You will have had some exposure to the feeling of lift and understanding how to manage your position to create lift when you were learning the neutral sit position. At slower wind speeds, increasing surface area to get the necessary lift off the net. Now it is time for you, flying at higher wind speeds to learn how to use the same inputs although a reduced amount to gain altitude and how to descend at higher wind speed, moving to pre-determined altitudes and remaining in control.
Like other orientations, learning fall rate control (up and down) is a key component to being a well-rounded flyer. Being proficient at this skill allows you to be able to fly with many other different individuals of different sizes and weight. Prior to learning how to go up and down in the tunnel, it is preferred that you are proficient at your neutral and stable sit-flying position, able to control and maintain a heading as well as turn left and right, and are able to move forward and backward under control.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully in a sit-flying position adjust your body position to be able to gain altitude (slow fall rate) and then re-adjust your position to move down again (fast fall rate). The goal is to be able to complete these moves while maintaining the same heading and also to make each move straight up and straight down without moving forward or backward.
You will enter the flight chamber in a sit-flying position, facing a direction that does not place a doorway either in front or behind you. Start in the center of the tunnel slightly above the net. How much altitude you gain once you start the maneuver will depend on the speed of the wind that you are most comfortable flying in while you are sit-flying. Discuss with your instructor the speed of the wind that you are flying at and what to expect.
Technique and Drills
Up (slow fall rate)
- Begin in the center of the tunnel in your neutral sit-flying position
- Initiate the upward movement by slightly spreading your legs wide to expose the inside of your legs to the airflow. This exposure of surface area will create the drag you need to reduce the fall rate, thus giving you lift
- Press your arms and hands down slightly on the wind to help further slow your fall rate (note: your wrists shouldn’t press down any lower than your shoulders)
- Once you have reached the desired altitude, you will need to constantly manage your body position to maintain that altitude
Down (fast fall rate)
- Begin in the center of the tunnel at an altitude that you feel comfortable rising to in your slow fall body position
- Start your downward movement by relaxing your arms so they raise slightly above your shoulders (note: be careful not to let your arms raise too high as this can cause instability)
- Reduce the surface area at your lower body by narrowing your legs to a more streamline position
- Once you have reached your desired altitude, you will need to manage your position in order to maintain that altitude
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability performing both the up and down moves?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
As you become comfortable controlling yourself in a sit flying position, moving up and down, 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?
Sit Fly Side Sliding
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.