Frequently Asked Questions

Photo by Niklas Daniel

Questions

Please click on a question to jump down to the answer.

Answers

Coaching (or Training)

Why coaching (or training)?

At AXIS Flight School we believe that fun and enjoyment in an activity is elevated through the acquisition of skills and knowledge.

Our coaches train and compete at the world level, enjoying the process of seeing their skills improve year after year. We enjoy sharing our passion for training with those who seek to improve their skills too. No matter your experience level, we invite you to fly and learn with us.

A cornerstone of the AXIS Flight School philosophy is that we believe that coaching is a craft all on its own. It is not enough for an athlete to be good at what they do when it comes to teaching. Great coaches need to possess additional qualities that make them great teachers.

So why should you come train with us? Because we value your time and effort to reach your personal goals. Skydiving is a sport unlike any other. It is easy to get lost or overwhelmed without direction. We wish to help guide you with your goals in mind so that you can enjoy this sport to its fullest.

Why should I fly in the tunnel / get tunnel coaching?

Indoor skydiving is a sport all onto itself. However, its influence on skydiving has made a tremendous impact.

In our opinion it is no longer possible to be competitive in the free fall disciplines without tunnel training. This valuable tool helps isolate and concentrate your free fall time without any interruptions such as riding to altitude, checking your altitude, packing, etc. All you have to do is focus on flying your body.

Not only are you able to receive a concentrated dose of free fall in a much shorter time frame than it would take you to jump it, the quality is much greater because of all the reference points you are surrounded by.

In addition, your coach is never more than 14 feet away. The wind tunnel is a controlled learning environment that accelerates the learning curve for any level of flyer.

AXIS tunnel coaches are more expensive than my local tunnel instructor. Why is that, and what is the difference?

The fact is: Not all coaching is the same. The best analogy is the difference between a High School football coach and an NFL football coach. Both are involved in teaching athletes about the game, but at different levels. Naturally the less experienced coach will be cheaper and easier to come by.

However, the main difference in our sport is that you do not have to qualify to get the NFL level coaching experience. And in our opinion, working with coaches who are highly accomplished in their fields is an investment worth making.

I now have my B-License - what could/should be my next steps?

The B-License is a great accomplishment and a milestone on a long journey. It opens up your way to further explore our great sport.

AXIS Flight School specializes in advanced training that goes beyond the scope of most parachuting clubs around the world. AXIS Coaches™ love to pass on their hard-earned experience in competitions at the world level and in various disciplines to their students.

You may not want to compete or become a world champion, but that should not keep you from the opportunity to train like one. No matter whether you want to improve your body-flight or canopy skills, or learn more about camera flying, or entering the exciting world of records and competitions, our programs are designed with you in mind.

I feel stuck and start to lose interest in skydiving. What can I do?

If you feel stuck, chances are that you feel like you are not improving your personal skills, or the kind of jumping you are doing has become stale.

AXIS Flight School provides tangible evidence of improved skill and knowledge through its coaching method. Not only can AXIS Coaches™ help you improve your personal skills, but they can also expose you to disciplines you might not even know exist.

By trying something new, AXIS can revitalize your passion for flying. Motivation and passion cannot be bought, but it can be ignited by someone else.

Skydiving Recurrency

I haven't skydived in quite some time. Can I ever come back?

We would love for you to rejoin the skydiving community!

AXIS offers recurrency training that is custom tailored to you.

Depending on how long it has been, we will help integrate you back into the sport and catch you up on what you have missed. Technology, procedures and flying methods are constantly evolving, and it is easy to fall behind.

Can I use my own gear during recurrency training?

That depends on several factors and will be determined by your instructor.

If you are uncurrent for several months or even years, we will insist that you jump a parachute that is along the lines of our recommendation. This may include upsizing and/or switching to a canopy model with more docile flight characteristics.

Once you have been reintroduced to the sport, your instructor may make suggestions based on your performance on what gear to jump.

Freefall / BodyFlight

I want to fly head down, what do you recommend I do?

All vertical flying orientations are a byproduct of learning the horizontal flying orientations. To maintaining the head down orientation, one must perfectly balance and make use of both the belly and back of the body simultaneously. One must also be aware of proper exit and break off techniques.

In order to speed up the learning progression, we first recommend training in the wind tunnel. There you can focus on all the necessary flying skills without having to worry about other skydiving related tasks, such as altitude awareness, pulling your parachute, etc.

Once your flying skills have reached a critical point, we can then take it to the sky. The time it takes for you to learn head down with tunnel time will be much faster (and cheaper) than if you attempt this skill without the tunnel time.

Canopy Flying

I've had some really hard landings. Can you help me?

We would love to help you. Please contact us and tell us about your experience. We can set up a personal canopy coaching day called the AXIS Canopy Booster Course™.

Here we take the time to work with you in a one-on-one setting at a pace dictated by you. We use various coaching techniques to break down every aspect of your flight performance and help you trouble shoot to fix the route cause of the problem.

Bad landings can be discouraging and take the fun out of skydiving. We want you to rediscover that fun through knowledge and confidence.

Every skydiver requires a parachute to land safely, therefore it is our goal to help you become the best canopy pilot you can be.

Camera Flying

When can I jump with a camera?

AXIS offers several camera courses up to and including helping you build your own custom made camera helmet.

As there is no official camera flyer rating, the USPA recommends that an aspiring camera flyer seek instruction from and experienced camera flyer.

If you are interested in getting stared jumping with a camera, please check out our introduction to camera flying course. Higher education and training is available for specific disciplines.

Formation Skydiving

How does one go about getting on a skydiving team?

Jumping with a consistent group of people who are like-minded and have similar goals is our definition of a team. Whether or not your team decides to compete is another matter. If you are struggling to find people to jumps with, we can help. AXIS has a large student body to pull from and sets up weekend team experience (link to expansion page) on a regular basis. This gives you the chance to meet new people who might just be future team mates.

Gear

When can I downsize?

Downsizing should be done methodically and with purpose. Downsizing just for its own sake is not a good enough reason to do so, as there are means of gaining performance through skill rather than equipment.

There is no set number of jumps or specific time when one can downsize, rather this choice depends on a combination of goals, proficiency, currency, and the quality of training received.

There are some rough guidelines that have been brought forth by various clubs and entities that suggest smart ways to downsize. However, the best way to guarantee progress is with the guidance and observation of a professional coach.

"It is better to grow out of a canopy than to grow into one."

Can I downsize and change to a more aggressive canopy model at the same time?

As a licensed jumper, you can legally choose to fly any canopy you like. However, skydivers tend to look out after their own.

There is what is legal, and then there is what is safe. If you make choices that have been proven by others to lead to misfortune, you will probably be lectured by more experienced jumpers about your poor choices.

And if you believe yourself to be the exception, then you probably fit the demographic that becomes the example. Once you have proven to be proficient and skilled enough to move on to more performance, we recommend one of two things when it comes to down sizing:

1) Downsize to the next available size, but stay with the same model or class wing,

OR

2) Remain on the same size, but try a more aggressive model (i.e. steeper trim, new planform, aspect ratio, etc.)

I want to buy my own gear. What are some things I should consider?

First, be aware that any advice you receive from your friends will be heavily biased. People learn to love their own equipment and want others to feel the same.

No matter which container you choose to buy (new or used), make sure it fits you properly and that it is appropriate for the kinds of jumps you make. If you like free-flying, make sure that

your rig offers sufficient riser and bridle protection to prevent unintentional openings.

Invest in an audible altimeter to help keep you altitude aware as you fly with your friends. A digital altimeter is nice to have for precise landing pattern work.

Though you are not required to, a helmet is a really good idea.

Invest in an AAD, and a good reserve that is the appropriate size for you. If you jump a 190, having a 150 reserve is not a good idea. The last thing you want in an emergency situation is to downsize several steps on a canopy you have never flown.

Dress for success with a jump suit. These are not merely fashion statements, but they can have a significant impact on your body-flight. Want to do 4-way? You will need some grippers.

What kind of jumpsuit should I get?

That really depends on your skill level and discipline of choice.

If you are new to the sport and undecided on what kind of jumping you like, you may just want to start with a generic off-the-rack free-fly suit. This is a cheap short-term solution while you figure out what disciplines you enjoy.

As you become more specialized, you may want to consider getting with a coach and finding out what kind of equipment they recommend. Suits become more expensive as you add custom options and tailoring. Whatever you choose, make sure that you prioritize function.

Wearing a shorty-suit like an AFF instructor does not set you up for success. If you are interested in formation skydiving, avoid getting the largest booties you can buy. Power should be added gradually over time. That way you learn to fly your legs more efficiently and maintain control.

I really like 4-way. What size booties should I get?

Start small. If the suit fits properly and your technique is good, even a small bootie can generate a lot of power.

As your skill increases over time, you can consider getting larger booties. Though they look cool and are fun to fly, avoid buying the largest booties possible if you are a novice. People rarely grow into large booties and are usually taken for a ride by them. This can negatively affect your learning as skill acquisition will take longer and can crate bad habits.

Starting small is especially true, if you are interested in formation skydiving. Power should be added gradually over time. That way you learn to fly your legs more efficiently and maintain control.

Travel

What is the best way to travel internationally with my rig?

We have traveled a lot with our gear over the years. Regardless if you carry your rig onto the plane or checking it, have the following documents with you: https://www.cypres.aero/documents/travel-documents/

I just got my A-License and want to jump at other drop zones. What are some factors that affect canopy performance I should consider?

Your landing pattern and flare technique have been heavily influenced by the location and level of instruction you received as a student. The habits you have developed as a student serve as a sort of default setting in your muscle memory. There are several factors you should be aware of when traveling to an unfamiliar drop zone that can positively or negatively affect your canopy performance:

1) Field Elevation,

2) Temperature,

3) Humidity, and

4) Wind Conditions.

In addition, you may have other factors to deal with, such as:

5) Size of Landing Area,

6) Potential Hazards surrounding the DZ,

7) Possible outs,

8) DZ Rules, and many more.

In addition your proficiency level needs to be appropriate for the location you intent to jump. Downsizing or switching canopy models for your first jump at a new location is not advisable.

On the DropZone

Do you tip packers?

Tips are never expected, but always appreciated.

Body Flight Theory—Part 1:
A Skydiving Coordinate System

By Niklas Daniel. Photos and illustrations by Niklas Daniel.

In order to fully exploit our body’s maneuvering potential in the air, we have to understand what is aerodynamically and physically possible and which underlying principles apply. This paper will eventually cover theory and application for all human flight disciplines, whether for training purposes or general inquiries.

The goal of part 1 of this paper is to establish a more elegant and convenient way to visualize body-flight movement with the purpose of creating order by introducing AXIS systems. You will be introduced to aerodynamic fundamentals and principles of a person in freefall – be it skydiving, base jumping, or flying in a vertical wind tunnel.

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