Foundations of Flight—Side Buddies

Axis Flight LogoBrought to you by Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy with Thomas Hughes of Arizona Airspeed. Photos by Niklas Daniel.

Reasons to perfect the side-buddies move:


  • Learn how to efficiently perform Block 7 of the 4-Way Formation Skydiving Dive Pool (Side Buddies to Side Buddies)
  • Increase basic knowledge of how to make 360-degree turns from a sidebody for 8-way, 16-way or any size sequential formation.

Setting Up

The line between the head and hips of the person gripping (Jumper A) should be perpendicular to her partner and in line with his hips. The example is a right sidebody—Jumper A is taking grips on the right side of her piece partner (Jumper B). The jumpers must be on the same level when taking grips.




FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT1011-2The goal is to “cog” the piece (think of watch gears) by Jumper A giving the key and initiating a turn to her right, while Jumper B turns to the left. While completing the 360-degree turn, the flyers should look for certain pictures to ensure close proximity and timing. The goal isn’t to turn quickly but to begin and end the turn at the same time.

FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT1011-5Jumper B is now facing inward and is perpendicular to his piece partner in line with her hips.

FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT1011-3The flyers should see a reverse-sidebody picture with Jumper B facing outward and perpendicular to Jumper A at her hips.

FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT1011-6This is the end of the block. Jumper A retakes grips, and both jumpers see the original sidebody picture.

FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT1011-4The jumpers should see another reverse-sidebody picture, this time with Jumper A facing outward. The line running between the head and hips of each jumper should be perpendicular to the other jumper at the hip.

Helpful Hints

The more a jumper cross-references with his partner, the closer to perfect (in place) the center-point turn will be. Avoid "head-switching" (switching which shoulder you’re looking over) prior to the 180-degree picture. Doing a head-switch too quickly or early will draw the hips away from the other jumper and create an off-center turn.



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