Foundations of Flight—Head-Up Variations

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson.


Sit-flying is the most common variation of head-up flying (being oriented on the vertical axis with the head at the top), but there are many other possibilities. By changing your leg positions and manipulating the air pressure in front of and behind your body simultaneously, you can progress beyond the basic sit-fly and add positions such as the knee-fly, stag and stand to your repertoire.


Increased stability and range in a head-up orientation.


Approach each new move in a logical progression, building each skill on a skill you’ve mastered previously. This will greatly reduce the amount of time (and money) you’ll spend on trying to learn a particular skill set.

  • After learning the belly-flying position, learn the knee-flying position. The easiest way to transition to a knee-fly is from the belly.
  • After learning to back-fly, move to the sit-fly. From there, you can continue to the stag, and then the stand follows.

Make sure you’re competent in each of the initial positions before moving on to the next.

Once your stability increases in each position, you’ll find even more possibilities presenting themselves.

Helpful Hints

In each of these positions, you’ll want to be able to move forward, backward and to the sides, turn, take docks and control your fall rate. In order to become both stable and mobile in the vertical orientation, revisit the fundamentals of movement in the horizontal (belly and back) positions, as the concepts are consistent no matter your orientation.


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