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, 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 the wind tunnel in to your neutral back-flying body position with minimal hands-on assistance by the wind tunnel instructor.
At the beginning of every flight when you are back flying, you’ll have the opportunity to practice this new entrance technique. If you wish to utilize one or multiple flight rotations working on just the entrance and exit skills, then that may be possible. You will first need to set up in the doorway with your back facing the airflow, crouching down low and holding on to the doorframe. As you begin to lean back on to the airflow, keep your head tilted back so that your upper body is in a flat position to allow a slow descent down toward the net. Once your arms are extended as you lean back, you will release the doorframe with one hand at a time, placing each of your arms back on to the airflow, again ensuring a position to descend slowly to the net. As you lower yourself to the net, push away from the doorframe with your feet and finally raise your feet so that you
assume the neutral back-fly position.
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 with feet.
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, a fairly basic skill that has a specific set of inputs in order to demonstrate a perfect move, an easy switch from your belly flying to your back flying orientation. Being comfortable both flying on your belly and your back will be important so that after completing the transition you are stationed in to a comfortable and known position.