Relative Work Skydiving, or RW, is the most popular skydiving discipline today.
Known to experienced skydivers as “RW” or “Belly Flying”, relative work is defined as 2 or more skydivers flying relative to each other in a “belly to earth” position.
Each jumper uses specific body positions and clothing to assist them in staying relative to a group or another skydiver. Freefall speed is controlled by wind resistance and the amount of weight we put in a specific area, therefore a short heavy person will fall faster than a tall light person. We adjust for these differences in speed with different types of clothing, body positions, or by adding actual weight to some extremely light individuals. When participating in RW you will notice that all jumpers have extra material on their jumpsuits at the upper arms and legs, this stuffed and sewn material is known as a “gripper”. Jumpers use the gripper to hold on to each other at pre-determined times during the freefall.
Relative Work Competitions
Whenever all of the jumpers in a specific group are holding the grippers of another jumper this is considered a “point”, the goal of most RW jumps is to score as many point as possible during the allotted freefall time. Sometimes the goal is to see how many people you can get linked up on one skydive.
The current world record for number of people linked up at one time is 400, an absolutely amazing accomplishment.
Separation and deployment
This position is, arms swept back, legs and toes extended, head up looking at the horizon. It allows the jumpers to fly away from each other thereby creating a safe separation distance to open their parachutes.
Many jumpers enjoy participating in RW due to the ability to share accomplishments with other members of the group, others participate in competitions including worldwide meets to determine the best teams. There are many disciplines available to todays skydiver, RW in all of its forms, has and will remain one of the more popular.
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