Foundations of Flight—Sit-Fly Exits

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel of Axis Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy and his teammate Brandon Atwood of Arizona Arsenal.

Photos by Arsenal’s Steve Curtis.

FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT0412-1

Here we present the proper techniques for the most common sit-fly exits: front and rear float. Jumpers can perform this dive as a 2-way or break it into its components for a solo dive.

Setting Up

Analyzing the Relative Wind

Whether flying front or rear float, your goal should be to immediately present yourself vertically to the relative wind. (Presenting one’s back to the relative wind results in a back-fly exit not a sit-fly exit.) You need to think about the mechanics of the relative wind so you can position yourself properly in the door. As you exit, immediately fly your body—all too often, jumpers will not start truly flying until much later and are therefore improperly presented to the relative wind at the start of the jump.

Front Float

  • Face the tail of the aircraft, and hold onto the floater bar with your left hand.
  • Position your left foot as close to the edge of the doorway as possible with your right foot against the doorframe (your lower leg should be at a 90-degree angle to the floor).
  • Position your rig and head out the door. Stand at a slight angle facing outward so you’ll have more room.
  • Use your right hand to hold onto the doorframe (palm facing outward) by reaching behind you around your right hip.
  • Bend your left leg so you can spring during the launch.
  • Keep your torso as parallel to the floor as possible to present yourself properly to the wind.

Rear Float

  • Face the nose of the aircraft, and hold onto the floater bar with your right hand.
  • Put your left hand on the floor to brace yourself (shorter jumpers: see alternative position). Bend your right leg, which you’ll use for the launch, and present the heel of your left foot to the relative wind.
  • Lean back as far as possible to present your feet into the wind.
FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT0412-2The Set-Up (outside view)
FOUNDATIONSFLIGHT0412-3Alternative Position (inside view)

Alternative Position: If you can’t reach the floor while holding the bar, you can hold the doorframe with your left hand. Position yourself outside of the plane, and place your right shoulder against the fuselage.

Execution

If performing a 2-way, establish good eye contact before the pre-designated jumper gives the exit count. As you launch, both of your goals should be to keep your hips parallel to the plane (moving your hips horizontally when launching rather than falling out shoulders first). As you leave, use the heel of your leading foot to anchor yourself into the relative wind.

Flying down the hill can be challenging, since your sight picture changes and you cannot use the horizon to orient yourself to wind coming from directly below. So, for the first eight seconds of the skydive, you’ll have to adapt your flying style. Press into the relative wind with both heels and raise your sternum. Keep your elbows high, at about shoulder level.

Helpful Hints

For both jumpers to remain level with one another on the relative wind after the launch, the front floater will have to jump up slightly (leading up toward the wing with his tail bone), and the rear floater will need to stay a little low. While on the hill, if you find yourselves separating, the front floater should drive forward, since it is easier to fly down the hill than it is to fight your way back up.

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