Formation skydiving

Formation Skydiving (FS) is a traditional discipline where flyers maintain a belly-down orientation and build formations with accompanying teammates. FS is a common starting ground for new competitors because it does not require advanced freefall skill and provides measurable progress. Competitive FS divides categories by number of team members – 2, 3, and 4 person teams - and subcategories are divided by skill level. These subcategories rang from Rookie to Open (the most experienced) and differ by the number and difficulty of formations a team must build in each round of competition.2-way FS offers Intermediate and Advanced classes, 3-way only has an Intermediate class, and the 4-way events are composed of four classes – AAA Class (Open/Advance), AA Class Intermediate, A Class and Rookie Class.


The tougher the class, the more formations the team is required to perform (see chart below). All formations are part of a Dive Pool – the standard set of moves grouped into Blocks and Randoms. A Random is a single formation with all team members in a specific position and is equal to 1 point. A Block maneuver begins with a specific formation similar to a Random, then requires a clearly defined move to either the same formation or a different one, it is worth 2 points.

Just before a competition, and once all training time has concluded, a Draw of formations from the Dive Pool is done for each competing event and class. This Draw should consist of 6-10 Rounds (the discretion of the Meet Director) and each Round will have varying numbers of Blocks and Randoms. Each Round will receive 1 minute of flight time, and 35 seconds of said time will be scored. Teams acquire points for accurately completed Blocks and Randoms, and at the end of all Rounds, the team with the most points, wins.


1-3 Judges (depending on the scope of the meet) will score the competition live from the flight deck or from video playback of a top-down or bottom-up camera with full view of the flight chamber. Judges are allowed to re-watch Rounds to ensure they have awarded accurate scores.

Formation skydiving - judging

Dive Pool

The FS dive pool shows all of the Blocks and Randoms that may be drawn for a given competition or training camp.

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The IBA distinguishes between the sport of indoor skydiving (engaged in by patrons with IBA accounts seeking approval of flight skills though the IBA's Flight Progression System) and recreational flying (engaged in by entertainment customers who do not intend to pursue approval of skills). While indoor skydiving is safe for all ages, the inherent risk of the activity is necessarily greater for those engaging in the sport of indoor skydiving, particularly as they progress through more sophisticated maneuvers.