The Human Carrot
A funny wingsuit BASE story by Douggs with a serious message...
In all skydiving disciplines such as formation skydiving and freeflying there is a neutral body position that we always return to. This neutral body position is adopted and taught for good reasons - to be in control, to be safe and as a start and finish point for more advanced manoeuvres. There is also a neutral body position when flying a canopy.
The legs are symmetrical, positioned apart with the knees slightly bent, almost as if you were sitting on a bar stool.
To help to achieve this body position try to shift your leg straps a little lower after opening. Ensure at first you have a good canopy above your head as normal and any problems or nuisance factors are cleared. Do not loosen off the leg strap itself. In addition, if you feel comfortable, loosen (but do not remove) your chest strap to increase the effectiveness of the harness. Loosening your chest strap also means that your centre of gravity can be forward for landing. This is naturally an easier position for landing as when walking or running your centre of gravity is normally to the front. A tight chest strap can restrict the centre of gravity and keeps it further back on landing.
This 'undercarriage up' leg position is not ready for landing. It also means that the body inputs are switched off and encourages an asymmetrical seated position in the harness.
This position is very dangerous if you misjudge your altitude when landing with one leg out in front. It can also be a pretty aggressive harness input causing the canopy to turn.
This position is again not one that is ready for landing. Having long legs also encourages a person to reach out to the side with a leg on landing instead of trying to fly through the flare for as long as possible.
After checking your canopy and taking the toggles as normal in the hands, the neutral upper body position is to grip the rear risers as high as comfortable whilst the toggles remain in the hands. The hand position should not be full reach or too short above the 3-rings, but as high up the risers as feels comfortable. This will depend on personal preference. The grip is relaxed but firm – grasp around the rear risers as if you were shaking hands with someone. Be careful not to be pulling on the risers. Remember a relaxed grip!
Wavy hands can put unwanted inefficient inputs into the tail, which then need to be corrected. This is similar to riding the clutch in a car.
As with all disciplines when we start from a neutral body position our performance improves and we become more confident. Adopting the correct, comfortable and relaxed neutral body position under canopy, the pilot begins to feel how the canopy is truly flying. The pilot is able to fly positively and actively instead of trying to steer and correct the canopy reactively to subconscious inputs. This body position should be flown from opening to landing whenever you are not making a specific input into the canopy. Think of your body position under the canopy and ask yourself these questions:
Article courtesy of Flight-1