There are many scenarios that would deem it necessary to learn this unique skill, most notably, if you are or are planning on being a belly fly coach, understanding this skill will be a great asset for your ability to work with your students, also as a new free flyer this skill is most often used to set yourself up inside the flight chamber to begin certain moves.
Prior to learning how to walk inside the tunnel, you will first at a minimum need to be comfortable completing all of the eight points of motion while belly-flying. Also, if you are planning to begin learning to sit-fly after learning to walk, you will need to be able to comfortably back-fly all of the eight points of motion. These skills, along with a safety briefing on walking and being in a vertical position in the tunnel, will prepare you for learning this skill.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully enter the tunnel on your feet, and comfortably walk forward and backward using the airflow to assist your movement while avoiding fighting your body against the wind. You will also learn how to use your arms to control the speed of your movements, understanding how they can assist with moving sideways and with controlling your heading. These skills will be key elements in helping you be successful with all of your upright flying (for example, sit-flying).
You will start in the doorway facing the airflow. Once your instructor signals you to enter, you will step in and approach the center of the tunnel. Your instructor will have you adjust your heading so that you are not facing a doorway, or have one behind you, as these can present an obstacle when learning this skill. During the early stages of learning how to walk, you will notice that the wind speed is set low to help you with control. Once you have demonstrated control and stability, the instructor will raise the speed of the wind in small increments.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability throughout, remaining on your feet and in control at all times?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- Were you able to increase the speed of the wind and continue to stay in control and use your arms extended to feel the extra power?
Depending on the flight progression path you are on, will depend on how often you will use the walking skill and to what level you will want to be at as a "walker". If you are using this skill as a belly fly coach, then ensuring that you are quickly able to move to any point in the tunnel will be important and a range of different belly flying wind speeds. As a new free flyer, being able to control a vertical position at high wind speeds will set a good foundation for your vertical flight. Continue to work on your walking skills as it will improve your balance overall.