The first skill to learning the “head up” flying orientation. Sit flying will be the first major step to your free flying career and the start to learning all of the flight “tricks”. This naturally unstable position may take some time to master but will certainly feel like a highlight in your progression once you have it conquered.
Before attempting the neutral sit-fly position, you should be able to maintain a stable back-fly position, controlling any movements while flying at higher speeds. You should be comfortable with all points of motion while back-flying at these speeds. You will also need to be able to walk in to and out of the tunnel unassisted.
The objective is to establish and maintain a neutral sit-fly position. The position should be flown in place, on level, and on a consistent heading. The ultimate goal is to be able to sit-fly, stable off of the net, flying in wind speeds that are most common when free flying.
Correct Body Position: Your head should be positioned so that you are looking forward, your chin back. Your shoulders should be back, chest slightly arched, and spine straight with an arch in the upper back. Your arms should be placed at shoulder height, with your elbows slightly bent. Your hips and knees should both be at 90º angles, with your toes pointing forward and your feet flat. It should look as if you’re sitting in a chair.
You can practice the correct body position by sitting on a bench against a wall. When it is time to fly, walk into the tunnel and assume the practiced position with your feet planted on the net and arms spread as briefed. Always maintain 90º at your hips and knees; if you feel unstable or any unwanted drive is produced, transition to your back, stabilize and then use the trained back-to-sit front flip transition to recover to the sit-flying position. Avoid opening your hips or standing up as it can create a large forward drive if uncontrolled.
Technique and Drills
To build the correct body position, you should start by practicing with your feet planted on the net and then work on exercises to isolate different parts of the body flying in the correct orientation. Some examples of these exercises are:
- Sitting on the net with no arms in the wind
- One leg up
- Stability exercises with your instructor
- Movements forward and backward
- Range of motion
- Bending and extending your arms to find lift
- Feeling what happens when you move your hips forward and backward
As you become more comfortable with these exercises, the wind speed should slowly be increased to the point where your feet come off the net and you can practice maintaining level, heading, and position within the tunnel. Remember the importance of keeping your hips and knees at 90 degrees. Eventually, you should be comfortable flying at speeds that are most commonly used for free flying.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match your initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain control throughout an entire flight rotation?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- How was your endurance during the session? Were you able to rely more on your legs and less on your arms for lift and support to help avoid tiring yourself out?
- Do we need to continue to visit foundation maneuvers such as back-flying or walking?
The sit flying position, a naturally unstable stance, will improve each flight rotation that you complete. As you progress on to the other sit flying skills incorporating movements, these will help to strengthen your stability and control.
What skill level is next?
Back to Sit Transition
The back to sit transition is a move that you will likely learn as part of your sit flying training. It is an important skill to master as it is used all of the time when trying to master the art of balancing the neutral sit position. This along with if you need to transition from a back fly to your feet to begin walking, the move learned here will be used.