As you are mastering your 2 way flying skills, part of increasing your ability as a belly flyer will be learning vertical maneuvers. These "burble hopping" moves, will intially place you outside of your comfort zone, but will quickly through practice become a normal part of every day flying.
Belly-flying vertical moves is a great introduction in to the dynamic aspects of belly flight. Being comfortable flying in this “burbled” or disturbed airflow will allow you to be able to transition from one side of a formation to another without having to make room and pass side-by-side. Doing a movement vertically makes moves much faster and it’s extremely fun to learn!
Before learning belly-flying vertical movements, you will need to be comfortable with many of the belly-flying skills. These include the eight points of motion--specifically up, down and the side-sliding movements. You should also be comfortable flying with another flyer and should have had some practice building a few basic 2-way formations.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully:
- Begin side-by-side, facing the same direction
- Switch places by passing one over and one under with each other
- Repeat the process in the opposing role
Prior to entering the flight chamber to begin this skill, it is important that you discuss with your flying partner a specific plan for once you are inside. Decide which direction each of you will face, which direction you plan to rotate each vertical, and who will transition over the other flyer first. Discuss how you plan to communicate so that you are both on the same page when you are in the airflow. Signals to start and stop are very helpful.
Once you are inside, you will need to face the same direction so that neither flyer runs the risk of having a doorway as an obstacle at any time. Begin at about chest level, above the net.
Technique and Drills
- Begin facing the same direction
- One flyer ascends and the other flyer descends slightly to create the off-set, leaving only 1-2 feet vertically between you
- On the signal, both flyers side-slide to the opposite side of the tunnel and stop
- Be sure to begin the side slide at the same time so the higher flyer does not get caught above the lower flyer
- The flyer who passes over the top into the “burble” should expect to feel the decrease in airflow and should avoid reaching or making too large a change in body position
- Both flyers should continue to keep visual contact with each other throughout
- Once both flyers have switched sides, return to the same altitude
- Repeat the above steps, reversing the roles so each flyer can experience the “burbled” airflow
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability when you were the higher flyer going over the top?
- Were you able to maintain eye contact and control your side slides without contacting the wall?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- Did you have a preferred direction to travel when you were going over the top? What can you do differently to be proficient going both ways?
As you move on to other skills in the progression, it is encouraged to continue to build on the current skills you posess. Select more advanced routines from the dive pool, fly with a range of individuals to generally continue to advance your belly flying ability.
What skill level is next?
The 2 way entrances serve a purpose, to allow skydivers to imitate the exit portion of a real skydive and also for tunnel competitions to begin timing. They are fun yet challenging exercies which will encompass many facets of what you have already learned.