Walking

Description

There are many scenarios that would deem it necessary to learn this unique skill, most notably, if you are or are planning on being a belly fly coach, understanding this skill will be a great asset for your ability to work with your students, also as a new free flyer this skill is most often used to set yourself up inside the flight chamber to begin certain moves.

Pre-requisites

Prior to learning how to walk inside the tunnel, you will first at a minimum need to be comfortable completing all of the eight points of motion while belly-flying. Also, if you are planning to begin learning to sit-fly after learning to walk, you will need to be able to comfortably back-fly all of the eight points of motion. These skills, along with a safety briefing on walking and being in a vertical position in the tunnel, will prepare you for learning this skill.

Objectives

The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully enter the tunnel on your feet, and comfortably walk forward and backward using the airflow to assist your movement while avoiding fighting your body against the wind. You will also learn how to use your arms to control the speed of your movements, understanding how they can assist with moving sideways and with controlling your heading. These skills will be key elements in helping you be successful with all of your upright flying (for example, sit-flying).

Preparation

You will start in the doorway facing the airflow. Once your instructor signals you to enter, you will step in and approach the center of the tunnel. Your instructor will have you adjust your heading so that you are not facing a doorway, or have one behind you, as these can present an obstacle when learning this skill. During the early stages of learning how to walk, you will notice that the wind speed is set low to help you with control. Once you have demonstrated control and stability, the instructor will raise the speed of the wind in small increments.

Technique and Drills

Basic

Forward

  • Begin in a neutral position with your body completely straight and not leaning onto the wind at all
  • Keep your arms bent and tucked into your torso
  • Your hips should remain over your feet the entire time to keep you planted to the net
  • While flexing around your hips, lean your upper body back, placing the top of your spine and shoulders on to the airflow, this will direct the airflow, causing a forward drive
  • As you feel the “push” of the wind moving you forward, you will begin to take small steps in that direction as you normally would when walking
  • To stop the forward movement, switch your position past the vertical, neutral position and lean forward, placing your chest on the airflow while at the same time adjusting your footing to stop moving

 

Backward

  • Begin in a neutral position with your body completely straight and not leaning onto the wind at all
  • Keep your arms bent and tucked in to your torso
  • Your hips should remain over your feet the entire time to keep you planted to the net
  • While flexing around your hips, lean your upper body forward, placing your chest and the front of your shoulders onto the airflow. This will direct the airflow, causing a backward drive
  • As you feel the “push” of the wind moving you backward, you will begin to take small steps in that direction as you normally would when walking
  • To stop the backward movement, switch your position past the vertical, neutral position and lean backward placing your upper back and shoulders on the airflow while at the same time adjusting your footing to stop moving

Advanced

  • As you begin to feel comfortable walking forward and backward, the instructor will increase the speed of the wind closer to more free fly type speeds
  • As the speed of the wind increases, you will notice each input you make has more power and can produce much faster movements
  • Be sure to control your body position to avoid contacting the walls
  • You can raise your arms up above your head and as you lean in to the wind, the extension of your arms will be an extension of the wing you are flying, creating more power, which is more speed
  • You can place yours arms down on to the wind similar to the position of sit-flying and begin to learn how to utilize your upper body for movements while still walking

Post-flight questions / suggestions

  • How did your performance match the initial objectives?
  • Were you able to maintain stability throughout, remaining on your feet and in control at all times?
  • What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
  • Were you able to increase the speed of the wind and continue to stay in control and use your arms extended to feel the extra power?

 

Depending on the flight progression path you are on, will depend on how often you will use the walking skill and to what level you will want to be at as a "walker". If you are using this skill as a belly fly coach, then ensuring that you are quickly able to move to any point in the tunnel will be important and a range of different belly flying wind speeds. As a new free flyer, being able to control a vertical position at high wind speeds will set a good foundation for your vertical flight. Continue to work on your walking skills as it will improve your balance overall.

What skill level is next?

Belly to Back Back Flip

To tie in with the other transitions from your back to you belly and vice versa, the belly to back back flip transition uses a different set of skills than the barrel roll moves, slightly more challenging but touching on area of body use that will be used almost all of the time while free flying, this skill will help you understand the correct use of the airflow on your body.