Hold the phone. Indoor skydiving competitions are a thing? Yes, indeedy. If you weren’t aware of the existence of these epic exhibits of competitive prowess, you’re not alone. Though not given the critical acclaim other competitions receive, indoor skydiving competitions are some of the most intricate displays of skill you can witness, even if you’re not quite sure what’s going on. Interested in learning more about indoor skydiving competitions? Here’s the inside scoop.
Within indoor skydiving, there are different “disciplines.” These disciplines are essentially different types of flying. Because indoor skydiving can happen in various orientations, there is a discipline in which competitors are all flying with their stomachs relative to the ground, a discipline where they fly in an orientation that is either head up and head down, and two disciplines in which the flyers may utilize every orientation and axis of flight! Furthermore, each of these different types of flying has specific competitive criteria associated with it.
During a formation skydiving (FS) indoor skydiving competition, competitors maintain a belly to ground orientation throughout the entire flight time. Teams can range from 2-4 participants and contain subcategories determined by skill level. In the most popular FS indoor skydiving competition (4-way), competitors can compete in AAA Class (Open/Advance), AA Class Intermediate, A Class or Rookie Class.
Each team is scored by the number of successful formations they complete within a set amount of time. Naturally, in the more advanced classes, a team is required to perform more formations.The formations are broken down into Blocks and Randoms. Blocks are maneuvers that begin with a specific formation and require a specific move (like a 360-degree rotation) either back to the same formation or to a different formation. Randoms are a single formation with the team members all in specific spots. The faster and more precisely you move the greater the number of points you can score. Like in traditional sports, the team with the most points wins.
Vertical formation indoor skydiving takes formation skydiving and flips it on its head (and feet for that matter). In this indoor skydiving competition, teams are composed of either 2 or 4 participants. While the 2-way competition allows for more entry level competitors, 4 way requires all of the competitors to be able to safely fly in a head down orientation.
Like FS, Vertical Formation Skydiving uses a random draw of Blocks and Randoms that the competitors must complete. Teams receive points for properly completed Blocks and Randoms.
For those more creatively inclined, freestyle skydiving is sure to have a strong allure. In this indoor competition, a single competitor is required to complete both Free and Compulsory routines. Compulsory routines are composed of a series of particular moves that must be performed. Although, in Compulsory routines, the competitor is able to choose the sequence of the routines and perform the choreography to their liking. In Free routines the competitor may make use of whatever moves and choreography that they like. For an added layer of difficulty, freestyle indoor skydiving is often done to music, requiring competitors to move in sync with the music he or she has chosen. This type of indoor skydiving competition allows competitors to flex their creative muscles in addition to challenging their bodies.
Dynamic Skydiving is the new kid on the block. This type of indoor skydiving competition was created specifically for indoor skydiving; whereas, the others had their origins in outdoor skydiving. In Dynamic Skydiving, teams are composed of 2 or 4 people. Each member of the team is assigned a specific slot in line and as the team flies designated sequences each person works to follow one another and remain in their specific place in the line.
Dynamic flying contains two rounds: a Speed round and a Free round. In the Speed round teams attempt to fly a specific sequence 3 times as quickly as they can. In a Free round, the teams work to display the creativity of the flyers. While Speed is judged objectively on how quickly and correctly the sequence was completed, Free rounds scoring is entirely subjective and up to the judges.
Interested in seeing an indoor skydiving competition firsthand? Here’s your chance. Our very own Paraclete XP will be hosting the 2021 Indoor National Skydiving Championships for FS and VFS this February! See here for more details.
My wife and I celebrated our 34th Anniversary by going Indoor Skydiving at ParacleteXP in Raeford, NC. We are in our 60's and this activity was safe, fun, and exciting. Dalton was our flight instructor and we recommend that you ask for him by name: He will guide you and have a great time with you in the wind tunnel.