Head-down Side-slides

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Aerial photo by Seth Studer. Ground photos by David Arnett. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

•   Proficiency at head-down range-of-motion drills for balance (see “Foundations of Flight—Head-Down Range-of-Motion Drills,” February 2016 Parachutist)
•   Ability to move your head independently from your torso and remain neutral while flying head down

•   Increase air awareness, stability and mobility
•   Improve your vertical and mixed formation skydiving skills

Face perpendicularly to the aircraft’s line of flight and perform the head-down body position of your choosing (see “Foundations of Flight—Head-Down Variations,” March 2013 Parachutist). Remember to check altitude and heading between each maneuver.
Small drive:
Start small drives by moving your head to one side, using it as a deflecting arm against the relative wind. Move your ear toward your shoulder. You will side-slide in the direction that the crown of your head has moved. This technique works well to cover short distances.
Moderate drive:
Once you have adequate control of the small drive, you can add your arms to the equation. Stretch one arm out to the side (similar to a back-fly side-slide) and bend the other. You will drive in the direction of the bent arm.
Strong drive:
In addition to using your head and arms, add legs to the mix to create a powerful drive. While in the daffy leg position (the best position for this move), use the front leg like a rudder and deflect the relative wind with the inside of your shinbone.

Helpful Hints
Take the time to learn the smaller drives before advancing to the larger ones. The goal is to maintain control throughout the maneuvers, demonstrating solid starts and stops.

The authors intend this article to be an educational guideline. It is not a substitute for professional instruction.


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