CRW Rotations . .
Click here for 4 Way Rotations
Building a Quad
Currently (2005), the rules allow up to 30 seconds to build the
first quad on a rotations jump. Most of the top teams try to build a 3 way
within 15 to 20 seconds. This allows time for the 3 way to settle and the 4th
person to make a clean, no momentum dock. The stable formation sets up the the
first rotator with an easy, still target.
The build can be broken down into several components:
- Pre-exit preparedness.
- Base - pin exit.
- 3rd exit.
- 4th exit.
- Base -pin docking.
- 3rd docking.
- 4th docking
- commencing the rotations.
Stealing A Slot
Whilst being the first to a formation may be
exhilarating, it is not necessarily the best thing to do for the team.
The technique for CRW rotations varies from team to team
and even between individuals within a team. It will depend on wing loading,
flying characteristics of the canopy, personal injuries or deficiencies,
atmospheric conditions, compatibility, etc. The list of variables is endless.
However, the objective in rotations is to have a common team purpose, to
maximise equipment compatibility, and then to achieve as much discipline and
consistency as possible.
Each task in a rotations jump has an impact
on someone else attempting to perform another task. A person who rotates in
record time but dramatically upsets the equilibrium of the formation with a
poor dock will gain a few seconds for himself but lose many more seconds for the
Stack discipline is the most important factor in improving a teams rotations
performance. Most people think that the speed of the rotator is the most
important thing. Many lessor experienced jumpers focus on
rotations speed at the expense of stack discipline. Why is this an incorrect
It is much easier for a rotator to move quickly from the top of the formation to
the bottom if the formation has very predictable & consistent movements. It is
also easier for the catcher to regain control of his canopy and the formation as he
heads to the pilot role if the person who docks on him does so with minimal
momentum and maximum cleanliness.
To draw a parallel, excellent stack discipline allows the rotator to have an
easy target to dock on. It is like playing darts with a stationary board versus
a moving board.
The easiest way to achieve a goal is to
break down the goal into simpler, more manageable steps. This same philosophy
can be applied to CRW Rotations. Hence the reason for the following diagram. The
CRW Rotations 8 point wheel breaks down each rotation into simpler steps and
allows people to understand what their responsibilities are throughout a CRW
The following is my perception of a combination of
personal experience and a
strategy taught to the 2003/04 Australian Team - Crimson Mist, by legendary
American CRW parachutists, Fio Antognini and Jim Cowan. These two guys are
awesome coaches and canopy pilots. Thanks for your wisdom. The following assumes
a faster paced team in competition mode. The strategy will be different during
earlier stages and training.
- stacked position (feet under bottom skin at A lines).
- maintain heading.
- squat on top (bend knees). Sit on the second canopy.
- load up on brakes (toggle tension) as required to control descent rate and
forward speed of the formation.
- position feet so that they are ready to leave. Ensure all suspension lines
- be ready to exit ("explode") off the top in a controlled manner.
- it stops with me.
- keep your ears & eyes open for your key/signal to begin your
Exit / Leave
- do not lose sight of the formation at any stage.
- be prepared for variations in descent rate, forward speed, and heading
- do not affect/distort the canopy below you as it will affect its flying
characteristics and make your job harder.
- give one strong input on the outer toggle. You can use the drag technique
here to reduce the distance you travel from the formation. This entails
leaving your feet in the canopy below you as you begin to make your first
- whilst this toggle is still down, commence another strong input on the
inner toggle. If dragging, you should already have your feet out by now.
Otherwise the reserve packer is going to be busy. ;)
- release the outer toggle first, followed by the inner toggle. These toggle
inputs should be made in fractions of a second.
- when you release the inner toggle you must initiate front riser input as soon
as possible. This is the "explosion" referred to above. This is
where you gain seconds per rotation and maintain control of your wing
- minimise pendulum action as you lose a great deal of time whilst suspended
under an unloaded & inefficiently flying canopy.
- pull your knees up when leaving as this reduces the impact of any pendulum
action and it also helps with the force of input on the front riser.
- accelerate down the side of the formation by maintaining your front riser
input. The input is only required for a very short time and its magnitude
(time & force) will depend on your position relative to the formation.
You should be positioned outside the formation away from the
burble/turbulence of the formation you are rotating on.
- let up on your risers as you approach a predefined point between the top
two canopies. It is important not to front riser for too long as you will
pass your docking position. This is another common area where people lose
time as they travel once down past the formation, stop, and then have to
travel back up a little.
- be ready for any variations in the flight characteristics of the formation
you are rotating on.
- be ready to respond to variations in the flight characteristics of your
- when you reduce your riser input and progress to your toggles, try to make
a smoother transition. A deep front riser input followed by a large toggle
input will undermine the flying characteristics of your canopy. This will
all depend upon your position relative to the formation.
- as you release your risers, begin to introduce some toggle input. Alter
your heading so that it corresponds with the formation you are docking onto.
- throughout this process, position your canopy such that it never flies
behind the formation until you make your final approach. This means moving
one canopy out to the side and one canopy length backwards on the exit. Then
risering down the side at an angle (heading back towards the centreline) to
the formation. Then you should make the final approach by positioning your
canopy just underneath that of the person you are docking on.
- finally square up and begin matching your flying characteristics to the
formation as you get close.
- signal the catcher that you are getting close.
- DO NOT dock with momentum.
- if the approach is looking good, call for the next rotation a few feet
- put the centre A lines into the hands of your catcher.
- match the flying characteristics of your canopy with the formation you are
- dock in the same direction that the formation is flying.
- ensure your canopy is above the head of the catcher. This is to present
better to the judges and to minimise the workload of the catcher (he does
not have to move down your lines for a low dock or get his feet into your
lines for a high dock).
- do not do a riser dock as it can sometime be difficult to get your feet
into the lines. A line dock is best.
- apply brakes as required or requested by the catcher.
- keep a visual on the rotator. Look at the lines you are supposed to be
catching as they approach you.
- present both your arm and leg for the rotator so that he has a bigger
target to aim at.
- if the approach & your catch is looking good, call for the next
rotation before the rotator hits you.
- ensure you initiate some limb movement as you call for the next rotation.
- catch with both your feet and hands if possible.
- keep your hands down when catching (i.e. try to catch below your hips and
not above your head).
- ensure that your catching is VERY visible to the judges - minimal movement
will create uncertainty.
- in competition, DO NOT DROP ANYTHING.
- move down the lines quickly and in a symmetrical fashion.
- Do not pull the lines out in front of you at any stage as this will alter
the flying characteristics of the canopy that has docked onto you (it will
probably increase its relative descent rate).
- if you have to deal with a momentum dock, sometimes it is beneficial to
allow the lines to run through your hands as it passes you. If you lock your
grip at the first point of contact, the dock may induce too much downward
force on the formation which will lead to the second and third person
spreading apart. It may also induce a swing if the momentum is sideways.
- do not put your feet under cross connectors as you will have to take them
out in a few seconds.
- the person who docked onto you should apply sufficient brakes to assist
you in moving down the lines (if required).
- get onto your toggles as quickly as possible and apply sufficient brakes.
- if you are moving up the lines due to excess wing loading, lock onto the
centre A lines. Lock on both centre lines above your head or jam your first
under the bottom skin of the canopy above (full arm stretch).
- you can also put your arms under the bottom skin of the canopy above you
and force yourself to stay down.
- as the person above you exits, start your movement upwards. Give the
rotator just enough space to get behind the formation before commencing your
journey to pilot.
- slide up the lines evenly whilst maintaining heading. One technique is to choose a
feature on the horizon before you start moving up the lines. Then keep
heading towards that feature. It is difficult to maintain heading whilst
looking straight down.
- this is another area where time is lost. People lose track of heading
which makes the job of the rotator difficult. If the dock was bad, it makes
the catch difficult. Then you have to deal with lines as you are heading
- ensure your toggle pressure is even on both sides and that you are balance
in your harness.
- If the formation is swinging, do not try to correct the swing as you will
more than likely make it worse. It takes incredible timing to dampen a
- toggles in hand.
- be ready to be formation pilot.
Following are notes & other ideas relevant to
this section that require further development. Please ignore.