Static or dynamic? Level 3 flying and beyond

7 January 2017

Written by: Glen Wainwright - Instructor, iFLY Milton Keynes

If you've recently become a proficient Level 1 and Level 2 flyer, then chances are you've been hanging out at the tunnel quite a bit. It would also be fair to assume then that you're pretty hooked? There's no shame in it, we all make that realisation around this time. You've been watching the instructors and advanced flyers carve it around together that have occasionally been rotating in your sessions and you've made the decision that you want to join them, whatever it takes. You've made a great choice, welcome to level 3 flying and beyond!

 This essentially is it, the turning point. The point at which, as an instructor I would really start considering that the person I'm coaching has made a real serious commitment to becoming a freeflyer and tunnel flyer. If you've reached the dizzy heights of level 2 flying and want to venture beyond, it's going to take some hard work and a little dedication but believe me, the rewards are indescribable.

This will also likely be one of the first time that you've come up against the terms 'static' and 'dynamic'. A quick glance of the IBA skills chart will show how all tunnel skills from level 3 onwards are split into these two paths of progression. To simplify, 'Static' essentially means; flying on the spot in fixed position. Alternatively, 'Dynamic' could be defined as; always moving. Another, possibly more heavy-handed way of defining the terms is as old school flying (static) and new school flying (dynamic).

 In competitive applications, static styles of flying are used in Vertical Formation competitions where 2 to 4 flyers will switch quickly between various orientations and positions to complete a predetermined routine of formations – the number of formations made counts as the team's score. Alternatively, dynamic flying styles are used in Dynamic Speed competitions where 2 or 4 flyers will fly a complex, predetermined route around the tunnel. They are scored on the time it takes to complete the route and penalised for any mistakes.

 It's not necessary to pick one path of progression and stick with it, in actual fact this would be hugely detrimental to your flying. The best flyers will attain a level of skill in both static and dynamic flying types and this is by far the most important concept to understand and strive for. You will find that your IBA instructors will guide you through a path incorporating a mixture of skills from both progression paths which complement each other and work with your strengths and weaknesses at that time. The wider array of skills to learn (compared to level2 skills) also now means that there should be no time spend getting bogged down on one thing. If you're struggling with a particular skill, there will be a host of other things you may find easier that will help you gain a better understanding to return to the difficult skill later.

 Finally, it is important to note that good flying - static or dynamic - takes time. There's no easy way to obtain the skills laid out in the IBA level 3 progression and beyond other than to just stick at it. Fortunately for you though, this is also the best time in the flyers career! If you ask any instructor or experienced tunnel flyer, they will very fondly recite to you story after story of their journey into the world of advanced tunnel flying. The time, effort and ultimate reward created by beating the IBA progression paths make people incredibly proud – it's hard not to want to tell everyone!  Tunnel flying is difficult but ultimately that is what makes it worth all the effort and why it feels so special once you start making progression.