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.
There are two types of full Barrel Rolls: Belly-to-Belly and Back-to-Back. Being proficient in both orientations is thus required to master this skill. A well-performed Barrel Roll involves the use of your legs, therefore having good “leg awareness” (such as being able to perform leg turns) in both orientations will facilitate the learning process. Finally, you will need to have completed the ½ barrel roll transitions prior to learning the completion of the full rotations.
Intend to accomplish the following while performing a full barrel roll:
o Keep the same level throughout the entire maneuver; do not sink, or gain altitude.
o Aim to stay centered in the tunnel. Avoid drifting forwards or backwards.
o You should end the barrel roll facing the same direction you began (remain on heading).
Set yourself up in the center of the tunnel, at roughly chest height above the net. Your Instructor might want to hold you during the first attempts, so be sure to wait for a "go" signal before beginning the maneuver. At first you will need to demonstrate 1/2 barrel rolls, specifically, from your belly to your back, then from your back to your belly, to ensure proper form. You will subsequently attempt the full barrel roll, making sure you keep your heading while maintaining level flight.
Technique and Drills
Be sure to keep the following techniques in mind as you perform full Barrel Rolls:
o From your belly, bring your knee straight down, then cross it under the opposite leg. This will begin to roll you to your back.
o Simultaneously, straighten out your arm across your body in the direction of the barrel roll (if you are bringing your right knee down, then use your right arm, and vice versa). This will prevent any forward drive and assist in inducing the roll.
o From your back, bring one knee over the other and rotate back to your belly.
o If you find yourself drifting forwards, your legs might be too straight, or your arms not out far enough.
o Keep your chin up throughout the entire maneuver in order to maintain a reference point and hold your heading.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
· Were you able to perform a full Barrel Roll in one continuous move, starting either on your belly or you back?
· Were you able to maintain level flight throughout the entire maneuver?
· Were you able to remain centered in the tunnel? Do you find yourself drifting forwards? In this case, your legs might be too straight, or your arms not out far out.
· Were you able to maintain a reference point and keep your heading?
· What could you improve on during the next session?
Once you are comfortable with full Barrel Roll maneuvers, you will most likely begin experimenting with other belly/back transitions or even tricks, depending on your skill level. Never hesitate to ask your Instructor what drills or moves could bring you closer to your own personal goals. Also, make sure to allow some time to yourself in the tunnel to be creative with what you know already. It is not only fun, but will make you a more confident flyer!
What skill level is next?
Belly to Back Front Flip
The belly to back front flip transition, the first real “flip” that you will learn and the first transition that travels “over your head”. Still a basic move and using the airflow to complete the move successfully will be the key, this maneuver will give you the first glimpse in to some slight disorientation which is something you wil be come ultimately comfortable with as you progress as a wind tunnel free flyer.