How To Tube: A Guide To Getting The Most From Your Tunnel Sessions

    Part One: Instructor vs. Coach
    A tunnel coach and a tunnel instructor are different things. This can be confusing as they may look the same, sound the same, perhaps wear the same suit and even be the same person performing two different roles from one session to the next. They will all high-five you too many times.
    What exactly does an instructor do? What exactly does a coach do? What are the differences between the two and how do they apply to me? Also, what is spotting and who does it? Do I need some? Also, how do I go about finding a good coach that is the correct fit for my personality and flying goals?
    What does a tunnel instructor do?
    An instructor is an human employed by the facility itself to oversee and conduct the tunnel sessions. This includes managing the time, keeping everyone safe and teaching students as and when it is required. Instructors are also responsible for taking turns controlling the tunnel and during downtime performing maintenance around the building.

    Coaches provide tuition in different ways. Sometimes from outside the chamber...

    ...And sometimes from within. Instructors provide support where it is needed.

    What does a tunnel coach do?
    A tunnel coach is an accomplished flyer that buys time from the tunnel as a private individual and offers it as lessons to potential students. Coaches buy bulk time from the tunnel company to secure it at the cheapest available rate and sell it on to their students including a fee for their services.
    Do I need to get a coach?
    Yes, no, sometimes, maybe, yes.
    At any given tunnel there is an instructor in the immediate vicinity of the action at all times (watching from the doorway or in the chamber itself). They are present for safety and are available to teach anyone in their session who requires help. You can go to the tunnel without booking a coach and have the instructor teach you, but there are a few things to consider:
    1. Instructors learn on the job - they begin with a very basic amount of training and advance through levels of qualification while working at their tunnel. This means the instructor for your session can be a veteran of many years or a new employee conducting their very first class.
    2. Instructors have other duties to perform. The busier the tunnel is the less time the instructor will have to talk to you before and after your session. If they have a birthday party of tiny children to fill with joy they will probably not have the time and energy to discuss your backfly position in any detail.
    3. You will likely get a different instructor each time you visit. While there is something to be said for mixing up the sources of your learning, there are couple of things that are important to consider - An instructor you do not know might want a demonstration of your skills before they will teach you anything new, thus eating into your valuable time. Also, the more you fly and more skills you acquire, the higher the chances that an instructor will not be qualified to teach you anything new.
    4. If you want to learn head down flying you need to have a coach to give you feedback from the front as the instructor will be holding on to (spotting) you from behind. (While it is possible to learn this from just one appropriately qualified person, it is a very inefficient and time consuming way to do it). Both instructors and coaches will tell you to get a good coach.
    5. As you gather more experience and your skills grow, you will recognise the times when you might or might not want or need coaching for a particular session. There are times when you a required to have a coach in order to progress, and there are times when you can improve by practising alone or with a group of friends.

    For learning head down you will need the help of both an instructor and coach.
    The coach (left) is there to teach you what to do. The instructor (right) is there for your safety.
    An instructors job is to spot transitions when required.

    What is spotting?
    Spotting is the term used to refer to the techniques used by by instructors to control and catch flyers in the flight chamber.
    This term is commonly used in two ways:
    1. As action. For example - A student flips onto their back and is caught by the instructor. This is a spot.
    2. As method. For example - An instructor is teaching a student how to sitfly. The instructor is doing the teaching, but is also spotting the student should anything go wrong.
    The duty of spotting falls to the instructor of the session. The flying activity that takes place will be equal to the level of qualification of the instructor. The exception to this is that if there is another person in the tunnel that has more advanced qualifications. An example of this might be another instructor doing some private coaching outside of his duties at the tunnel.
    Tips for finding a good coach:
    There is no enforced rating system for coaches. As a result of this there are many excellent ones and just as many terrible ones. Someone can easily be a very accomplished skydiver but have skills and methods that simply do not translate well to the tube, just as a tunnel coach might be the best flyer you have ever seen and have never set foot in a jump plane.
    - Does your coach provide a proper briefing and de-briefing? It is very important to have the right information and suitable practice before your session begins. This can mean the difference between rewarding progress and frustrating failure. If your coach turns up at the last minute or books their sessions so they are back-to-back with another student and have no time to brief you then they are crappy - get someone else. Does your coach de-brief you properly with video after your session? Deconstructing and analysing your flying can often be the part of the process in which you learn the most. If your coach stays in the tunnel with another student or disappears without de-briefing you properly then they are crappy - get someone else.
    - Always find out peoples experience level. Ask around, it doesn’t take much to find out if someone is full of shit.
    - Does your coach have time to perform a backflip or some such each time you get in and out of the tunnel? If yes, you have a crappy coach who is more interested in their flying skills than yours. Get someone else.
    - Does your coach perform moves or fly in a way that is beyond your current skill level while you are flying together? If yes, you have a crappy coach - visual feedback is an important tool for your progress. Your coach should be using their body position to teach you about yours. Get someone else.

    Coaches will sometimes be qualified to spot transitions themselves.
    Sometimes the instructor's help is not required.
    Sometimes the instructor's help is mandatory.
    Many tunnel instructors also offer their skills as coaches. As a general rule people who have honed their skills working as an instructor make the best coaches. However, there are a few things to consider:
    Instructors make their bones by doing a lot of sessions with people of all levels of ability. This makes them very efficient at communicating ideas and techniques both in and out of the tube.
    An instructor who offers coaching will likely be able to perform any spotting you require. This makes the logistics of booking sessions easier and the sessions themselves more efficient.
    An instructor who offers coaching will be required to arrange their private sessions around their duties for the facility. This can affect their availability and make booking sessions more complicated.
    An instructor might be broken. Tunnels work their employees hard and pay them very little - this can harm a worker’s attitude toward other humans. A broken instructor will likely be off to do something else soon, but until then they can be reckless and unprofessional.
    Good coaching from an accomplished flyer is a worthy investment and an important part of speedy progress. Tunnel flying is expensive so everything you can do to aid the efficiency of your learning helps - a little leg work before your actual tunnel sessions can go a long way. Get involved involved in you local flying scene, either at your local tunnel or dropzone - there will be established individuals or teams that can help you directly or put you on the right path. If you are brand new then don’t be afraid to ask questions - everyone starts from the beginning and everybody knows how much there is to learn. Don’t be shy - good quality instructors and coaches value students that constantly enquire about the techniques and processes involved.

    By joelstrickland, in Disciplines,

    How To Get That Wind Tunnel Job - Vince Arnone Talks You In

    Image by Wolfgang Lienbacher
    When it comes to the windytube, Vince Arnone has a few solid miles under his belt. He’s worked in the wind tunnel industry since 2010 (and in the skydiving world for a few more years before even that). He runs Indoor Skydiving Source, a community-based resource for indoor skydiving and bodyflight.
    During his many years as a tunnel instructor--working with first-time flyers and skydivers alike--he has constantly been approached by wanna-be tunnel rats. If you’re one of them, he has some advice to share with you. I asked him some questions about it, and here’s what he had to say.
    Q: What’s the first step? Are there prerequisites?
    Vince: Just apply!
    At the end of the day, great timing and a solid application really is the key to working in the wind tunnel. Beyond that, there are a few important factors to consider before filling out that app.
    The physical requirements of the job should be the first thing you consider before seriously looking at getting a job as a wind tunnel instructor. Being a tunnel instructor, and especially working with first-time flyers, is a physically demanding job. Sometimes you work with children, but sometimes a 250lb man walks through the door. They are both your responsibility, and bothcan kick your ass!
    Both the IBA and Tunnel Instructor rating programs administer a physical fitness test that you must pass in order to be an instructor. The test normally includes pull-ups, sit-ups and running. You don't need to be superhuman, but being generally in shape is a good starter.
    Q: Do you need a lot of previous tunnel experience? Is it, like, only shredders need apply?
    Vince: No. The training will be part of the job, and it’s an investment. It goes like this.
    In order to work in a wind tunnel with first-time flyers, you need a tunnel instructor rating. Earning this rating requires a 3-4 week course which teaches you how to safely introduce and monitor a flyer's first flight. Most wind tunnels include this as part of your initial hiring period.
    You might have to sign a contract or have some money withheld from your paychecks to pay for the training, but rarely do you have to pay out-of-pocket for it. Training programs like this are designed to take anyone off the street with no previous experience and set them up with the key skills they need for the job.
    Q: Do you have any insider tips that might give an application the edge?
    Vince: If you remember one thing from this article, remember this: a staff at a wind tunnel is a close-knit team, and the team has to work well together. Because of this fact, knowing and having a standing relationship with other instructors or managers can make the difference when applying.
    A hiring manager is always looking for a good fit to the team, not just a skilled individual. This means they are looking for someone who will mesh well with the other instructors on the staff and work hard. This is the most important thing to remember when applying.
    If you don't know anyone, but you know the job is for you, don't worry! I don't mean that you have to be long-time buddies with someone at the tunnel in order to get a job. Hang around. Get to know the staff at the tunnel you want to work in. Show interest. Small acts like this will go a long way, and you just might learn about the tunnel and bodyflight in the process.
    Q: What should a potential tunnel employee do to prepare for the interview?
    Vince: Treat it like a “real interview.” Don’t be too casual about it. All the standard job application best practices apply.
    The opportunity to work in the wind tunnel is a unique -- and possibly life-changing -- one. Approach it with a good attitude and tons of passion, and see where it might take you. Good luck!
    Q: What are the major differences between tunnels for flyers with an eye on growth?
    Vince: Back when I first started--I guess I’m sounding old now--there were just so few tunnel jobs out there. The number of tunnels from 1982 to the year 2011 was around 40. From 2012 to 2015, that number jumped to around 80. Today, looking at the database, there are 113.
    So rather than jumping at ANY possibility--as someone who sees the tunnel job as an opportunity to grow their personal skills and maybe even start coaching--it really matters which tunnel you land at.
    The days where everyone would flock to a single tunnel because it was the only tunnel, only high speed tunnel, or only 14 ft tunnel, are long gone. There are more coming, too; since 2013, the number of tunnels opening each year has also exploded. This also means the number of instructor positions has grown. Just by the numbers, setting out to get an instructor job is more likely to end successfully. This also means that the experienced flying community has spread out.
    Consider working at a tunnel that mainly serves first-time clientele. There will be lower experienced flyer traffic, and the other instructors might not be flying- and coaching-focused. That’s a much different environment than a tunnel that sees experienced flyers as a larger percentage of their business.
    Working with experienced flyers and other coaches will play a big role in your personal progression. Surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals will immerse you in the culture. Consider the location and culture of the tunnel you land at. A location that will support your flying goals will help you reach them much quicker--and this is about you going all-in for personal development, isn’t it?

    By nettenette, in Disciplines,

    Health gymnasiums

    Two other advantages offered by good gymnasium are constant supervision, which enables you to exercise with safety confidence, and a congenial atmosphere. Exercising with people who share common purpose can provide extra enjoyment and incentive.
    It is necessary first of all to distinguish between the different types of gymnasium. Training gymnasium are essentially for athletes and other men and women who wish to develop their skills for particular athletic activities. They provide facilities for athletes to keep themselves for their chosen sports. Health gymnasium provide advice, instruction and facilities for everyone who wishes to become or keep fit, whatever his or her initial physical condition. Their clients range from professional athletes to office workers who wish only to make the best use of their lunch hours.
    Health gymnasium vary widely in quality. When choosing one of yourself, you should check that is staffed by qualified and responsible instructors. You may feel flattered to be attended by a sports celebrity, but professionally trained physiotherapists and physical education instructors can be equally, if not more, beneficial to an unfit person. You should expect to be asked details of your medical history, and to be carefully examined before being allowed to use all the facilities.
    Three types of exercise
    The accessories provided in health gymnasium to help you exercise range form simple wights and benches to more sophisticated equipment such aș pulleys and rowing machine. These accessories are appropriate for different kinds of exercises.
    Isometric exercises, the simple type involve a applying muscular strength by pulling or pushing immovable objects. The muscles are tensed and this tension is sustained for short periods of time. Because little movement is involved in these exercises, they develop static rather than dynamic strength.
    Isotonic exercises involve pulling or lifting an object to certain position and then returning it to its original position. They cause the muscles to contract as you move but, because the weight or force employed is to the same degree throughout the exercise. The weight or force used can only be that which you can lift or pull at the weakest point in the range of motion involved and at other points your muscles are not sufficiently strained to develop in strength.
    The third type of exercise, known as isokinethic, requires more sophisticated equipment. Isokinetic exercises can be designed for particular needs. For example, a person who is training for a particular sport can do exercises that stimulate exactly the demands of this sport, and also developed precisely the muscles he or she most needs.
    Facilities for massage may be available at health gymnasium or sauna baths. Massage is used in physical therapy as a means of rehabilitating patients who are suffering from certain physical pain or aliments but, as a mean of getting or keeping fit, its value is very limited.
    Sauna baths
    Sauna baths may be attached to health gymnasium or may exist as separate establishments. Most sauna baths are organized according to similar basic principles, although Finnish sauna baths retain their original national characteristics. They have an invigorating effect on the whole body and aid physical and mental relaxation, but their effect on the whole body and aid physical and mental relaxation, but their effect are temporary rather than long-term.
    Sauna baths provide a healthy and enjoyable means of relaxation, but the sudden rise and pulse rate can be dangerous. Pregnant women and people with high or low blood pressure, should therefore avoid them.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Headdown - Everybody wants to learn!

    The winter is coming and you’re thinking about where you're going to jump to clear your winter doldrums. When you get to where you want to jump, everybody needs to freshen up their skills, maybe learn some new ones. One of the most popular skills to learn is Headdown. As a coach I have seen a lot of ways to learn the position. Some people, if you manually stick them in the position and hold them there, will learn it in a few jumps. Other fliers don't have it so easy. Well this article is for you!
    We will learn what to concentrate on in the Headdown position, but more importantly how to work around the problem with other skills, which I think contribute and can sculpt the Headdown position. These skills being back flying, flat back tracking and flat belly tracking.

    Headdown is probably the most technical of the freefly positions. It requires balance, skill, strength, and a refined technique. I teach the straddle position first, because it is easier to balance and conceptualize early on. You should have your head, shoulders, hips, and ankles completely in line. Your head should be pointing straight towards the Earth with your field of view consisting of the horizon with a half sky/half ground ratio.
    People who fly on their bellies a lot usually have a huge arch in their torso, which causes them to go to a back track, or belly track (we will get to how that is important later). Others usually have a kink in their hip so their shoulders and head are in one plane and their hips and ankles in another plane. This causes a steep track on their belly.
    Most of the concentration, once you have acquired the skill of keeping your body all in one plane, should be concentrated on the hips, legs and feet. First, You should have tension in your butt so you are straight, this can fix the hinged at the hip problem addressed above. Second, you should squeeze your quads taught so they push outwards, but remain in the same plane as everything else and keep the full extent of your leg straight. Third, you should have your toes flexed up towards your head. Picture yourself hanging from a bar upside down by your feet. You should feel air on your toes when you get it right. Pressure should be felt on your toes much like someone standing on your feet.
    Once you have the straddle position, the progression calls for 360 turns both ways, forward and backward motion, and then docks.
    We won't get into the technique of daffy Headdown, but it is extremely useful to slow down, fly in the tunnel with the lower speeds, and for heavier people to fly with others.

    Back Fly
    People often ask why they need to learn to fly on their back. The answer is simple. Headdown is a balance between flying on your back and on your belly. When the Headdown position is correct, no wind should be felt on your back or belly. This position requires the awareness of air being on your back or belly, so you can achieve no air on the torso. Since most people can fly on there belly relatively well, then it is imperative for you to learn how to fly on your back to acquire the Headdown position.
    The back fly position can be attained in the tunnel first, because it is much safer. Start on the grate. Relax your torso so it is convex. Put your hands above your head, and relax them. Do not push down towards the grate unless you want to slow down, or go up! Let your head relax and sit in line with your torso, while looking straight above. Keep your hips 90 degrees just like sitting in a chair. Keep your legs wide for stability.
    Back fly also has many everyday uses. Flying with tandems on your back is not only fun, but honestly the best video angle. When you are flying with an inexperienced sit flier and they cork you can match their speed on your back, until they can get vertical again. Lastly, you can use back fly to fly with relative workers, or once again get an interesting camera angle from below.
    Two words of caution! First, tighten up your rig when you fly on your back because the rig tends to shift from the wind below and can turn you. Second, I do not recommend flying on your back with other people unless you can competently fly in the wind tunnel on your back with a coach, as not to cause a huge difference in speed and thus a high speed collision.

    When first learning the Headdown position people either track towards the coach or away. I think it is very useful to learn to flat track on your belly and back. If you learn to fly both positions well with a coach, then control of the Headdown position is easier.
    Belly flat tracking is a little different than the steep track taught in the majority of AFF programs. A flat track has the ankles, hips and shoulders all in one plane.
    The progression suggests to learn to turn left and right, adjust your fall rate with your torso, and finally increase your speed with your legs. Turn left and right with your arms first as to make the adjustment slow. Then start to adjust the trim of your body for more powerful turns. Adjust your fall rate in tracking by arching to go down, and cupping with your torso to go up. Lastly, squeeze your quads tight for speed.
    Back tracking is fun and challenging. It can be used in Headdown, to track up to formations and to close huge distances. Make sure to slow down well before you reach your target.
    The first problem most people have when they back track is they have a kink at the hip. This creates more of a back fly rather than a track. Squeeze your butt, or push your hips forward to get flat. To gain more speed, put your legs together and press your ankles down slightly.
    With all these positions and abilities under your belt, Headdown will be easier to learn. The awareness and skills you learn from these alternate positions can in the end help you conquer Headdown.
    Remember, try to freshen up with a coach and in the tunnel before you start flying with other people. Headdown, along with these other positions is never easy, but persistence mixed with awareness and the right guidance always pays off.
    Swoop high, don't lag on jump run, and pack your instructor's parachute. Later!
    The New School Fligh University Web Site
    Steven Blincoe is the founder of The New School Flight University in Lake Wales, Florida. He has 4,000 jumps total and 300 hours of Skyventure Orlando wind tunnel time. If you would like to contact him you can at blincoe.org, or 530-412-2078.

    By admin, in Disciplines,


    Setting goals could be the single most important ingredient to success. There are basically three different types of goals: long, medium, and short-range. The long-range goal is where you need to start; everything falls in behind this one. You need to understand what you want, look at what you are willing to sacrifice, and decide on a long-range goal.
    It is helpful if each individual goes through this process for himself, before the team does it as a unit. Individual long-range goals are usually a little more far reaching that the team ones and therefore must be decided upon first. Like any important team decisions, when deciding on the team’s end goal, be sure to agree by consensus. Everyone must own this goal. It would be easy for the more dominate character to push a decision through that isn’t really what everyone wants. If this happens it is unlikely that everyone will “buy” into the plan and you have just sown a seed for future conflicts.
    Now that you know where the team is going, it is necessary to make a map on how to get there. Here you need to make a series of medium-range goals that will roughly outline your path to success. In this stage of planning, it is very helpful to have a professional with you to give expert guidance on what is necessary to reach your end goal.
    Short-range goals are better made as you go along. Your strengths and weaknesses are hard to predict and therefore must be addressed as you go. However, do be clear about what subjects you would like to make goals around and how often you will be making and debriefing them.
    Do not fear making goals because you may not reach them. This is quite normal and very OK. If a goal proves to be ambitious rethink it and adjust the goal.
    Examples of Goals:
    Block Times
    Exit Break Times
    Meet Averages
    Personal Conduct
    Team Conduct
    Second Point Times
    Personal Effort
    Team Effort
    (…) Airspeed 4-Way Training Work Book

    ©1998 - Jack Jefferies, Airspeed - All Rights Reserved
    Related Links:


    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Getting Wet: Wingsuits In The Water

    An unplanned water landing is a frightening scenario for many skydivers; it’s
    one of the reasons that live water training is required for a USPA B License (If
    you didn’t truly get wet when working on your USPA B license, your instructors
    weren’t doing you or anyone else any favors). Add a wingsuit to the mix and it’s
    enough to give pause to even the most experienced skydiver. In 2010 alone, we’ve
    had three known unintentional wingsuit water entries in the USA. Wingsuits can
    fly further than skydivers can, and water is an attractive hazard to fly-over.
    Toss in a low deployment, restricted movement, and some adrenaline and a normal
    skydive can get really exciting really fast.
    OK, so it’s not quite the same as Houdini and his locks, and skydiving in a
    “prom dress” or freefall in a straight jacket isn’t nearly as difficult as some
    make it out to be. However, emergency situations do require a different
    approach. Wingsuit skydivers should pre-plan for an unintentional water landing
    even if flight over water isn’t an issue at their home DZ. A boogie or other
    special event may put wingsuit pilots into unfamiliar situations where water is
    present. Flotation devices should be a part of that pre-planning process if
    over-water flights are a common occurrence. TSA allows for up to four Co2 cartridges to be carried as part of a "life-vest unit."
    USPA Training And Recommendarions
    Section 6.2 of the USPA Skydiver Instruction Manual (SIM) guidance for
    unintentional water landings tells us to:

    a. Continue to steer to avoid
    the water hazard.
    b. Activate the flotation device, if available.
    c. Disconnect the chest strap to facilitate getting out of the harness after
    landing in the water.
    d. Disconnect the reserve static line (if applicable)
    to reduce complications in case the main needs to be cut away after splashing
    e. Steer into the wind.
    f. Loosen the leg straps slightly to facilitate getting out of the harness after splashing down.
    (1) If you
    loosen the leg straps too much, you may not be able to reach the toggles.

    (2) Do not unfasten the leg straps until your feet are in the water.
    Prepare for a PLF, in case the water is shallow (it will be nearly impossible to
    determine the depth from above).
    h. Flare to half brakes at ten feet above
    the water (this may be difficult to judge, due to poor depth perception over the
    i. Enter the water with your lungs filled with air.
    j. After entering the water, throw your arms back and slide forward out of the harness.

    (1) Remain in the harness and attached to the canopy until actually in the
    (2) If cutting away (known deep water only), do so only after both
    feet contact the water.
    (3) If flotation gear is not used, separation from
    the equipment is essential.
    k. Dive deep and swim out from under the
    collapsed canopy.

    All of these same procedures apply when wearing a wingsuit, yet
    preparations for an unintentional water landing don’t stop there. We still got
    work to do. Prior To Entering The Water
    It goes without saying that the best way to avoid a water landing is to avoid
    being over the water. However, sometimes it cannot be avoided. In addition to
    the previously mentioned, USPA-recommended actions, the wingsuit should be
    unzipped as much as possible prior to landing. This includes armwings, legwings,
    and body zippers if possible. Do not pull the cutaway/release cables on the
    wingsuit (assuming the wingsuit has cutaway cables, not all do) if the arms can
    be unzipped. An armwing that has been cut away will be much more difficult to
    move and unzip once it has filled with water and your arms are still in the
    sleeves (For example, the newest Phoenix-fly wingsuit arms might be cut away, as
    they detach the full wing from the arm, but the arm will still be inside a foam
    sleeve making it difficult to swim). The tailwing may act as a drag point and
    force the upper body forward, putting the skydiver on his belly. Enter the water
    with feet and knees together. Flying at half brakes should allow the canopy to
    continue forward. Do not flare. Take a deep breath prior to entering the water.
    After Entering The Water
    The canopy is a potential point of entanglement. It is recommended that a
    main canopy be cut away once you are fully in the water. If there is a current,
    this will prevent the main from dragging you along with it. A reserve cannot be
    cut away without a hook knife (if you are going to carry a hook knife, carry a
    metal, not plastic hook knife. A $5.00 hook knife will not do the job). Roll
    backward or sideways onto your back. If you have not deployed the reserve, the
    reserve will keep you floating for approximately 30 minutes in fresh water,
    longer in saltwater. With the tail (and perhaps the armwings) potentially being
    still inflated, being on your back will prevent the tail and rig from forcing
    your face into the water. Try to remain calm, breathe deeply and begin the
    process of removing goggles, helmet, and legstraps (chest strap if it was not
    undone in the air). The arm and legwings of a three-wing style wingsuit are
    similar to a ram-air parachute; there is an inlet and air fills the cells. These
    same inlets and cells can fill with water as easily as they fill with air.
    Although water in the cells alone will not cause the wingsuit to sink, movement
    of the wing will cause the suit to be dragged downward. This means that
    attempting to tread water will drag you under. Do not attempt to tread water,
    but rather keep your legs motionless. If there is any current, it is imperative
    that you stay on your back and try to keep your head upstream. Keeping the legs
    apart will help achieve this goal. Even a slow current will move your body very
    fast. Remaining calm is perhaps the most important aspect of clearing the suit
    and surviving.
    Jeans, boots, and gloves can make the task of escape a little more
    difficult than expected.
    Once you are fully unzipped and your legstraps loose, slide your rig and
    armwings off. After the upper body has been freed, “sit down” in the rig and
    suit to put you head-high. This allows the torso to roll forward so that it’s
    possible to dive deep and away from the rig, allowing the legs to escape from
    the legstraps and tailwing. Although the USPA SIM instructs skydivers to swim
    away from their rig, I have made the personal choice that I
    will not swim away from my rig if the reserve has not been deployed. It
    may be used as a flotation device and might be the difference between life and
    death. I will cut away the main canopy and swim away from the main.
    This is my personal decision and is in opposition to
    USPA recommendations. Follow at your own risk.
    During the various water experiments, there were a total of 49 water entries
    in various conditions and wingsuits, all with a rig or dummy rig in place, many
    with a main canopy attached. Performance Designs Sabre II, Silhouette, and Storm
    canopies were used. We jumped into still water 18’ deep, 6’ deep, current pools
    34” and 24” deep with speeds up to 7 knots. We also jumped into wave pools with
    swells of up to 3’, which are small to moderate compared to coastline
    Tossing the main canopy into the 7 knot current
    During these entries, three things became clear;
    Go into the water with as many zippers undone as possible. Your chest strap
    should also be undone for best possible speed once in the water. while this may
    seem logical, in at least two of the three unintentional water landings, the
    wingsuiter forgot to unzip arms while dealing with other issues.
    Get onto your back as quickly as you can. Stay on your back as legstraps,
    zippers, helmet releases, and goggles are removed. You may want to consider
    leaving the helmet on if in moving water and head protection is needed.
    Take a deep, calming breath. Even though my experiments were intentional
    water landings, they were still nerve-wracking when the suits were fully zipped
    up. Being jittery is entirely likely. Staying calm and keeping heart and
    breathing rates down may easily be the difference in survival, particularly in
    cold water.

        Be sure to stay clear of the canopy and lines. Currents may drag the canopy
    around a bit. Rescuers might have an easier time finding you if they can spot
    the canopy in the water so staying somewhat near but well clear of canopy and
    lines is a good idea. A hook knife should be part of your kit.
    When landing in water that has a current, try to keep your head upstream
    while getting out of the suit. Leave the helmet on to protect your head from
    rocks and other objects. Stay as far away from the canopy as possible. This is
    easier said than done. Note that in the video, the current combined with the
    canopy drag was more than two men could manage even in shallow water. This is
    where a hook knife would be beneficial.
    If the rig has a reserve still packed in it, it will float. It also is very
    easy to escape once the legstraps are undone, as it will remain on top of the
    water as you dive forward away from the container.  
    "Exiting" from the 3 meter board, fully zipped  
    In conclusion, if over-water wingsuit flights are planned, seriously consider
    a floatation device. They will not have a significant impact on the comfort of
    the suit, and are not relatively expensive. ParaGear, ChutingStar, and other
    skydiving supply shops sell these devices. Remember that CO2 cartridges may not
    be carried aboard a commercial flight, so you’ll need to source or ship
    cartridges to your final destination.

    If a flotation device is not part of your gear/kit, have an advance plan in
    the event of a water landing. There have been at least three known unintentional
    water landings in the US this year; only through luck and calm procedures did
    the wingsuiters survive. Read the Incident Report below to see how one survivor
    described his experiences and how multiple errors led him into the water.
    Big puffies and blue skies (and calm waters, I suppose)! -d
    Douglas Spotted Eagle is a USPA AFFI, Coach Examiner, PRO, and PFC Senior
    Examiner (North America) on staff at Skydive Elsinore.
    Student’s Incident report:

    Name [Deleted]
    age: 31
    Years in the sport: 4.5 yrs.
    # of skydives: 287
    # of
    Wingsuit SD’s: 7
    # of BASE: 70+
    I recently purchased a new Phantom2 Pheonix fly wingsuit and was super eager
    to get in the air. I got to the DZ and got on the first available load which was
    a 10 minute call. On any typical skydive, an immediete 10 minute call upon
    arrival isn’t so bad, but setting up a wingsuit system quickly is not a great
    idea, but I did.
    Mistake #1: I forced myself to have to rush to get on a load to do a
    technical jump for no apparent reason. In the end, I don’t think my rushed
    preparation lead to the actual situation, but I guess my mind wasn’t where it
    should have been.
    I was the last to exit from 12,500?. I had a really great (mostly stable)
    flight, flying around some clouds. At pull time, like most jumps, I was out over
    the ocean. I took one last look at my wrist alti at 5K’. Based on my audibles
    4000? warning, I’m guessing I was open between 3500?-3000?.
    Mistake #2: I shouldn’t have pulled that low with a WS on with my low
    experience level.
    Mistake #3: I have made 6 previous WS jumps. All more than 2.5 years
    ago. I did not physically or mentally dirt dive this jump before getting on the
    After a stable pull (I felt), I immediatley opended with line twists. I’ve
    had line twist before with this canopy/harness (Sabre 1, 150; 9 cell/Infinity
    dom;1997) and was able to kick out of them in the past. This line twist began to
    accelerate instantly. I made 3-4 attempts to kick out of it, but with the
    restricted movement of my legs in the WS, and spinning horizontally around the
    canopy, it didn’t do much at all.
    Mistake #4: I was under too small of a canopy for a WS jump. My exit
    weight= 240lbs. Wind loading= 1.6. I should have been under a more docile (7
    cell), or larger canopy.
    So, having no luck with my kick attemps, I chopped it. It took me a few
    seconds to locate my handles (one hand on each). In my haste, I did a “T-Rex”
    style cut-away. As soon as I saw my right riser clear, I let go of the handle
    and pulled the reserve (also “T-rex”). Obviously leading to my main still
    dragging off my left shoulder.
    Mistake #5: I was jumping a borrowed rig. Although I’ve had about 20
    uneventful (other than line twist) jumps with this rig. I wasn’t really familiar
    with it.
    Mistake #6: Probably the biggest one. I DID NOT CLEAR MY CUT AWAY
    Mistake #7: This goes right along with the above…Pulling my reserve
    I think because of my slightly slower descent rate (caused by my main still
    being attached), and my reserve already fired, I felt the second set of risers
    bouncing around on my head and saw all the lines whipping in-front of my face. As
    the reserve was slowly coming to line stretch, the lines were beginning to
    entangle with my helmet (actually the camera on my helmet)
    Mistake #8: Wearing a camera on a “student” WS jump.
    With the lines still “somewhat” relaxed, I thought of dumping my helmet but
    instead I picked/brushed the lines off the camera, clearing them. A split second
    later, I felt the canopy pressurize and go to complete line stretch. Instantly,
    the reserve risers had forced my head completely forward, making my chin squeeze
    into my neck. I knew I had MAJOR line twists on my reserve now too.
    So now, I’m under one collapsed main still dragging off my left riser, and
    one tightly twisted up reserve to my right side, still fully zipped into my WS,
    and I’m getting choked from behind by the reserve risers and can’t lift my head
    to see any of it. I knew I wasn’t “falling” anymore and that the canopies were
    not entangled. I don’t know, but the reserve must have been “un-spinning” because
    the pressure was slowly coming off the back of my neck and the twist opened up
    enough to squeeze my head back through, behind the risers.
    Mistake #9: Not sure if I could have prevented this one. If my arms
    had been unzipped and out of the wings (which they weren’t) I may have been able
    to reach back during the reserve deployment, and guided the risers in-front of
    my head before pressurization.
    At this point, my first objective was to finally cut the main off so I could
    get completely out of my reserve line twists. The main was still being held on
    by 1cm of ripcord cable still in the three ring release closing loop. In any
    case…I was focused on getting that last tinny bit of rip cord out of the closing
    loop. I had “tunnel” vision on trying to pick at the centimeter of cord. There
    was too much tension on the riser so I couldn’t get it out. I was definitely not
    thinking clearly at that moment. ALL I had to do was find my cut-away handle
    floating behind me and pull it another 1/4 inch. In retrospect, the dragging
    main (acting like an anchor) may have kept my reserve from continuing to twist
    and spin me into the ground/water. I’m not sure if completely cutting away at
    that point would have been any better.
    Mistake #10: Had I been thinking clearly, I would have found my handle
    and finished the job of cutting away.
    At this point I stopped all attempts to correct anything. I saw that I was
    about 300 yards(?) of the beach, over the water at about 500-300?(?) up. I knew
    I was going for a swim. The swell was small (2-3?), but definitely was not flat
    and calm. In preparation for my mid day swim, I started unzipping
    everything…chest, arms, legs, chest strap. I then reached above the reserve line
    twist, grabbed the rear/right line set and did a “rear riser” turn towards the
    visibly shallower water over the reef. I don't know if that helped at all because
    I pretty much felt like I was under a round canopy with no directional control.
    I just knew I was drifting towards the reef now. Not knowing the shallowness
    above the reef gave me a second of pucker factor, but at this point I had not
    much control or time anyway. I then did a “backwards” PLF (obviously with no
    flare, toggles still stowed and twisted). I slammed the water pretty hard.
    Mistake #11: Although this is what saved me from serious impact, I
    landed in the water with a WS on….not good!
    While I was underwater, my wingsuit quickly turned into a tunasuit, but
    before I even had time to deal with the next hurdle……..I stood up.
    I was now standing 300 yards out in the surf, in 3 feet of water with both
    canopies attached and the WS on, all filled with water. I was getting dragged
    in-land with the swell a little bit, but had plenty of time to finally cut-away
    the main and completely step out of the WS. I saw all the scrambling of people
    on the shore. I was soon reached by a couple of skydivers and a rescue kayak. We
    loaded up the rig on to the kayak and swam back to shore.
    Mistake #12: I probably should have made my first priority to un-zip
    my wings. Although, at no point did I feel like they were restraining my movement
    (until I wanted to steer towards the reef). I guess I unzipped them right when I
    had a moment and thought it was totally needed.
    Massive thanks to:

    Lake Elsinore Casino
    Tooele City Pool

    Raging Waters/SLC
    Skydive Elsinore
    Skydive Utah
    Rigging Innovations
    Teledyne Instruments
    Joey Allred, Aaron Hutmacher, Jose Calderon, Mannie Frances, Karl Dollmeyer,
    Scotty Burns, Chuck Blue, Jarno Cordia, Bence Pascu, Joe Turner, Frank Hinshaw,
    T.K. Hinshaw, Tom Deacon, Jim Crouch, Jack Guthrie, Scott Callantine, Jeanie
    Curtis, Mike Harlon, Chris Squires, Robert Pecnik, Jeff Donohue, and Andreea

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Getting Into BASE

    For BASE jumping information, BASE jumping articles, photos, videos and discussions visit BASEjumper.com
    This article was written entirely by Tom Aiello, BASE 579. Tom has made over 500 BASE jumps in the past 30 months, from more than 100 objects. He is not an authority or expert of any kind on BASE jumping or any other type of parachuting, so all his advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Copyright 2002. Permission to reproduce and distribute in this exact form only is hereby granted.
    Virtually every time I tell someone that I'm a BASE jumper, their first question is "how could I get into that?" After answering that question dozens of times, I decided to write it all down, so that I can avoid repetition induced laryngitis.
    There are as many different ways of getting started BASE jumping as there are jumpers. But, after some soul-searching, some discussion with friends, and some internet research, I've decided that the course I wish I had followed, and the one I've tried to set people on, goes something like this.
    Check the Fit
    BASE jumping is not for everyone. Give yourself a long hard, look, and decide if BASE really fits you. It's virtually impossible to objectively evaluate yourself, so it might be helpful to have a (close and tactful) friend help you with this step.
    Does BASE jumping fit your physical abilities? BASE is not really about personal fitness (although it helps) or athleticism (which only comes into play in advanced sub-disciplines). In BASE, the important physical abilities are reaction time, coordination and balance. Evaluate yours. It may be helpful to ask some of the following questions: If you are sitting at a desk, and knock a pencil off, do you pick it up off the ground, or did you catch it in mid-air? When you spill a bottle of beer, do you have to get up and get a new one, or do you right it before you've lost most of it? How often do you trip or stumble?
    Does BASE jumping fit your mindset? The best BASE jumpers are organized to the point of anal retentive. They also have an intellectual curiosity about almost everything. Have you ever wondered how the reserve system on a skydiving rig works? How many times did you trust your life to it before you starting wondering? Are you always trying to find a pull-up cord to close, or do other people ask you for them?
    Do you make correct decisions in pressure situations? BASE jumpers need to react quickly, and correctly, in life threatening situations. Have you ever been confronted with an oncoming car in your lane? How did you react? Did you have to think about it, or did it just happen for you?
    BASE will best fit a person who is intellectually curious, has good reactions, responds quickly and correctly (without having to think during the emergency), has excellent coordination and is highly organized and detail oriented. You can definitely still be a BASE jumper who has trouble with one or two of these things, but if you are weak in most of these areas, BASE is not a good sport to take up.
    Make the Decision
    Make absolutely certain BASE is really what you want. This sport is dangerous, sometimes illegal and very addictive. It will take over your life. I would never advise someone to get into it (and I have found it to be the most rewarding experience of my life). In my short time in this sport I've seen two life flight helicopters from the outside, two more from the inside, the back of a police car, several broken bones and a funeral. I've also spent three weeks in Intensive Care and 18 hours in neurosurgery. Are you sure you really want to do this?
    There are lots of different reasons to get into BASE, and I have given up trying to decide which are the "right" ones. The important thing is that your reasons are important enough to you to outweigh the potentially enormous costs of BASE jumping. Unless you are a NASCAR driver, BASE is by far the most dangerous thing you will ever do. Statistically, you have something like a 5% chance of dying by the end of your BASE career. Worse, your chance of serious injury (think hospital time) is more like 95%. I know three BASE jumpers with more than 500 jumps who have not spent serious time (more than a day or two) in the hospital due to BASE accidents. Even they agree that it is just a matter of time until they are seriously injured. If you are not ready to die BASE jumping, you are not ready to BASE jump.
    Go to this web site: http://juliabell.home.att.net . Read the entire thing. Seriously.
    Still want to be a BASE jumper? Then read on...
    Do Your Homework
    Next you need to find out everything that you can about BASE jumping. Talk to every BASE jumper you can. Read every article you can find about BASE, rigging or weather. Get on the internet and find everything you can about BASE (there is a whole lot more than you'd think). I have included several of my favorite references at the end of this article, but there are many, many more.
    Get Your Head Straight
    Now that you've made the decision to jump, make sure that you have the right mentality. There are two important pieces of that mentality that will keep you alive in this sport.
    Never do anything that doesn't feel right to you. If you're not ready for something, don't do it. We all determine our own learning speeds, and there is no way to know in advance what you'll be comfortable with. Don't be pushed into doing things you're not ready for by overeager partners or teachers.
    Never be afraid to back down. It takes far more courage to back off the exit point than to jump. There are definitely times when it is right to back off, and knowing when to heed that little voice in your head is critical to your survival. This sport is very, very serious, and taking it lightly will hurt, maim, or kill you in short order.
    The rest of your mentality you'll develop as you go, learning from other jumpers, from experience (both positive and negative) and from the rest of your life.
    Tell Your Family
    It is the responsibility of every BASE jumper to tell their family that they are involved in BASE, that they understand the risks, and that they have chosen to take those risks.
    Sit down with your family and talk to them about BASE. This is obviously an extremely difficult proposition. Facing your family with your decision to engage in a life-threatening activity cannot be easy. However this discussion is important both for you and for the sport of BASE jumping.
    An honest, open discussion with your loved ones will make them feel more included in your decisions. They will generally be more impressed with the maturity and thought that has gone into your decision to jump. This can help avoid the arguments, tantrums, and guilt trips that might otherwise be thrown at you by family and friends who don't understand your activities.
    An explanation, by you, that you understand and accept the risks involved, will help prevent your family from attacking other members of the BASE community in the event of your injury or death. There have been far too many cases of the families of dead jumpers accusing, confronting, suing and even prosecuting other jumpers as a result of fatalities. Don't let this happen to your friends.
    Write a letter to your friends and family, to be opened in the event that you die BASE jumping. In the letter, explain why you have chosen to take up BASE, what you hope to get from BASE jumping, and why you are willing to risk death for it. Give sealed copies to (at the very least) your family and your BASE mentor. Do this to defuse any conflicts that might arise from your death.
    Make the Skydives
    First, make at least 200 skydives. You need to make these skydives in order to practice accuracy, tracking and canopy control skills. You also need to establish a general comfort level with parachutes, free fall, and split second decisions. The skydivers who are best prepared for BASE generally jump large, 7 cell, F-111 canopies, have had a number of malfunctions and responded correctly, and are comfortable with multiple skydiving disciplines. If your only focus is BASE jumping, don't succumb to the temptation to become canopy swooping freeflyer. Instead, focus on CRW and Accuracy as your skydiving disciplines.
    To practice tracking make entire skydives in max track. Don't count on the limited tracking on break off, or on the balanced tracking of a tracking jump. Make the whole dive tracking as hard as you can, with camera and coaching if possible, and work on getting the most lift, and the most drive out of your track.
    For accuracy practice, it's best to use the canopy that you intend to BASE jump with. Try to set up low (under 500 feet), to simulate the BASE environment. Don't forget to make approaches cross- and down-wind as well, since you will often have to do this while BASE jumping.
    For canopy practice, you should make some CRW jumps (on a CRW canopy) and then do some canopy drills on your intended BASE canopy. CRW is a great way to learn canopy flight characteristics in tight spaces before you get into the BASE environment (and CRW with your BASE canopy is an excellent drill-after you've learned some CRW skills).
    Be sure you've made several night jumps during your skydiving career. In many places, BASE jumps are made almost exclusively at night (to avoid arrest, incarceration, and gear confiscation), and comfort with flying and landing your canopy at night is essential to survive these jumps.
    Make some jumps on your BASE canopy to learn its performance envelope. Pay particular attention to riser input, practicing riser turns and riser flares. Make sure you practice your riser turns before popping your toggles-that's the way you'll have to do it to avoid smacking the side of a cliff one day. Obviously, you'll want to practice them after grabbing the toggles, as well.
    Find a Mentor
    While you are learning to skydive, you will doubtless meet skydivers at the drop zone. Try to find and meet the local BASE jumpers as well. Your goal should be to find someone with 200 or more BASE jumps, who you think will be a good teacher, and whom you get along with. You also have to trust them with your life (that is what you will be doing, after all).
    Get a BASE Rig
    Now, with proper canopy skills and an instructor, you need to find a BASE rig. Your best bet is to buy a new, Velcro closed, BASE specific rig from a major manufacturer, and put a real BASE canopy in it. You can also find good used gear (check the classified ads on the BASE board: www.blincmagazine.com). The key is to get actual BASE specific gear. Lots of people will try to sell you converted skydiving gear (Ravens, Cruiselites, Pegasus's, etc). Avoid this and get real BASE gear. Everyone has different preferences in gear, but the key is to find actual, purpose built, BASE gear.
    Take a First Jump Course
    So, now you have the pre-requisite skydiving skills, an appropriate rig, and you've found an instructor. Time to go jumping, right?
    Wrong. Now it's time to get to work. Before you can make your first jump, you still have to learn basic rigging and packing, dead air exits skills, and simple ethics. There are two ways to do this.
    The simplest is to cough up US$1000 or so, and take a first jump course from one of the major gear manufacturers. Since most of us don't have an extra grand to throw around, we tend to try to skip this step. I don't recommend this. It really is worth the money to get qualified, professional instruction. You wouldn't try to make your first skydive without paying for instruction, would you? Even if you had a friend who swore he "knew all about it", and could easily "take you for a jump."
    First jump courses are also available from various BASE organizations around the world, such as the Australian BASE Association (which maintains a database of qualified instructors in Australia) and the Norwegian BASE Association (which has classes available at Lysefjord in an attempt to minimize accidents at that popular site). If you have the money, though, my preference would be to take your course from an American manufacturer, as their "teaching object" (a 486' bridge over water, with a huge grassy landing area) is generally the safest for a first time jumper. There is a similar object in Southern Europe, and Robert Pecnik offers a First Jump Course there.
    Lots of people try to save some money by getting their friends to "teach" them. This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, you don't know that your friend really has the qualifications to teach. Second, you don't know that he's really motivated to do a thorough job teaching. Sure, he can get you off for that first jump, but what did he teach you about dealing with your unstable launch on jump number 12? Third, you will learn more if your First Jump Course is not taught by the same mentor who guides you through your next 20-50 jumps. Finally, these "informal" first jump courses can drag on for weeks, months, even years. If you contract with a real business, you know the exact dates of your course, and you can plan for it.
    Watch Some Video
    Now that you have an idea of what a BASE jump ought to look like, get your hands on some BASE video. The best video for this is the "Lemmings Exits" series from Bridge Day (http://www.lemmingsvideo.com/). Try to get several years of "Lemmings Exits", and whatever other BASE video you can find. Watch the video, preferably with your BASE mentor. Evaluate each jump. The more errors you can see before jumping, the more likely you are to avoid them yourself.
    Get Started
    Now you're ready to start jumping. After your First Jump Course, you should have a solid knowledge of gear, rigging and packing, some theoretical knowledge of malfunctions and solutions, and a practical set of launches to work from.
    The next step is to get home and make as many jumps (in as short a time) as possible with your BASE mentor. Ask as many questions constantly. Try to learn as much as you can. Once you feel comfortable (and so does your mentor), start branching out and jumping with other people. Ask them the same questions (they may have different answers). Watch different people pack. Watch different people jump. Always ask why things are done a certain way.
    Keep Learning
    Now that you have 20-30 jumps, and can hang with the local crew, you can consider yourself a solid beginner. There is still a lot more to learn, see and do. Never stop learning. In addition to being a good way to stay alive, it's one of the most rewarding things about the sport.
    Some Resources
    First Jump Courses:
    Consolidated Rigging

    4035 Grass Valley Highway

    Auburn, California 95602

    530 823-7969

    530 823-7971 fax


    Basic Research

    236 East 3rd Street, Unit C

    Perris, California 92570

    909 940-1324

    909 940-1326 fax


    Morpheus Technologies

    5107 Lantana Street

    Zephyrhills, Florida 33541

    813 780-8961

    813 788-7072 fax


    Robert Pecnik

    Australian BASE Association

    Tom Begic

    Director of Safety and Operations

    Must See Web Sites:
    http://www.basejump.org Click on the "Articles" link, and read ALL the "Must Read" articles.

    http://www.blincmagazine.com Pay special attention to the "Knowledge BASE" and "BASE Board" sections.

    http://www.crmojo.com Especially look through the "Articles" section of the "Library".
    Understanding the Sky. Dennis Pagen. Sport Aviation Publications; ISBN: 0936310103; (February 1992): Buy this book. Read it, then keep it. You'll want to read it again when you have around 100 BASE jumps, and then again around 500 jumps. Each time, it will become more useful.

    Groundrush. Simon Jakeman. Jonathan Cape; ISBN: 0099232618; (July 1993): The first (and so far only) book ever published about BASE jumping.

    Album of Fluid Motion. Milton Van Dyke. Parabolic Press, Inc.; ISBN: 0915760037; (May 1982): The most valuable picture book I've read. You may not understand why it matters at first, but once you start jumping cliffs and buildings in wind, the basic concepts in this book become invaluable. Don't worry about the technical jargon-just look at the pictures.
    BASE Gear Manufacturer Web Sites




    Used BASE Gear Classifieds On Line

    Other Informational BASE web sites of interest





    And one inspirational web site:

    © Copyright 2002 Tom Aiello. Permission to reproduce and distribute in this exact form only is hereby granted. Please address any questions, comments or corrections to the author at tbaiello@mac.com.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    From Tunnel to Sky

    Training Wind Tunnel Students to be Great Skydiving Students
    by Kirk Verner and Gary Peek
    Photos by Michael Breweri
    Tunnel student Emily Young
      The advent of vertical wind tunnels has created not only an incredible new air sport, but has also provided us with a very realistic simulation of freefall skydiving. This simulation can be used to provide both accurate and efficient training for skydiving students.
    As wind tunnels proliferate around the world, more and more people are going to begin skydiving having already experienced flight in a wind tunnel. Many of them will come to skydiving having performed maneuvers that skydiving students experience not only in their initial skydives, but in their more advanced training jumps as well.
    At some point, nearly every dropzone and skydiving instructor will need to plan how to use this technology to both enhance and replace traditional training for freefall.
    Advice for the tunnel instructor:
    Keep in mind that the sport of skydiving and the skydiving industry are extremely concerned about legal issues and liability. Trusting a student's instruction outside of the normal skydiving channels is a huge leap of faith for both dropzones and skydiving instructors. It may be a long time before tunnel training for skydiving gains widespread acceptance, so have patience and try to cover all the bases during this transition.
    In all likelihood, a tunnel instructor is going to have to hold a skydiving instructional rating from a national organization in order for their instruction to be used toward skydiving, for example, an USPA AFF instructional rating in the US.
    Logging tunnel skills and experience
    In order for a person trained in a tunnel to transfer their skills and experience to skydiving, they are going to need some reasonable verification of their training. Tunnel management and tunnel instructors would do well to create their own logbook to help their students take proof of their time and skills to dropzones and skydiving instructors. This logbook should include items like the date, location, flight time, maneuvers, and instructor signature, but could also include multiple ways to contact the instructor, since using proof of tunnel training will be new to many dropzones and skydiving instructors. They will likely feel much more comfortable with their skydiving student if they can discuss their tunnel training with the tunnel instructor if needed. If a specialized tunnel logbook is not available, a skydiving logbook could be used just as well, with the advantage of the student already having a logbook when they start skydiving.
    Suggested progression for a tunnel student working toward being a skydiving student
      In order to allow an AFF instructor who does not have tunnel flying experience to feel comfortable with the progression of students you have trained in the tunnel, there are a number of skills that the student should be able to demonstrate. These can range from basic stability all the way to advanced maneuvers, depending on the amount of time spent on instruction in the tunnel.
    In most cases, a single phase of tunnel training will be all that a potential skydiving student will need. If the goal of the tunnel student is to skydive, they may be eager to do that as soon as possible.
    In some cases however, a tunnel student may have begun tunnel flying without the goal of skydiving in mind, and may have accumulated significant time in the tunnel before deciding to skydive. Or, they may prefer the efficiency of the tunnel to learn the more advanced maneuvers before skydiving. If the skills outlined in a second phase of training are learned, the student may be able to advance very quickly in their skydiving progression.
    Phase 1 -
    Phase 1 training would include basic stability, neutral body position, heading control, fall rate control, forward and backward motion, docking, simulated altimeter checks, and simulated pilot chute throws. This training can be used to provide the student with the basic stability and maneuvers to allow them to jump with a single AFF instructor and to quickly advance to skydives and aircraft exits that will deliberately introduce instability.
    Phase 2 -
    Phase 2 training would include controlled turns, intentional unstable maneuvers, "delta" and tracking body positions, and the backslide body position. This additional training can be used to allow the student to quickly perform the maneuvers necessary to advance to the "coached" phase of skydiving training.
      Ways to add realism to skydiving training in a tunnel
    In order to provide a more realistic simulation of skydiving, a tunnel instructor may have their student wear a skydiving rig along with one of the "Tunnel Wrap" or "Rig Condom" devices, used to enclose skydiving rigs in order to prevent accidental deployments when worn in tunnels. Also, a simulated altimeter training device can be helpful to allow the student to practice the position of their arm when checking altitude.
    Advice for the skydiving instructor:
    For legal liability reasons, all skydiving students need to be given instruction in all areas related to making a skydive. However, most of us realize that students that have been trained in a wind tunnel, especially in skills related to skydiving, are going to progress through the skydiving freefall skills at a rate that no traditional skydiving student could. This may allow for a considerable savings to the student in time and number of jumps.
    In all likelihood, a skydiving instructor is going to have to hold an instructional rating from a national organization in order to be be allowed to train students, for example, an USPA AFF instructional rating in the US.
    A skydiving student of any kind may have no knowledge at all about aircraft and the dangers that they can present. Students need to know how to avoid propellers, enter the aircraft and position themselves properly, to protect their handles, and to find and wear their seatbelts. Remember that tunnel students are probably not used to having a rig on their back and may not realize what the flaps are rubbing up against.
    Since most skydiving exits from aircraft are difficult to simulate in a tunnel, a skydiving instructor will need to tell the student what to expect for a particular exit. The advantage for a tunnel trained student is that if an exit causes instability, the student will be able to correct this almost immediately and quickly continue with the skydive.
    One thing that many tunnel students are unlikely to have experienced is having a parachute system on their back while flying. If the student rig is sized well for the student and adjusted well on their back, this will likely not be an issue at all since they have learned and felt a great deal of stability in their body during tunnel flight. However, if your dropzone is one of those who still uses one-size-fits-all student rigs with large parachute for all students you will need to pay close attention to the adjustment of the rig if the student is a small person.
    If a tunnel student has been flying in a tunnel for a while, or is very serious about tunnel flying, they may already have their own jumpsuit, helmet, and goggles. Their jumpsuit may or may not have grippers, so an instructor may not be able to easily take a grip on the student, but then again, why might they need to? If the student has enough tunnel time it is very unlikely that the instructor would need to take grips to control the student, but perhaps they would feel uncomfortable without grippers. If the student is required to wear the dropzone's jumpsuit it should be appropriately sized and probably be rather tight unless they are a larger student.
    If the student's personal helmet and eye protection is appropriate for skydiving then having them use their own gear would be best. But if the student is required to wear a radio for canopy guidance there might be some serious tradeoffs. If the dropzone uses radios that are mounted on the helmet, the student may need to wear the dropzone helmet and goggles. However, if the radio is mounted on the student's chest strap, then perhaps telling the student to raise the face shield on their helmet once under canopy to hear the radio better might be sufficient.
    Where will they be placed in our progression?
    One of the first questions that your student or your dropzone owner may ask about a tunnel trained student is "With their experience flying their body, what "level" or what "category" are we going to have them start with?" (In reality, you may need to create a level or category specifically for them for at least a few jumps.)
    Realize that there will be a huge difference between a student that has 15 minutes in a tunnel compared to one that has several hours. If the student's tunnel instructors have done specific training in preparation for their student learning to skydive, there may actually be only a few freefall related skills for the student to learn and demonstrate.
    Body Position
    When you are initially training your student and practicing a skydive on a creeper or other training device, you may see your tunnel trained student use a body position that is different than what you would normally train your skydiving student to use. Well, if your student has more than a few minutes of tunnel time using that body position, then you should usually just let them continue to use it. Trying to make them do something different that what they were initially trained to do will waste time and may make their performance worse. This also includes some maneuvers such as turns, which may be taught differently by tunnel instructors.
    Freefall maneuvers
    Most freefall maneuvers used in skydiving can be simulated and practiced in a tunnel, perhaps with the exception of the lengthy movements made during tracking or backsliding. Although tracking can be simulated in a tunnel, the skydiving instructor will still need to make sure that the student can track in a straight line in order to provide separation before deploying a parachute.
    Most skydiving instructors will be concerned with the altitude awareness of their tunnel trained student, and perhaps for good reason, given the extended period of working time provided by a tunnel. However, the normal training given to skydiving students regarding the dive flow should give the student sufficient time and altitude awareness. A simulated altimeter training device with an altitude that can be set to count down would be extremely valuable.
    Canopy control
    Knowledge of parachutes and how to fly them safely is something that no tunnel student will know until they are trained on it. All of the normal canopy training subjects will need to be taught. The good news is that the increased confidence that a tunnel trained student has in their freefall skills will allow them to relax and to use more of their energy and thought learning canopy skills.
    If your tunnel student turned skydiver is not catching on to canopy control after having mastered the freefall skills, you can always do what you would do to a student that started as a skydiver. They can always do a number of clear-and-pulls and concentrate on improving their canopy skills. This may also provided them with more opportunity to practice spotting in the aircraft.
    About the Authors
    Kirk Verner and Gary Peek have known each other for over 30 years. They both learned to skydive in the early 1980's at Archway Skydiving Centre in Sparta, Illinois, owned by Kirk's father Dave Verner. Both Kirk and Gary are on the United States Parachute Association Board of Directors, Kirk as a National Director and Gary as the Central Regional Director.
    Kirk managed the Paraclete wind tunnel for 10 years and now manages the Paraclete dropzone. Kirk is an active AFF instructor and teaches students trained in the tunnel to be skydivers using Paracletes' tunnel to skydiving program. Kirk is also a world champion formation skydiver, having been on the Arizona Airspeed teams for 13 years.
    Gary is an active Tandem and AFF instructor, and teaches students locally, as well as when he visits dropzones in the region. He is also a Master Parachute Rigger, a Commercial Pilot, and Cessna 182 jump pilot.

    By admin, in Disciplines,


    Freestyle is defined as a solo free fall discipline that involves choreographed multi-orientation static and dynamic maneuvers.
    Generally speaking, it combines the dynamics of gymnastics and ice skating with the elegance of dance. The free stylist executes precise acrobatic maneuvers including loops, spins, twists and poses while falling at speeds of up to 200+ miles per hour.
    Team Composition:
    A freestyle team consists of a performer and a videographer. Teams may consist of members of one or both genders, but the gender of the team is determined by the performer. If the videographer and performer are of the same gender, either may serve as the videographer on any particular round.
    Freestyle Competition:
    In freestyle skydiving there are seven rounds, two of which are compulsory. The remaining five are free rounds. The content of the compulsory rounds contains four compulsory sequences drawn by the Chief Judge, which must be performed in order of the draw. The compulsory rounds are performed in rounds 2 and 5. All sequences must have a static start and stop.
    The content of the free rounds is chosen entirely by the team, and there may be any number of different free routines within the set number of free rounds. Each jump is from 13,000 feet with working time beginning when the first team member leaves the aircraft and ends 45 seconds later.
    The compulsory routine is scored for the quality and correctness of execution of the sequences, with 10 being a perfect score.
    The free routine is scored in four different categories: difficulty, execution, artistic impression, and camera work.
    Judging rules:
    The calculation of the official score for each round is as follows: (USPA rules 2004)
    Compulsory rounds:

    All five judges evaluate the routines. For each compulsory sequence, the highest and lowest judges' scores are discarded. The average score is calculated by adding the three judges' scores and dividing by three with no rounding applied.
    The average scores of all four compulsory sequences are added, and the result is divided by four and rounded to the first decimal place.
    Free rounds:

    Two judges evaluate the difficulty and execution criteria, with three judges evaluating the artistic and camera criteria.
    The scores for difficulty and execution are added and the result divided by four with no rounding applied. The scores for artistic and camera are added and the result divided by six with no rounding applied. The two results are then added, then divided by two and rounded to the first decimal place. The first International freestyle skydiving competition was held in 1990. In 1996 the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) gave freestyle skydiving official recognition, and free stylists competed alongside other established skydiving events at the World Cup of Skydiving in 1996, at the World Championships in 1997. Freestyle remains one of the most appealing skydiving events to media audiences.

    By admin, in Disciplines,


    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 Safety
    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.

    By admin, in Disciplines,