The second half to the belly to back barrel roll transition, which will ultimately place you on to your belly so that the barrel roll cycle will start again. These transitions are somewhat simple maneuvers that in order to master perfectly require a specific set of inputs at the right time to execute correctly.
In conjunction with learning the belly-to-back barrel roll, it is likely that you will also learn the back-to-belly barrel roll at the same time. This is because the completion of one transition will set you up for the other, and vice versa. These transitions are the first of many transitions that you will learn in your flight progression and are your first look at going from one orientation to another seamlessly.
In order to learn this transition, you will need to be very comfortable with both belly-flying and back-flying for all of the eight points of motion, so that once you arrive in to your new orientation, you are comfortable right away.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully start in a neutral back-flying body position in the center of the tunnel and perform a half-barrel roll transition from your back to your belly, ending in a neutral belly flying position, still in the center of the tunnel, and at the same altitude that you started at.
Whether you enter the wind tunnel on your back to begin this transition, or you start this maneuver after finishing a belly-to-back barrel roll, you will need to set yourself up in the center of the tunnel approximately 1-2 feet above the net. As with all other transitions, ensure that a doorway is not in front of or behind you.
Technique and Drills
- Begin in the center of the tunnel in a neutral back-flying position
- Initiate the transition with your lower body and allow your upper body to follow
- Pick a preferred direction to rotate as this will determine how you will initiate the maneuver
- For a barrel roll to the right, you will pull your right foot and leg down and underneath your left leg and cross your left leg over the top
- Allow your hips to follow as your legs begin to rotate, and then finally your upper body will follow last
- As you roll to your belly, aim to enter a neutral belly-flying body position promptly
- During the rotation, your arms will remain neutral throughout
- Once you finish on your belly you may need to make small position adjustments to maintain heading, altitude and to remain in the center of the tunnel
- Aim to keep eye contact with a reference point in front of you, this will assist in maintaining a heading and altitude
- You will need to focus on keeping your legs bent throughout this maneuver to ensure you don’t create any unwanted forward drive
- For a barrel roll in the opposite direction, utilize opposite inputs
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to transition smoothly, staying on the initial heading and altitude?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- Do you feel more comfortable going one direction? What can you do differently to improve your weaker direction?
As you learn this skill, you will likely learn the belly to back barrel roll transition simultaneously. Seeing as one naturally sets up for the other, it is a good opportunity to hone in on each of the transition skills along with controlling you belly and back flight to be able to demonstrate full control throughout.
What skill level is next?
The full Barrel Roll maneuver incorporates the techniques mastered from learning the 1/2 barrel roll transitions. Combining the two skill sets will allow you to safely understand the correct control methods to performing the full barrel roll. This skill is an important step in your progression, especially if you wish to explore the Dynamic flight progression.