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Head Down Fall Rate Control

Now that you have made your way to becoming a proficient Level 3 flyer, you are ready to work on Level 4 skills. Last time, we covered the two transitions to take you from Sit Flying to Head Down – the back flip and the front flip. After the transition, it is important to be able to find a neutral, stable position from which to work on intentional movement.

This skill is one that you will have familiarity with, as you will learn and understand the majority of the elements while still flying supported by the Instructor. You will find that most of your time learning to fly Head Down skills early on has been based around learning to fly up and off the net. Prior to learning how to fly Up and Down in a Head Down orientation, you will need to ensure that you have a stable neutral Head Down position first.


The primary objective is to be able to safely and successfully begin in a neutral Head Down position off of the net, then, when signaled by your coach, fly Up approximately 3-6 feet from your original altitude and stop. Then, when signaled by your coach again, fly down 3-6 feet back to your starting altitude. You should be able to complete each movement without losing your heading, moving forward or backward or needing to “bail” for any instability.


Set yourself up in the center of the tunnel, flying Head Down. You can begin the upward movement from either on the net or just a small distance above the net. If you are starting the downward movement, you will need to set yourself up with enough space between you and the net to perform the movement without hitting the net. It will be important that you are able to stop yourself before reaching the net.


  • You will begin in the center of the tunnel, in a neutral Head Down position, approximately 2-3 feet above the net
  • Plan to use balanced inputs of your body’s surface area to create lift
  • Initiate the upward movement by extending your “daffy” position (spreading your front and rear legs as far apart as possible) to maximize the amount of lift potential
  • As the lift begins, you will need to extend your arms out sideways
  • Your arms can raise slightly, but no higher than your shoulders at any time
  • Maintain balance with your inputs as you rise, to control any unwanted forward or backward movements or turns
  • To stop an upward movement, you will slightly reduce the additional surface area to reduce the lift and maintain the desired altitude


Check In

  • Were you able to maintain stability when flying up and down?
  • During the up and down movements did you encounter any forward or backward drive?

Once you feel like you have the basic control of up and down movements, set yourself a goal to adjust the wind speed to faster and slower speeds in order to help advance your ability in this area while you learn other movements.

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

More Tutorial Videos

Previous Tutorial, Sit to Head down back flip

IBA Sit Fly Tutorials HERE

IBA Back Fly Tutorials HERE

IBA Dynamic Progression Tutorials HERE

This article was originally published on @the_iba