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danwayland

Tunnel Rigs and Skills Translating From Sky to Tunnel

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Hey All - I have a purely academic question.
I'm just curious - for science.

We all know that sky skills do not translate to tunnel skills, even for really good skydivers, but why don't they?

Concrete example:
Imagine Jumper X has 3000 freefly skydives and can freefly headup and headdown really well in the sky.

Despite that fact, if Jumper X has never flown in a tunnel, then Jumper X will not be able to fly headup or headdown in a tunnel AT ALL - to the extent that it would be irresponsibly dangerous to even let Jumper X try it (without going through the whole tunnel progression, which might go a little faster than w/ somebody off the street, but still)

I have seen tunnel rigs (fake rigs).

If Jumper X wore a tunnel rig, would that cause the translation from sky skills to tunnel skills to be significantly better?
(hypothetically - I do not want anybody to try this - this would be both dangerous and probably super annoying to the tunnel people who would simply prevent anyone from trying this - this is an academic question to help noodle through the difference between freefall wind and tunnel wind)

If a tunnel rig would/does not significantly improve translation from sky to tunnel, then what the what is going on? What is the difference?

I would think that gravity and the friction between your body and the air would be exactly the same regardless of whether gravity is pulling you down through the air or if gravity is holding you down while fans blow air over you.

I know for most people the main difference is that there is no difference - that they are actually all over the sky in freefall and just don't know it whereas the tunnel makes it obvious.
But in my example above, even if Jumper X can dock last on a 10 way headup or headdown formation which requires fall rate matching and holding still, Jumper X would still be an absolute disaster in the tunnel. Why is that?

Thanks for indulging my curiosity!
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Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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danwayland


If a tunnel rig would/does not significantly improve translation from sky to tunnel, then what the what is going on? What is the difference?



I think it comes down to the fact that you are in a 12-14 foot tunnel usually. This is actually a pretty big constraint. The other is that the sky often promotes bad form in general. This is because again you have a wide open space to move in. In the tunnel, you really learn to fly your body better and control it in the confined space. You know how you are moving versus the wall and net where in the sky you can move 1,000 ft and barely tell.

If you want skills to translate to the tunnel than learn to fly a slot while sitting or head down. This keeps your movements more to a confined space. Things like docking, flying close, maintaining levels, etc are skills that help with tunnel. Rigs could help if you use those for lift in the sky but again its not the right technique which is what is crucial in the tunnel.

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Thanks for the response.

Let me be abundantly clear:
I don’t want to do this.
(I am well on my way / tunnel trained already)
I don’t want anyone else to do this.

I want to ***understand*** because I’m starting to suspect that nobody does.

Physics.

My first theory was, it must be the rig, but I strongly suspect that if you put a fake rig on a good freeflier who has never been in the tunnel they would still eat it in the tunnel.

So it’s not the rig.
So what is it?

For example, friction from air pulled over the body is somehow different than friction from a large stationary air mass gravity is pulling one through?

It’s fascinating to me that something is different, and I don’t know what.

And the easy response, which is true most of the time, that the jumper is actually all over the sky and doesn’t know it - people were docking last on freefly big ways and jumping w space balls before good tunnels existed.

Those people were not all over the sky.

So - if those people couldn’t hop right in a tunnel, even if wearing a fake rig, thus proving it’s not the rig, then what is it?

Science, physics.
Asking to understand.
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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Is there any chance that the tunnel also requires more constant micro-adjustments because of the airflow not being as constant and smooth as in the sky?
When talking physics, it stands to reason that airflow in a confined tunnel is not constant independent of where you are in the tunnel (the air right next to the walls most likely does not move at the exact same speed as the air in the center of the tunnel), and we all know the effect of the door and usually a few other places in the tunnel.
If you add formations, then the position of your co-fliers also affects the air flow of the rest of the air in the tunnel (beyond simple burbles)

I don't have a tremendous amount of practice in the tunnel, but being a big guy (and usually flying with another big guy if we do formations) I can definitely tell that we both affect the airflow.* Is it possible that good tunnel fliers, consciously or not, learn to take these things into account almost automatically, while skydivers have no idea what's going on at first and get thrown off by the constantly changing airflow?

Just wondering...



* For example: (and this just shows how much I suck in the tunnel :P) when we did our first 2-way FS, my buddy suddenly got stuck near the net and I thought, well I am base and I'm just gonna wait for him up here--he simply couldn't get enough lift to join me for a long time. When we discussed it afterwards with instructors, they explained that me hanging out above and to the side of him, threw the air below my body to the side he was on, directly above him. That did not allow him to get any lift to come back up. So I needed to come down to allow him to get lift again.

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Thanks for the reply.
I completely agree.
I want to be clear I’m not asking for any practical reasons.
I’m not looking to question or change how things are done.

I’m after a deeper understanding of why / what the difference is

Eg. inertia of falling vs staying still in moving air? Air friction caused by the body moving vs the air moving is different?

I just use the fake rig thought experiment to get past, “maybe it’s the rig,” in hopes of allowing the discussion to pursue the other deltas I’m after.

If it was just the rig, then a fake rig would work (but it doesn’t)

If it was the thickness of the air, then good jumpers would be able to fly in a Denver tunnel without much training (but they can’t)

If it was that everybody is really all over the sky and just doesn’t know it (which is the cause the majority of the time), then there would be no big ways or space balls without tunnel training, but people could fly stable and controlled right up to those things before the tunnel existed.

Something else is different.
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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Thank you for your thoughts!
This reply is definitely closest to the mark with regards to what I was hoping to discuss.
There is definitely a little burble right by the net.

I think you’re saying, if we go back in time and grab 1999 Flyboyz Eli who has never been in a tunnel yet can fly very well in freefall with space balls, big ways, pretty much anything in freefall,

And then we pull him forward in time to a modern tunnel, then maybe the reason he wouldn’t be able to “just do it” (freefly in the tunnel, even by himself with a fake rig on) is because the air he deflects does weird stuff against the walls and/or the air in the tunnel is just less consistent all around than it is in freefall?
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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Maybe I’m missing something, but you appear to be making a huge assumption when you say that a good freefly skydiver with a fake rig on can’t fly in the tunnel well. You’re basing this whole discussion on that supposed fact without ever demonstrating it. Maybe it’s true, but the way you’re wording it sounds very strange.

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Quote

maybe the reason he wouldn’t be able to “just do it” (freefly in the tunnel, even by himself with a fake rig on) is because the air he deflects does weird stuff against the walls and/or the air in the tunnel is just less consistent all around than it is in freefall?


Yes, I guess that's what I'm probably saying ;) I'm of course as far from Flyboyz Eli as one can be (and still be a skydiver) but there is definitely weird stuff going on in the tunnel that does not happen in the sky, and on our last 2-way FS in the tunnel we had one guy who was a great FS skydiver but had never flown in the tunnel, and while he was still miles ahead of me, he definitely struggled quite a bit compared to those that were regular tunnel flyers (and mind you, this was belly FS, so the argument of being all over the sky, as you mention in another post, can't really be what's the issue here.)

One possible test would be: If you put an expert skydiver, who has never flown in a tunnel into one of the huge new tunnels (Dubai, et al.) and have her fly at the center, where there is unlikely to be much interference from the walls or too many fliers in a small space: would she still struggle as much as in a small or regular sized tunnel?

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benlangfeld

Maybe I’m missing something, but you appear to be making a huge assumption when you say that a good freefly skydiver with a fake rig on can’t fly in the tunnel well. You’re basing this whole discussion on that supposed fact without ever demonstrating it. Maybe it’s true, but the way you’re wording it sounds very strange.



You’re right. I do assume that. I assume it strongly enough that I feel it would be unsafe to test it any further.

I got some PMs from some tunnel gods indicating that this kind of thing has, on rare occasions, happened (SUPER good skydiver / freeflier tries to freefly in tunnel without going through enough tunnel progression) And they eat it pretty bad.

I am convinced that something is physically different, but I could be wrong
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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Quote


One possible test would be: If you put an expert skydiver, who has never flown in a tunnel into one of the huge new tunnels (Dubai, et al.) and have her fly at the center, where there is unlikely to be much interference from the walls or too many fliers in a small space: would she still struggle as much as in a small or regular sized tunnel?



Yes! Science!

Good freefliers (spaceballs, VFS, bigways) who have never been in a tunnel are getting harder and harder to find out there, but they probably still exist.

I would love it if we could find one, put them in a 14’-17’ tunnel with a fake rig (and a spotter for safety cause this ain’t gonna work I don’t think) and then watch em not be able to fly headup at all (I don’t think there would be any safe way to try headdown)

And thus scientifically determine that something other than “they’re all over the place in freefall” and/or “it’s the rig” is at play.

Then, for your theory, do the same thing at the 32’ tunnel at Clymb when it opens.
(Though, one problem is that more space also means more room to get up a head of steam before you find the glass. While I can accept a few casualties in the name of science most tunnel owners cannot)
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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Well, you are just trying to ignore the rig and the effects of the rig.

1. A rig limits your movement.
2. A rig hides some control surface a tunnel flier uses.
3. A rig is going to deflect air and put in an input.
4. The weight of a rig changes the "CG" of the jumper.

So take a freeflier in a head down flight without a rig when they are used to a rig. They have more ability to move than normal. They have to use their back as a flight surface and they are not normally doing that because the rig hides their back. The rig normally is a wedge that is trying to push them forward. And they don't have the weight on their back.

And then add in that small mistakes in position are much easier to see in the tunnel when the wall is less than 7feet from you that the open sky.

Even flying flat in the tunnel I notice a significant difference when I wear a rig. I can't arch as much, my upper body is lower when I have the rig (less head high, can't see as well), I can't move as fast because I have extra weight, and I even notice the weight on my back putting roll inputs in for side slides. I am MUCH faster on my moves without the rig and with the extra movement available.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Thanks Ron

What you say makes a lot of sense, and I definitely think you’re right in that the rig makes a big difference.
I did not think the rig was the only physical difference, but maybe I’m wrong.

Do you think a really really good (1000s of freefly jumps, spaceballs, and big ways - actually good - not all over the sky with an inaccurate self image) freeflier who has never been in the tunnel could put on a tunnel rig and freefly in the tunnel ok on the 1st try?

Just in theory - a hypothetical question to help us noodle through if there is any difference beyond:

- the rig

and

- the fact that most people have an inaccurate self appraisal. They are all over the sky and just don’t realize it.

Maybe that’s all there is to it?

Maybe there is no other delta and my theoretical amazingly good freeflier who has never been in the tunnel would actually be able to fly headup / headdown just fine in the tunnel with a tunnel rig?
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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danwayland

Thanks Ron

Do you think a really really good (1000s of freefly jumps, spaceballs, and big ways - actually good - not all over the sky with an inaccurate self image) freeflier who has never been in the tunnel could put on a tunnel rig and freefly in the tunnel ok on the 1st try?



I think it would be easier than if they didn't have the rig (personal opinion).

But the part about flying in the tunnel is still in play.

Quote

- the fact that most people have an inaccurate self appraisal. They are all over the sky and just don’t realize it.

Maybe that’s all there is to it?



You drop 6" in the tunnel and you know it instantly. You will not notice that in freefall.

Quote

Maybe there is no other delta and my theoretical amazingly good freeflier who has never been in the tunnel would actually be able to fly headup / headdown just fine in the tunnel with a tunnel rig?



Flying in the tunnel is different. I can't help but feel the major difference is the rig. Tunnel sit fliers seem to sit back quite a bit that I don't see in freefall. When I was taught to flip from back to belly I was told to pinch my shoulder blades together.... If I were wearing a rig, that would do almost nothing.

The major factors between having a rig and not should really boil down to the rig and the margins... Also, most tunnel fliers are flying slower in the tunnel than FF. They learn to fly slower than a person would fall... Taking 20# off of them is one reason.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I think we're getting to the bottom of this.

I am now starting to believe that perhaps it really is all relative and whether the flyer is moving or the air is moving, it's identical.

I still think there might be something more that's different besides the rig and the required precision of the bodyflight...
perhaps something about inertia of a body who is stationary relative to Earth vs. a body rapidly falling towards Earth, but maybe not.

Maybe truly good (spaceball, dock last on a bigway) freefall only freefliers could (in theory) fly in the tunnel on day one, and it's just that truly good freefliers are exceedingly rare.

Thanks,

Dan
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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Hey Danny,
The walls are the biggest reason, period. People who learn in the sky take up a lot of space. The limiting space why you need to be held onto when learning something new in the tunnel

It is 100% easier to fly without a rig on. Rigs restrict mobility, many companies do a great job to provide as much mobility as possible but its not the same.

and finally the way you can think about the wind or skydiver moving is like how you can think of a running outside vs running on a treadmill. When running outside you're moving, when running on a treadmill you're still running but the treadmill is moving. The movements are still basically the same.

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Late to chime in here, but I did talk to a tunnel instructor who said he tried a rig in the tunnel (Paraclete) to see what the difference was (he was already a competitive VFS flyer in the tunnel and sky). He said it made "a little bit of a difference" and that it was most significant carving head down or in a stand at high speed. For static stuff I think he said it just took a few min to get use to it.

Anyone who frequents tunnels a lot, do you still see people wearing rigs? Other than the military of course.

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I'm a bit late as well, but only saw this post because of your response.

One thing I didn't see anyone mention is that in the sky you have cross winds and in the wind tunnel you don't. I would think that would make a difference as well.
"Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity"

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BMichaeli

The walls are the biggest reason, period. People who learn in the sky take up a lot of space.



This is, genuinely, the answer.

Flying with a rig on is harder work, as various extremely experienced (tunnel and sky) people have pointed out. I've flown a fair amount in the tunnel with a (real, wrapped) rig on, and honestly it's a pain in the ass (which is why we do it). But it's a very small part of the difference.

The fact is that the sky is extremely forgiving. Spaceballs are interesting in that they require you to fly extremely precisely for short bursts, but if you fuck up and cork a little or skate around, you just reach out or recover, and you're back. If you, freely god, have only ever flown in the sky, you have never needed to correct those little inaccuracies.

If you do those things in the tunnel, while carving or doing some cool transition, it's a different story. And at high power HD speeds, the consequences are bonecrunching.

Look closely at those 1999 freefly videos. The godlike, thousands of jumps ones. They are, compared to modern freeflyers, all over the place. Once you're looking for it you will see it.

The difference is the walls and floor, not the rig.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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Wind tunnels and free flying (gravity) are different. Period.

Many people tend to forget this.

The actual pressure on the surface of any object due to falling because of gravity as compared with remaining in place as in a tunnel are in fact dramatically different. The wind pressures on any surface , buoyancy, are almost one hundred times greater in a tunnel.

This goes back to the Wright Brothers and the first wind tunnel.

Trick is, and point is what's the point? If the tunnel is a good place to practice. Makes money as a device for entertainment, skydivers like them to practice in for fun.

Of course a wind tunnel is not the same as jumping out of a aircraft, and too many people fail to recognize this little FACT.
Brett Bickford Did Not Commit Suicide.

He is the victim of ignorance and faulty gear. AND as in the movie: "12 Angry Men," of an ignorant and callous jury.

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ChrisD2.0


The actual pressure on the surface of any object due to falling because of gravity as compared with remaining in place as in a tunnel are in fact dramatically different. The wind pressures on any surface , buoyancy, are almost one hundred times greater in a tunnel



That's absurd, cite a source.

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Point is just the little tickle in my brain when I go from not understanding to understanding.

So, you think the interaction between, say, my right leg and the wind in the tunnel is different than the interaction between my right leg and the air in freefall?
--
Dan Wayland
http://www.danwayland.com

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The actual pressure on the surface of any object due to falling because of gravity as compared with remaining in place as in a tunnel are in fact dramatically different. The wind pressures on any surface , buoyancy, are almost one hundred times greater in a tunnel.

This goes back to the Wright Brothers and the first wind tunnel.



I bet you fly much better in the sky than in a wind tunnel, yes?

Derek V

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Hooknswoop

Quote

The actual pressure on the surface of any object due to falling because of gravity as compared with remaining in place as in a tunnel are in fact dramatically different. The wind pressures on any surface , buoyancy, are almost one hundred times greater in a tunnel.

This goes back to the Wright Brothers and the first wind tunnel.



I bet you fly much better in the sky than in a wind tunnel, yes?

Derek V



hahaha :D:D

I would also LOVE to see proof of that statement

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