Sit Fly Up / Down


You will have had some exposure to the feeling of lift and understanding how to manage your position to create lift when you were learning the neutral sit position. At slower wind speeds, you were increasing surface area to get the necessary lift off the net. Now it is time to fly at higher wind speeds to learn how to use the same inputs to gain altitude and how to descend, moving to pre-determined altitudes and remaining in control.


Like other orientations, learning fall rate control (up and down) is a key component to being a well-rounded flyer. Being proficient at this skill allows you to be able to fly with many other different individuals of different sizes and weight. Prior to learning how to go up and down in the tunnel, it is preferred that you are proficient at your neutral and stable Sit-Flying position, able to control and maintain a heading as well as turn left and right, and are able to move forward and backward under control.


The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully adjust your body position to be able to gain altitude (slow fall rate) and then re-adjust your position to move down again (fast fall rate), while maintaining a Sit Fly position. The goal is to be able to complete these moves while maintaining the same heading and also to make each move straight up and straight down without moving forward or backward.


You will enter the flight chamber in a Sit-Flying position, facing a direction that does not place a doorway either in front or behind you. Start in the center of the tunnel slightly above the net. How much altitude you gain once you start the maneuver will depend on the speed of the wind that you are most comfortable flying in while you are Sit-Flying. Discuss with your instructor the speed of the wind that you are flying at and what to expect.

Technique and Drills


Up (decrease fall rate)

  • Begin in the center of the tunnel in neutral Sit-Flying position
  • Initiate the upward movement by slightly spreading legs wide to expose the inside of the legs to the airflow. This exposure of surface area will create the drag across the relative wind needed to reduce the fall rate, thus creating lift.
  • Press arms and hands down slightly on the wind to help further slow fall rate (note: wrists should drop below shoulders).
  • Once desired altitude is reached, continuously manage your body position to maintain that altitude.


Down (increase fall rate)

  • Begin in the center of the tunnel at an altitude that you feel comfortable rising to in the "slow" fall body position.
  • Start downward movement by relaxing the arms so they raise above the shoulders (note: be careful not to raise arms too high as this can cause instability).
  • Reduce the surface area by narrowing the legs to a more streamlined position.
  • Once desired altitude is reached, continuously manage your body position to maintain that altitude.

Post-flight questions / suggestions

  • How did your performance match the initial objectives?
  • Were you able to maintain stability performing both the Up and Down moves? Was one direction easier than the other to learn?
  • What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?


As you become comfortable controlling yourself in a Sit-Flying position, moving up and down, you will progress on to the next skill. While doing so, continue to challenge yourself on this maneuver, increasing wind speed where it is appropriate and begin flying fast movements and stronger stops. 

What skill level is next?

Sit Fly Side Sliding

The Sit Flying side slide is a skill in itself that will be used in conjunction with other Sit Fly skills especially for moving around other flyers and positioning yourself within a group. Unlike the other basic Sit Flying moves, it is unlikely that you will have learned the basics of this skill during your progression. However, with having control of the other movements such as turns and upward and downward movement, side slides will be a straight-forward skill to learn. The techniques outlined here will help to identify the specific areas of focus in order to create smooth side slides.