Much like any sport, indoor skydiving has an organization that dictates how the sport operates. This is called The International Bodyflight Association, or IBA for short. While this name implies that it is used in all countries, the IBA is mostly used as a resource in iFly tunnels (i.e mostly the US). The IBA’s jobs include organizing local competitions, outlining flight progression, and setting safety standards. They are also a source of news and information concerning tunnel flying.
In order for a flier to be signed off on a certain skill, the IBA requires them to sign up and send a request to their instructor. When a request is approved anyone with an IBA account can see that the flier has been signed off, and thus needs no spotting when practicing that skill. This ensures that if and when a person travels to another tunnel, they won’t have to waste any time proving that they are proficient at whatever it is they’re planning on practicing.
The skill tree that has been set for tunnel fliers to follow sticks to the safest and fastest progression as it stands right now. The static progression starts with belly flying, then back flying, then sit flying, and finally head down. All of these include transitions and are usually learned in that order. The dynamic progression is a bit different. Since all of dynamic can be done at almost any speed, the skills are slowly progressed but can all be learned together. Then as the flier gets better and better they learn to fly everything at higher speeds. Most people will learn the static and dynamic progressions together but there are some that are only interested in one of them.
As far as competitions go, the IBA organizes about 3 or 4 a year all over the country. The next one is taking place in Tampa in December. These competitions include the usual disciplines and they usually throw in a new one that is just for fun (solo dynamic, best trick, etc). They also organize a kid’s global challenge which is a competition that happens simultaneously over all the US tunnels. This is so that kids don’t have to travel to a tunnel to actually compete.
The IBA is always growing in techniques and knowledge, this makes them a solid source of information for tunnel fliers. Especially if you’re the competitive type or the type that likes knowing what to expect on your next session.
This article was written by Nico Gonzalez, instructor & coach at iFly Westchester and indoor skydiving ninja extraordinaire. Nico has been an indoor skydiving coach and instructor since 2014. He placed first in open freestyle at the Woodlands IBA Competition in 2016 and competes year round. He also runs an amazing podcast dedicated to indoor skydiving: ostrichflight.com