Group Formation Skydiving
The Group Formation Skydiving Endorsement is an extension of the 2 Way Endorsement and is also administered by a Coach 2. Prior to moving onto group skydiving, the "A" CoP holder MUST attain a "B" CoP which requires not only successful completion of this Group Freefall endorsement, but also other practical elements and the written exam.
The novice must perform a minimum of fifteen 2 Way skydives. These jumps can be with either a Coach 2, or a Coach 2-approved B CoP holder; the B CoP holder must be both proficient enough in their own FS flying ability and safe and so as to be of benefit to help the novice to improve.
The Drop Zone should have a 10-Jump program for the development of a Novice’s FS skills. This may consist of at least 10-jumps prior to beginning evaluation, or spread out every 5 or 6 jumps and then a progressive evaluation with a Coach 2.
The Group Freefall Endorsement entails a minimum of 3 Evaluation Skydives (typically more are required) during which time the Coach 2 evaluates and makes recommendations for improvement to the novice in the following areas:
- Calculation and execution of the Exit spot and Opening spot (from the ground up)
- Free flown exit followed by an approach to a dock: built up from one to 2 seconds.
- Closing vertical and horizontal separation: dive to Delta
- Proximity maintenance throughout the skydive
- A flat track adequate for separation from a 4 way: minimal vertical altitude loss during the horizontal track
- An opening avoidance drill under canopy: must be clearly practiced and demonstrated
- A canopy dive recovery drill
- Awareness and control during final canopy approach
The novice now has to adjust his/her level and proximity to match the partner or the Coach 2 and then dock. Emphasis is on matching levels prior to docking.
What follows are recommendations. The most important thing is that the final evaluation is thorough and consistent. The Coach 2 should help plan the first four or five skydives where specific drills are practiced, such as turn types, prior to the first evaluation skydive.
Evaluation Jump 1 - Partner Sequential
- Exit: ½ second delay, short delta dive
- Box man position
- Docking (open handed, not closed grip)
- Turns (3 turn types over several Drill Dives leading up to the first Evaluation jump)
Break-off: (This assumes the Track has already had one whole dive dedicated to it). Allow plenty of time for a full 5 second track, while still flaring out and deploying by 3000 feet minimum. Start higher.
- smooth, controlled execution of the proper movements or action, (this is more important at this stage than the number of repetitions);
- flying the formation rather than reaching;
Following this first evaluation jump, the Coach 2 should provide specific recommendations and remedies in order to aid the novice in their progression. The schedule for the next 4 to five skydives should be well laid out.
Evaluation Jump 2 - Sideways Movement
- Exit: 1 second delay, more aggressive dive to delta, quick closing
- Box man position
- Side sliding and orbit control
3-4 docks, demonstrating the correct techniques from 9500' minimum
The final free flown exit followed by a controlled approach to dock requires a minimum of a 2 second delay on exit. The novice should have a relatively smooth dive with a horizontal approach to the dock, and then dock within 3000’ (that is about 20 seconds) of exit altitude
Proximity maintenance entails the novice and coach facing off then testing the novice’s ability to follow a moving person (formation) in 3 dimensions (forward-backward, up-down, side-side) and then dock smoothly. Three moves should be tested in a dive from 9500 ft.
Jump 3 – Final Evaluation
- Exit: Full 2 second delay, more aggressive delta
- Box man position
- Turning, Side sliding
Flat Horizontal Track and distance for separation from a 4 way, open before 3000 feet
- from 9500' (minimum, more manoeuvres expected if higher altitude)
- Close a 2 second delay within 3,000’ or 25 seconds from exit, showing control of approach
- 3 to 4 points (or more if higher altitude), demonstrating the correct techniques of the jump, controlled approach and dock
- Solid Track, with adequate horizontal separation from a 4 way, minimal loss of vertical altitude (maintain close to horizontal level)
For example, the first move would have the Coach 2 move back 6 feet, down 3 feet and turn 90 degrees. For the second move, the Coach 2 would be positioned sideways 6 feet, up 3 feet and turned away 90 degrees. The third move could place the Coach 2 forward 6 feet and up 3 feet. All docks by the novice on the Coach 2 must be approached as face-to-face 2 way docks. The novice should exhibit control in all movements leading up to the dock.