Big-way Bites 1 – EXIT

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The first in a series of short articles, which are building blocks of all the big-way fundamentals.

Exit during Sequential Games, Skydive Perris
Photo by Andrey Veselov

Exit Position

There are three options: floater, in the door, and diver.

1. Floater

Floater refers to any person – regardless of exit position – who exits before and therefore below the base piece.

2. In the Door

This position is the most challenging slot on a multi plane formation. The timing is often very difficult and you aren’t quite sure whether you’ll be diving, floating, or going straight across. Add to that in a trail aircraft position the above can easily change from one dive to the next – be prepared for it!

3. Diver

A diver exits later. While this position requires a certain amount of skill and timing, it tends to be one of the more simple tasks on a big-way because it is usually a straight line from exit to formation with little need for decision-making ‘en route’.

Present, Identify & Intercept

These words describe what you must do on any skydive where you are not physically attached to the base.

Present your torso to the relative wind, photo by George Katsoulis

1. Present

In any exit you need to present your torso to the relative wind. During a high-speed exit presentation can be difficult but you must do it. There is no skipping this step. Failing to present your torso to the relative wind will, at best, result in losing eye contact with the base. At worst, the result will be a tumbled exit or even an injury. Proper presentation saves time by allowing you to take the cleanest line to your slot.

Identify the target, photo by George Katsoulis

2. Identify

You must see and recognise where you are going. You may be docking on a base launched from your aircraft or from another aeroplane, or you may be entering a line of divers (or floaters) en route to the base. It does not matter; identify where you are going.

Identification is best done during the exit – while you are presenting your torso to the relative wind, your head can be turned to spot your target. If your exit is less than perfect then work on identification as soon as possible. 

Never blindly dive or float without knowing where you are going.

Intercept the target, photo by George Katsoulis

3. Intercept

This is the act of, after identifying your target, computing not where it is, but where it will be when you get there. A chunk, especially out of a tailgate, can ‘sail’ as it catches a lot of air on exit. You are aiming at a moving target. Acknowledge this and plot your approach with the correct intercept in mind.


Next article – Big-way Bites 2: Getting to your slot

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Meet: Kate Cooper-Jensen

Kate Cooper-Jensen started skydiving in 1978 and quickly became a prominent figure in the sport. Kate founded P3 Skydiving, together with Tony Domenico, the first big-way skydiving school, and has helped countless people achieve their big-way and record dreams.
Kate has been a participant and many times an organiser in over 30 World and National Records.

Organizer of numerous women's world records including 118-way (1999), 132-way (2002), 151-way (2005), 181-way (2009). Sequential women's world and open world record 117-way (2014), Sequential women's European and World Records 2-and 3-point 46-way, (2016); 2- and 3-point 56-way, 2016 and 3 x 60-way (2018).

Raised 1.9 million for breast cancer charities. Recipient of the USPA gold medal for meritorious achievement (2015). Inducted into Skydiving Hall of Fame (2019).

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