Flocking. What is it, why is it important and how can you get started? Whether you’re a flocking newbie or a more seasoned pro, there’s always more to explore on the subject of canopy piloting. To lift us into the world of high pulls and flocking, we chatted with Zack Rosser, who organises and runs the highly popular Zack’s Canopy Courses in and around Australia.
Firstly, what is canopy flocking and why do you do it? Is CRW the same thing?Canopy flocking involves non-contact canopy relative work, where we fly our sports canopies in slot-specific static and/or dynamic movement jumps. I absolutely love canopy flocking as it gives you so much understanding of how your canopy performs in relative flight, seeing so many canopies flying in tight formations, and I love the flow of the dynamic jumps we’ve started working on! CRW (Canopy Relative Work) & Canopy Flocking have similarities but are different too. We tend to have no canopy contact in canopy flocking as the wings aren’t built for taking docks and if there happened to be a collision or wrap, the canopies will react a lot more aggressive than a CRW canopy (which I assume still wouldn’t be at all fun for the people involved)! Another difference is that CRW canopies are usually slower and more docile than your everyday sports canopy. This means when we do flocking jumps we have more range, are moving faster, and definitely have a lot more fun (in my opinion, as fast = fun right?) when you start doing fly by’s, barrel rolls and more complex dynamic jumps!
I’m interested in trying canopy flocking out, where do I begin?With anything new we try in the sky, I’d definitely recommend talking to your DZSO about your intentions and then seeking out an experienced canopy coach or instructor who's done some 1-1 canopy jumps. You want to make sure whoever you’re flying with has a similar type of wing and wing loading as yours. Like other disciplines, start small with some 2 ways, learning the basics of how your inputs respond in relative flight and once you can safely say you can approach the base flyer, adapt to fall rate changes and hold your slot through turns, then you can start to move up to 3 ways. From there you can definitely start having some fun with taking changing slots around and getting used to having a canopy either side of you, and approaching bigger groups in the sky. When you think you're ready, look out for our upcoming flocking camps and find out when you can get on to one to be a part of bigger formations and exciting static and dynamic jumps!
“I absolutely love canopy flocking as it gives you so much understanding of how your canopy performs in relative flight.” - Zack Rosser