Back Fly Up / Down


Learning the back flying up and down (fall rate) movements will provide you with the ability to adjust the altitude you are flying at and allow you to control this especially when flying with another flyer. Being comfortable at gaining altitude in the tunnel on your back will also help lead you in to other trick moves during your flight progression.


In order to begin learning upward and downward movement (fall rate adjustment) you must first be comfortable in the neutral back-flying position, confident that you can move forward, backward and can control your heading throughout every flight. Ensuring that you are comfortable with these movements first will mean that when you fly up inside the wind tunnel you can control yourself the entire time, keeping yourself away from the walls.


The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully demonstrate that you can fly up and down while back-flying. You will need to demonstrate that you can perform these maneuvers while remaining in the center of the tunnel the whole time.


You will start on your back in the center of the wind tunnel, ensuring that your head and your feet are not pointed toward any doorway. Your instructor will have briefed you on height thresholds for you to be aware of, as you will plan to stage the altitudes that you will rise up to.

Technique and Drills


Keep these key elements in mind when learning this skill:


  • Learn how to use your arms and legs together
  • Aim to maintain a constant level as the wind speed is adjusted
  • Aim to maintain heading throughout
  • Make level changes to a specified altitude and back down to the net
  • Level changes mixed with heading changes


  • Mixing the use of your arms/legs with your torso
  • Use of flattening your torso to help provide more input
  • Level changes to a higher pre-determined altitude
  • Level changes mixed with forward and backward movement



  • Level changes toward the top of the flight chamber
  • Faster, more aggressive level changes
  • Level changes mixed with turns, forward/backward and side slides
  • Up and over (verticals) with your instructor

Post-flight questions / suggestions

  • How did your performance match the initial objectives?
  • Were you able to maintain stability throughout?
  • Did you feel comfortable using your torso with your arms and legs to generate the most lift?
  • Were you able to remain off the walls during the up and down movements?
  • Do you feel ready to progress on to Intermediate / Advanced?


Back flying up and down movements (fall rate control) are important aspects of this orientation. Understanding these techniques will serve you well throughout your free flying progression. From this point forward, your progression will demand higher wind speeds to be able to fly. Understanding how to control your body at any wind speed and move to any altitude will provide a safer, more learning-rich environment for you.

What skill level is next?

Back Fly Side Sliding

The back fly side sliding skill is the last skill as part of the 8 points of motion for the back fly orientation. Completing this skill will conclude the basic movements that you will need to progress to more advanced back flying skills. Although this is the more difficult of the basic individual moves, it may take a few flight rotations to begin to feel comfortable with the side sliding move. Following the IBA flight techniques described here will assist you in being successful with this maneuver.