Neutral Head Up
The first skill to learning the “head up” flying orientation. Neutral Head Up will be the first major step to your free flying progression and the start to learning all of the flight “tricks”. This naturally unstable position may take some time to master but will certainly feel like a highlight in your progression once you have it conquered.
Before attempting the neutral sit-fly position, you should be able to maintain a stable back-fly position, controlling any movements while flying at higher speeds. You should be comfortable with all points of motion while back-flying at these speeds. You will also need to be able to walk in to and out of the tunnel unassisted.
The objective is to establish and maintain a neutral sit-fly position. The position should be flown in place, on level, and on a consistent heading. The ultimate goal is to be able to sit-fly, stable off of the net, flying in wind speeds that are most common when free flying.
Correct Body Position: Your head should be positioned so that you are looking forward, your chin back. Your shoulders should be back, chest slightly arched, and spine straight with an arch in the upper back. Your arms should be placed at shoulder height, with your elbows slightly bent. Your hips and knees should both be at 90º angles, with your toes pointing forward and your feet flat. It should look as if you’re sitting in a chair.
You can practice the correct body position by sitting on a bench against a wall. When it is time to fly, walk into the tunnel and assume the practiced position with your feet planted on the net and arms spread as briefed. Always maintain 90º at your hips and knees; if you feel unstable or any unwanted drive is produced, transition to your back, stabilize and then use the trained back-to-sit front flip transition to recover to the sit-flying position. Avoid opening your hips or standing up as it can create a large forward drive if uncontrolled.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match your initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain control throughout an entire flight rotation?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- How was your endurance during the session? Were you able to rely more on your legs and less on your arms for lift and support to help avoid tiring yourself out?
- Do we need to continue to visit foundation maneuvers such as back-flying or walking?
The sit flying position, a naturally unstable stance, will improve each flight rotation that you complete. As you progress on to the other sit flying skills incorporating movements, these will help to strengthen your stability and control.