4-Way Skydiving Explained

4-way formation skydiving is a highly technical and physically demanding sport when you reach higher levels. Each team consists of four skydivers who perform the formations and one aerial camera person who accompanies the performers on every dive to record the jump for judging purposes.

How does it work?

Competitions at national and international level consist of 10 jumps, with a sequence of five to six predetermined formations performed on each dive. At the start of the competition the judges pick the formations to be performed on each dive from a set pool of 38 formations. Then on each dive the competitors have 35 seconds (starting from the moment they leave the aircraft) to complete the set sequence of formations as many times as possible. At the end of the dive the team separates to safely deploy their parachutes.

How is it judged?

The jumps are judged on the video footage provided by the camera person. The team scores 1 point for every correct formation completed in the correct sequence within the allotted time. The winning team is the one that performs the most formations over the course of the competition. There are no points awarded for style – a point is awarded if each team member has the correct hand-hold (known as a ‘grip’) in a formation and, for some formations, completes a set move within a formation.

At national level there is no separate competition for all female teams. However, at world class level all-female teams (not including the camera person) have a their own category. The female teams complete exactly the same sequence of formations as the ‘open’ teams. In order to qualify as a country’s all-female team, the team must be the top all-female team at the National Championships.

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A ‘random’ formation

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A ‘block’ formation

Current World rankings

At the World Championships in 2012 the winning female team (France) averaged 20.7 formations per skydive, the silver medalists (USA) averaged 20.1 formations and the bronze (Norway) 17.8 formations. On previous teams, each member of the team has averaged 18 formations per skydive or over which is an excellent indication that we could win medals at world class level.

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