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Did You Know...

... that Joey Jones and Thomas Hughes are turning 4-way upside down?

   
    This is NOT an exit funnel...
posted Jun 17th, 2005 - The NSL News story of June 17 did not mention another new team that has signed up for tomorrow's competition of the Florida Skydiving League at Skydive City. The reason was that "Black Magick" did not know exactly which competition class would be best fit for the team's skills.

Two of the team members have enough 4-way experience, however, the decision was still not easy to make. Black Magick consists of Thomas Hughes (Outside Center), Joey Jones (Inside Center), Juliana Se (Tail) and Joel Tambor (Point). The team had planned to begin the 4-way career in the Rookie Class. The original plan was re-considered when Black Magick performed better than expected when flying the pieces.

Difficulties for Jones and Hughes to perform and teach block techniques? Well, they have turned 4-way upside down, and there is not much experience in this area yet...


The idea came up in 1999 when Jones and Hughes were bored flying on their bellies at SkyVenture Orlando. They did many tunnel 2-ways together, especially at the time when Hughes, the "King of the Tunnel", was still working as a SkyVenture instructor. Jones asked Eliana Rodriguez and Pete Allum to join the team. Rodriguez was a tunnel rat and instructor as Hughes was, however, Allum and Rodriguez both had different plans.

Jones and Hughes still liked the idea and finally turned to highly skilled freeflyers. Juliana Se and Joel Tambor are Brazilian freefly champions and skydive in Deland. Jones and Hughes shared a lot of tunnel time with the Brazilian 2-way and finally began with the 4-way project.


   
Black Magick training jump - see video    


Final plans were made in January 2005, and Black Magick has logged 40 practice jumps and four hours of SkyVenture tunnel time in Orlando by now. The upcoming FSL meet will be the first serious test, and the team will most likely compete in the A Class after a successful training session this week with the first piece-flying.

Black Magick will continue after the first competition experience. The team members want to show that it is possible to master the 4-way dive pool upside down. Black Magick has the AA Class in mind for the events at the end of the season, the USPA Championship and possibly SkyQuest 2005.


   
    Black Magick trains Block 6 (Stardian - Stardian)
Thomas Hughes explained that the purpose of the project is to finally do what has been in his and Jones' mind for a while: "This has never been done, and it is just cool to fly outside the box sometimes." Black Magick has trained some of the 4-way blocks, including Blocks 6, 7 and 9, and Hughes had some feedback:

"It surely is not easy to fly the pieces upside down. The air deflection caused by the containers makes it very difficult. It is important that the gear fits perfectly. Fact is that the moves are very different compared to belly flying. Keeping the eye contact is very challenging, as well."

He compared his 4-way back flying to Vertical Relative Work (VRW) and finds it much easier to fly head down: "The visuals are so much better. On our backs, the gear is between the air and the body, and that makes it difficult to feel and work with the air. This is much easier in VRW and on your belly."

The upcoming meet weekend will show if Black Magick will be able to keep with Rookie and A Class teams on their bellies. The current performance level of the team can be checked at one of the recent training videos. NSL-TV will add the FSL meet videos after this weekend's competition.

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