Cloud Dancer
Freeflying Seminar
World Freefall Convention at Quincy August 3, 1997
Speakers: Peter Raymond and Tony Uragallo
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.

When transitioning from a sit position to a head-down position, get rid of the knees. In other words, if the knees are still forward when you get head-down from the chair position, you will backslide. Get your legs apart.

The head-down Daffy falls slower but it is harder to learn. In the head-down Daffy, the legs (positioned with one forward and the other backwards) are out of the burble of the arms.

When first practicing the head-down positions, face 90 degrees to the line of flight.

A freefly instructor may take a freefly student on an AFF head-down exit during which he holds the 3-ring covers of the student's harness and flies the formation into a head-down orientation. If the student's position is correct, the instructor nods, "Yes." If the student's position is incorrect, the instructor nods, "No."

When initially learning the head-down position, it is harder to learn it with the arms extended in the relative wind. When you have more different surface areas exposed, it is harder to determine which surface areas control which aspects of your flight path. When initially learning the head-down position, start without any surface area exposed to the windflow. Go into a no-lift dive and feel yourself get sucked into the vacuum. Be relaxed, insuring that no surface areas are exposed. Close your eyes. Insure that there is no air on your chest nor on your back. Open your eyes and look at the horizon. Putting your head back causes you to arch. Putting your head forward causes you to dearch. This practice will take a few skydives.

When you put your arms out, you will have to resist the natural tendency of arching.

Once you can feel the position, look for someone to sit or stand for you so you can practice relative flight in the head-down position. They need to be steady in their sit or standing position. During his first head-down relativity dives, Tony found it difficult to figure out whether his partner was above him or below him.

Use your legs for controlling your fallrate. If you try to use both your arms and your legs for fallrate control, you may be fighting yourself and be making no progress. You should add the use of another body part only when you need it--Only then you are making progress.

In the head-down position, you can translate farther and faster than you can while headup. When headup, you can only get your legs so much in front of you before you fall backwards. With a baggy freefly suit, sit flying is more difficult than head-down flying. When you're headup (in a chair position) and you want to move forward, think of doing a leg curl (i.e., like pushing your calves down against a bar). You are using both your stomach and leg muscles.

Freeflyers who fly relaxed tend to have a faster fallrate. They also tend to fall in good proximity because their relaxed bodies tend to deflect the air less.

Break-off 2-ways at 4,000 feet and allow time to carve away slowly into a flat position.

The fallrate is 50% faster in freeflying.

Monkey formation--With both partners head-down, one partner is docked onto the back pack of the partner in front.

Keep your "personal noise," i.e., extraneous body movements not needed to accomplish the dive task, to a minimum.

If you're going to fall out of position tuck and roll. Throw everything out again to stop. When actually doing transitions, do them slowly. Take almost a full second to perform the transition. Faster transitions make your video look bad when you are flying camera.

If there is tension, do not hang onto grips. Tension, when a formation is ripping apart, can cause flyers to go flat.

Don't get on big ways too fast--It's too easy for a novice head-down flyer to go flat from the head-down position underneath another head-down flyer. When you are participating in Big Ways, it's important to have discipline and not try to do "cool" stuff.

Pointers for the beginner--Because you slide around a good deal, practice your freefall exercises facing 90 degrees to jumprun. Even after you open your canopy, continue to face 90 degrees to jumprun until everyone is open.

Whether freeflyers exit first or last is a topic of a long debate. You should observe that you maintain the forward speed of the aircraft longer and you have less exposure to freefall drift. When exiting first, the RW group after you may end up straight above you at opening.

Your body already knows how to fly. It's your brain that stops you.

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