The Sit to Head Down Back Flip is likely the most common transition used by flyers that have mastered the stable and neutral Sit and Head Down positions. The Back Flip style is the cleanest and most effective use of the body when transitioning from Sit flying to Head Down flying, especially at higher wind speeds. Although you will learn this transition without changing your heading, it is more common for people who are comfortable flying this maneuver, to initiate a small turn away from the center, complete the back-flip to head down and then return to the original heading to build the planned formation. This allows you to keep a visual reference toward the other people you will be flying with.
At this point in your progression, you should be confident at flying up off the net in the Head Down orientation, controlling your 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 Back Flip.
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 strong enough for the vertical orientations but not fast enough that it will cause you to gain altitude during the movement. 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 so that as you transition, you are able to find your vertical position without causing drive to move away from the center of the tunnel.
Technique and Drills
- Start in the center of the tunnel in a neutral Sit flying position slightly off of 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 (your stronger leg forward, the other leg pointing back)
- 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, while high in difficulty, will serve the most purpose for you in your Static progression. It is the best means of getting from your Sit to your Head Down position. Make sure that you are comfortable at a range of different wind speeds when flying this transition.
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.