Vertical Formation Skydiving Block 8
Brought to you by AXIS Flight School Instructor Niklas Daniel at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Photos by Brandon Atwood. For more information visit axisflightschool.com.
Four-way VFS block 8 (buddy-buddy) requires all flyers to be head-down for the duration of the block. At the top of the block, the flyers take double handgrips with their piece partners. During the inter, all jumpers release their grips and turn 90 degrees. They then re-grip in the same fashion as before but with their B-slot partners.
For judging, it is the team’s responsibility to clearly present 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.)
During the top and bottom of the block, each jumper should be in a non-gripped open-accordion position in relation to his cross partner (aka clone). Each gripped pair should fly with no tension on the grips. Since block 8 requires close proximity, everyone should fly in the shelf rather than the daffy position, if possible, to avoid leg traffic (kicking each other’s legs).
After the key, the team should move simultaneously and in a smooth and controlled manner to the bottom of the block. As the team moves through the inter, it will build an ungripped star. At the halfway point, each member of the team should check that this sight picture is correct. Each team member should maintain levels with his clone and keep the lines of communication open through eye contact. Before closing the block, each team member must stop all momentum.
To facilitate grip synchrony, everyone should grip with the left hand and present a fist with the right hand. Since the grips are very close together in block 8, everyone should flash their hands in a pronounced manner to show separation for judging purposes.