SEQUENTIAL RW (FS): Tempting Our Imaginations

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Why Sequential?

Sequential Relative Work exists only because it is possible within the freefall environment. It is not the preconceived idea of any one group or individual. It is a natural step in the evolution of relative work. Sequential relative work is bounded only by the physical realities of freefall and our own skills and imagination. The sequence is the means. The joy of sequential is the flying necessary to accomplish it. Relative Work is a human possibility. A potential. Sequential is the pattern of the resulting flow.

Matt Farmer,   RWu

Foundation History:
 B.J. Worth’s declaration brought Formation Skydiving to fruition by way of the FAI/CIP.
 Within six months we enjoyed World Competition sequential formation skydiving.

Sequential Relative Work:
Tempting Our Imaginations

B.J. Worth, 1976

The Concept. During the past few years, the art of relative work has been progressing at an amazing geometrical rate. All around the world on small drop zones, as well as on large ones, relative work has been rapidly expanding, limited only by the imagination of those involved. Everywhere jumpers have discovered that we, personally, have the ultimate control over all of our actions in freefall, even if some of these are not our intended actions.

Since a large majority of skydivers have become involved in this free-style form of relative work, it is inevitable that there has been a growing desire for a refreshing new concept in skydiving competition to test the freefall skills involved.

For November, 1976 the Third World Cup of Relative Work has evolved as a means to encourage international skydiving meetings here exchanges of new ideas will be highly persistent and most of all encourage progression within our sport. Due to the jump aircraft readily available in most countries around the world, the size of teams was established to include 4-Man teams. This will enable most of the teams to have as equal a chance as possible to practice for this competition.

In the past, all forms of parachuting and skydiving competitions have maintained the physical test as a constant, and scoring has been determined by maintaining time or distance as a variable. This has resulted in limiting the maximum performance of this test to a finite 0.00 seconds or centimeters. The events for the Third World Cup, however, have been designed so that time is a constant and scoring is determined by the number of points acquired during that allotted time.

This concept results in there being no limit for the maximum performance, as an infinite number of points are possible.

Exit requirements and restrictions have posed many problems for past relative work competitions. The split second decisions required of judges on speed events to determine exactly when the first jumpsuit has shown in the door when a no-show exit is required, has been a very difficult job at best. It has been harder to determine if that blob that piles out the door has anyone holding on to each other. These, along with the most serious drawback, that of continually battering the bodies of the skydivers, have inspired the World Cup organizers to remove all exit restrictions, as long as no-one's safety is jeopardized.

In determining the skydiving requirements for the World Cup, every effort has been made to establish a combination of events to test a multiple of relative work skills demonstrated by the skydivers. The exit and time to build the first formation is very important on each jump, and the quicker a team is able to perform this exercise, the better chance they have to score well. Once the first formation is finished, it is also of great importance to use the remaining freefall time to its fullest extent. On each jump a team will have a sequence of maneuvers to perform within the maximum working time, during which points will be scored for each correctly completed formation. All formations and intermediate requirements must be completed in the predetermined sequences as explained in the rules or scoring will stop.

The judging of the World Cup has been made as simple as possible. It is up to the judges to determine whether or not each formation has been completed correctly. It is not required that a completed formation be held for any length of time. There are no requirements governing symmetry or heading of the formations. Also, complete mirror images of the illustrated formations throughout the entire jump are acceptable. It is up to the competing team to execute the correct and complete required maneuvers in a manner that the judges will be sure that this has been achieved. A computer will be used to determine the elapsed time between judge's exit announcement and each additional call signifying each successfully completed maneuver. If a maneuver is recorded complete after the maximum working time has elapsed, no points will be scored for that completion.

The Events. The actual events, formations and sequences of maneuvers for the Third World Cup of RW have been carefully constructed in order to insure a great deal of variety from one jump to the next. The 4-Man and 8-Man events are basically identical in concept. The 4-Man has 35 seconds working time and 8-Man has 50 seconds.

The emphasis for the first four rounds is on "flying groups", or doing relative work with two or more jumpers gripped together as they fly from one formation into another. It is through the use of mandatory intermediate requirements between the specified static formations that this is accomplished. If there are no intermediate requirements indicated between formations, the team may choose any method to go from one formation to another. Also, a total break of grips is not necessary if this is the case.

Understanding exactly what is required, allowed, and not allowed during these specific intermediate maneuvers can be quite confusing. Hopefully this explanation will make everything perfectly clear. The mandatory intermediate requirements shown in the rules must be observed by the judges between the previous and following completed static formations. If this intermediate requirement shows two or more divers gripped together, then they must break from the previous formation gripped together. They must maintain this contact through the completion of the following formation. These divers gripped together may have to switch grips to form the necessary intermediate requirement, but they must not loose contact between themselves. If a team does not follow this procedure, such as a total separation occurring between two or more divers who should remain in contact with each other, scoring will stop until they rebuild the last completed formation and continue to work from there.

Once the intermediate requirement has been achieved, the divers must fly these sub-groups as they are until completion of the next formation, unless additional grip switches are necessary to complete the next formation after docking. In no case may contact be totally broken between the divers within each flying group. If this procedure is not followed, scoring will again stop until the intermediate requirement is rebuilt and the team progresses from there.

On the transitions requiring rotations of flying groups, such as turning and docking stairsteps, the turns may be in either direction on the horizontal plane.

The exact sequence of formations for rounds 5-10 will be drawn prior to the practice jumps at the meet site. The first formation for each of these rounds has been established. The random selection for the remainder of each round will be from the pools of formations established in the rules. There will be four additional formations to build after the pre-determined one in the 4-Man event and two additional ones in the 8-Man event. A total of all grips must occur before continuing on to build the next formation. All the additional formations must be performed in the order drawn from the pools, or scoring will stop. Again, it should be stressed here that it is up to the jumpers to make it evident to the judges on the ground that these maneuvers have been completed correctly.

The Dives. In the 8-Man event for rounds 1-4, two points will be scored for each correctly completed formation, and teams that complete the entire sequence correctly will score two bonus points for that jump. In rounds 5-10, three points will be scored for completing the entire sequence. In all the rounds in the 4-Man event, two points will be scored for each correctly completed formation.

In the case of a tie at first, second or third places, the tied teams will go into a Sudden Death jump-off. The competition will continue as in rounds 5-10 for one or more additional rounds. However, one additional formation per round will be added until there is a difference in the teams' scores so that the respective places can be decided. It is at this point that the advantages for the concept of limitless maximum performance can be truly appreciated.

The sequences of maneuvers for World Cup events were designed as fun dives for anyone to do at any time, as well as being a means of international competition. These dives will add a new freshness and challenge to our skydiving, but it should also be stressed that limiting our dives to include only these will quickly pop this new bubble. Mastering these dives will help establish basic skydiving skills which can serve as an important platform for infinite future skydiving possibilities.

Boom Or Bust. Will all this complexity lend itself to a reliable form of relative work competition? Time and a great deal of effort by a wide variety of people will tell. A foundation to work from has been established, and experience will test its worthiness.

As is, often the case, the quality of the skydiving at this point is at a far more advanced state than the quality of the judging. It is for this reason that the judging has been simplified as much as possible. And it is for this same reason that the skydivers have been required to make it perfectly clear to the judges that they have completed the required maneuvers, even if it is not the most efficient method to do so.

The widespread use of video tape from a multiple of angles on the drop zone, and even in freefall, will greatly improve the judging. This will, in turn, allow the divers to be judged closer to their possible maximum performance, which will also be continually improving.

If the concept of the rules for the Third World Cup of Relative Work is to be successful in future national and international competitions, it will be necessary to change and improve the sequences of maneuvers to keep up with the progression of our sport, and to continue to challenge our abilities.

BJ Worth. Canpara, August 1976, and Parachutist, July 1976, United We Fall 1978