Indoor skydiving is all about learning to control your body in the air flow. By maintaining an arched body position and using your arms and legs to control you, you can perform turns and move forwards, backwards, up and down. More advanced indoor skydiving involves flying with other people and at orientations other than belly to earth.
In this beginner’s guide to indoor skydiving, we’ll explain the basics of getting started and how you too can learn the skills of bodyflight.
The first step to becoming an accomplished indoor skydiver is learning how to enter the wind tunnel.
The wind tunnel is a skydiving simulator which pushes air upwards, creating the same conditions you would find in freefall if you’d jumped from an airplane. To enter, you’ll be asked by your instructor to fold your arms across your body and simply lower yourself forwards through the door – your instructor will support you the first few times but eventually, you’ll be confident enough to lower yourself down on your own.
It’s important not to try to jump into the wind tunnel. This is because your body shape and position will affect how you move in the air and ‘jumping’ in could cause you to become out of control once in the air flow.
The next step to bodyflight is to become comfortable with your body in the air flow.
To achieve a stable position, you will arch your body by pushing forward at the hips. This is something you can try at home; simply lie on the floor and push your hips forward, raising your head and your feet. The idea is similar to that of a shuttlecock in badminton – creating that center of mass at your core gives you stability while allowing your arms and legs to be free to help you move.
Your first few minutes in the wind tunnel may be utilized to get used to the body position and the feeling of pressure that the air flow puts on your body. At this point, the wind speed will be relatively low, meaning you’ll be flying close to the net and your instructor can easily give you corrective signals to help you perfect your position before moving on.
The basic principles of bodyflight are rooted in aerodynamics. The idea is that we are able to affect our movements by displacing the air pressure as it hits our body, resulting in the ability to, amongst other things, turn.
To turn, you’ll start with the stable arched body position – this should be maintained throughout. To make a turn, you’ll simply dip the shoulder and arm slightly on the side you want to turn with hands pointing forward. So to turn right, you’d dip your right arm.
Providing you maintain your arched body position and your arms and legs stay symmetrical, you’ll perform a stable turn. More advanced indoor skydivers will use a combination of arms, legs and chest to turn and adopt a slightly different position, but this will all be covered as you progress.
By similar air displacement principles, you can move yourself backwards and forwards in the air by simply changing the position of your arms and legs.
To go forwards, you’ll push your legs into a straighter position. This tips your body up slightly and pushes you forwards, head first.
To go backwards, you’ll bring your feet closer to your buttocks and push your arms forward slightly.
As you become faster at forwards and backwards movements, you’ll learn to stop them using the opposite input – so legs out to go forward and legs in and arms out to stop that.
The final step to starting as an indoor skydiver is to learn to change your fall rate, enabling you to, relatively speaking, fly up and down in the wind tunnel (of course, in the sky, this effect is simply increasing and decreasing the rate of descent).
To increase your fall rate (and go ‘down’), you’ll emphasize that stable arched position you learned at the beginning, pushing forward more with your hips. You’ll also bring your arms in a little toward your body, thus decreasing your surface area and allowing you to fall faster.
To decrease your fall rate is the opposite; rather than pushing forwards with the hips, you’ll relax them and think instead about cupping the air with your chest and using your arms and legs to make yourself as big as possible. This will slow you down and mean you can fly ‘up’.
Ready to learn how to indoor skydive? The instructors at Paraclete XP can’t wait to assist you in your exciting journey towards mastering bodyflight. View indoors skydiving prices for more information or contact a member of our team to find out how to get started.
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