During your Back Flying progression, it is possible that you will also learn how to enter and exit the flight chamber. Similar to belly flying, at the beginning there will be much hands on assistance from the tunnel instructor with the ultimate goal to have you perform the skills more or less solo. Being able to control yourself throughout the entire entrance and exit process will be key especially when you begin competing in 2 way VFS competitions as they require use of these skills.
First, in order to begin to learn Back Fly entrances and exits, you’ll need to be comfortable and signed-off by your instructor for all of the Belly Flying maneuvers. Your Instructor will also brief you on the basics of Back Fly bodyflight. Typically you’ll learn Back Fly entrances at the same time that you learn the neutral Back Fly body position.
The main objective is to be able to safely and successfully Enter and then, once the flight session has concluded, Exit the wind tunnel straight in to the neutral Back Flying body position with minimal hands-on assistance from the tunnel Instructor.
At the beginning of every flight when you are Back Flying, you’ll have the opportunity to practice this new entrance and exit technique. If you wish to utilize one or multiple flight rotations working on just the entrance and exit skills, then that may be possible.
It is important that the speed of your entrances and exits are slow throughout so that you can maintain control at all times.
Technique and Drills
- Start in a balanced stance at the edge of the entrance door edge, back to the airflow.
- Crouch down low.
- Lean back into the wind keeping the back-fly position with your head back.
- Keep your arms up to catch wind as you release the doorframe.
- Once in the wind in a back-fly position, gently push off the edge of the door using your feet.
- Start in the center of the wind tunnel in a neutral back-flying position.
- Use your heading adjustment skills to rotate yourself so that your feet are pointed toward the doorway, adjusting your altitude so that you are approximately 2-3 feet above the net.
- Back Fly toward the doorframe, when you reach the doorframe ensure you stop the backward movement.
- Once your feet are on the floor at the doorframe, extend your arms to gain lift.
- As you stand up, keep your legs bent and aim to be vertical in a squatting position.
- Once you are vertical at the door, stand up and grasp the doorframe with your hands for stability if necessary.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
• How did you feel entering the tunnel using the different technique?
• Are you able to make the entrance smoother, slower/faster?
• Do you feel under control throughout the entrance?
• What techniques can you work on to ensure you reach all your goals?
In preperation for tunnel competitions, it will be important that you have a strong ability to enter and exit the flight chamber without thought as these skills will be necessary. Increasing your ability to be able to complete these maneuvers at a range of windspeeds will important when you wish to fly with any partner.
What skill level is next?
Belly to Back Barrel Roll
The first horizontal orientation transition that you will learn is an easy switch from the Belly Fly to Back Fly position. Being comfortable both flying on your belly and your back will be important so that after completing the transition, you are stationed in a comfortable position.