Head Down Left & Right Turns

As you continue the Head Down flight progression, there are many skills that you will incorporate that you have already had exposure to in earlier training. Turning being one of those skills, as you have already worked on how to balance while in the neutral position. You will be familiar in the methods of controlling your heading and stopping any unwanted turns in order to demonstrate control, from your progression in Belly, Back, and Sit Flying. Now in a Head Down orientation, you will begin to understand how your body position and movements affect your Head Down flight, to the point you can control your movement so as not to turn, and then make mindful inputs to generate a direction change and stop.

Prior to learning specific left and right turns, you will first need to ensure that you have a stable neutral Head Down position.

Objectives

The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully begin in a neutral head-down position off the net, then on your coach’s signal, begin a turn to the left, stop on a specified heading then turn to the right and stop on your original heading. You will start making small 90º turns and work your way up through 180º turns and then 360º turns in both directions.

You should be able to complete each turn without gaining or losing any altitude, moving forward or backward, or needing to “bail” due to any instability.

Technique

  • Begin in the center of the tunnel, in a neutral “daffy” flying position
  • Be sure to have a plan for which direction to turn to better understand how you will adjust your body position
  • Angle the lower part of your front leg into the wind to create a rudder effect, this will assist in initiating the turn
  • Slightly turning your head to look in the direction of the turn will aid the rotation
  • Stop the turn by angling your lower leg in the opposite direction, creating a brake
  • Once the turn has stopped, return to a neutral position
  • Now go the other direction!

Check In

  • Were you able to maintain stability for turns in both directions?
  • Were you able to turn and stop on the correct heading each time?
  • What techniques did you feel comfortable with and what can you improve on during the next session?

When you are learning to fly the neutral Head Down position, you will naturally learn the basics of each of the control movements. Once you feel like you have the basic control of turning, set yourself a goal to adjust the wind speed to faster and slower speeds in order to help advance your ability in this skill area.

Learn more about the fundamentals of Head Down flying on the IBA Skills page. Download the full lesson plan and check out the rest of the post-flight evaluation questions and suggestions.