OverviewFlyers must demonstrate controlled neutral Head Down flight, ultimately being able to position themselves on the net, raise off of the net, and successfully bail to a neutral sit flying position, under control throughout.
Learning Head Down will be one of the most challenging yet fun things you will do in the tunnel. It is a time-consuming goal to attain, but the reward will certainly be worth the effort! Head Down flight is the final Static orientation in the IBA flight progression; it will open many doors for your flying career and help complete you as a fully-rounded flyer.
Prior to beginning the Head Down progression in the wind tunnel, you will need to be competent at:
• All Belly Flying (IBA Level 1) skills
• All Back Flying (IBA Level 2) skills
• All Sit Flying (IBA Level 3) skills
• The Sit to Sit Front Flip Transition (knowing all sit-to-sit transitions is preferred)
Before beginning, you will need to receive a full safety briefing from the tunnel Instructor, as well as a body position and skill briefing from a qualified Head Down Coach.
The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully fly a static neutral Head Down position off of the net at moderate to fast wind speeds, with minimal assistance from your tunnel Instructor and/or Coach.
Prior to entering the flight chamber to begin this skill, it is important that you discuss with your Instructor the specific plan for the flight time. You will be directed which way to face and set up on the net. When given the appropriate signal from the Instructor, you will kneel onto the net, find a grasp of the net, then rotate your body to place the top of your head onto the net. During the supported Head Down body position training, your Instructor will have at least one grip on you at all times.
Once your body stabilizes, you will be given the signal to release the net one hand at a time and assume a comfortable, neutral flying position. Whether you are in the early stages of learning this skill and remain on the net, or whether you have some experience and are learning to fly a neutral position off of the net, you will set up the same way each time.
Post-flight questions / suggestions
- How did your performance match the initial objectives?
- Were you able to maintain stability on the net and progress to flying off the net at moderate wind speeds?
- What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?
- Are you able to demonstrate correct bailing procedures?
- Are you ready to be released?
Your head down progression will initially be slowly staged in order to allow adequate opportunity to accomplish each aspect of the skill correctly and safely. As you start to master the position and are able to be released by your Coach, the doors will open for you within this area of your flying on your path to becoming a pro-flyer.