The sit flying side slide is a skill in itself that will be used in conjunction with other sit 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 so far but with having control of the other movements 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.
Before you begin to learn sit-fly side-sliding, you will first need to be very comfortable in your neutral sit-fly position, off the net at moderate to fast wind speeds, with controlled turns, and with forward, backward, and up and down movements completed. At this point, it’s likely you will already know how to enter and exit the tunnel while sit-flying, but it is not required.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully side-slide from one side of the wind tunnel to the other, under control the entire time, maintaining a consistent altitude and heading, without contacting the wall at any time.
You will begin sit-flying, off the net, at approximately waist level. You should be close to one side of the tunnel and positioned so there is no doorway in the flight path of your side slide as this can present an obstacle.
Technique and Drills
- Begin this maneuver on one side of the tunnel leaving space to complete a side-sliding maneuver
- The side-slide maneuver needs to be created by combining upper and lower body inputs. This will help to keep a balanced slide throughout
- Initiate the side-slide by bending your leading arm and pressing your leading elbow down in to the wind; this will create a “pull” type feel against the airflow
- Your trailing arm will need to be slightly extended and raised to “release” the airflow to help cause the drive
- At the same time that you initiate with your upper body, you will need to create drive with your lower body, first by lowering your leading leg, pressing that foot down in to the wind
- As you lower your leading leg, you will also need to angle that leg, sliding your leading foot outward, which will expose your inner thigh of that leading leg to the wind. This “rudder” effect will create drive for your lower body
- Ensure to keep your spine straight throughout the slide avoiding leaning in to the wind
- Maintain balanced upper and lower body inputs at all times to ensure a straight slide that doesn’t turn
- To stop the side-slide, you will need to initiate a slide in the opposite direction to create the braking action you need
- Once the movement has stopped, return to a neutral sit-flying body position
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability throughout each side-slide?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- Did you have a preferred direction to slide? What can you do differently to be proficient going both directions?
As you become comfortable controlling your sit flying side slides, 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 to do so and begin flying fast movements and stronger stops.
What skill level is next?
Head down is another new flight adventure, a new orientation that will require a complete new set of understanding and skill set. The learning process to get to a competent head down flyer can be long but certainly rewarding. The beginning of your progression is highlighted here along with the lesson plans which will outline the first few necessary steps to beginning your head down flying!