation. I used to spiral down when I was over a formation. It took quite a while. I was reading where some people are using head down to get down fast. I'm just wondering if this is a safe plan. I know a collision could be deadly and visibility could be a big factor. I appreciate your input.
quade (D 22635)
Dec 12, 2001, 7:20 PM
Post #2 of 18
All kidding aside, I think most folks that are late divers aren't exactly going "head-down" in the freeflyer sense of the term -- eyes on the horizon -- but are doing a very natural eyes on the formation, arms back tilt the body down sort of thing. At least, that's what I've been seeing.
You still aim off to the side and get level before getting to the formation. Ya just can't blast into the formation. You'll kill somebody -- probably yourself.
Quade. I know better than that. I was referring to just getting down to the same level quickly and then making an approach. I know that coming in too steep is also a good way to blow things up and ruin everyones skydive.
I think that the step that you are missing is the flare and stop in a 45 deg stairstep out from the formation. By stopping several feet above and outside the formation you prevent the potetial of hitting the formation and hurting people and allow yourself the opportunity to guard against going low and can make a safe no momentum approach to the formation.
I don't know how common this is, but I've heard of good freeflyers on RW big-ways diving on their backs i.e. nearly head-down, but sliding forewards towards the formation. Apparently it makes it easier to see where you're going. Makes sense to me. It's difficult to see where you're headed in a steep dive.
Thats EXACTLY the technique that I use to get down to RW formations. When you fly on your back you can see everything much more clearly than in a steep dive. (as an added bonus you can wave to all of the bellyfliers when you pass them on the way down to the formation!)
michael hunt (yes, that is my real name...and i've heard them all)
Spiraling down is dangerous. You need to stay in your sector when approaching any RW formation, no matter how big or small.
I don't have the freefly skills to backtrack to a formation, although I've seen it done and it works. Assuming you don't blow past it.
I think Steve1 might be asking about smaller moves, i.e. you find yourself thirty feet high with no horizontal room to swoop. In that case, I use a postition called 'RW stable'. This position is taught by Skydive U as part of Basic Body Flight. You can fall very fast, still steer, and don't have to be a freeflier. All you need to do is bring your arms in, laying your hands flat on your chest. Stick your feet straight up in the air behind you, and relax into a hard arch.
Using this position I keep up with sit-fliers and drougless tandems quite easily.
I was reading where some people are using head down to get down fast. I'm just wondering if this is a safe plan.
I am assuming you are talking about getting down after being a late diver. Everyone seems to have a favorite technique, but one I use quite regularly on big-ways is the "chicken dive". It is a great way to HAUL ASS down there while keeping your eyes on the target. While I also use the inverted dive technique quite often- at least on the first half of my swoop- I find the chicken dive to be more appropriate when I start out closer to the base.
At any rate, this is not a new technique; the instructions were written in Parachutist quite a few years ago. Here is how I describe it:
Make your diving exit straight out to the side or downward while keeping your eyes on the base. Put your arms well back in a delta and arch like hell while keeping your head up. Drop your knees well DOWN until you go head-down. I can go straight head-down and keep my eyes on the target this way. As you need to level out and adjust your angle of attack, just extend your legs a bit. Once down to about a 45 degree angle to the formation, transition into your delta-to-swoop braking configuration and glide into your slot. I know that sounds kind of funky, but it's what works for me. For the record: I am normally an "outside" guy and love being last out. Pays to have a good, safe swoop. I am very cognizant of what others are doing while I dive. Target fixation leads to mid-air collisions of the worst kind. I was once knocked unconscious while videoing by an unconrolled zoomie who thought he was MUCH farther from the formation than he actually was.
Thanks Chuck and Dan, I'm anxious to try what you have told me. It seems like I'm not going steep enough and spending too much time getting down there. I've never been on a big way. 20 some years ago I used to go close to last out of a DC-3. It had a small door so our exits were always really strung out. It seemed like most all of the jump was spent tracking to get down and then often going beyond the formation and still being too high. Gary or (Hod) Sanders has been coaching me some. You may know him Chuck. He was on the Navy four way team at one time, and some other teams with BJ Worth. He still goes on most of the big-ways with B.J. At any rate he was showing me a similiar track (delta) position with a hard arch and arms way back. I'm also anxious to try the chicken hawk position out. I have a lot to learn and I sure appreciate the input. It sure is nice to be able to ask the experts dumb questions. Especially when they can't see you.
I was able to do some jumping at Perris over Christmas. There was a few times when I found myself too high and without a lot of horizontal room to get down. I tried the chicken dive position and I must be doing something wrong. I tucked my knees up and brought my arms way back into a delta position and arched my chest with my head back. But I didn't go head down. I was able to loose a lot of altituide fairly fast because of less surface area and I did make it into the formation each time, but I must not be following directions very well. I felt like I was in more of a style tuck position. Maybe I didn't arch hard enough. Chuck may be too busy to answer this. Can anyone else help?
PhreeZone (D License)
Jan 18, 2002, 6:03 PM
Post #16 of 18
The dive Chuck was talking about works bests if you have horizontial as well as vertical distance to travel. If you are just too high above the formation, but at the right horizontal distance, that means your dive down was not near steep enough to the formation, you need to take it steeper (and controlled) to get there and glide to your slot.
I want to touch the sky, I want to fly so high ~ Sonique
Some things I learned about diving from Tony Domenico and Kate Cooper at their dive/float camps (which I HIGHLY recommend if you're interested in doing large RW dives, btw).
Instead of diving out of the plane as described by Chuck, leave the plane in an "Iron Cross" position facing the relative wind - head up, legs a bit more than shoulder width apart, arms out, lead with your left hip (out of a left hand door aircraft like an Otter) - it's kinda like doing a cartwheel out the door. Hold that position for a count of four; you'll naturally end up with your head pointed down (trust it...). Clean it up into a head down diving position - toes pointed, legs straight and closer together, slight bend forward at the waist, arms at your side slightly behind your body, head bent so you're looking at your toes. SLOWLY bring your head up and find the base below you out of the top of your eyeballs (do it too fast and you'll flatten out). Adjust your body position as needed (arms back or forward, more or less bend at the waist or add arch as needed) to keep the formation at the same angle. As you get closer be ready to flare out, and be ready to flare out hard to slow down cuz you're gonna have lots of speed to burn off. Approach and dock as you normally would.
This method actually puts you closer to the base out the door than the typical bomb out the door diving toward the back of the plane exit, and it's a lot faster way to get down there too. Tony tells a story about him and another really good big way jumper racing to the formation - Tony used the diving toward the back of the plane exit, the other jumper used the method described above. Guess who got there first?