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Freeflying is a skydiving discipline which began in 1990 when Olav Zipser began experimenting with non-traditional forms of body flight. Zipser (FreeFly Clown No.1) formed the Freefly Clowns as a two person competitive team with Mike Vail in 1992, and was joined by Omar Alhegelan, Charles Bryan, and Stefania Martinengo in 1994.

Freeflying broke into the limelight in 1996 when the SSI Pro Tour added a three person competitive discipline as the second televised event (with Skysurfing) as part of ESPN's "Destination Extreme" series. 150 countries watched teams like the Freefly Clowns, the Flyboyz (Eli Thompson, Mike Ortiz, Knut Krecker, Fritz Pfnur), Team AirTime (Tony Urugallo, Jim O'Reilly, Peter Raymond and Brian Germain) and many other pioneers of freeflying show off their best moves. In 1996 and 1997, the SSI Pro Tour staged eight televised events in both North America and Europe with $36,000 in cash prizes awarded to Freefly teams. SSI invited the 1997 Pro World Champion Flyboyz to participate in the 1998 ESPN X Games as an unofficial exhibition. [1] The resulting global television exposure made legends out of Zipser, Thompson and others. A once fledgling off-shoot of the mainstream, freeflying now comprises fully one-half of the overall skydiving community. [2]



Freeflying is an expansion of skydiving which includes the traditional belly-to-earth positions, but extends into vertical flight where the flyer is in an upright position (falling feet first) or in an inverted position (falling head first). These positions increase freefall speeds and make new types of formations and routines possible.

A freeflyer, in order to fully understand the aerodynamic power of his/her body in freefall, needs to first learn to control all of the skydiving forms: box position (belly-to-earth, traditional skydiving position), back flying (back-to-earth), head-up flying, head-down flying, and side flying. These positions are not held for the duration of a skydive. Freeflying can, and usually does, involve constant transitions in position and speeds, with vertical and horizontal orientations. This can involve constantly flowing skydives, with all positions explored, or more static skydives where flyers are concentrating on building a large formation while flying in one of these freefly positions.

Due to the increased freefall speed and potentially faster horizontal speeds, freeflying has dangers beyond that of a normal skydive. Extra care must be taken for freefall skydive groups to stay away from belly-to-earth skydivers to avoid collisions. Since most parachutes are not designed to be opened at speeds higher than that of normal belly flying, freeflyers must transition back to the "belly to earth" position and slow down their descent for several seconds before deploying their parachute.

While freeflying is a younger and more extreme addition to skydiving, it is becoming a popular event in competitions and world records (see Vertical formation skydiving).

Back flying

Back flying is the ability to fly on the back in a stable and controlled fashion. This skill is critical so that when the flyer flips out of some of the more advanced positions they stay in control and do not endanger themselves or other skydivers.

Sit flying

Sit flying is called such because it looks similar to the position taken while sitting in a chair.

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