Photo: Bill Beaver
Freeflying is the ability to fly your body in any position, in any direction, at any speed at any given time. This includes, but is not limited to, headdown, sit, stand, back, belly and any kind of flying you can imagine. There are no limits to freefly except those created in your own mind.
Freeflying is exciting, new and so much fun. Safety must always be an issue. By maintaining a safe flying atmosphere you allow yourself to have more fun. Flying safely relates to the level of experience of those with whom you fly. The basics of freeflight can practiced in a safe atmosphere as long as the size of the flying group does not exceed the skill level of those individuals flying together. 2-ways are the best way to train your freeflying skills.
Freeflying involves many different flying positions which relates to many different speeds ranging from 90-300 miles an hour. There is a logical progression to safe learning of freefly. It is best to first have an understanding of how to fly your body in slower flying positions before moving on to faster ones. Learning to control speed, direction and proximity at slow speeds increases awareness and reactions. These are the methods which keep everyone safe in the sky.
As stated earlier, smaller groups are the safest way to fly. One-on-one flying is the safest way to experience flight with someone else. It allows flyers to maintain visual contact with each other at all times. As experience increases and awareness grows, flying with more people can be fun and safe. This is dependent on the skill of the fliers and how well everyone has planned their dive. There are certain safety rules for breakoff. Once again speed is an important factor. Breakoff altitudes are slightly higher for freefly jumps, 4000ft because of higher speeds. It is also important to gently transition into a track to avoid radical changes in speed. Track for clean air and check. A slow barrel roll before deployment is highly recommended to insure clean air. Following the simple rules of small groups, planning, awareness and breakoffs, insures safety and fun for everyone.
Freefly Safety Equipment
- Container: A tight fitting container which does not allow for exposure of risers and pins is essential to every freeflyer. Increased airspeeds and varying body positions make closure necessary.
- Altimeter: Two altimeters, visual and audible, are necessary for freeflying. Altitude awareness takes on a new importance when dealing with the faster speeds of freefly.
- Clothing: It is important to wear clothing that does not restrict movement and will not cover any handles.
- Helmet: A hard shell helmet is recommended.
- Cypres: Cypres is recommended to all those who can afford it. The potential for collisions exists. Therefore, it is best to be prepared.