Neutral Back Position
OverviewFlyers must demonstrate a neutral and stable back flying position, flying off the net under control at moderate wind speeds.
Before learning back-flying, you will need to get a brief from your instructor on the differences between entering and exiting the flight chamber to a back-fly position as opposed to a belly-flying position. You will also get information on the specific back-flying safety items. In addition, you must demonstrate each of the eight points of motion for belly-flying and be able to comfortably fly them along with entering and exiting the flight chamber with minimal instructor assistance. Even though back-flying is a different skill set than belly-flying, it is required that you can demonstrate proficiency on your belly before venturing down this path.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully demonstrate that you can hold a neutral and stable back-flying body position. Even though you will initially begin your training while on the net, the end goal for this skill is to show that you can fly this position while hovering at a constant wind speed off the net.
Back-flying is the most important position to be able to fly for any type of free-flying progression. It is considered to be your safety recovery position in the event of instability while learning other positions, so it is important that you become very comfortable in this orientation.
Once your instructor has assisted you into the flight chamber, he or she will position you in the center of the tunnel on your back in the neutral position as briefed. At this point the wind speed will be controlled as such to keep you on the net until you have acquired control. It is likely that you will learn how to use your control surfaces before ever coming up off the net. These steps are taken in order for you to be successful once the wind speed is increased.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability while on your back, at a constant wind speed?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
The back flying position is a key fundemental skill for your progression as a free flyer. This safety stance will be one that you will often revert to during the learning of other skills. Continue to build this skill, increasing wind speed and becoming more comfortable maintaining your place and under control.