Head Down Forward & Backward
OverviewFlyers must be able to demonstrate controlled forward and backward movement while flying head down and showing stability throughout.
This skill is one that you will have some familiarity with as you will learn and understand the majority of the elements while you are learning supported and basic Head Down flight. Your natural body position will determine what your coach will have had you focus on during the learning stages of your neutral position. You will be familiar in the methods of stopping any unwanted Forward and/or Backward drive in order to demonstrate control.
Prior to learning specific Forward and Backward movements, you will need to ensure that you have a stable neutral Head Down position first.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully begin in a neutral Head Down position off the net, and on the signal from your coach, fly forward approximately 3-5 feet from your original position and stop. When signalled again, fly backward 3-5 feet to your starting point. You should be able to complete each movement without losing your heading, gaining or losing any altitude, or needing to “bail” due to any instability.
First, set up in the center of the tunnel, flying Head Down at roughly waist height above the net. On the coach’s signal, initiate either a small Forward or Backward movement, which will place you close to one side of the tunnel. Ensure that the movements you are planning to perform provide enough space to complete the movement without contacting the tunnel wall. It is always recommended that you not fly any closer than 2 feet from the wall. This will allow your head to clear the wall if you need to “bail” to your Sit Fly for any reason.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability for both movements consistently?
- Can you complete the movements without turning, gaining or losing altitude?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
When you are learning to fly the neutral Head Down position, you will naturally learn the basics of each of the control movements. Once you feel like you have the basic control of the forward and backward movements, set yourself a goal to move to specific places inside the wind tunnel and also mix in altitude and movement changes to help advance each of these skills together.