The text below is an extract from an article written by Éder Navacerrada, chief pilot at Skydive Spain where he also runs the WS School with his friend Robert Krysztofiak.
Event: From Zero to Hero Wingsuit & Angle Flying Camp (May 7-10)
Do you need to be a pro skydiver to start in base? Probably not, but being current and being a competent skydiver definitely increase the chances of survival. Some jumpers are very reluctant to spend money to train from the plane once they achieve the “base jumper status”. Spending 20-25€ for a jump when I can take the leap for free? Au contraire mon fráre, the plane is the ultimate tool to keep you alive.
Freeflying: If you are a good freeflyer, you will be comfortable having the relative air approaching from any direction, backflying, headdown, spatial orientation, etc… Ok, in base there is not much relative air in the first few seconds, but if on a big terminal wall if your exit didn’t go quite as planned and find yourself head down, flipping over or facing the wall, your muscle memory will help you to correct it instantly. And very important, efficient tracking is mandatory to get you away from the objects
Canopy handling: The classic thought is to jump a square 7 cell aiming for a target, for obvious similarities with base canopies and the activity. Yes I agree, if on every skydive you set up a target and consistently land within 10m, you are getting there. But in my opinion it can be done better if you jump different canopies and sizes from big squares to fully elliptical high performance, variety is the key and will make you more competent. Training with just CRF big canopies for base is like training just belly for base. To me it doesn’t work like that, you should understand how the body flies and how the canopies fly. Canopy courses with competent canopy pilots are highly advisable, and there are quite a few good ones out there
Wingsuit: Training WS from the plane could also be very dangerous, but way more forgiving than on base environment. You can jump on your own and progress to a point, but then it’s necessary to jump with more people and train specific skills towards base. Its not just about staying 3mins in the air flying for the best glide ratio, that is pretty cool at first, but then is boring and tiring, definitely not the ultimate goal. There are other skills to develop, just to mention a few; flying relative to others, going steep almost headdown, efficient flaring, tight turns, stalls at low and high speeds, spins recovery, deployment techniques, back flying and acro flying. Again variety is the key, flying different suits, different styles will make you understand how Wingsuits work.
If you are a good freeflyer familiar with angle flying and different speeds, you will learn to fly a wingsuit quicker. I read somewhere this is a myth. I don’t think so, the flying principles are the same, in your body, in your wingsuit or an Airbus 380
With these ideas in mind, being a jumper myself interested in learning and having worked in a Drop Zone for 12 years, we decided to start this little project of educating people from the plane to be safer in base, offering some innovation, in a fun and friendly atmosphere.
We call the beginners “the Zeros” and the most experienced “the Heros”, on a friendly way
When we start in a new discipline we are all Zeros, we know very little and learning alone is difficult. Heros sometimes could be unreachable and tend to forget there was a time when they were zeros as well. We call these heros Skygods, and very often they end up with no friends to jump with because of that unapproachable reputation.
Luckily we also have the humble and approachable heros. And those are the ones we like in our camps. No barreers between beginners and experienced. The zero will learn from the hero and viceversa. Thats the core of From Zero to Hero
So far we got Maurizio Di Palma, Cedric Dumont and Simon Wandeler on the Wingsuit Side, three of the most experience jumpers in Europe, plus Dimitri Didenko and Flo Zburatorul among others on the angle flying side.
Next camp is 17-20 of September (dates to be confirmed). The camp is focused on, education, safety, fun, talks and socializing. Not just random jumps but also briefing, debriefings and some interesting talks on things as high performance psychology, flow states and meditation in extreme sports. Their flying is amazing, but their inputs priceless.For the base jumper, its a good opportunity to get in shape for the base season, not just on skills but also mentally. Considering 90% of the participants are base jumpers, if we get chance once the camp its over, we will go for some Slider Down stuff around, as we did last time. If you are interested and need full details on the schedule please visit the facebook site, that will direct you to the event page, or get in touch through the website.
Here is the video of the previous event: