Once you have proved your flying ability as a multi-dimensional free-flyer, along with being comfortable with the Sit to Head and Head to Sit transitions, you can begin learning the Half Eagle skill. This will challenge your transition ability as the airflow will be disturbed by the other flyer, so the move will feel different. The Half Eagle is a moving transition and will challenge your overall ability to fly each of the vertical orientations. It is a fun skill to learn and master, leading to competition-type moves.
The Half Eagle is the first vertical multi-dimensional maneuver that you will learn to perform with a partner. First, you need to be comfortable flying the individual parts of this maneuver solo: a Sit to Head Front Flip and the Head to Sit Front Flip. It will be important that you are comfortable “bailing” to a Sit Flying position without gaining any altitude, and that when you bail, you do so without moving across the tunnel.
The primary objective is for two flyers to be able to:
- Safely and successfully begin by facing each other with one flyer Head Down and the other Sit Flying
- Transition while continuing to face each other throughout the maneuver
- When the maneuver is complete you should mirror each other’s positions while facing each other
- Maintain close proximity to each other throughout the entire maneuver
Begin by performing the transitions solo, starting on one side of the tunnel, facing the center. You will end the maneuver still facing the center, but on the opposite side of the tunnel facing the opposite direction to that of what you started. Make sure you’re comfortable flying each of the roles of a Half Eagle without another flyer or the effects of his/her burble. Once confident in your solo transition, your Instructor will step in and add a small burble or reference to fly around. For example, the Instructor might use his arm in order to build a visual reference, while creating a minimal air disturbance.
Once you begin to fly with the second flyer, make sure you set up facing each other, at the correct altitude, and with the correct distance between you.
Technique and Drills
Sit to Head Front Flip Over the Flyer
- Create some forward drive and decrease fall rate slightly to initiate the transition
- Carry just enough momentum to travel smoothly through the other flyer’s burble but not too much that it creates extra distance from the other flyer
- Keep your chin up during the beginning and middle of this transition to create the correct body position and ensure you can keep eye contact with the other flyer
Head to Sit Front Flip Under the Flyer
- Create some forward drive and increase fall rate slightly to initiate the transition
- Fly through the Back Fly portion of the transition up to Sit Fly without creating too much distance from the other flyer
- Keep your chin down during the beginning and middle of the transition to create the correct body position and allow you to maintain eye contact with the other flyer
Team Flying Notes
- For the first several attempts at this exercise, it is better to err on the side of a more separation after the Half Eagle
- As you gain more experience, you can allow for less and less separation until you are simply switching places with the other flyer
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain control throughout the whole maneuver?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- Do you have a preferred “slot” (beginning in sit-fly or beginning in head-down)?
- What skills require more work to improve your weaker position?
What Skill is Next?
Once you and your partner are comfortable performing the Half Eagle maneuver in both “slots,” continue to try to tighten the distance between you throughout the whole move. The next skill to learn is the Half Reverse Eagle and the Full Eagle.
What skill level is next?
Half Reverse Eagle
Progressing from the standard Half Eagle move, the Half Reverse Eagle has it’s own innate challenges. A more difficult move all around, it will test your ability to complete the transitions accurately, your awareness of timing with the other flyer, and your overall flying ability in each orientation.