Foundations of Flight | 69 Exit
By Axis Flight School
The 2-way formation called “69” is in the mixed formation skydiving dive pool as block 1. The performers fly in opposite vertical orientations (head up and head down) facing one another. The head-down flyer (Flyer A) grips the head-up flyer (Flyer B), left hand to left leg and right hand to right leg. The flyer may take grips anywhere on the other flyer’s legs, below and excluding the leg straps. (See “Foundations of Flight—MFS Block 1, Double 69,” January 2017 Parachutist.)
The aircraft in this example is a Twin Otter.
If the jumpers are launching this exit in competition, it is the team’s responsibility to ensure that the video is scoreable by clearly presenting the correct formation and complete separation between points to the videographer. The formation does not need to be perfectly symmetrical, but the team must perform it in a controlled manner and close the formation with stationary contact. (For more information, refer to Chapter 9 of the USPA Skydiver’s Competition Manual.)
The following is just one of many ways to launch a 2-way 69 and may or may not play to your team’s strengths.
Setting Up in the Door
Flyer A—the head-down, inside jumper
Standing by while Flyer B gets into position, Flyer A should position her right leg forward and close to the edge of the door and her left leg back, so her foot placement allows her the best presentation into the relative wind and gives her the greatest ability to pick up Flyer B’s legs. Her torso should be as close as possible to parallel with the floor of the aircraft. After getting a good grip on Flyer B’s legs, preferably at the knees, she makes eye contact so they can sync up the exit count.
Flyer B—the head-up, outside jumper
Climbing out first, the head-up flyer gets into position by grabbing the bar with his left hand while placing his right hand on the floor. Using the right outer edge of his right foot, he presents both legs to his partner so that they are easy to grab. His goal is to keep his spine as parallel as possible to the relative wind.
Both flyers can easily communicate with each other, so either one can give the exit count. This formation tends to rotate slightly as it comes off the aircraft. This is not a bad thing, as long as you limit the rotation to less than 90 degrees. If the head-up flyer aims his back toward earth and the head-down flyer aims her belly toward earth, then, in theory, the exit should present well. Individual level control is crucial, as the opposing orientations have different fall-rates.
At the moment of the launch, the inside flyer needs to keep a firm grip while trying to stay tight on the head-up flyer. She does this by pushing him off the aircraft with bent arms, utilizing either the straddle or shelf leg posture so she has clean air to work with and avoids kicking the head-up flyer during the process. (Imagine doing a belly flop onto your partner’s belly.)
His job is to be quite passive, letting Flyer A push him off the aircraft. He primarily focuses on stability. He should take note of when the head-down flyer is ready to move onto the next point.
The authors intend this article to be an educational guideline. It is not a substitute for professional instruction.