Likely the most common sit to head transition is the back-flip style. This is the cleanest and most effective use of the body when transitioning from sit to head down, especially at higher more competition type wind speeds. Although you will learn this transition without changing a heading, it is more common for people who are comfortable flying this maneuver will initiate a turn, complete the back-flip to head down and then adjust their heading to build their planned formation.
At this point in your progression, you should be confident at flying up off the net in a head-down orientation, controlling any movements, and also have been trained to fly both the sit-to-head front flip and the sit-to-head cartwheel transitions. Now you are ready to begin learning the sit-to-head backflip maneuver.
A variant of this skill is very commonly used in tunnel flying and skydiving to transition between sit-flying and head-down. People who aren’t as confident completing a cartwheel maneuver will tend to fly a backflip rotation with a slight turn, which will allow them to maintain a visual reference throughout the transition.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully transition from a neutral sit-flying position through a backflip maneuver and finish in a neutral head-down position in the center of the tunnel without generating any lift or movement.
You will start in the center of the tunnel in a neutral sit-flying position. For your early transitions, your instructor will manage the speed of the wind so it is appropriate for the orientations but not so high that you gain any altitude during the move. Your instructor will be assisting you early on and will aim to keep you approximately waist to chest height above the net. Your head-down position must be very solid and you should be comfortable with the sit-to-sit backflip transition. These elements will set you up for a more successful sit-to-head transition.
Technique and Drills
- Start in the center of the tunnel in a neutral sit-flying position slightly off the net
- Allow your arms and your shoulders to relax forward slightly; this will allow your upper body to initiate the transition and fall backwards
- Try to avoid rotating your head back or arching your chest as these may prevent your upper body from descending
- As you start to rotate, allow the wind to lift your legs with the surface area that is presented and begin to adjust your legs toward their “daffy” position
- As you near the end of the rotation, pick a reference point on the wall of the tunnel to aid in stopping your torso from rotating
- To stop the rotation, extend your front “daffy” leg into the airflow and also push your arms forward slightly to brake against the wind
- You should focus on the rotation of the transition happening around your waist point; your upper and lower body should switch places
- Assume a neutral head-down position once the rotation has stopped
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to consistently transition without creating any unwanted lift or drive?
- Are you ready to perform the transitions without an assisted grip by the instructor?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
This skill even though it's high in difficulty will serve the most purpose for you, as it is the most used means of getting from your sit to you head down position. Make sure that you are comfortable at a range of different wind speeds when flying this transition and also flying with a coach alongside you to test your accuracy when performing this maneuver.
What skill level is next?
Head to Sit Back Flip
As one of the methods of returning to a sit flying position from a neutral head down stance, a head to sit back-flip, the more tricky and less used transition is a maneuver that requires the skill and confidence to complete successfully. The techniques described here will assist in your understanding of how to complete this maneuver correctly, safely and successfully.