Foundations of Flight—Sit-to-Sit Front-Flip Transition

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Brought to you by Niklas Daniel of AXIS Flight School at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brianne Thompson. For more information visit axisflightschool.com or search “Axis Flight School” on Facebook.

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Purpose

  • To increase balance in the sit-fly position
  • To learn to fly through multiple axes
  • To learn a basic, over-the-head transition

Execution

Begin in a neutral and comfortable sit-fly position (see “Thinking on Your Feet,” January 2011 Parachutist) on a heading perpendicular to the line of flight. Pick a point on the horizon that will confirm your heading during this maneuver. After each attempt, check your heading and altitude.

From your neutral sit-fly body position, allow your upper body to rock forward by tucking your chin in toward your chest. (If you were observing yourself from the side, you’d see your shoulders cross the threshold of the vertical axis that passes through your knees.) Make sure that you aren’t reaching behind yourself and down with your arms for lift. If you are, this move will be difficult to make (and you’ll want to work more on your neutral position). Keep your knees about shoulder-width apart and refrain from tucking into a ball! Ultimately, you want to be able to fly your body through the entire transition rather than “hucking it” over. Be aware of the airflow on your arms. You can use your arms as stabilizers, as well as adding more power to the flip, if you choose.

During your first few attempts, you may notice that you have tunnel vision and aren’t seeing what is happening. Try to become in tune with how the transition feels. As you become more proficient, you will notice that your vision will widen.

Helpful Hints

Most jumpers have a tendency to backslide a little during their first attempts at this transition. This is because they’re performing the transition slowly, which means that they’re leaning forward and exposing the front of their torsos to the relative wind for enough time that it causes drive. You can counter this by adding a bit more power at the beginning of the move and focusing on a strong finish position. Once you’ve developed this, you can then work on slowing down the transition. If you are flying in the tunnel, you will want to center yourself after each transition to make sure you have enough space between yourself and the wall behind you.

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