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Benefits of CRW

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[ General Skydiving ] [ BASE ] [ Swoop ] [ Large Formations ]


    Whatever activity you participate in throughout life, you will have the opportunity to develop skills that may be applied to other activities. This act of "cross-skilling" develops useful transferable skills. If you open your mind, the possibilities are endless. The same can be said for parachuting & for CRW in particular. The benefits or transferable skills  include team work, communication skills, cultural awareness (meeting with other nations), fitness, social life, discipline and commitment, etc. We will focus on transferable aerial skills and leave all the other mushy stuff for other people to ponder.

    Below are some examples on how CRW can help develop skills that are transferable and beneficial to many other disciplines. 

General Skydiving & Parachuting

    There is a detailed discussion on the benefits CRW has for large formation jumps further down this page. It describes scenarios where CRW skills can be useful. This is relevant to general skydiving.

    Skills that you learn in CRW that are useful for skydiving include:

  • how to control the descent rate, glide ratio, and forward speed of your canopy by using front risers, rear risers, toggles, and a combination of these.
  • a better understanding of basic aerodynamics specifically related to the parachute you are flying.
  • the affects of turbulence from the ground, behind other canopies, and from meteorological sources such as clouds.
  • better packing and basic rigging skills.
  • a greater understanding of how parachuting equipment works and how it is assembled.
  • improved peripheral vision and better traffic / object awareness both in flight and during landing.
  • you develop an instinctual heading correction and canopy collision avoidance mentality on every one of your jumps.
  • better landing techniques - maximising the lift and flare from your canopy by generating speed and transitioning effectively and smoothly from descent to glide.

    CRW adds another dimension to your skydive. Most people think that the fun ends when you throw the pilot chute. They soon learn that the fun is just beginning. 

BASE Jumping

    There are many similarities between CRW and BASE jumping. This can be shown by paralleling the stages of each discipline.

Equipment set-up, configuration, rigging, and maintenance.

  • both sports use 7 cell canopies, large grab toggles, tail pockets, no D-bag, and the canopies have greater reinforcement compared to standard parachutes. Both require regular changes in configuration which requires fundamental rigging and packing skills. Both also require basic maintenance and repairs as the equipment is subject to harsher environments than regular parachuting.

Packing techniques.

  • both canopies are packed directly into the container and the nose is exposed to promote even and rapid pressurisation.


  • both usually require a stable, face to earth exit (depending on height of BASE object ;) ). You also must be aware of other jumpers whilst exiting as interference could lead to safety issues.


  • both are subjected to greater opening forces, they emphasize the absolute importance of stable / symmetrical body positions during deployment, heading is critical (180's have led to fatalities in both sports), heading correction via riser input (or toggles depending on what school of thought you belong to) is paramount, canopy avoidance is imperative when two or more people are involved, etc. You must maintain heading, peripheral vision, and avoid all forms of collisions.


  • both involve flight relative to other objects and other parachutists. One difference is that the object you jump off in BASE jumping is usually stationary. You still may have to fly your canopy relative to other parachutists (hint: Canopy. . . . . . Relative. . . . .Wow  ;) ). You have to be comfortable flying next to other things and you must have an ingrained knowledge of the dimensions of your canopy to determine where you can fit or how close you can fly relative to something or someone else.


  • the main commonality is the need for canopy traffic awareness. Each parachutist must allow the others the opportunity to make it to a clear landing area. Traffic etiquette should be followed such as low person has right of way, people with higher descent rates should go down first, high man stay up & don't spiral into other people's airspace, etc.


    For a long while, both sports were undertaken by the fringe of the parachuting community. They attracted people with more interest in gear knowledge, techniques, flight principles & aerodynamics, need for exploration & discovery, etc.

    Apart from the rock and the moving plane, they are very similar indeed.

    Remember that the margin for error is less and the frequency of exposure to risk in BASE is greater than in CRW. I.e - every time you have a 180 on a cliff you have a chance of object strike, on most CRW 180's you will be clear of other people. The important point here is that you can learn valuable transferable skills whilst doing CRW in a relatively safer environment and you WILL have fun whilst learning. The skills you obtain in CRW will increase the value you get from a BASE jump - you will fly closer to walls, bump end cells with your jumping buddies, build a stack after big wall jumps and have a chat about the jump you've just made, and you will be more confident flying into tight areas and around complex obstacles.

Note: the comments above are general, there are exceptions to EVERYTHING.


    Elite swoop canopy pilots are dialled into their whole wing. For every input or change in flying characteristics, they know what the outcome will be. The canopy becomes an extension of themselves. They use knowledge, experience, skill, and a desire to fly to achieve maximum performance. Advances in the sport are brought about by aerodynamic tech heads tweaking each and every variable of their wing. Much of this knowledge comes from other canopy disciplines, especially CRW.

    To be able to accurately place your wing tip near a gate or skim your end cell over the water during landing, you must know exactly what input and at what speeds will give you that result. The best way to learn what each control input does on a canopy and to what extent, is to fly it relative to a stationary object. Apart from tall Cummulo Nimbus clouds, there are not many places in the world where you can do this. The next best option is to fly relative to other parachutists.

    CRW helps with swooping in the following ways:

  • learn how to use each of your control inputs including front risers, rear risers, and toggles.
  • learn the affects of each control input. This give you the skill to be able to glide in for landings instead of just decelerating.
  • learn the affects of combinations of each of the control inputs and the transitions between inputs. This is important for the transition from acceleration and descent to flaring.
  • you learn where the limit of performance is (e.g. stalls, line twists).
  • gain experience & get comfortable at flying adjacent to other parachutists (helps with formation swoop landings).
  • teaches you how turbulence at the rear of canopies affects the performance and flying characteristics of your canopy. This will teach you not to land just behind and above another canopy.
  • shows you how wing loadings affect descent rates and forward speeds.

    Non contact CRW on swoop canopies allows a student to fly right next to a highly experienced instructor or successful competitor. It allows an instructor or tutor to demonstrate and the student to visualise what each manoeuvre entails. It is much easier to emulate what you see, than what you hear about.

Large Formations

    Large formations mean traffic, traffic, TRAFFIC. Your awareness and skills have to be up to scratch during every phase of the jump. A typical large formation jump has many canopy control considerations such as the following: 

  • during the pre-jump planning phase. This an opportunity to minimise canopy interaction by planning for maximum horizontal and vertical separation. Horizontal separation is achieved by the outer most sectors tracking away from the formation at the initial key for as long as possible. Vertical separation is achieved by staging the deployments. Allowance should be made for canopy types and typical altitude consumed during deployment.
  • during the dirt dive. Get to know who is near you, what type of canopy they have, how long they take to deploy, what colours they are ,etc. 
  • throughout the freefall. Keep an eye on the spot, people below, missing persons, and any deviation from the plan.
  • just prior to deployment. Check the space below and above you. Do not dump in someone's face and fly clear of people opening below you.
  • especially during the deployment sequence. Maintain peripheral vision. Control and correct heading WHILST the canopy is deploying. Keep an eye on the space at your level, and directly above and below you.
  • whilst adjusting sliders (etc). Some parachutists get tunnel vision when performing the post deployment equipment adjustment tasks. Be wary of others. Try to establish eye contact, if you can't get a response, assume the other person will collide with you, and take appropriate evasive action.
  • during the canopy flight. Check before you make any changes to your flight pattern. No sudden hook turns without looking around and below you.
  • and on finals and landing. Stick to the planned circuit patterns. Do NOT become target fixated. Land away from the landing area if required. No sudden moves as you may disturb the flight path of other parachutists.

    What does CRW have to do with all of this? It improves your peripheral awareness, it makes you comfortable and skilled when flying in canopy traffic, it gives you the skills to be able to use any of your control inputs for evasive action or to increase separation from traffic, it forces you to correct and maintain headings during deployment, it allows you to work with others to fly safely to a crowded landing area, it teaches you basic aerodynamics and flight characteristics - this gives you an appreciation of how yours and other people's canopies will fly, and it teaches the use of multiple control inputs to adjust your flight characteristics for unplanned landing areas and directions due to bad spots and traffic.






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Copyright 2005 OzCRW. Last modified: May 16, 2005