Saturday, November 27, 2021
Menu

DOWNLOADS

Skydiver's Competition Manual
Chapters & Archives

View also in the ONLINE VERSION or FLIP BOOK.
Read more about the SCM...

Loading...
    Filter and Search Results
    Red, Green, Blue or Yellow?

    Published on Friday, June 29, 2018

    Red, Green, Blue or Yellow?

    by Steven Lefkowitz of SDC Rhythm XP

    Competing in 4-way formation skydiving can be a lot of fun and also very challenging. It’s the kind of sport you can enjoy casually on the weekend or devote your life to (like the members of SDC Rhythm XP do)! If you’re thinking of participating, you’ll first need to learn a little about the formations and the five positions on the team. Doing so will make each dive easier and more efficient to execute. In each round of competition 4-way, teams receive a set of formations from a fixed dive pool. The size of the pool of possible formations increases as your team moves up into more advanced divisions. For example, open competitors will draw from a pool of 60 formations, while competitors in Sky League’s rookie class will draw from a pool of 16. The International Parachuting Commission sets the pool of formations, which doesn’t change very often or very drastically.

    Defining the Positions

    Every formation in the dive pool has a designated name and letter. Here, we’ll look at the formations “Bow” (H) and “Sidebody” (P). In these illustrations, you’ll notice that each jumper is assigned a color. These colors indicate the jumpers’ places in the formation (called “slots”) and where they are positioned during a standard exit:

    Red=Point
    Green=Outside Center
    Blue=Inside Center
    Yellow=Tail

    Though there are exceptions, typically during exit:

    • The point is inside the plane toward the front (“front diver”)
    • The tail is outside the plane toward the rear (“rear floater”)
    • The outside center is outside the plane, in between the point and tail
    • The inside center is inside the plane, in between the point and tail

    The point and tail are collectively called “the wings;” the outside center and inside center are collectively called “the centers.”

    No competition rule requires a flyer in a certain slot to play a specific role in the formation; the rules don’t mention slots at all. In fact, as teams get more advanced, the slot flyers often switch roles both during exits and while flying the formations. Still, it’s wise to use these slots as a guide for transitioning from one formation to the next as efficiently as possible (which is to say with minimal movement from each skydiver). Taking the example of transitioning from Bow to Sidebody, you can see how each skydiver needs to make only a very small move if they follow the color coding in the diagrams. Although the inside center (blue) in the Bow could play the role of the tail (yellow) in the Sidebody, it would be less efficient. 

    In addition to flying single, stand-alone formations (called “randoms”) in competition, your team will also fly blocks, which consist of a starting formation, a prescribed move (called an “inter”) and a second formation. During blocks, the formation typically breaks into smaller subgroups, which spin around and come back together. Sometimes, one group will fly over the other (called a “vertical”) to complete the block.

    The Differences Between Slots

    While each slot has its own characteristics that may play to the strengths and weaknesses of team members, just about any skydiver can excel at any position with practice. Most top competitors have played several roles over their careers, and you do yourself a disservice if you limit yourself to flying only one position during your jumping career.

    Point

    On exit, the point is usually inside the plane at the front of the door. This is a somewhat cramped position, so smaller people have a slight advantage. When leaving the plane, the point has to have good timing and an effective jump to get above the rest of the group in the sky. In the air, the point is often outfacing. During randoms, they often must make small, precise moves in which they present grips to their teammates. During blocks, they have bigger moves with a lot of individual spinning. When there are verticals, they usually go over. Because the point often presents grips and goes over during verticals, it helps if they are not the heaviest member of the team.

    Tail

    On exit, the tail is usually outside the plane in the rear of the door. They are often hanging or squatting down in the door and have to drop down aggressively as they exit. In the air, the tail is usually infacing. During the randoms, they turn a lot and take a lot of grips, especially cat grips (grips on both of one jumper’s legs). Because the centers are often more focused on each other and the point and not on the tail, tails do a lot of responding to where the rest of the formation goes. In blocks, the tail often has very physical moves where they are spinning and moving the subgroup they are part of. When there are verticals, they typically go under. Because the tail drives the subgroups a lot in the blocks, it helps if they are strong and one of the bigger teammates.

    Outside Center

    On exit, the outside center is usually in the middle of the door outside the plane. Their exit is typically very gymnastic, requiring a balance of power, presentation and timing. During the randoms, they turn a lot. They work with the inside center to set the angles that the point and tail must respond to. They see a mix of infacing and outfacing positions and both present and take grips. In the blocks, they often make small, precise moves that control the distance and levels between subgroups while also being driven by their teammates. When there are verticals between subgroups, they typically are in the group that flies over.

    Inside Center

    On exit, the inside center is usually in the middle of the door inside the plane. Like the point, they are often in a cramped position. They usually have to squeeze out the door and get lower than the outside center, which requires a balance of timing and aggressively moving through a very tight space. During the randoms, they take a lot of grips and decide when to signal (key) the others to move to the next point. They don’t have moves as large as the outside center or tail, but because they take a lot of grips and get gripped by others a lot, they have to be tough flyers who can deal with being pushed and pulled various ways. In the blocks, they often have small, precise moves that control the distance and levels between subgroups while also being driven by their teammates (much like the outside center). When there are verticals between subgroups, they typically are in the group that flies under.

    Because the outside center and inside center set the angles and distances and often drive the pace of the skydive, the most experienced teammate will typically go in one of these slots.

    Videographer

    On exit, the videographer is outside the plane on the camera step.They usually leave slightly before or slightly after the rest of the formation. They use a combination of flying skill and timing to place themselves in position to capture all the grips on video immediately after the exit. In the air, they have to keep the group in frame no matter where the members of the 4-way move or how far they get from each other. 

    The videographer is an integral part of the team, but also somewhat outside the group. This is true during the skydive and also on the ground during preparation and debrief. As a result, the videographer may feel ignored at times and should be comfortable with that. Also, the videographer has the additional responsibility of caring for the equipment and should be comfortable solving problems without bringing additional drama to the team. Because the videographer’s freefall experience can get repetitive, it often helps if they enjoy working on canopy skills or photography skills. 

    Selecting Positions

    When joining a team, be flexible about which position you fly. While you may have a preference, every slot is a lot of fun and very challenging. Most importantly, never let your preferred slot keep you from being on the best team you can join. Never think, “That team is looking for a tail, but I’m a point.”

    On most teams, choosing slots is less about perfect placement and more about teammates compromising to satisfy everyone’s preferences and inclinations. Once you’ve chosen your slot, try to practice that one slot rather than switching around a lot. At the same time, balance that with being flexible if team opportunities require switching. Keep that in mind, and you’re sure to have a great team experience and continue to grow in the sport.

    About the Author
    Steven Lefkowitz, D-30172, is a founding member of SDC Rhythm XP. Since its founding in 2007, Rhythm has become one of the world’s top 4-way teams, earning medals nationally and internationally. The team also coaches skydivers of all levels at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, and Skydive Sebastian in Florida and runs tunnel workshops at the Paraclete XP wind tunnel in North Carolina. The team also created the Rhythm Skydiving 101 app and founded the Women’s Skydiving Leadership Network. More information is available at rhythmskydiving.com.

    Rate this article:
    4.0
    Comments (0)Number of views (5420)

    Author: Steven Lefkowitz

    Categories: Homepage, Features

    Tags: July 2018

    Print
    Please login or register to post comments.

    Manuals

    Forms

    2021-2022 Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) Evaluations Forms PDF (fillable)   (Mar 2021) Downloads Manuals Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    2021-2022 Instructional Rating Manual (IRM) Forms PDF   (Mar 2021) Downloads Manuals Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    A-License Proficiency Card (1 page) PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    A-License Progression Card (ISP; 2 pages) PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    Application: B-D License PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    Application: Canopy Formation Award PDF   (Apr 2021) Forms Awards
    Application: Judge Rating PDF   (May 2015) Forms Judge Rating
    Application: PRO Rating & High Performance Endorsement PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings Demos
    Application: Tenure Award PDF   (Apr 2010) Forms Awards
    Application: USPA Membership & Rating Renewal PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Application: Wings & Badges Awards PDF   (Apr 2021) Forms Awards
    Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card PDF   (Sep 2019) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    Demo Insurance Application and Notification Form PDF   (Nov 2020) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings Demos
    Incident Report Form PDF   (Apr 2019) Forms Incident Report
    Initial Application as a Foreign Affiliate Group Member (Non-U.S. Only) PDF   (Apr 2019) Downloads Forms Group Membership
    Initial Application for College Clubs (U.S. Only) PDF   (Oct 2021) Downloads Forms Group Membership
    Initial Application for Group Membership (U.S. Only) PDF   (Feb 2020) Downloads Forms Group Membership
    Proficiency Card: AFF Instructor PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: Coach Rating PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: Examiner PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: IAD/SL Instructor PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    Proficiency Card: Military Transition PDF   (Sep 2021) Forms Licenses & Proficiency Cards
    Proficiency Card: Tandem Instructor PDF   (Mar 2021) Forms Instructional & PRO Ratings
    S&TA Waiver Form PDF   (Apr 2018) Downloads Forms Waivers
    Waiver Request PDF   (Nov 2019) Downloads Waivers

    USPA Meeting Minutes

    BOD 2021 Summer Meeting PDF   (Sep 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2021 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2021 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2021) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2020 Summer Meeting PDF   (Dec 2020) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2020 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2020) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2019 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2019) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2019 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2019) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2018 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2018) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2018 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2018) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2017 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2017) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2017 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2017) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2016 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2016 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2016 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2016) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2015 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2015 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2015 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2015) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    2014 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2014 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2014 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2014) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2013 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2013 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Jul 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2013 Winter Meeting PDF   (Mar 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2012 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Mar 2013) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2012 Summer Meeting PDF   (Aug 2012) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2012 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2012) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2011 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2011 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2011 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2011) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2010 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2010 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2010 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2010) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2009 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2009 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2009 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2009) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2008 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2008 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Apr 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2008 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2008) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2007 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2007 General Membership Meeting PDF   (May 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2007 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2007) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2006 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Nov 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2006 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2006 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2006) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2005 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2005 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2005 Winter Meeting PDF   (Jan 2005) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2004 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Sep 2004) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2004 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2004) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2004 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2004) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    2003 General Membership Meeting PDF   (Aug 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Gen. Membership Meeting
    BOD 2003 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2003 Winter Meeting PDF   (Jan 2003) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2002 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2002) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2002 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2002) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2001 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2001) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting
    BOD 2001 Winter Meeting PDF   (Feb 2001) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting 2000-2005
    BOD 2000 Summer Meeting PDF   (Jul 2000) USPA Meeting Minutes Board of Director Meeting 2000-2005

    Miscellaneous

    2013 DOT Opinion on Taxes PDF   (Jan 2014)
    Advanced Aerospace Designs Issues Reminders to Vigil Customers   (Dec 2019)

    On October 23, Advanced Aerospace Designs issued reminders of approaching deadlines for compliance with its last two service bulletins.

    After-market Tandem Risers MANDATORY – REPLACE BEFORE THE NEXT JUMP   (Sep 2020)

    PIA released Service Bulletin PSB-10092020 affecting after-market tandem main risers constructed with obsolete RW2 rings. All sport tandem main risers produced with RW2 rings, or equivalent sized rings, are affected regardless of the hardware manufacturer, the date of manufacture, the material type or the forging process used. This PSB does not affect "solo" main risers that use RW2 rings. Compliance is MANDATORY – REPLACE BEFORE THE NEXT JUMP.

    Article: 9/11 Aftermath Report PDF   (Aug 2016)
    Article: Angle Flying PDF   (Nov 2015)
    Article: Ches Judy Award PDF   (Oct 2015)
    Article: Gear Fear PDF   (Sep 2015)
    Article: Landing in a Tree PDF   (Mar 2015)
    Article: Safety in Numbers PDF   (Jan 2011)
    Article: The RSL PDF   (Jan 2014)
    Article: Water Landings PDF   (Mar 2015)
    Canopy Risk Quotient PDF   (Oct 2015)
    Canopy Risk Quotient LINK   (Mar 2020)
    Dermody Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Dunn Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    DZO Memo PDF   (Jul 2012)
    FAA AC 105-2E PDF   (Dec 2013)
    FAA AC 90-66B CHG 1 PDF   (Feb 2019)
    FAA Airworthiness Directive for certain UPT reserve pin covers PDF   (Apr 2021)

    The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Uninsured United Parachute Technologies, LLC (UPT) parachutes. This AD results from reserve pin covers (RPCs) catching on the parachute container flaps and preventing the reserve parachute from deploying. This AD requires modifying the RPC before the next parachute jump and replacing the RPC at the next reserve parachute packing. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    FAA Proposal (07/03/12) PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Flight Planner   (Jan 2019)
    Huerta Letter PDF   (Jul 2012)
    Insurance Policy Summary   (Mar 2021)
    ISP Grid PDF   (May 2012)
    Parachute Landing Area Update PDF   (Aug 2012)
    Skydiving Makes the Perfect Experience Gift   (Dec 2019)

    It’s no secret that more and more people are turning to giving gifts of experiences instead of material things.

    Strong Enterprises Issues Service Bulletin for Tandem Drogue PDF   (Apr 2021)

    Strong Enterprises issued Service Bulletin #35 mandating inspection of the 3-ring attachment on tandem drogues manufactured between June 22, 2020, and February 2, 2021 whose last three digits of the serial numbers between 625 and 714. Status is MANDATORY. Compliance is IMMEDIATE – before the next jump.

    USPA Hangar Policy Comments PDF   (Jun 2016)
    Wingsuit Instructor Draft PDF   (Sep 2012)