Qualifying and getting your BPA A license is just the start, there’s plenty more to learn from wingsuiting to skysurfing!
Formation Skydiving (FS1)
This is probably the first set of skills you’ll learn after qualifying, teaching you to move in all directions relative to another diver in the belly to earth position. You’ll also learn all the safety aspects involved with group jumping. From side slides to grip taking you’ll work on your skills until you’re ready for a 4-way qualifying dive, where you will jump with 3 other people and attempt to create some formations. On successful completion of this you’ll be awarded FS1 allowing you to jump with others! Formation skydiving is a popular competitive discipline where teams of 5 (a 4-way with a camera flyer) aim to make as many different shapes as possible per jump.
Once you have good belly to earth skills, it’s time to try more challenging and exciting body orientations! Starting from flying on your back you’ll learn to fall in a sit position and balance the airflow to keep you vertical, progressing on to basic movements in these positions. After obtaining FF1 you can begin experimenting with more challenging positions and dynamic movements, finally progressing on to head down flight. Once proficient in these orientations you can try creating sequences of acrobatic moves in the sky!
If falling straight down isn’t enough for you then you can learn tracking, a technique that allows you to travel at great speeds horizontally whilst reducing your descent rate. Progress from flying on your front to your back, and then on to flying at an angle through the sky. Not only is it a useful safety maneuver but it’s also great fun!
After completing 200 jumps in 18 months or 500 jumps in total you can begin to learn how to fly a wingsuit! With the added material between your arms and legs your descent rate is reduced and your forward speed is greatly increased as your body now acts as an airfoil. Once you have the basics down you can begin to fly with other pilots creating big flocking formations or perform aerobatics by transitioning from flying on your front to your back.
canopy piloting (cp1&2)
Canopy piloting is all about pushing yourself to the extremes of canopy flight. Pilots engage in high performance landings where they deliberately increase their descent rate in order to convert this into forward speed and ‘surf’ across the ground for as long as possible. This maneuver is known as a ‘swoop’ because of the noise the canopy makes as the pilot comes in for a fast landing.
Canopy formation (CF1)
If you’re not scared to get close to another jumper under canopy then this is for you! Canopy formations are all about precise canopy flight, moving in close to another jumper and ‘docking’ on to them by either sitting on top of their canopy, wrapping your legs around their risers or connecting yourself together with a cable or by hands.
Here a skydiver attaches a board to their feet and stands up on it in freefall giving the illusion of surfing through the sky. This discipline takes a lot of practice to even be able to stand up on the board but once the jumper is able to do this they can begin learning more advanced moves. By angling the board the jumper is able to move across the sky and also perform a variety of loops, rolls and spins at considerable speed.