Preparing for battle

21 February 2017

Written by: Claire 'Sparky' Scott - World Champion Formation Skydiver

In October of this year, I’ll be leading Team Volition, Britain’s Female Indoor 4-Way Formation Skydiving Team, on our travels to iFLY Montreal, Canada in October to compete at the World Indoor Skydiving Championships. Our goal is to improve on the bronze and silver medals we have won previously in Prague and Warsaw. It will be far from easy as we face stiff competition from the highly experienced and heavily funded French team.

Last weekend, we kicked off our training at iFLY Basingstoke with 2 members from Hayabusa, the Belgium team who are current World Indoor and Outdoor Skydiving Champions in the Open Category. Over the weekend, we flew for more than 8 hours in the wind tunnel, learning and perfecting our moves with the talented Belgium flyers.

The requirements are demanding. 38 different formations need to be learned, some of which involve spinning team mates at great speed and with absolute precision. During a competition, there are 10 flights, each consisting of a different sequence of formations which each team must perform as many times as possible in 35 seconds. A point is gained for each completed formation, and the team with the most points at the end of the competition are the winners. At last year’s World Cup, Volition averaged 24.3 points for each round coming second to the French who averaged 27.9 points. So, there is some catching up to do!

We chose to fly at iFLY Basingstoke, not only because of the friendly staff who were so helpful  and attentive, but also, because this year’s World Championships are to be held at a very similar style of iFLY tunnel in Montreal, Canada. Since the first wind iFLY tunnel opened in Orlando in 1998, wind tunnels have popped up all over the world and the basic design has gone through a number of evolutions. The wind characteristics as well as door size and shape can vary from tunnel to tunnel and can often mean a different flying style is needed.

We had a great weekend at iFLY Basingstoke, which included learning from the world’s best. It’s now a case of doing our homework and visualising our new improved moves, ready for our next tunnel camp in March. The battle preparations have begun!