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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
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
- 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
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
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
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
- 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.