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# Teaching flat turns

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Any suggestions on the best method of teaching flat turns to novice skydivers (20-50 jumps). I don't like the wording and method used in the Australian B license manual. The manual currently suggests:

1) Do a normal turn and take note of the induced dive/speed.
2) Do a flare (not a flare turn) and note how the canopy dives when you release back into full drive
3) Do a turn and immediately apply opposite toggle to return to level flight.

I've abbreviated the notes but this is the outline method.

As the point of a flat turn is to turn with minimal altitude loss, does it make sense to emphasize staying 'under' the wing? It is relatively easy to observe the fact that the wing is overhead - too much toggle turn and you will move further behind the nose, apply too much brake on both sides and you end up swinging towards the nose (flaring).

It should be blindingly obvious but to prevent thread drift - all this obviously at a safe altitude and with due respect for traffic and the spot.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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Here's how I teach it to youngsters:

You'll need flat turn skills to avoid collisions and set up landing patterns.

For the first exercise, we'll talk about a static left (L) hand.

Exercise 1
Flying full head, go to half brakes
Keep the L hand at half brakes (static) and raise R hand to full flight.
- you note a steep L turn.
Now using the R hand, brake to 1/4
- you note the turn to the L has slowed and is less steep
Now using the R hand, brake to 1/2
- you note the turn has stopped and you are flying straight again
Now using the R hand, brake to 3/4
- you note the turn has gone to the R now and is not very steep
Now using the R hand, brake to full brakes
- You note the R turn gets faster and steeper.

Exercise 2
Repeat using R hand static at 1/2 brakes and L hand operating

That's the basics.

Note in the exercise above, you used a static 1/2 brake scenario.
You can do the same exercises using any static level of braking. For example, go to full brakes and start your static adjustments from there.

However...
In reality, flat turns are dynamic in that you use both hands to adjust turn speed and steepness of the turn.

Note that minimum steepness equates to minimum altitude loss. Less steep, less altitude loss.

You can pull to any braking position, and use the R hand to adjust up or down while at the same time use the L hand up or down to adjust speed, steepness and direction; both hands work together.

For example, you could be in a medium speed L turn and change that by using either hand to change direction, speed, and steepness:
- To reduce steepness, L hand up OR R hand down.
- To increase steepness, L hand down OR R hand up.

Ideally, what we are looking for is maximum turning range and minimum steepness (minimum altitude loss).

Exercise 3
Go to half brakes and use both hands, up and/or down, to adjust turning direction, speed and steepness. You goal is to find out what works best for you to maximize turning speed and minimize altitude loss....and practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature to you.

Hope that helps.

.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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Thanks Andy. I've got to get my head wrapped around all this before next Friday.

I'm hoping to get a chance to do a couple of hop and pops this weekend to play with the dynamics of it and maybe fly proximity with a mate and video the response.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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popsjumper

Here's how I teach it to youngsters:

You'll need flat turn skills to avoid collisions and set up landing patterns.

For the first exercise, we'll talk about a static left (L) hand.

Exercise 1
Flying full head, go to half brakes
Keep the L hand at half brakes (static) and raise R hand to full flight.
- you note a steep L turn.
Now using the R hand, brake to 1/4
- you note the turn to the L has slowed and is less steep
Now using the R hand, brake to 1/2
- you note the turn has stopped and you are flying straight again
Now using the R hand, brake to 3/4
- you note the turn has gone to the R now and is not very steep
Now using the R hand, brake to full brakes
- You note the R turn gets faster and steeper.

Exercise 2
Repeat using R hand static at 1/2 brakes and L hand operating

That's the basics.

Note in the exercise above, you used a static 1/2 brake scenario.
You can do the same exercises using any static level of braking. For example, go to full brakes and start your static adjustments from there.

However...
In reality, flat turns are dynamic in that you use both hands to adjust turn speed and steepness of the turn.

Note that minimum steepness equates to minimum altitude loss. Less steep, less altitude loss.

You can pull to any braking position, and use the R hand to adjust up or down while at the same time use the L hand up or down to adjust speed, steepness and direction; both hands work together.

For example, you could be in a medium speed L turn and change that by using either hand to change direction, speed, and steepness:
- To reduce steepness, L hand up OR R hand down.
- To increase steepness, L hand down OR R hand up.

Ideally, what we are looking for is maximum turning range and minimum steepness (minimum altitude loss).

Exercise 3
Go to half brakes and use both hands, up and/or down, to adjust turning direction, speed and steepness. You goal is to find out what works best for you to maximize turning speed and minimize altitude loss....and practice, practice, practice until it becomes second nature to you.

Hope that helps.

.

Uh.. hell yeah that helps! You rock, man! Thanks
Why drive myself crazy trying to be normal, when I am already at crazy?

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Thanks...there's more, though.

- you'll want to stay as much under the canopy as you can while you are turning

- this is a method you can use when you are near the ground and have to make a turn to avoid a collision or obstacle.

- exercises 1 and 2 are what is generally called Flare Turns.

- responses to inputs differ with several factors....WL, canopy make/model, size...etc.

Blue Skies, eh?

(Did I get that right? )
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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I think it has all been covered here but the BPA has a Canopy Handling manual intended for students that might be useful.
Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

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Quote

Blue Skies, eh?

(Did I get that right? )

Duuude... totally!
Why drive myself crazy trying to be normal, when I am already at crazy?

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Really good stuff here!

All I would add is that this is a skill that needs constant practice so that it is there when you need it (eg. being cut off on final at 40 feet).

I fly my pattern using flat turns so I get at least a couple of practices every jump. They are slow, predictable turns so they are well suited to flying in the pattern.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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cpoxon

I think it has all been covered here but the BPA has a Canopy Handling manual intended for students that might be useful.

Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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nigel99

***I think it has all been covered here but the BPA has a Canopy Handling manual intended for students that might be useful.

Page 15.

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Quote

Blue Skies, eh?

(Did I get that right? )

Duuude... totally!

In the U.S. this is not normally included in AFF training. It usually comes after AFF. Canada may be different.

BEFORE you try these things, please, please talk it over with YOUR instructors. They, knowing you best, will let you know when it's time to learn this kind of stuff.

My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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Quote

BEFORE you try these things, please, please talk it over with YOUR instructors. They, knowing you best, will let you know when it's time to learn this kind of stuff.

Of course :)
Why drive myself crazy trying to be normal, when I am already at crazy?

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popsjumper

Thanks...there's more, though.

- you'll want to stay as much under the canopy as you can while you are turning

- this is a method you can use when you are near the ground and have to make a turn to avoid a collision or obstacle.

- exercises 1 and 2 are what is generally called Flare Turns.

- responses to inputs differ with several factors....WL, canopy make/model, size...etc.

Blue Skies, eh?

(Did I get that right? )

Also the 'quickness' with which you let up on the opposite toggle.

If you ease it up slowly the canopy will not 'dive' as much as if you just let it go.

~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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if more people did classic accuracy, perhaps these skills would not be so "unknown"...
Simultaneous toggle depression.....seems like THAT only get done nowadays....when flaring.....
Flats turns can pull your ass OUT of a bad situation in many cases, way better than cranking a turn with ONE toggle OR the other.....
jmy

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jimmytavino

if more people did classic accuracy, perhaps these skills would not be so "unknown"...
Simultaneous toggle depression.....seems like THAT only get done nowadays....when flaring.....
Flats turns can pull your ass OUT of a bad situation in many cases, way better than cranking a turn with ONE toggle OR the other.....
jmy

But OTOH jimmy, few of the canopies today are really 'set-up' for a deep brake approach, they get pretty squishy & unstable. Might be a good thing it isn't done too often!

~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I guess so.....
whole new generation of canopy flyers today......

I stand corrected....
different gear, different techniques....

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Flying in deep brakes is a dying skill IMO.

It's a key skill and can be used on any canopy. I've seen braked approaches with small Velocities.
"The ground does not care who you are. It will always be tougher than the human behind the controls."

~ CanuckInUSA

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DocPop

It's a key skill and can be used on any canopy. I've seen braked approaches with small Velocities.

A 'braked approach' has little to do with what we're talking about...

It's foolish to try to sink a small canopy near straight vertical in no winds while hanging on a stall ~ It wasn't designed for that, they fly much more stable with wind across them.

TELLING someone on the internet that it's okay to do it, is reckless & irresponsible - don't do that, you're gonna get somebody with less experience hurt badly.

The attached pic shows a classic accuracy 'type' of approach that I use doing demos...started at around 350 feet the canopy has a forward speed of about 2 MPH.

Corrections are make 'flat turn' style by opposite side wrist movements...the 'target' is small area in the center of a crowd.

http://youtu.be/HvgKYoxu0mI?t=5m50s

~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I was taught a distinction between a "flat turn" and a "braked turn". Bill von Novak in his downsizing checklist describes what I consider a flat turn:
Quote

The objective of this manuever is to change your direction 90 degrees losing as little altitude as possible, and come out of the manuever at normal flying speed. Coming out at normal flying speed means you can instantly flare and get a normal landing.

A flat turn as Bill teaches it echos the APF, first pull a toggle down, then pull opposite toggle to limit the dive, and release both toggles as the turn ends to resume full flight.

What I consider a "braked turn" is a turn that starts and ends in brakes (1/2 - 3/4 etc). This turn is easier to execute and teach, but is not as quick as a flat turn and leaves the pilot with less forward speed to use for landing. Andy is teaching a braked turn.

Seth
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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SethInMI

I was taught a distinction between a "flat turn" and a "braked turn". Bill von Novak in his downsizing checklist describes what I consider a flat turn:

Quote

The objective of this manuever is to change your direction 90 degrees losing as little altitude as possible, and come out of the manuever at normal flying speed. Coming out at normal flying speed means you can instantly flare and get a normal landing.

A flat turn as Bill teaches it echos the APF, first pull a toggle down, then pull opposite toggle to limit the dive, and release both toggles as the turn ends to resume full flight.

What I consider a "braked turn" is a turn that starts and ends in brakes (1/2 - 3/4 etc). This turn is easier to execute and teach, but is not as quick as a flat turn and leaves the pilot with less forward speed to use for landing. Andy is teaching a braked turn.

Seth

A flat turn IS a braked turn...if you have to 'limit the dive' you're not turning flat.

You go to 1/2 brakes on both toggles and let up on the opposite toggle from the direction you wish to go...that's a flat turn, you stay under the canopy & lose much less altitude than 'diving' and then recovering by counter input.

In a flat turn you should more or less pivot the canopy, not begin to carve and recover to normal flight.

~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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airtwardo

***I was taught a distinction between a "flat turn" and a "braked turn". Bill von Novak in his downsizing checklist describes what I consider a flat turn: ...

A flat turn IS a braked turn...if you have to 'limit the dive' you're not turning flat.

You go to 1/2 brakes on both toggles and let up on the opposite toggle from the direction you wish to go...that's a flat turn, you stay under the canopy & lose much less altitude than 'diving' and then recovering by counter input.

In a flat turn you should more or less pivot the canopy, not begin to carve and recover to normal flight.

FWIW, (and IMO, it is worth a lot) here is BillVon's post on flat turns:
http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2121715

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Divalent

FYI, (and IMO, it is worth a lot) here is BillVon's post on flat turns:
http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2121715

Yup. Pretty much the last word on the maneuver. In that post, Bill refers to a "true flat turn" as a special case of a braked turn, and that is what I should have said in my post above when trying to distinguish between the two.
It's flare not flair, brakes not breaks, bridle not bridal, "could NOT care less" not "could care less".

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Divalent

******I was taught a distinction between a "flat turn" and a "braked turn". Bill von Novak in his downsizing checklist describes what I consider a flat turn: ...

A flat turn IS a braked turn...if you have to 'limit the dive' you're not turning flat.

You go to 1/2 brakes on both toggles and let up on the opposite toggle from the direction you wish to go...that's a flat turn, you stay under the canopy & lose much less altitude than 'diving' and then recovering by counter input.

In a flat turn you should more or less pivot the canopy, not begin to carve and recover to normal flight.

FYI, (and IMO, it is worth a lot) here is BillVon's post on flat turns:
http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2121715

Must be different terminology these days...

To ME a flat turn is a turn in which the canopy stays 'flat' in flight.

A brake turn is one in which you are already in brakes and give some extra toggle input to turn the canopy...that configuration will tend to 'dive' the canopy somewhat.

A flat turn (my definition not Bill's) is used to avoid a collision with someone in the air...the other is use to avoid one with someone on the ground.

~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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You may want to re-think the idea of following anybody blindly. We are all subject to error.

You didn't read the entire post...yes, the first two exercises are braked/flare turns....first steps towards getting to flat turns.

You don't dive the canopy in one direction and then flatten it out. You are trying to stay under the canopy as much as possible not swinging out from under it with the immediate dive.
You keep it flat as you turn. Just that simple.

You will lose less altitude. Go try it.

OTOH, if avoiding your upcoming low collision on final requires a diving turn, by all means have at it. Trying to recover before the ground catches you may be problematic.

YMMV

Bill says:
To start a flat turn, pull down one toggle then _immediately_ follow through with the other one.

What I've done is added the additional control ability by using both toggles to adjust and/or flatten out...not just limiting it to one or the other. Also highlighting that both toggles are working together. This method also provides the additional option of recovering in either direction with whatever recovery speed you need.

You may be arguing based on exercise 3 where I said "go to half brakes...". Please note: It's only a starting point aimed at learning to use both toggles together to discover minimum altitude loss and quick recovery which is the goal of flat turns. And please note that exercise 3 is not the end of the instruction.

You do realize that the subtle difference between flat turns and braked/flare turns is that the braked/flare turn is a two-step process, brake/flare then turn, whereas the flat turn is a dynamic process. You can start a flat turn from any toggle position if you also use the other toggle to adjust. It is a dynamic version of a flare turn. We only call it flare turn to highlight to the students that it can be used when landing. The word "flare" being the keyword. Just as calling it "flat" turns highlights altitude loss as being key.

If it takes one toggle then the other or both toggles together to get directional change with minimum altitude loss, you can call it whatever you like.

I will ask a question or two though.
-If you want speed coming out of the turn to get "lift", how do you get the speed?
My answer: You get speed by diving to the ground. Your canopy is trimmed for that.

-If you are low and going to immediately land after your avoidance maneuver, do you want to be landing with slow or fast speed.
My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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One last thing...
Please, I'm not going to argue about whether or not one hand moves a microsecond before or after the other.

Neither do I want to argue how far that first pull is...6 inches, half, 6 feet.

None of that matters except when you are in a situation and every situation is different.

My reality and yours are quite different.
I think we're all Bozos on this bus.
Falcon5232, SCS8170, SCSA353, POPS9398, DS239

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