As one of the most popular disciplines amongst skydivers, 4-way formation skydiving is one of the best ways to start working on those skills you developed through your AFF training and subsequent A Licensure. Sure you’ve learned to skydive solo, but now it’s time to shine and have some fun with a few others at altitude. Not convinced? Keep reading for 5 reasons why 4-way formation skydiving is great.
Formation Skydiving is the art of building formations or patterns in freefall. The discipline is executed either in the prone position or vertically. The formations are drawn from an international pool of random and block formations. The random formations are singular formations with full separation of all grips between the performers both before and after building the formation. The blocks are double formations with a designated movement in between. VFS – Gold Medalists 2008 USA Arizone Arsenal
Free Flyers would call Formation Skydiving “belly-flying”, with the earth always below, and the skies above. Formation Skydiving is much more than this, and entails quite a long history. Already in the 70’s, freefall veterans experimented for a long time to hook up two people while falling straight down. Currently, the span of Formation Skydiving begins with a two-way and ends with a 246-way as the official world record. It’s a social affair in the air: skydivers are holding hands and legs and both at the same time to build all kind of different formations of all sizes. Organizers and coaches are engineering the puzzle. Formation Skydiving has two different areas: recreational skydiving, also known as fun jumping, and the competitive arena.
A competition team consists of 4 or 8 performers, and one videographer. A competition consists of up to 10 rounds, and each round consists of up to 6 formations. The teams have a certain number of seconds to continually and correctly repeat the sequence of formations in freefall. Each correctly completed formation scores one point. Competition teams perform up to six rounds per day at the competition. After exiting the jump plane, all teams have a certain amount of time available (4-way 35 seconds, 8-way and 16-way 50 seconds) to perform the same pre-determined sequence of formations and maneuvers. The team with the most accumulated points wins the round. At a competition, all teams must perform between six and ten rounds. Each competition round has a different sequence of formations and maneuvers. Freefall videographers are filming the performance and deliver the footage to the judges for evaluation. The major events have live broadcast of the freefall and live judging.
Once you enter 4-way competition, you can easily start to learn from and be coached by some of the best people in the world at the sport! You definitely cannot say that for most other sports: imagine trying to get free throw tips from LeBron or coaching from Falcao. It’s also really easy to begin jumping with a 4-way Formation Skydiving team. It can be as simple as contacting a director of one of the local meets. They are more than happy to help find you a pickup team to compete with during a meet, and you can compete with that team for just the day or the weekend. Or maybe, you might just decide to continue training and jumping with that team in the future!
Formation Skydiving has become a very well organized competition arena. Regional leagues and meets are offering competitions for all performance levels over the whole season. Nationwide championships bring the best teams of the country together. The national champions of all countries in the world compete each year at the World Cup or at the World Championships. The best teams of the world are invited to compete at the World Air Games. Formation Skydiving is slowly forging its way to becoming a part of the Olympic Games.
It probably seems obvious that through 4-way Formation Skydiving you will often develop deep friendships and camaraderie with your teammates as you work toward your goals. But because the 4-way dive pool is consistent across the country the competition world of skydiving also opens up a whole new community of jumpers to befriend. Before you know it, you will be forming friendships with people you’ve met from around the country.