There are many ways of flying head-up (see “Foundations of Flight—Head-Up Variations,” December 2012 Parachutist) or vertically oriented, and a flyer can take advantage of the various postures and their resultant terminal velocities (fall rates). Think of each posture having its own unique cruising speed. Here, we explore the leg configurations and options for the most common head-up posture: the sit.
After exiting, turn perpendicularly to the aircraft’s line of flight and come to rest in a comfortable, neutral sit-fly posture. Stay altitude aware by checking your altitude between each maneuver or every five seconds.
To slow down and “fly up” (relative to another flyer), you must increase your body’s cross-sectional area to the relative wind. To properly increase the surface area of your legs, keep your knees about shoulder width apart and lower than your hips. Allow your feet to move outward and expose your insteps and the insides of your ankles to the relative wind. This will present the inside surfaces of your shins to the wind, which causes more drag. If your flexibility permits it, you can fall very slowly even with your knees touching. You should feel as if your feet are flying away from one another.
By orienting your lower legs to be parallel with the relative wind, you can effectively decrease drag and “fly down” (relative to another jumper). It is also important to relax your arms, and you may want to raise your elbows slightly to see a more obvious change.
Make sure that the pressure on your legs is symmetrical. If one leg has more drag than the other, it may cause an unwanted turn or roll. For the greatest mobility, you must learn to fly with the insides of your legs (think inseam).
The authors intend this article to be an educational guideline. It is not a substitute for professional instruction.
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