XRW Revolutions

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Quantum leaps in technology and skills lead to mind-blowing action…

“We have come a long way…” – Julian Barthel
Photo: Jenna Gygi (WS pilot) and Julian Barthel (Canopy pilot) by Jarno Cordia

Over the last years we have witnessed quantum leaps in development in canopy and wingsuit design and training which has resulted in a revolution of what was considered possible in both disciplines.

In canopy design the implementation and refinement of the Schuemann planform in skydiving wings such as the Valkyrie and the Peregrine have made flying sub 80 square foot canopies a normality on dropzones, when less than a decade ago this was reserved for only the most skilled pilots in the world.

The general standard of canopy piloting techniques has been raised through well renowned canopy schools educating the new generation of skydivers and data driven training in the top competitive field, which has allowed a more thorough understanding of canopy piloting techniques.

Wingsuit flying also has foregone an impressive evolution due to massive strides in suit design, pushed by multiple manufacturers, making wingsuits more efficient and intuitive to fly. On top of that, the introduction of the wingsuit tunnel is already showing an impressive impact on evolution of flying techniques and finesse, promising equal strides in wingsuit flying to what the vertical tunnel has done for other freefall disciplines.

“The natural next step was to start playing with new grips and dynamic elements” – Julian
Photo: Jenna Jenna Gygi and Julian Barthel by Jarno Cordia

It is only logical that XRW, which combines the two disciplines would naturally evolve as skill, technology and understanding in both disciplines progress.

We have come a long way from pioneers of XRW having to use ratchets on the front risers to trim their Comp Velocity steeper and using weight vests and lead belts in excess of 20kg to get to wing loadings of 3.4 lbs/sqft and over to fly with wingsuiters.

While lighter canopy pilots might still need added weight, PD Peregrines and similar designs in the 60-70 sqft range with specific steeper XRW trims allow us to use wing loadings and angles of incidence much more adaptable to flying XRW than ever before.

“I am very excited to see what the coming months and years hold for XRW” – Julian
Photo: Jenna Jenna Gygi and Julian Barthel by Jarno Cordia

In recent years I have been fortunate enough to get inspired by watching Pete Allum and Dani Roman train XRW. Undoubtedly they are two of the most proficient XRW pilots with an astounding amount of training jumps together. They have done amazing projects, such as flying XRW with a Pilatus Porter over Empuriabrava and most recently, flying XRW through “The Crack” in the Swiss Mountains in Walenstadt.

So, when Jenna Gygi and Jarno Cordia from Team FlyLikeBrick and myself came together to fly XRW this June at Skydive Spain, Seville, we immediately saw the potential to take our flying further than the usual formations with a static canopy pilot and single point formations. 

The natural next step was to start playing with new grips and dynamic elements of Jenna carving around the canopy and introducing barrel rolls with the canopy over Jenna in her wingsuit as base and turning points while carving together.

We were fortunate enough that Jarno, Jenna’s teammate, is not only a very skilled wingsuiter, but also brought great camera flying and editing skills to the table. The result of our combined efforts can be seen in the video “XRW Revolutions”.


XRW REVOLUTIONS video

Wingsuit Team FlyLikeBrick’s Jenna Gygi and High Performance Canopy Pilot Julian Barthel explore the realm of Dynamic XRW.

  • Aerial (Wingsuit) Camera and Edit: Jarno Cordia
  • Canopy: Performance Designs Peregrine 64, WL 3.1
  • Wingsuit: Phoenix-Fly Rafale
  • Sena 50s Radio Communication

I am very excited to see what the coming months and years hold for XRW since there has been a vast amount of new formations released this year alone with multiple wingsuiters docking on canopy stacks and more. Also, the online Skydiving competition platform Skyonstage just announced that they will include XRW Compulsories and Free rounds in their competition format.

XRW is a vastly unexplored discipline with massive potential and it is exciting to see it gaining momentum. Let’s see where the journey takes us!


Interested in more articles written by Julian? Check out our suggestions:

  • The Road to NOWHERE – link here
  • Malfunctions flowchart – link here
  • Flare technique and flare – link here
  • What is your Decide and Act Altitude – link here
  • Mutant review – link here
Photo: Jenna Jenna Gygi and Julian Barthel by Jarno Cordia
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Meet: Julian Barthel

Julian is a full time Flight-1 Instructor, Tunnel Coach, Freefly Coach, Load Organizer, USPA Coach Examiner and Founder of FlyinMynd.
He worked in the sport as AFF-I, TD-I and Camera Flyer for 8 years before going freelance.
Julian loves Canopy Piloting, XRW and is part of the German Canopy Piloting Team.
He was part of the current National German Head down Record (38) and the European Head down Sequential Record (3-point 24-way) as well as the current European Head Up Record (43).
Likes: Canopy Flocking, Freefly, XRW, Canopy Piloting, Dynamic Flying.
Julian is sponsored by PD, UPT, Tonfly, Alti-2 and Cypres.

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