Foundations of Flight—Exiting a 2-Way Compressed Accordion Piece

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 a 2-way compressed accordion exit:


  • To set up for a successful skydive.
  • To learn an advanced 2-way exit that is a component of several 4-way exits currently in the dive pool.


Setting Up the Stances

Jumper A
The person in this position should start to set up using a “head-jam” toward the front of the door while preparing to take a compressed grip on Jumper B.

To do a head-jam, evenly distribute your weight on both feet as you climb out toward the front of the door. Facing the interior, place the back of your head, still inside the plane, on the bar attached to the top of the door frame. This provides you with balance and frees your hands to take grips. While standing in the door, you should rely on the strength of your legs to keep you on the plane and to initiate the exit—use the head-jam for balance and to set up in the door, not to keep you in place. As you set up, avoid scraping your reserve flap on the door; you don’t want to dislodge your reserve pin and have a premature reserve deployment.

Jumper B
Jumper B sets up toward the back of the door by placing her left foot forward and her right foot back and slightly toward the front of the door. This will allow Jumper A to more easily reach the high leg grip for the compressed accordion and will allow Jumper B to have good balance while standing in the door.

Once Jumper A has taken his grip, Jumper B, whose head and shoulders should be slightly outside of the aircraft, also takes a compressed grip. Jumper B should think about keeping her left shoulder low to help her presentation into the relative wind, and her hips should be lower than Jumper A’s in the door. Both jumpers want to maintain eye contact in the set-up and during the launch of the exit.

The Launch

The goal is for both jumpers to present to the relative wind as soon as they are out of the door.

Jumper A
Jumper A should initiate a powerful launch upward by driving his left knee and hip up toward the wing. (This exit is designed for aircraft with high tails and large doors such as Twin Otters. Jumpers should not perform exits with high, aggressive launches on low-tailed aircraft such as PAC-750s or King Airs due to the possibility of colliding with the tail.)

Jumper B
Jumper B should drive down powerfully with her left side and should also launch herself forcefully away from the aircraft.

Helpful Hints

For a compressed exit, both jumpers should take high grips on the legs (at the upper thigh). High grips give the piece more structural stability through the launch.


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