Cloud Dancer
1997 4-Way Freefly Camp
Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club
July 17-20, 1997
Event Organizer: John Schuman
Dive Organizers: Pat Works and Shaylan Allmen
Seminar Notes by Tamara Koyn


The following material does not necessarily represent my opinions and represents my best effort to capture the material actually presented in the seminar. I do not guarantee that it is error free.

Linked Exits--Watch your handles. Fly with no tension so that you don't fly apart.

During the main portion of freefall, avoid flying in the "danger cone" as anyone in the base could fall out of position and fail to keep up their fallrate. The danger cone describes a region of space the extends upward at a 45 degree angle from the flyers in the base. However, it is okay for the outside flyers to be lower than the base flyers.

If you see something wrong with anyone's gear, signal him with the traditional AFF pull sign (or other pre-arranged signal). After signaling him, you should leave the skydive.

Break-off at 4,500. Look, locate, turn, and track. Make a stable 360 degree pirouette to look around you. Or, you can make a 180 degree pirouette and carve away from the base into a back track. (Tamara found this break-off technique to be disorienting in terms of being certain that she saw everyone and successfully cleared the airspace.) Before initiating your track, check behind you to be sure that you are not about to backup directly into someone. The outside people should be breaking off at 5,000ft. The camera flyer needs to be anticipating when the big way is going to break-off. If you find yourself in a swarm at break-off time, high freeflyers should pull high and low freeflyers should pull low. Wave-off before you pull.

During the dive, maintain eye contact. Your body follows your head so use this to make it easier to fly on the hill. It is also easier to fly the hill with a relaxed body posture as this allows you to find the head-down orientation in the prop blast.

4-way dive debrief. Coming from inside the plane and facing aft, one of the freeflyers presented his/her back and gets pushed into the linked formation. S/he should work to point the head directly into the prop blast. It may be easier if s/he would get more of her body outside of the plane before actually exiting. Then the freeflyer gets wishy washy and Shaylan says s/he had stopped breathing at this point.

A Flower exit is one during which all the participants grip right hands and launch into a head-down orientation. If one person is off on the hill, then there will be tension. When launching, try to hit the wheel with your head.

While participating in a big way, transitions should be performed only by certain individuals who have been assigned to do so in the dive plan. Otherwise, transitions cause loss of concentration and thus confusion.

You should participate in the inner ring of a big way only if you can guarantee that you can maintain your fallrate.

For training your muscles to learn how to fly in a head-down daffy, you can do a floor exercise during which you kneel on your hands and knees. Extend one leg behind you with the knee bent. Raise and lower repeatedly your back leg.

At the conclusion of the 4-way camp, a formal debrief was held. First, John Schuman states why he organized the camp and what the goals were. Each person takes his turn sharing his comments with no 2-way dialog allowed. This allowed everyone the opportunity to speak. BTW, Pat times the duration of each subject area to insure that the lecture and talks stay within the allotted time.

Smile and keep breathing!

What is the minimum requirements for participating in a 4-way camp?

Pat Works suggested that participants should be able to consistently perform 2-way hook ups in the sit position. They should exhibit both sitting and standing flying skills. The number of jumps does not matter, it's the skills that you have acquired that matter. There needs to be an evaluation dive before the camp. The camp then can focus on 4-way dives and then conclude with a big way dive.

Others suggested to build strong 2-way experience and then to build the size of the formation gradually. Instructors should have 4-way experience. There should be a higher experienced to student freeflyer ratio. John suggested a minimum of 100 jumps out of the box, 25 VRW jumps, and 50 2-ways involving docking.

Tamara suggests that for both the headup and head-down flying stances 1) Participants must have the ability to maintain balance and to recover lost balance without slowing their fallrate, 2) Participants must be able to control their proximity and levels, 3) Participants must be able to be at an on-level position with the group at the time of break-off, 4) Participants must have practiced to proficiency skills that they will use in larger formations on 2-way drill dives, and 5) Participants must exihibit a "slow and smooth" mentality for their flying habits.

Big Way Etiquette

The FlyBoyz have a set of safety rules. People tend to want to do Big Ways way too soon. When filming, it's better to carve around to the other side of the formation for filming from the opposite side rather than going through it. (Tamara thinks that an experienced freeflyer who knows the group and what they're doing can go over or under as well.)

Pat Works concluded that everyone should feel good as "We are all doing something new."

Introductory Seminar in the Main Hanger
Speakers: Pat Works and Shaylan Allmen

It is better to flail on 10 jumps on a longer learning curve than it is to use wings for getting up to speed quickly and making 50 jumps.

Try this kinesthetic drill for learning the sit position. Sit on a chair and have two partners one on each side of you pick you up by your upper arms. Keep your arms level as you hang from your two partners.

You know you are falling straight down if you can perform stable and controlled 360 degree pirouettes.

Challenge yourself to fly--Try to hold one foot with the opposite hand while in a standup.

To stop a spin, get really asymmetrical. This way you can't look like a propeller. Breathe while you are freeflying--it makes flying much easier. Turns are easy when your body is relaxed and more fluid.

The Dead Dog technique, during which you fall on your back with your arms and legs blown toward the sky, falls very fast and, from this position, it's easy to go into a back track and thus you can effectively chase. When you back track, track with your hands higher than your hips as this is more stable.

Pat Works performs the back down slow falling position with his arms in a normal box position similar to face down box-man flyers. The legs are positioned with the thighs parallel with the torso and the calves pointing straight down into the windflow with the knees bent to a 90 degree angle. The torso and thighs are completely perpendicular to the relative wind. When using the back down slow falling position, choose a heading in which you can see everyone.

When flying head-down, 70 percent of your flying is with your legs and 30 percent is with your arms. Pat Works demonstrates a head-down Daffy. To get an idea for how this position looks, picture kneeling on the floor with one knee and the other leg forward and then imagine that position upside-down. To move backward, simply raise the knee of the leg that is forward. To move forward, raise the calf of the leg that is behind you.

Use the wind as your friend.

Always break-off at 4,500ft. Consider breaking off in pairs. In other words, 2 track off in the same direction with one face down and the other looking up. When in a swarm, the high people should pull high and the low people should pull lower.

Cloud Dancer
© Copyright 1997. Tamara Koyn. All Rights Reserved.