Head-down flying is strange with the sky and ground in the wrong places. This is the hard part in beginning head-down flying. It scares some. The AFF Head-down exit is like trying to hold a cat in the water. You should be cork proof before working on head-down flying.
Hold your finger tips out the car window pointing forward as you did before. This time, the finger tips represent the head and shoulders instead of the feet. The torso, hip, and head are the key elements for the head-down body position. Shaping the relative wind starts with the torso. Move the torso forward and you move forward. Move the torso backward and you move backward. Arching the shoulders causes backward movement so you must break this retreating habit. Your body position should not be stiff. Use grace and fluidity in the shoulders. The head and shoulders really matter. The feeling of falling straight down feels just right.
The legs provide drag. You can't keep on going fast using up only 18 seconds of video tape! There are two popular leg positions, the head-down Frog (straddle) position and the Daffy position. Beginners start head-down flying with the ankles hidden from the windflow. Like this, you fall fast. The knee produces turbulance where your lower leg hides. Push that lower leg out. This is a significant surface area. If you bend knees with your legs turned in, you can really push the lower leg out to the side. Everyone will have different body positions for head-down flying. Brian Germain uses the turned in leg position described above.
Take turns flying head-down with your partner. You need a point in space to learn this position. If you fly head-down for the entire dive, the tendency is to accelerate because you are getting fatigued. The faster the airspeed, the faster the aerodynamic response, more fatigueing, and more difficult. So fill your first head-down dives with transitions.
The arms and legs are your trim. Add torso movements when you really need to. Push the legs forward and you go back. Visualize the wind across your body. Push the legs back and you go forward. The arms have more torque with the hands further out. The "waiter" arm position offers less torque. Sweep the arms back to fall faster.
Fly legs dominant. Hang off the legs. This frees the arms to move about. A good freeflyer's arms move freely unless if they need to fly with their entire body to complete a certain maneuver. Use the legs first to correct a fallrate problem.
The first attempts in practicing the head-down Daffy result in spinning. This is a useful turning technique. To avoid spinning, square your hips. Try a head-down Daffy with all 90 degree angles--both knees bent 90 degrees with one leg forward 90 degrees. The head-down Daffy is great for flying in the slot and making small relative movements. The legs are not in the burble of the arms.
Which head-down position is best to learn first? Fly the torso. The Frog and Daffy have different advantages. Complex moves are not performed in a head-down Daffy.
What is a typcial head-down fallrate? Typical head-down fallrates are 160-180 mph at sea level speed. Sit flyers can fall as fast as 180 mph!
To exit into the head-down position, keep the spine parallel to the windflow. Put your head toward the nose of the airplane. Fly in formation with the plane!
To perform a Flower Exit, everyone in the group rolls the finger tips of the right hand (or the left) into the grip and then exit with no tension. Fly your torso. Some freeflyers will take a grip on the elbow of the partner beside him with the free hand. Prior to exit, establish eye contact with everyone in the group. Sync up and calm down your exit so you can leave without tension. Don't rush out of the plane! Be sure a sufficient amount of time passes. It's better to "Para-Hike" than to blow through someone's main canopy. It's best that everyone on the dive have a sense of falling straight down. However, there are cases where the group moves and the camera flyer must follow.
Use the 45 degree angle rule to determine when it's safe to exit after the group in front of you. Freeflyers stay with the line of flight about 3.5 more seconds than flat flyers. The poorly skilled freeflyers should exit prior to the good freeflyers who tend to nail the exit right away.