Mixed Formation Skydiving Block 8 (Bison)


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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by David Cherry. Information about AXIS' coaching and instructional services is available at axisflightschool.com.

Reasons to Perform a Bison

  • Increase body-flight performance and air awareness
  • Work on cross-referencing and non-verbal communication
  • Learn sight pictures specific to MFS

Move Description

The performers start in a mixed (one back flyer and one belly flyer) open accordion. Release of the grip keys the first move of the block. Both performers then execute 360-degree barrel rolls (see “Foundations of Flight—The Barrel Roll,” April 2011 Parachutist) in the direction of their choosing. Once the performers are back in their original orientations, they retake the original mixed accordion grip.


The back flyer’s fall-rate control will be the biggest factor in keeping this move smooth (see “Foundations of Flight—Back-Fly Fall-Rate Changes,” August 2015 Parachutist). The belly flyer will not be as challenged by fall-rate issues and will be more mobile, so the belly flyer should be the team member who picks up the grip.

Maintain as much eye contact as possible throughout the move in order to stay close to your partner. In the beginning, both flyers may want to stage their rolls when practicing this move.

Helpful Hint

In competition, it is the team’s responsibility to ensure that the video is scoreable by clearly presenting the correct formations and inter, as well as complete separation between points, to the videographer. The formations do not need to be perfectly symmetrical, but the team must perform them in a controlled manner and close them with stationary contact. (For more information, refer to Chapter 5 of the USPA Skydiver’s Competition Manual.)

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


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