Get Into VFS

Help and Information

It looks difficult?
This is one of the most common responses when you mention VFS. Granted, it certainly isn’t the easiest skydiving discipline but if you can get your FF2 you can do VFS. The good news is that if you have any level of FS experience then everything you learned about cross-referencing, levels and more also applies in VFS. As you get better at VFS you’ll see improvements in your other skydiving disciplines too. You’ll care less about the orientation – it’s just skydiving!

In part one of a two-part series Matt Law looks at what VFS involves and how to get started.

Are you working through the FF1 or FF2 qualifications and wonder what is possible after you’ve got those all-important stickers? Or perhaps you have just got that FF2 in the bag and are thinking about what’s next? Read on…

VFS? What’s that?
Vertical Formation Skydiving is the branch of Formation Skydiving (FS) in which all the blocks and randoms are performed in the vertical plane – every jumper being either head up or head down. Traditionally VFS was largely referring just to the internationally recognised 4-way competition discipline, but these days it refers to anything from 2-way upwards. In fact, we are so keen to get people involved here in the UK that we have created 2-way Rookie and 4-way Intermediate VFS dive pools and competitions to provide a progression path for upcoming jumpers. There is also big-way and sequential VFS.

It looks difficult?
This is one of the most common responses when you mention VFS. Granted, it certainly isn’t the easiest skydiving discipline but if you can get your FF2 you can do VFS. The good news is that if you have any level of FS experience then everything you learned about cross-referencing, levels and more also applies in VFS. As you get better at VFS you’ll see improvements in your other skydiving disciplines too. You’ll care less about the orientation – it’s just skydiving!

Help and Information

I’m sold!
How do I get started?
Like almost everything in skydiving, how you approach it at the start has a big influence on your progress. A good place to start is finding a coach or experienced jumper current in VFS to show you the ropes.

by Martin Roberson
Mixed HU/HD down docks are harder than they look!

Before you attempt anything in the sky, start out in the tunnel learning the basics of moving around other people, taking grips and turning pieces head up and head down. Most importantly you must learn how to keep yourself and others safe when you ‘cork’ (fall off your position) and recover.

In the early days you’ll be frustrated by getting ‘burbled’ and how difficult it seems to fly static for any length of time at head down and head up speeds. Steadily you will start to improve and before long you’ll suddenly realise that you can fly with others head up or head down. You’ll be able to take grips, perform both free and gripped transitions and those pesky burbles won’t be half as troublesome as they once were. You’ll start to get familiar with the 2-way and 4-way VFS dive pool and the hilarious mental challenge that is dirt diving VFS!

VFS Quote

 

What about in the sky and progression?
Once you are starting to see some results in the tunnel it’s time to take it to the sky. Again, seek out an experienced VFS jumper or two and start small with a simple 2- or 3-way to work on the basics. It is more difficult in the sky. You are impeded by your rig and you have a lot more to think about in terms of safety and getting the exit and break-off right. Have fun and go easy on yourself if your first few attempts aren’t very successful.

by Martin Roberson
Mixed HU/HD down docks are harder than they look!

With regular tunnel training and jumping you could be competing at 2-way VFS within a year of getting your FF2, and 4-way Intermediate VFS a year after that. You’ll also gain the skills required to join big-way head up and head down jumps which are super challenging and lots of fun! So, what are you waiting for? Get into VFS!

 Matt Law by Rob Lloyd By Matt Law

Skydive the Mag April 2020 First published in the April 2020 issue of Skydive the Mag.

Photos:

Main Image: British National Champions, Omni 99 by Dan Guest

Mixed HU/HD by Martin Roberson

Grip-360-grip by Martin Roberson

Further Viewing: Tim Gaines is the British Skydiving VFS representative, or TEA as they are now known (Technical Excellence Adviser). You can contact him at vfstea@britishskydiving.org. Check out his Expo seminar about VFS.

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