Formation Skydiving

    Photo: Brent Finley

    Free Flyers would call Formation Skydiving "belly-flying", with the earth always below, and the skies above. Formation Skydiving is much more than this, and entails quite a long history. Already in the 70's, freefall veterans experimented for a long time to hook up two people while falling straight down. Currently, the span of Formation Skydiving begins with a two-way and ends with a 246-way as the official world record. It's a social affair in the air: skydivers are holding hands and legs and both at the same time to build all kind of different formations of all sizes. Organizers and coaches are engineering the puzzle. Formation Skydiving has two different areas: recreational skydiving, also known as fun jumping, and the competitive arena.
    Recreational Formation Skydiving
    Bellyflyers meet on all kind of different occasions to build their formations in the sky. They are filling their local jump planes on the weekends, as well as weekday sunset loads, to the maximum capacity. As the number of bigger events with larger aircraft continues to grow, they meet with skydivers from all over the country, sometimes all over the world, to build their formations up to the present potential. The current world record is a 300-way formation.
    Formation Skydiving Competition
    More ambitious bellyflyers are sharpening their flying skills at training camps and go out to compete. Formation Skydiving has become a very well organized competition arena. Regional leagues and meets are offering competitions for all performance levels over the whole season. Nationwide championships bring the best teams of the country together (such as the National Skydiving League Championships and the U.S. National Championships). The national champions of all countries in the world compete each year at the World Cup or at the World Championships. The best teams of the world are invited to compete at the World Air Games. Formation Skydiving is slowly forging its way to becoming a part of the Olympic Games.

    Photo: Brent Finley

    The Formation Skydiving competitions are recognized by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and sanctioned by the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale), the IPC (International Parachuting Committee) and by the USPA (United States Parachute Association) in the United States. The sanctioned competition disciplines are: 4-Way 8-Way 16-way.
    Competition teams perform up to six rounds per day at the competition. After exiting the jump plane, all teams have a certain amount of time available (4-way 35 seconds, 8-way and 16-way 50 seconds) to perform the same pre-determined sequence of formations and maneuvers. The team with the most accumulated points wins the round. At a competition, all teams must perform between six and ten rounds. Each competition round has a different sequence of formations and maneuvers. Freefall videographers are filming the performance and deliver the footage to the judges for evaluation. The major events have live broadcast of the freefall and live judging.

    Photo: Brent Finley

    U.S.A. and France have been the dominating the nations in Formation Skydiving. The 8-way discipline has never seen a different winner than the U.S. 8-way team in the history of 8-way competition. In 4-way, U.S.A. and France have been taking turns in bringing home the gold medal. Only the Swiss 4-way team "Blue Magic" has interrupted this series once in 1983. The French national team is holding the world record in 4-way with 36 points in 35 seconds. The U.S.A. is holding the world record in 8-way with 31 points in 50 seconds.
    Twenty years ago, the world record holders in 4 way were scoring 8 points in time, and no one would ever have believed that our sport would have advanced to currently scoring 36 points in time. This rapid progression is testimony that formation skydiving is truly a professional, athletic sport with highly trained athletes, and is a skill that can be developed and cultivated like many other professional sports in our culture. We all look forward to where our sport will take us in the future. Until then, the belly flyers continue to train hard, compete well and enjoy the journey.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Flying Techniques for New 4-Way Teams

    (This article was first published in Parachutist magazine under the title "The ABCs of 4-Way", and has been published with consent of the author)
    4-way is a group activity, so jumpers should learn it as a team. This article offers advice for doing just that. As such, it is geared toward jumpers new to 4-way, but you don’t have to be a student to be “new to 4-way.” Jumpers with experience in other disciplines like freeflying, canopy RW, or skysurfing can be new to 4-way. Even jumpers with experience on big-ways can be new to 4-way flying.
    Before you read another word, remember this: Learning 4-way is a gradual process. You have to start with simple drills and work your way up, adding to your skill set as you go. The skills you learn in the beginning will be useful down the road, even in the most complicated block moves. So, learn 4-way correctly from the get-go.
    Here, then, are suggestions for learning 4-way flying techniques from the ground up, so to speak.
    Train with video.
    No team should jump without video. Jumpers might have to swallow a little pride the first time they see their screw-ups on video, but it’s well worth it. Video helps jumpers identify and correct problems before they become bad habits, and it saves money. What might have taken a couple hundred jumps to learn in the pre-video days, jumpers today can learn in 20 or 30 jumps. Camera flyers deserve every penny put toward their slots.
    Match fall rates and fly no-contact.
    A team’s first few practice jumps should be devoted to finding a compatible fall rate and basic body control. Both can be accomplished on the same jump. Here is a good drill: Launch a 2-way with the other two jumpers exiting as close as possible.Build a Star then drop grips and try to stay level with the formation and in your slots. Adjust your fall rates to match that of the fastest falling jumper.
    Jumpers who float after adjusting their body position should wear weights on the next jump. If three of the jumpers are arching the whole time to stay down with the fastest-falling jumper, that jumper should probably wear a looser jumpsuit on the next jump. The rest of the jumpers should wear slick suits. It might take several jumps to get fall rates and body control worked out, but it is important. You can’t do 4-way if you can’t stay level and in your slot.
    Practice turning in place.
    After jumpers learn to fly no-contact and fall at the same rate, they can move on to turning in place. Here is a drill: From a no-contact Star, two jumpers across from each other turn 90 degrees (either direction) while the other two jumpers stay put (facing in). Fly these positions while staying in your slots. Try to stay close enough so you could take grips if you wanted to. After a designated jumper gives the “key,” go back to the no-contact Star. (A “key” is a signal to break for the next point.) Make two or three jumps doing this drill, then two or three more, this time substituting 360-degree turns for the 90-degree ones.
    Practice single formations.
    After teams can fly no contact and turn in place, they can start on randoms(single formations) selected from the 4-way dive pool *.
    * The 4-way dive pool is published in USPA’s Competition Manual. The dive pool is used for parachuting competitions around th world and is agreed upon by the IPC (International Parachuting Commission) at the beginning of each year. In the 4-way dive pool, single formations are called “randoms.” As of this writing, there are 16 randoms in the dive pool.
    Teams should start with simple randoms, where jumpers are facing in and nobody moves more than 90 degrees to go to the next formation.
    The following illustration shows a sequence of three simple randoms.
    Jumpers perform the sequence in the order shown (Star-Satellite-Zipper) then repeat the sequence. (For more challenging flying, a team can build the Zipper before the Satellite.)
    (Note: The Zipper is not a formation in the current 4-way dive pool but it is a good tool for learning how to stay level.)
    Techniques to practice while performing this sequence include:

    Flying with little tension on grips.
    Paying attention to the keys. If you can’t see the person giving the key, look into the eyes of a jumper who can see the key – it will tell you a lot!
    Moving smoothly and in control to the next point.
    Stopping the move and flying level before taking grips.
    Once teams can do drills like the one above, you can move on to more difficult randoms.But they shouldn’t do so without proper coaching. With all the formations in the dive pool, new teams can easily get lost in a fog deciding how to transition (move from one point to the next). What might look like a good move for one jumper might hinder the moves of other jumpers. Dive engineering is not rocket science, but it requires experience to see the most efficient moves for each jumper.
    Let a coach map out the moves so the team can focus on performance.
    Practice exits.
    The success of any 4-way jump depends on a solid exit. New teams should dedicate several jumps to exit practice. They should start with simple exits where all jumpers can look into the center. And they should check with a coach before they go up to make sure they are doing it correctly. A good way to focus only on exits is to jump at a lower altitude, say 6,000 feet so there is little time for anything but the exit.

    With 16 randoms and 22 block sequences in the 4-way dive pool, there are 38 possible exits. But the same principle applies to each. Jumpers exit as one stable unit by presenting themselves and the formation to the relative wind*. The formation should ride smoothly on the relative wind without buffeting or creating undue tension on grips.

    * Relative Wind is the air coming at you from the direction you are falling. On exit, the prop blast is the first type of relative wind you encounter, although this lasts only a second or two. As you fall away from the plane, the relative wind comes more and more from straight up from the ground.
    Learn your slots.
    On a 4-way team, there are four slots: Point, Outside Center, Inside Center and Tail. The camera flyer, the fifth (and invaluable) member of the team, does not turn points with the team, so the camera position is not discussed here. (But be good to your camera flyer – you can’t do without video!) The Point typically flies in the “front floater” position on the high end of the formation as it leaves the plane. He or she is responsible for launching out and up on exit.
    The Point usually makes bigger moves, especially in the block sequences. Typically, this slot is given to the jumper who is better at the longer moves.
    The Outside Center flies in the “middle floater” position and works with the Inside Center to build the center of most formations. The Outside Center also catches the Point in some block moves.
    The Inside Center exits from inside the door across from the Outside Center. It might appear that this is an easy position since the jumper is often facing out, but timing and body position are important. The Inside Center exits “with” the group and normally presents his or her chest to the relative wind. If the relative wind catches them in the back, they can fold underneath the formation.
    On some teams, the Outside Center gives the count and keys transitions. On other teams, the Inside Center gives the count and keys the next point. For this reason, both the centers should be able to lead the skydive and fly their slots at the same time.
    The Tail usually flies in the “rear floater” position and is responsible for anchoring the formation down as it flies off the plane. Sometimes it appears that the Tail exits early. Whether this is true is up for debate. The important things are timing and placement. As long as the Tail stays low on exit, the formation has a better chance of flying smoothly on the relative wind.

    Learn to fly on the hill.
    Experienced 4-way teams transition to the second point right off the plane while the formation is semi-upright relative to the ground. This is called flying “on the hill.” New teams should not try to transition on the hill until they can consistently pull off good exits. Even then, they should transition to simple formations where not much movement is involved. Also, teams should not try block sequences on the hill until they can consistently transition to single formations.
    Here is a simplified look at hill flying. The exit is the first part of hill flying. Moving to the next point is the next part. As long as the exit formation flies stable on the relative wind, you can make the same moves on the hill that you make when the formation is falling at terminal velocity. You just have to put more punch into some moves because the air is a little “mushy” (meaning the formation hasn’t yet reached terminal velocity). Probably the hardest part about hill flying is learning to ignore the fact that it seems like you’re sometimes standing on your head (or vice versa) when making your move.
    In Summary:
    If you can perform the techniques discussed in this article, you’re a darn good skydiver. But you have so much more to look forward to, like block sequences where you fly with piece partners. But don’t jump ahead just yet. Piece flying injects a completely new set of dynamics into 4-way flying and builds upon the fundamentals discussed in this article.
    So learn the basics first. Learn them as a team. Find a compatible fall rate before you practice randoms. Learn how to make smooth, controlled moves. Set aside jumps for practicing nothing but exits. Learn all the randoms in the dive pool. Then keep practicing. Spend an entire season doing randoms if necessary. Then you will be ready move on to the block sequences.
    Don’t expect miracles overnight, but do expect rewards for hard work. It might be weeks before your team has a breakthrough, but when you do, it will be exhilarating! The light will come on for the team all at once - you’ll see it in each other’s eyes in freefall. You’ll feel it in the rhythm of the skydive. And, most important, you’ll see it in your score!

    By elightle, in Disciplines,

    Diving and Tracking Safety on Large Formation Skydives

    Image by Brian Buckland By Ed Lightle
    This is the first of two articles geared toward safety on big-way formation skydives. This article deals mostly with the freefall part of the skydive whereas the second article “Canopy Safety on Large Formation Skydives” deals mostly with safety under canopy. To get the most benefit, it is recommended that you read both articles.
    In Formation Skydiving, hundreds of big-ways are completed every year without incident. This is a testament to both the skill level of today’s formation skydivers and the screening process utilized by big-way organizers. To qualify for most big-way events, a participant must obtain the recommendation of a big-way plane captain or organizer and must have recently participated in a big-way camp or big-way event.
    Organizers take safety seriously. A safety violation on a big-way, whether at a training camp or on a big-way attempt, will get a jumper benched when an honest learning mistake might not.
    Diving and tracking on big-ways are special areas of concern. With longer diving and tracking times and more jumpers in the air, big-ways naturally increase the risk of a freefall collision. But this risk can be eliminated if jumpers use good common sense and think safety on each and every jump. Here are some tips that can help.
    Watch Jumpers Ahead of You While Diving
    As soon as a diver leaves the plane and gets squared away, he must identify the base and the jumpers who will be docking ahead of him in the formation. He must keep them in sight while he dives, stops, sets up and moves in to dock. He should constantly scan the sky in front of him, starting from the base and extending all the way out to the person he will be docking on. He should keep an eye out for camera flyers as well.
    Because several divers are heading to the same sector of the formation, each diver must follow a straight line from the plane to the area outside the formation where he wants to be stopped and ready to follow jumpers ahead of him into his slot.
    A jumper should never dive directly behind another diver in case the leading diver comes out of his dive early. The trailing diver should always stay a few feet off to the side.
    Don’t Zigzag
    If a diver flares (comes out of his dive) early, he should not zigzag from side to side to bleed off altitude. If he does, he risks being hit by jumpers who are diving behind him. To bleed off altitude at this point, he should either get back into his dive (if he has a lot of distance to make up) or assume a fast fall position while keeping jumpers ahead of him in view.
    Get to the Red Zone on Time
    Another area of concern is getting down to the red zone in time. (The red zone is the area around and outside the formation where jumpers have stopped their dives and are lined up and moving straight ahead and down into their slots. From a camera flyer’s perspective, jumpers in the red zone look as if they are lined up in various seats in an imaginary football stadium as them move down to their slots on the field.)
    A jumper who arrives late in the red zone more than likely has to maneuver around jumpers who are already closing on their slots. He also prevents later divers from getting to their slots. All of this increases the chance of a collision.
    A more serious situation can occur when a jumper arrives so late that the first wave of jumpers is breaking off. This is not serious if he immediately turns and tracks away with this first wave. If he doesn’t, he risks a head-on collision.
    Break Off with Your Group
    To maximize horizontal separation and avoid congestion, jumpers on big-ways break off in “waves”. Imagine how congested it would be if everybody on a 100-way turned and tracked at the same time! On a 100-way, for example, the outer wave might break off around 7000 feet, the next wave around 6000 feet, the next wave at 5000 and so on until only the base group is left. Obviously, the outer wave tracks the furthest horizontal distance and the base tracks the shortest. Again, a jumper who doesn’t arrive in the red zone until break off should turn and track with the outer wave.
    Track with Your Group
    When their wave breaks off, jumpers should track away in groups. A group can consist of a few jumpers from one whacker and a few from an adjacent whacker with one jumper in the center of the group designated the tracking leader. At breakoff, jumpers from each whacker turn in the direction of the tracking leader, track side by side for a few seconds, then fan out away from the center.
    A jumper who goes low should move off to the side, assume a slow fall rate, and try to get above the formation until the outer wave breaks off, at which time he should turn and track away with them.
    Flat Track, Don’t “Dive” Track
    A jumper should stay level with other trackers in his group, and everybody should “flat track” to conserve altitude and maximize horizontal separation. “Dive” tracking (very steep tracking) is not acceptable behavior on a big-way,” says Kate Cooper-Jensen, big-way organizer and multiple world record holder, adding, “A jumper can almost stop dive tracking simply by choosing to alter his body position during the turn away from the formation.”
    To initiate a flat track, a jumper assumes a slow fall position while turning away from the formation, essentially de-arching as he turns. This prevents him from immediately dropping into a dive track below other jumpers in his group. Keeping his hips elevated as he finishes his turn, the jumper then locks his knees, points his toes, and points his head toward the horizon. His arms are initially extended 45 degrees away from his sides and his feet shoulder-width apart. As he picks up speed, he rolls his shoulders forward, and brings his arms closer to his sides and his feet closer together. He should feel the lift as he picks up speed.
    Open at the Same Altitude as Your Group
    As an additional safety measure, opening altitudes of the various waves are staggered to maximize separation and make it easier for jumpers to account for open canopies around them. According to one theory, groups in the middle wave open at the highest altitudes while the outside and base groups open at the lowest. The result is a curve of open canopies, starting lowest at the base, curving up in the middle then down again on the outsides.
    A successful big-way is a team effort with the goal of building a completed formation the safest way possible. Diving and tracking on a big-way is like driving on the highway. A safe driver knows more than just how to push the accelerator and go fast. He maintains a safe distance from the driver in front, he doesn’t switch lanes without looking, and he doesn’t cut in front of other drivers just to beat them to the exit. He gets to where he needs to be in plenty of time without causing an accident. So does a safe big-way formation skydiver.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Debriefing Structure

    In the interest of creating a positive training environment and promoting the optimum state of mind for learning, we have developed a debriefing structure, which puts the majority of responsibility in the hands of each player.
    Coach's / Facilitator's responsibilities:
    Restate team and individual goals;
    State positive things;
    Ensure group stays on plan;
    Following each individual turn, confirming their thoughts and pointing out things that may have been missed.
    Players' responsibilities:
    Listen to each other;
    State positive things (about anyone);
    State things that need improvement (about themselves);
    Make plan on how to improve;
    Make smart goals. Working this system will steepen your team’s learning curve. Listening to each other mistakes and fixes, allows you to learn from each other, a much less painful way to learn.
    Complimenting each other performance, builds self-esteem giving confidence to push further. Reinforcing correct performance helps commit it to memory, increasing the chances of repeating it.
    Stating your own errors, avoids the pitfalls in finger pointing. Having first said it to yourself leaves no room for abusive accusations from your teammates. It will also create a deeper sense of ownership for the mistake, increasing your responsibility to get it corrected.
    Setting goals for improvement from jump to jump, will keep you clear and focused on what you are working on. The system will help you come to realize that it is OK to make mistakes, a much easier headspace to learn in.
    Airspeed 4-Way Training Work Book

    ©1998 – Jack Jefferies, Airspeed – All Rights Reserved
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    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Competition Rules for Atmonauti Skydiving

    The competition will be conducted under the authority granted by the Atmonauti
    Committee of the Sports Skydivers Association. All participants accept these rules and
    regulations as binding by registering as a competitor for the competition.
    2.1 Atmonauti Body Position
    Atmonauti is the term given to the technique that intentionally utilises the torso (as
    an aerofoil) to generate lift, while ‘diving’ at an angle of between 30deg – 75deg to
    generate relative wind required for lift.
    Use of the torso to achieve lift allows freedom of limbs to achieve a range of
    handgrips and foot docks, essential for the ARW2 and SFIDA competition formats.
    2.2 Atmonauti Relative Work
    2.2.1 Sequences and Blocks, including transitions and inters, to include
    Frontmonauti, Backmonauti and Footmonauti positions. Frontmonauti: Head first into relative wind, torso to earth Backmonauti: Head first into relative wind, back to earth Footmonauti: Feet first into relative wind, back to earth
    2.3 SFIDA “Challenge”
    Neutral Navigator sets direction, angle and speed, Competitors compete side by
    side of the Navigator and aim to score highest points for that jump by virtue of
    preset docks and grips, to include transitions.
    2.4 Team
    An Atmonauti Relative Work Team will consist of two (2) competitors and a
    videographer. For SFIDA no team will exist and two (2) competitors will compete
    against each other navigated by an appointed qualified navigator. The
    Videographer will be independent from the competitors.
    Grip and docks
    2.4.1 Grip: a recognisable stationary contact of the hand or hands of one
    competitor on a specified part of the body or harness of the other
    competitor, executed in a controlled manner.
    2.4.2 Dock: A recognisable stationary contact of the foot or feet of the one
    competitor on a specified part of the body or harness of the other
    competitor, executed in a controlled manner.
    2.5 Heading
    The direction in which the “leading edge” of the performer faces. further defined in
    terms of Backmonauti and Frontmonauti positions
    2.6 Leading edge
    A specific body part of the performer (either head or feet) which is the first point of
    contact with the relative wind generated from the angle of attack
    2.6.1 Frontmonauti: Head first into relative wind, torso to earth
    2.6.2 Backmonauti: Head first into relative wind, back to earth
    2.6.3 Footmonauti: Feet first into relative wind, back to earth
    2.7 Axis
    2.7.1 3 axis – F (flight direction), P (Perpendicular to F) & H (Horizontal)
    2.8 Atmonauti position
    Objective is to achieve head-on relative wind (or a custom “tube”) at an angle of
    between 30deg – 75deg to the ground, with horizontal movement in relation to the
    ground, whilst searching for lift with the torso - freeing up the limbs to achieve hand
    grips and foot docks.
    2.9 Move
    A change in body position, and/or a rotation around one or more of the three body
    axes or a static pose.
    2.10 Navigator
    Neutral Navigator responsible for setting direction, angle and speed. No eye contact
    or assistance should be present.
    2.11 No Fly Zone Frontmonauti<.p>
    Behind, below, and not on head level during the approach (i.e. must be above,
    ahead and on head level).
    2.12 No Fly Zone Backmonauti
    Ahead, above, and not on head level during the approach (i.e. must be below,
    behind and on head level).
    2.13 Head level
    The level of the approaches - utilising the head as reference in relation to the angle
    of attack set by Navigator.
    2.14 Total Separation
    Is when all competitors show at one point in time that they have released all their
    grips and no part of their arms or body have contact with another body.
    2.15 Inter
    Is an intermediate requirement within a block sequence which must be performed
    as depicted in the dive pool.
    2.16 Sequence
    Is a series of random formations/free moves and block sequences which are
    designated to be performed on a specific jump.
    2.17 Scoring move/formation
    Is a move which is correctly completed and clearly presented either as a free move
    or within a block sequence as depicted in the dive pool, and which, apart from the
    first move after exit, must be preceded by a correctly completed and clearly
    presented total separation or inter, as appropriate
    2.18 Infringement
    2.18.1 An incorrect or incomplete formation which is followed within working time
    by either Total separation or, An inter, whether correct or not.
    2.18.2 A correctly completed formation preceded by an incorrect inter or incorrect
    total separation
    2.18.3 A formation, inter, or total separation not clearly presented
    2.18.4 In SFIDA, where one or both competitors cause instability to the navigator,
    adversely affecting the other competitor on the same jump.
    2.19 Omission
    2.19.1 A formation or inter missing from the draw sequence
    2.19.2 No clear intent to build the correct formation or inter is seen and another
    formation or inter is presented and there is an advantage to the team
    resulting from the substitution.
    2.20 Working Time
    Is the period of time during which teams are scored on a jump which starts the first
    moment and competitor (other than the videographer) separates from the aircraft,
    as determined by the Judges and terminates a number of seconds later as specified
    in chapter 3.
    2.21 NV
    Moves, inters, or total separations not visible on screen due to meteorological
    conditions, or factors relating to the videographer's freefall video equipment that
    cannot be controlled.
    2.22 Rounds
    Minimum 1 round to call the meet.
    2.23 Backmonauti
    The performer will be on heading flying on his back with his back towards the earth.
    2.24 Frontmonauti
    The performer will be on heading flying at the defined angle as per atmonauti
    definition with his back towards the sky.
    2.25 Footmonauti
    The performer will be on heading feet-first flying at the defined angle as per
    atmonauti definition with his back towards the ground.
    2.26 Formation
    A record attempt formation is considered as built when two or more competitors fly
    on heading with a predefined dock or grip held for minimum 3 seconds, and is the
    basis for the Atmonauti Linked National/World Records. A free move formation,
    however, is merely a recognisable stationary contact of the hand/hands or foot/feet
    – and does not require to be held for 3 seconds as per record attempts.
    3.1 The discipline is comprised of SFIDA and Atmonauti Relative Work.
    3.2 Number of rounds:
    a. SFIDA: a total of 4 competition rounds will be completed with a minimum of one
    round to be completed before a meet can be called.

    b. ARW: a total of 5 competition rounds will be completed with a minimum of one
    round to be completed before a meet can be called.
    3.3 All SFIDA competitions will be judged by an elimination process where the two
    highest scoring competitors in any given round will compete against each other in the following round and the second and third ranking competitors will compete
    against each other and so forth.
    3.4 In the case of a tie for a specific round, the previous total points are added to
    identify the highest total average per competitor.
    3.5 Should a tie persist, a one jump tie breaker will be performed with the highest
    scoring competitor moving to the next round.
    3.6 A tie breaker may also be required for placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
    4.1 The discipline will be comprised of the following events:
    4.1.1 ARW Events: Exit altitude is 11 000 feet AGL; working time is 40 seconds.
    4.1.2 SFIDA Events: Exit altitude is 11 000 feet AGL; working time is 40
    4.1.3 For meteorological reasons only, and with the consent of both the Event and Chief Judge, the Meet Director might change the exit altitude and/or working time and continue the competition. In this case the following
    conditions will apply: The working time will be:

    a. 20 or 40 seconds for the ARW Events

    b. 20 or 40 seconds for the SFIDA Events.

    The reduced working time must be used if the exit altitude is lowered (ref 4.1.1 and 4.1.2). The next round must commence if working time is changed and all competitors will be scored on
    the same working time for a specific round. The minimum exit altitude will be:

    a. 7 000 feet AGL for the ARW Events

    b. 7 000 feet AGL for the SFIDA Events.

    The maximum exit altitude will be 13 000 feet AGL for all
    4.2 Objective of the Event
    4.2.1 The objective of the event is for the a team (ARW) or single competitor
    (SFIDA) to complete as many scoring moves as possible within the given
    working time, while correctly following the sequence for the specific round.
    4.2.2 The accumulated total of all rounds completed is used to determine the
    placing of teams for ARW and the process of elimination as defined in chapter 3 is applied to determine the placing of individual SFIDA
    competitors. For ARW if two or more teams have equal scores the following order of procedures will be applied: For determining final standings:

    a. the highest score in any completed round;

    b. the highest score starting with the last completed
    round and continuing in reverse order, round by
    round until the tie is broken,

    c. the fastest time (measured to hundredths of a
    second) to the last common scoring move in the
    last completed round.

    d. one tie break round if possible (for the first three
    placings only).
    4.3 Performance Requirements
    4.3.1 Each round consists of a sequence of formations depicted in the dive pools
    of the appropriate annexes, as determined by the draw.

    4.3.2 It is the responsibility of the team or individual competitor to clearly present
    the start of working time, correct scoring moves, inters and total separation to the judges.
    4.3.3 Scoring moves need not to be perfectly symmetrical, but they must be
    performed in a controlled manner. Mirror images of moves and whole
    block sequences are not permitted.
    4.3.4 In sequences, total separation is required between block sequences,
    between free or random moves, and between block sequences and free
    4.3.5 Where degrees are shown (180, 270, 360, 540) this indicates the approximate degrees and direction of turn required to complete the inter as intended. The degrees shown are approximately that amount of the circumference of the subgroup's centre point to be presented to the centre point(s) of the other subgroup(s). For judging purposes, the approximate degrees and direction of turn of subgroups centrepoints will be assessed using only the two dimensional video evidence as presented.
    4.3.6 Contact or grips are allowed between subgroups during execution of the
    4.3.7 Where subgroups are shown, they must remain intact as a subgroup with
    only the depicted grips.
    4.3.8 Assisting handholds on other jumpers or their equipment within a
    subgroup/competitor or a scoring formation are permitted.
    5.1 Teams may consist of competitors of either or both sexes, except in the female
    event where (except for the videographer) all competitors must be female.
    5.2 The Draw
    5.2.1 The draw of the sequences will be supervised by the Chief Judge. Teams
    will be given not less than two hours knowledge of the results of the draw
    before the competition starts.
    5.2.2 Event Draws: All the «Block sequences» (numerically numbered) and the
    «Free moves» (alphabetically marked) shown in the appropriate annex will be singularly placed in one container. Individual withdrawal from the
    container, (without replacement) will determine the sequences to be jumped in each round. Each round will be drawn so as to consist of three
    or four scoring formations, whichever number is reached first. Alternatively this draw can be done on a Recognised electronic scoring/judging system as approved by the Meet Director and Chief Judge.
    5.2.3 Use of Dive Pool: Each block or formation will be drawn only once for the scheduled rounds of each competition. In the event that additional rounds are necessary, due to the tie-breaking jump-off, the dive pool for this round will consist of the blocks and free moves which were not drawn for the scheduled rounds. In the event that all of the remaining blocks and formations do not complete the tie breaking round, the draw will continue from an entire original dive pool in that event, excluding any blocks or formations which have already been drawn for that round.
    5.3 Competitors are not allowed to use a wind tunnel (freefall simulator) after the draw
    has been made.
    5.4 Jump Order
    5.4.1 Determined by a draw.
    5.4.2 Should conditions or availability not allow for Jump Order to be executed
    as per draw, Competitors ready and present shall be given first option to
    continue with the rounds.
    5.5 Video Transmission and Recording
    5.5.1 Each team shall provide the video evidence required to judge each round.
    Each freefall Videographer must use the video transmission system if
    provided by the Organiser.
    5.5.2 For the purpose of these rules, «freefall video equipment» shall consist of the complete video system(s) used to record the video evidence of the team’s freefall performance, including the camera(s), video media, tape recorder(s), and battery(ies). All freefall video equipment must be able to deliver a PAL digital signal through an IEEE 1395 compatible connection (Firewire) or composite video compatible connection.
    5.5.3 As soon as possible after each jump is completed, the freefall videographer must deliver the freefall video equipment (including the tape(s) used to record that jump) for dubbing at the designated dubbing station.
    5.5.4 Only one video recording will be dubbed and judged. Secondary video recordings may only be used in NV situations.
    5.5.5 The dubbing station will be as close to the landing area as possible.
    5.5.6 A Video Controller will be appointed by the Chief Judge prior to the start of the Judges’ Conference. The Video Controller may inspect a team’s freefall video equipment to verify that it meets the performance requirements as determined by him/her. Inspections may be made at any time during the competition which do not interfere with a team’s performance, as determined by the Event Judge. If any freefall video equipment does not meet the performance requirements as determined by the Video Controller, this equipment will be deemed to be unusable for the competition.
    5.5.7 A Video Review Panel will be established prior to the start of the official training jumps, consisting of the Chief Judge, the President of the Jury, and the Chairman, or acting Chairman, of the Atmonauti SSA Committee.
    Decisions rendered by the Video Review Panel shall be final and shall not be subject to protest or review by the Jury.
    5.5.8 If the Video Review Panel determines that the freefall video equipment has been deliberately tampered with, the team will receive no points for all competition rounds involved with this tampering.
    5.6 Exit Procedure
    5.6.1 Exit first (prior to FS, AE, Wingsuiting on the same jump run) at altitude.
    There are no limitations on the exit other than those imposed by the JM for
    safety reasons.
    5.6.2 The exit will be controlled by the Navigator in SFIDA and Team Principle in ARW2. Exit commands will be made using an appropriate signal system, and should be discussed prior to boarding with the pilot.
    5.6.3 Atmo groups will be required to fly minimum 45 degrees off jump run in order to create horizontal separation to freefall groups exiting after atmonauti group.
    5.7 Scoring
    5.7.1 A team will score one point for each scoring move performed in the sequence within the allotted Working Time of each round. Teams may continue scoring by continually repeating the sequence.
    5.7.2 For each omission two points will be deducted. If both the inter and the second move in a block sequence are omitted, this will be considered as only one omission.
    5.7.3 If an infringement in the scoring move of a block sequence is carried into the inter (ref. 2.8), this will be considered as one infringement only, provided that the intent of the inter requirements for the next formation is clearly presented and no other infringement occurs in the inter.
    5.7.4 The minimum score for any round is zero points, except where zero points have been awarded and penalty/ies imposed.
    5.8 Rejumps
    5.8.1 In a NV situation, the video evidence will be considered insufficient for judging purposes, and the Video Review Panel will assess the conditions and circumstances surrounding that occurrence. In this case a rejump will be given unless the Video Review Panel determines that there has been an intentional abuse of the rules by the team, in which case no rejump will
    be granted and the team’s score for that jump will be zero.
    5.8.2 Contact or other means of interference between competitors in a team and/or their Videographer shall not be grounds for the team to request a rejump with regards to ARW. In the case of the SFIDA category adverse whether conditions such as bad visibility (in cloud), any contact or other means of interference between the navigator and competitiors and/or between the Videographer shall be grounds for the individual competitors
    to request a rejump – granted at the sole discretion of the Atmonauti Event Judge.
    5.8.3 Adverse weather conditions during a jump are no grounds for protest. However, a rejump may be granted due to adverse weather conditions, at
    the discretion of the Chief Judge.
    5.8.4 Problems with a competitor’s equipment (excluding freefall video
    equipment) shall not be grounds for the team to request a rejump.
    5.9 Training Jumps
    5.9.1 Each team in each event will be given the option of one official training jump before the draw is made.
    5.9.2 The aircraft type and configuration, plus the judging and scoring systems to
    be used in the competition will be used for the official training jump.
    5.9.3 Two sequences will be created by the Chief Judge. Only teams performing
    one of these sequences will receive an evaluation and posted score.

    6. JUDGING
    6.1 The official training jump and competition jumps will be judged as the Videographer
    provides the video evidence. The Chief Judge may modify this procedure with the
    consent of the FAI Controller.
    6.2 The judging will, as far as practical circumstances allow (landings out, rejumps etc),
    be judged in the reverse order of placing.
    6.3 Three Judges must evaluate each team’s performance.
    6.4 The Judges will watch the video evidence of each jump to a maximum of three times at normal speed. If, after the viewings are completed, and within fifteen seconds of the knowledge of the result, the Chief Judge, Event Judge or any Judge on the panel considers that an absolutely incorrect assessment has occurred, the Chief Judge or Event Judge will direct that only that part(s) of the jump in question be reviewed. If the review results in a unanimous decision by the Judges on the part(s) of the performance in question, the score for the jump will be adjusted accordingly. Only one review is permitted for each jump.
    6.5 The Judges will use the electronic scoring system to record their evaluation of the performance. At the end of working time, freeze frame will be applied on each viewing, based on the timing taken from the first viewing only. The Judges may correct their evaluation record after the jump has been judged. Corrections to the
    evaluation record can only be made before the Chief Judge signs the score sheet. All individual Judge’s evaluation will be published.
    6.6 A majority of Judges must agree in the evaluation in order to;

    • credit the scoring move, or

    • assign an omission, or

    • determine an NV situation.

    6.7 The chronometer will be operated by the Judges or by a person(s) appointed by the
    Chief Judge, and will be started as determined in 2.13. If Judges cannot determine
    the start of the working time, the following procedure will be followed. Working time
    will start as the videographer separates from the aircraft and a penalty equal to 20%
    (rounded down) of the score for that jump will be deducted from the score for that

    7.1 Title of the Competition: Atmonauti National/World/Continental Championships
    7.2 Aims of Atmonauti National/World/Continental Championships
    7.2.1 To determine National/World/Continental Champions of Atmonauti in the:

    • ARW (Atmo Relative Work),

    • SFIDA “Challenge”

    7.2.2 and

    • To determine the world standings of the competing teams,

    • To establish Atmonauti formation/distance/other world records,

    • To promote and develop Atmonauti,

    • To present a visually attractive image of the competition jumps and
    standings (scores) for competitors, spectators and media,

    • To exchange ideas, experience, knowledge and information, and
    strengthen friendly relations between the sport parachutists, judges, and
    support personnel of all nations,

    • To improve judging methods and practices.
    7.3 Composition of Delegations:
    7.3.1 Each delegation may be comprised of:

    • One (1) Head of Delegation,

    • One (1) Team Manager,

    • Freefall videographers as.7.3.4 and
    7.3.2 At a World/Continental Championship:

    • Two (2) ARW2 teams consisting of up to:
    Six (6) ARW2 Competitors

    • One (1) female ARW2 team consisting of up to:
    Three (3) female ARW2 Competitors

    • SFIDA contestants consisting of up to:
    Three (3) Individual Competitors
    7.3.3 At a World Cup:

    • Any number of teams per event (composed as for a World
    Championship) to be decided by the Organiser and announced in the
    7.3.4 Videographers must be entered for each team as part of the delegation and must be a member of the Delegation’s NAC. A Videographer may be replaced at any time during the competition, (with the agreement of the FAI Controller). The evaluation process for the video evidence will be the same for any Videographer. Videographers may be one of the following:

    a. One person in addition to the team composition in 7.3.2. This competitor
    is to be considered as a team member for the purposes of awards and

    b. Any other person (ref 7.3.6). This Videographer is eligible to receive
    awards and medals. This Videographer may jump as a ‘pool’ Videographer and is subject to the same regulations as other competitors on the team.
    7.3.5 If any ARW team consists of competitors from the SFIDA, they should be
    listed separately on the entry form.
    7.3.6 Any ARW competitor can only enter in one ARW team as ‘performer’ but may enter as a ‘pool’ Videographer. A competitor in the ARW event cannot also enter in the Female ARW event.
    7.4 Program of Events for SFIDA:
    7.4.1 The World Championships is comprised of:

    • Up to 8 rounds considered as selection rounds, and

    • Final rounds, consisting of 4 quarter finals, two semi finals, one runners
    up and one finals round.
    7.4.2 Time must be reserved before the end of competition to allow for the
    completion of the semi-final, final and runners up round. The quarter-final rounds will consist of the individuals with the 8
    highest scores from the selection rounds. The semi final rounds will consist of the individuals with the 4
    highest scores from the quarter-finals. The finals round will consist of the individuals with the 2 highest
    scores from the semi final rounds. The runners up round will consist of the lowest scores of each
    of the 2 semi finals rounds.
    7.4.3 A selection round left incomplete must be completed as soon as possible,
    but after the round in progress has been completed.
    7.4.4 If all the selection rounds are not completed at the starting time of the
    quarter-finals, the round in progress will become the semi final or final
    round as appropriate. Where this is the semi final, the next drawn round
    will be used for the final round. The following procedures will apply
    i) The round in progress will be completed if ten or less (in the case of
    semi finals) or six or less (in the case of finals) teams remain to jump.
    All scores for this round will count.
    ii) The round in progress will be performed by only the ten (in the case of
    semi finals) or six (in the case of finals) highest placed teams if more
    than ten (in the case of semi finals) or six (in the case of finals) teams
    remain to jump. The scores of any other teams in this round will be
    7.4.5 The competition will be organised during a maximum time frame of 5 competition days. Exceptions may be made where a bid is received for
    multiple FCE competitions at one time.
    7.5 Medals and Diplomas are awarded as follows:

    • All team members (ARW) and individuals (SFIDA) in the events will be awarded
    medals if placed First, Second or Third.

    • Certificates are awarded to all competitors that are placed First to Tenth.

    8.1 Coding in the Dive Pool annexes is as follows:
    8.1.1 Indicates Move by the competitor:
    See image 1 top right.
    8.1.2 Indicates transition on “defined’ axis by competitor in either direction:
    See image 2 top right.
    8.2 Visualisation for dock/grip positions, (Ref: 2.5)
    See image 3 top right.

    See image 4 top right.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Canopy Safety on Large Formation Skydives

    Image by Andrey Veselov This article is a continuation of my previous article “Diving and Tracking Safety on Large Formation Skydives”. Some of that article is repeated here because maximum separation under canopy cannot be achieved without proper breakoff and tracking.
    On any skydive, it is critical that jumpers keep their heads on a swivel at all times. Nowhere is this more important than large formation skydives where separation is paramount and there is no place for canopies weaving in and out of traffic or front-riser spiraling below other jumpers and cutting them off in the landing area.
    A few years ago, Kate Cooper-Jensen and other big-way organizers compiled what they called “Rules of the Sky” for canopy piloting on big-way formation skydives. Cooper-Jensen makes sure that everybody knows about these rules at every big-way event she runs. This article reiterates those rules and provides a few additional rules a jumper must follow from the time he breaks off until he opens.
    Let’s start with responsibilities during breakoff and tracking.
    At breakoff, jumpers turn and track with their designated tracking groups. Breakoff turn directions should have already been established in the dirt dive to avoid collisions. But turn direction is one thing; how far to turn is another. Jumpers facing the center of the formation turn a full 180 degrees at breakoff. A jumper who is already facing, say, 45 degrees away from the center of the formation turns only about 135 degrees.
    Jumpers track with their groups for at least five seconds, staying level with their tracking leaders then fanning out a few degrees from the center until the designated opening altitude for their group.
    A “flat track” is required and absolutely no steep (or “dive”) tracking is allowed! If a jumper goes low, he moves off to the side, assumes a slow fall rate, and tries to get above the formation until the outer wave breaks off, at which time he turns and tracks as far as he can until 2500 feet.
    Jumpers on the outside of the formation break off first, track the furthest, and open the lowest. Jumpers in the middle break off next and track as far as they can until time to open (at the highest altitude on the load). Jumpers in the base ring track the least distance and open at a low altitude like the outer groups. These staggered openings make it is easier for jumpers to see each other and fly their canopies. Imagine how congested the skies would be if everybody on a 100-way opened at the same altitude.
    Image by Andrey Veselov As a jumper tracks, he scans the sky in front, below, and on either side. It is his responsibility to watch out for jumpers below. It is also his responsibility to check the sky directly above before he waves off. If another jumper appears directly above or below as he waves off, the jumper can continue tracking to get out of the way.
    Once a jumper is under a good canopy, the first thing he must do is grab his rear risers and be ready to yank down on a riser if another canopy is coming at him. The general rule is to yank down on the right rear riser if another canopy is approaching directly from the front. If a canopy is coming from another direction, however, say, from the right, it is obvious that the left rear riser should be used.
    Once the jumper is absolutely sure he is clear of other jumpers, he can collapse his slider, flip up his visor (if applicable), and release his brakes. However, jumpers on large formation loads are normally not permitted to remove booties under canopy.
    The jumper is now ready to navigate his canopy alongside other canopies in his group on their way to the landing area.
    Here are the “Rules of the Sky” that big-way jumpers must follow under canopy:
    Know the recommended canopy wing loading for the event. While not set in stone, a wing loading between 1.25 and 1.75 is typically recommended on large formation skydives so that all canopies will be flying at roughly the same speed. Weights increase a canopy’s wing loading and jumpers should already know if they can safely fly their canopies with the additional weight.
    Inspect a map of the DZ and landing areas prior to jumping. Know the “outs” and alternate landing areas. This applies mostly to visiting jumpers unfamiliar with the DZ.
    Know the designated landing direction and landing areas. At most DZs, jumpers follow a left-hand landing pattern unless the spot and wind direction make it impossible to do so. A mandatory landing direction is often assigned. If separate landing areas have been assigned to different sections of the formation, a jumper must follow the same pattern as his landing group.
    Note: Downwind or crosswind landings may be required by the predetermined landing direction or because of a wind shift after the first canopy lands. Jumpers should already possess the skills necessary to land their canopies crosswind or downwind.
    Do not cross over into the pattern of another group. If the spot is long, try to make it back to the designated landing area unless doing so would interfere with other jumpers trying to get to their landing areas. In this case, pick an alternate landing area before reaching 1000 feet.
    Enter the group’s landing pattern around 1000 feet. Follow but stay off to the side of other jumpers entering the landing pattern. Never fly directly behind another canopy. The leading jumper can’t see you and the depressurized air behind the leading canopy can cause your canopy to collapse.
    Make the final turn between 300 and 500 feet and make no more turns after that. On final approach, turn no more than 90 degrees and never perform S-turns, spiral or hook turns, or fly in deep brakes. This includes camera personnel, organizers, and DZ staff.
    After landing, turn around while stowing breaks, etc. This allows you to get out of the way of jumpers landing behind you. If the landing area is congested, move off to the side as quickly as possible while watching out for other jumpers trying to land.
    If landing off the DZ, gather in groups and walk together to the nearest road.
    If required, check in with the group’s/plane’s designated person. This is especially important if jumpers have landed off the DZ.
    Safety starts with the attitudes and the actions of each and every one of us. While it is perfectly acceptable to demonstrate confidence and experience, it is never acceptable to show off with a blatant disregard for the rules and the safety of others. On the other end of the spectrum, it is never acceptable for a jumper to put himself on a load or in a slot that he is not experienced enough to handle. At one extreme there is over-confidence, at the other, lack of experience. Either one can kill.
    Reading fatality reports is a sad undertaking but it also makes us angry – angry that the poor judgment of a few puts the rest of us at risk and gives our sport bad press – angry that needless injuries and deaths still occur – and, finally, angry that dear friends had to make the ultimate sacrifice in order for the rest of us to learn.
    Big-way organizers can only do so much. They can invite the most experienced skydivers in the world, but if just one skydiver doesn’t follow the rules, the results can be fatal. So let’s police ourselves and follow the rules, not just on big-ways, but each and every time we strap on a rig or get a student ready for his first skydive. This sport is a heckuva lot of fun when we do.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Canopy Relative Work

    Photo by Pat Hayter

    Canopy Relative Work (CRW) may be described as the intentional maneuvering of two or more open parachute canopies in close proximity to, or contact with one another during descent. The most basic maneuver in CRW is the hooking up of two canopies, one below the other. This formation, known as a "stack" or "plane"(the difference between a stack and a plane is the grip on the parachute), is the most common maneuver in CRW.
    There are two major categories of CRW formations:

    Vertical formations : Canopies are either stacked or planed one beneath the other. All grips should be on the center cell.
    Off-set formations : one or more docks and grips are on end-cells. These formations include diamonds, boxes and stair-steps.
    USPA BSRs recommends a beginner should have the following qualifications before engaging in CRW:

    At least 20 jumps on a ram-air canopy.
    Thorough knowledge of canopy flight characteristics, to include riser maneuvers and an understanding of relative compatibility of various canopies.
    Demonstrate accuracy capability of consistently landing within five meters of a target.
    Initial training would be conducted with two jumpers - the beginner and an Instructor experienced in CRW. The instructions should include lessons in basic docking and break-off procedures as well as emergency procedures.
    USPA BSRs has the following recommendations on equipment:The following items are essential for safely doing CRW:

    hook knife -- necessary for resolving entanglements
    ankle protection -- adequate socks prevent abrasion from canopy lines. If boots are used, cover any exposed metal hooks
    short bridle cords -- short, single attachment point bridlecords are essential to reduce the danger of entanglement. Retracting bridle pilot chute systems are desirable
    cross connectors -- are essential for building planes. These should be connected between front and rear risers only.
    The following items are strongly recommended for safely doing CRW:

    altimeter -- provides altitude information for dock, abort and entanglement decisions
    protective headgear -- must allow adequate hearing capability for voice commands, in addition to collision protection
    soft toggles -- provide less possibility of entanglement than hard toggles and better flight control
    trim tabs (go toggles) -- helpful for equalizing decent ratesand increasing control envelope
    cell crossporting (two rows) -- is recommended (when doneper manufacturer's specs) to minimize the likelihood of canopy collapse
    cascades -- recommended to be removed from the two centerA lines.

    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Briefing Structure

    When engineering a dive, find as many different reasonable possibilities as you can. First, looking to find the most efficient way from one formation to another. Then, looking at different reasonable options, again only concerned with each individual transition. Next, look at ways to link these transitions into reasonable dives. It is important at this stage that you do not attempt to judge which dive is better, because it will tie up your mind and close your imagination.
    After you have exhausted all possibilities, begin to compare and choose the best. Identify pros and cons of each possibility. Compare pros and cons, being sure to balance efficiency with comfort and familiarity.
    Throughout the entire process, give each person a chance to speak his mind. Follow each person ideas, through to their logical conclusion. You must resist interrupting when you get an idea of your own.
    Jump preparation can be done more efficiently and thorough if it is done with a well thought out plan. It is important things are learned completely and in the proper order.
    The camera flyer, as an important part of the team, should be aware about which type of sequence the next jump will be, in order to be prepared for exit timing, team presentation on the exit, as well as the way the team progresses during the skydive. From this last aspect will depend the way the camera flyer will position himself relative to the team, regarding the air-to-air closeness from the team and the steepness (angle) to it.
    The camera flyer should also be aware about any changes on the formation heading throughout the skydive, so he’ll be ready (if necessary) to adjust his relative positioning and place himself at the best air spot to get the best possible evidence of the team performance, regarding the judgeability of the footage.
    This is the equivalent to say that the camera flyer has to ensure a footage with the adequate angle (steepness) and closeness to the skydive formations, allowing the judges to see all of the grips as clearly as possible.
    Sequence (Stand-up)
    What formations and who goes where. Worry just about to get the sequence right. The remaining details will be analysed on creepers. Go through the sequence until everybody feels comfortable with it.
    Angles (Creepers)
    Specific angles (3 times each transition between random formations, this is, between randoms, between a random and the first point of a block, between the second point of a block and a random or between the second point of a block and the first point of a block, whichever happens during a sequence; angles for blocks’ inter are not analysed at this phase), keys, flashes and technique reviews.
    Pauses (Creepers)
    Hold each formation long enough to bring up a complete picture of the next formation before keying. You should really feel that pause (as a time reference and depending on the team feeling, use 3 up to 5 seconds on transitions holding). Repeat until all the details of the dive are second nature (usually 3 pages should be enough). This phase includes blocks creeping if there are any at the sequence.
    Eyes Closed (Creepers)
    A few times through (usually 3 pages), to ensure each person knows well what his move is and how it feels. This phase is for working the confidence building on your moves.
    The key person should say “eyes closed” and then “go”. Do your move with eyes closed and stop. Then open your eyes, adjust your relative position in the formation (if necessary) and only then pick up your grips (if you have them), looking at the grips (to avoid the usually unsuccessful “blind reaching”). After pick up grips, look again at the key person for the next transition (or be ready to key it, if that’s your task) and be prepared to go.
    Repeat this process for each transition. Where you find that creeping collisions might occur, keep your eyes open but do your move feeling your body without the input given by your vision.
    At Speed (Creepers)
    At least, 40 seconds (1 minute maximum) of uninterrupted creeping at speed. No talking. No stopping. Practicing the mental process we use in free fall.
    Usually, the camera flyer measures 35” (4-Way) or 50” (8-Way) and counts the number of formations within that amount of time, providing the team with an approximate idea about how good (in points) the team performance is. This will permit a comparison after the jump, to conclude about any slowing or rushing on the team’s performance.
    After creeping at speed, go to the mock-up to practice the door/ramp positioning for the exit, exactly as you’ll do in the aircraft.
    From inside the mock-up, move to the door/ramp as if you were climbing out the aircraft’s door/ramp at the altitude jump-run, using the same order between team members, and positioning relative to the aircraft’s door/ramp exactly as it will be up there.
    The picture you get at mock-up, should be the same picture as the one you’ll get when climbing out the aircraft for the exit.
    The team should use a counting procedure for the exit, where everybody feels comfortable with it. Depending on the exit, the counting responsibility may switch from team member to team member, but the same counting procedure should always be used. This counting procedure varies from team to team. Any counting procedure is good since it works on ensuring the team synchronicity at the exit (for example, something like “Ready” – “Set” – “Go”).
    After the exit, always transition to the next point. Repeat the exit at least once, but the team may repeat as many times as the team feels it’s required, at least until everybody is comfortable with the exit procedure for that specific jump (no problem on repeating, as it is “much cheaper” that the jump cost itself).
    Just before boarding the aircraft and with rigs on, the team should practice the mock-up exit again (1 or 2 times).
    It’s important that the team’s camera flyer practice the exit with his team, due to the different aspects related with each possible exit from the dive pool (positioning of team members before the exit, counting procedure, exit timing for the camera flyer, type of formation on the exit – round, long, etc. – as well as any changes on formations heading during the skydive, among other possible aspects).
    Airspeed 4-Way Training Work Book

    © 1998 – Jack Jefferies, Airspeed – All Rights Reserved
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    By admin, in Disciplines,

    Beginning Freeflying

    Whether you are interested in freeflying as a main discipline, or you only want to make the occasional "fun jump", you will still want to follow the best and safest learning progression. Though freeflying can be a very fun discipline to take part in, it can also be very dangerous if you get it wrong. It is not something to rush into. You should take your time and enjoy the experience of flying in this new dimension. This article will introduce you to the steps you need to take to have a safe and fun experience and carry on doing so throughout your freeflying career.
    Not Just Vertical
    Freeflying isn’t just about learning to fly headup and headdown, it’s everything (yes belly flying too). As your skills improve you will realize that you can use all angles and positions between headup and headdown. Once you are proficient on your back, belly, feet and head, you will see that everything flows together and you end up moving in between these positions with ease.
    To get to this stage you need to have a solid base in all these positions and an understanding of what the air is doing to your body. Too many people, especially now that freeflying is becoming so popular, go straight to headup flying after AFF and quickly move to headdown. The majority of these people are limiting themselves in the future and will find that they have to go back and learn basic belly flying and back flying to progress any further.
    I will now go through the steps I believe necessary to become proficient at this discipline. Future articles in this series will go through some of these steps in more detail, explaining how to do them, how to practice them, and drill dives to improve these skills. You should try to learn these skills in the order listed to increase the learning curve.
    Belly Flying
    The most important thing is to become proficient on your belly. This doesn’t mean you need to become a 4-way master, but learning how to move around the sky with control certainly helps (especially now that hybrids are becoming more common).
    You should learn the following:
    Fall rate control
    Horizontal movement (forwards, backwards and sidewards)
    Center point turns
    Diving to a formation
    Docking on a formation
    Superpositional moves (e.g. sidesliding while moving forwards – known as carving)
    Break off procedures (flat tracking) It also helps if you experiment with barrel rolls, forward loops and back loops to get used to not just being on your belly. All these skills will become very beneficial in the future. The other advantage to learning to fly on your belly is that you will be getting used to flying close to other people and will be learning the necessary skills to do this, even though it is in a different position.
    By now, you should have already learned how to flat track. It’s time to take tracking one step further. Find a coach or someone who has experience leading tracking dives and learn the following:
    Tracking on exit
    Heading control
    Fall rate control
    Speed control (speeding up/slowing down)
    Moving Sideways
    Break off procedures (different on tracking dives) Tracking is a big part of freeflying. Learning these skills will help on breakoff, especially with larger groups, and will also help you when it comes to tracking dives.
    Back Flying
    Back flying is the first big step towards learning headup flight. You won’t be able to see the ground and you will start to get used to feeling the air on your back and the other side of your legs. This skill can be used a lot in freeflying when you get low on a jump or become unstable. This position is used to get back where you want to be, while preventing corking (suddenly lose speed) and hurting someone.
    You should learn:
    Heading control
    Fall rate control
    Horizontal movement (forwards, backwards and sidewards)
    Barrel rolls from belly flying to back flying and back again
    Front/Back loops from belly flying to back flying and back again The advantage of back flying is that its speed range is huge. You can stay with a belly formation quite easily, but you can also speed up so that headdown flyers can stay with you without a problem. This diversity is what makes it such a useful technique in freeflying.
    Headup Flying
    This is where things start to get a bit different. Because you are in a vertical orientation, you have to learn how to move your body differently, move your arms and legs differently, whilst remembering that arching doesn’t make you stable at all. In later articles we will cover all of this in a lot of detail, explaining how and why, but you must always remember that an article is in no way a substitute for a coach. Whenever you have the chance, get coaching!
    Things you need to learn:
    Heading control
    Fall rate control
    Horizontal movement (forwards, backwards and sidewards)
    Transitions (cartwheels, front loops, back loops)
    Independent arm movement (altimeter checks, taking docks, etc)
    Correct exit technique
    Breakoff procedures (you can’t simply go to your belly and track) Headup flying is much faster than any of the other positions. Because of this, every movement has a much larger effect than it would if you were going slower. The air is moving over you much faster and therefore has much more power behind it. Therefore, you have to be very careful with your movements to ensure the safety of yourself and others.
    Back Tracking
    Back tracking is a very important skill in freeflying, especially when starting to learn headdown. During breakoffs it adds a whole new perspective and gives you more awareness. Once you have learned headdown this position will open up more angles and add fluidity to your jumps. Backtracking is what I call a power position, this means that when your learning it you have to put in a lot of energy to keep an efficient position and to speed up, etc..
    Things you should learn:
    Back tracking exit
    Heading control
    Fall rate control
    Speed control (forwards/backwards)
    Moving Sideways
    Break off procedures (different on tracking dives)
    Transitions (back to belly/belly to back) Once you have learned these skills, try going on a tracking dive, getting next to the base and transitioning to your back track position, while staying relative. Talk to an experienced freefly coach and ask about leading a tracking dive; you’ll learn a lot.
    Learning headdown brings a whole new level to your freeflying. Everything flows together much better and you can move around the sky with more ease. While moving around becomes so much easier, collisions become much more of a danger and you must be even more cautious. This position is not a power position. By this I mean that once you are used to keeping your legs wide you will be able to move around smoothly and fast without having to push into your movement.
    Again you should aim to learn the basics before you start work on complex manoeuvres. Use this list:
    Correct exit technique for jumping with others
    Heading control
    Fall rate control
    Horizontal movement (forwards, backwards and sidewards)
    Transitions (front loop, back loop and cartwheel) both to/from headup and from headdown to headdown
    Independent arm movement (altimeter checks, presenting for docks, etc)
    Correct breakoff procedures Once you’ve done this you can start to work on using your skills to take docks, carve, etc.
    Jumping with Others
    When you start to jump with other freeflyers, you have a lot more to think about, including where the other jumpers in your group are at all times. As a minimum you should specify the following for a freefly jump with others:
    Content of jump (don’t just say ‘we’ll see what happens’, have a plan and stick to it)
    Base (specify someone as a person, everyone should then work towards them for a level)
    Breakoff (what is the breakoff height, make sure everyone knows where the others are and do not go straight to their belly and track, slowly decrease your speed as you track away) When you are just learning freeflying you should only be jumping solo or with an experienced freeflyer. Use the following as a rough guide to how many people, maximum, you should be jumping with:
    0-100 freefly jumps: Solo’s or 2 Ways
    100-300 freefly jumps: Up to 3 ways maximum
    300-500 freefly jumps: Up to 5 people maximum
    After this I try to use good judgement and common sense If you have only ever done 2-ways then at the most you should only allow yourself to go on 3-ways.
    Freeflying can involve a huge range of speeds, trajectories and positions, which presents us with many possibly dangerous situations. Because of this you need to ensure you have the correct training and also the right equipment.
    Your container should fit well. You should not use a leg throwaway system, only BOC throw out or pull out is acceptable. The leg straps should fit right and not easily slip down your legs. You should also have some kind of bungee between the two leg straps to make sure they do not move around in freefall. It should have good riser and bridle protection with an absolute maximum of 1” exposed bridle near the BOC. Your pins and flaps should be tight. A good test is to gently lift your rig by each pin cover separately - if the covers stays closed then you’re good to go, but if the cover opens when lifting then get the opinion of an experienced rigger.
    You should have a minimum of 2 altimeters: one visual and one audible. This is important as when you are learning to freefly it can be difficult to see your visual altimeter and it is easy to forget that you will be falling much faster than you would be if belly flying. The audible altimeter will remind you of this.
    Wear a hard helmet. Don’t think you can get away without a helmet or just a frapp hat. Hard helmets might not save you from everything, but can mean the difference between life and death. If you’re just starting freeflying, don’t even think about wearing a camera helmet. This just adds to the list of new things you will have to think about and will take your awareness away from other more important matters. Some people get away with a full face helmet but if you are learning to freefly then I would suggest an open face. This allows you to keep better eye contact with your coach or other jumpers.
    Any clothing you wear should be durable and secure. It shouldn’t be able to cover any of your handles and shouldn’t be excessively baggy. A good all round freefly suit will do the job. When learning headup, a lot of people like to wear trousers and a baggier top to help them. If you’re doing this, then make sure the top is tucked in well and is secure.
    You should always use an AAD of some form when freeflying. You can easily have collisions when freeflying and closing speeds can be upwards of 100mph. It is also very easy to lose altitude awareness. An AAD could save your life, fatal collisions have happened to very experienced freeflyers, why couldn’t it happen to you?
    The next article in this series will concentrate on how to do the things mentioned in this progression list. There will be ground exercises and tips on performing these in the sky.
    Louis Harwood is a freeflyer from the UK and jumps at Target
    Skysports, in Hibaldstow. He has competed for the last two years in the Artistic nationals, he has two silver and one gold medal in B catagory freefly, freestyle and skysurf. www.avalore.co.uk

    By fuga, in Disciplines,

    Basic Exit Techniques

    There are three basic concepts that apply to all exits. When these are executed, it is possible to launch any formation you can imagine from any aircraft. These concepts include: timing, presentation of yourself, and presentation of the entire piece to the relative wind.
    The first concept is timing. Everyone must leave the aircraft at the exact same moment. To do this we use a variety of different forms of communication: audible, a loud count given by someone in a position that can be heard by everyone; tactile, a shake which can be felt; vision, a small rock that shows the movement of the piece. This triple redundancy virtually guarantees the count will be communicated. The most useful sense you can use to ensure a timely exit is vision. With an eye on the count person you will know when he is leaving.
    Presenting to the relative wind is something we all learned about on our first jump. It is spoken of any time people discuss exits. Be sure you are aware of where the wind is coming from as you are lined up in the door and have a plan about presenting your body to it. Know at what angle the rest of the piece will be presented and what heading you will need to have.
    Presenting the entire piece to the relative windis something not so commonly discussed, although it is a very critical component of a good exit. Just as you must present your body, you must present the piece. This, like the first two concepts, is done gymnastically, as opposed to flying the air. It is done by launching from the plane to a specific place outside the door that leaves the piece on the proper angle to be presented to the relative wind. This will usually entail the person in the front of the door to launch up, while the person in the rear drops low.
    Even the best-timed and presented launch will funnel if the people within do not fly the piece the moment it hits the air. There is enough air speed right outside the door to fly. The problem lies in being aware soon enough to use it. You will find that by choosing to fly as soon as your feet leave the aircraft. It will go a long way to help you develop the awareness to do it.
    Airspeed 4-Way Training Work Book - Basic Exit Techniques

    © 1998 – Jack Jefferies, Airspeed – All Rights Reserved
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    By admin, in Disciplines,