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You are here: HomeAXISFeature Articles

AXIS Feature Articles

By Niklas Daniel

Fashion or Function
Removable Deployment Systems

Parachutist vol. 59, no. 04/2014, iss. 702, pg. 48-50.

Excerpt: As canopy technology and the performance capabilities of new canopies on the market accelerate, the use of removable deployment systems is becoming more common. Although RDSs have been around for years, generally only highly experienced canopy pilots and competitors have used them. Now, more people with less experience are jumping them. Are some skydivers using this piece of gear as a fashion statement or status symbol, or are they using it for its function? [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel; Photo by David Cherry and Illustrations by AXIS Flight School

Decoding MFS Video

Parachutist vol. 59, no. 03/2018, iss. 701, pg. 46-48.

Excerpt: Although MFS teams generally put most of their training focus on the performers, the camera flyers' performances are critical to success. The mixture of horizontal and vertical formations makes flying camera for an MFS team very challenging because there is a lot of active flying necessary to get the best camera angle. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel; Photos and Illustrations by Niklas Daniel

Body Flight Theory
Part 1: A Skydiving Coordinate System

SkydiveMag, 4 Episodes, Nov./Dec. 2016

Excerpt: Humans have built bridges longer than recorded history without complex engineering knowledge. But with a greater theoretical understanding, we have been able to create engineering marvels the world over. Similarly, you don't have to be an expert at theory to excel at bodyflight, but a deeper understanding should elevate the sport and your own flying to a new level.
Published online in SkydiveMag:
Episode 1—The Axis system and Frames of reference.
Episode 2—Six directions of movement, Orientation borders and Range of motion.
Episode 3—Move combinations, including Multi-axis combinations.
Episode 4—Terminators, Real world applications and Conclusion.
or read as pdf-file [ more … ]

Article and Photos by Niklas Daniel

99 Problems, but the Wind ain't One

Parachutist vol. 59, no. 03/2018, iss. 701, pg. 48-50.

Excerpt: When a canopy pilot moves through air that is itself moving, that air continuously affects the parachute's speed and path over the ground. When you are trying to make it back to the landing area, merely pointing the canopy's nose toward the target may not be enough.
A French version is available in the Q1/2018 edition of Canpara (see below). [ more … ]

Article and Photos by Niklas Daniel

99 Problems, but the Wind ain't One (French and English)

Canpara Q1/2018 (Jan-Mar), pg. 24-29.

Excerpt: See above. The content is available in French and English. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson; Photos and Illustrations by Niklas Daniel

Parachute Flight Dynamics

Parachutist vol. 58, no. 03/2017, iss. 689, pg. 50-52.

Excerpt: To become a more proficient canopy pilot, it's important to understand that the jumper is not separate from the canopy but is in fact part of an integrated system. Without delving too much into design specifics of parachutes, let's examine how a jumper's choices and actions affect the system as a whole. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel; Photos and Illustrations by Niklas Daniel

Out of Sight, Out of Frame
Using a Ring Sight

Parachutist vol. 57, no. 12/2016, iss. 686, pg. 52-54.

Excerpt: Skydivers who use cameras typically mount their equipment to their helmets in order to keep their hands clear to maneuver in freefall and operate their parachute systems. Looking through the camera's viewfinder to aim and center the shot is not an option, so jumpers need to implement alternatives. Enter the ring sight. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson; Photos by Niklas Daniel

Why Stall?

Parachutist vol. 57, no. 09/2016, iss. 683, pg. 50-52.

Excerpt: Anyone who takes a quick look at the USPA Canopy Piloting Proficiency Card (the completion of which is required to receive a B license) will notice that most of the maneuvers are of the slowflight variety. The big question jumpers always ask is, "Why do I need to perform stalls? What practical application does it offer?" Learning more about slow flight and stalls not only prepares you to land your parachute better, but also teaches you just how versatile your wing can be. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson; photos by Samantha Schwann

More Than Just a Sign-Off
Training for Water Landings

Parachutist vol. 56, no. 03/2015, iss. 665, pg. 40-43.

Excerpt: Training for intentional and unintentional water landings is an important part of a skydiver's learning progression and is required to receive the USPA B license. Unfortunately, most jumpers rarely give it much thought after their instructors sign them off for this skill, and few take the time to carefully consider the dangers involved. [ more … ]

The article above is also available in German:

Land unter

Freifall Xpress, no. 05+06/2015, pg. 18-21.

Excerpt: Die Bezeichnung Sky Diving bekommt eine dramatisch andere Bedeutung, wenn ein Springer bei der Landung statt festen Boden zu spüren weit mehr als nur nasse Füße bekommt. Damit es in einer solchen Ausnahmesituation nicht "drunter und drüber" geht, sondern rein und zügig wieder raus, empfiehlt sich eine ent­sprechende Vorbereitung. [ more … ]

By Iveta "Murv" Muravyeva; photos by Niklas Daniel

Going Strong
Operation Enduring Warrior Skydive

Parachutist vol. 55, no. 07/2014, iss. 657, pg. 50/51.

Excerpt: Operation Enduring Warrior Skydive (launched in 2013 as Operation X-Wing) had a very successful first year of operations and is continuing its mission to facilitate initial skydiving training for America's wounded warriors in 2014 and into the future. The skydiving community is going above and beyond to provide support for the program. [ more … ]

By Iveta "Murv" Muravyeva; photos by Niklas Daniel

Déjà Vu?

Blue Skies Magazine, June-July 2014, pg. 34-37

Excerpt: U.S. Army veteran Joseph Grabianowski sustained severe wounds from a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan May 29, 2012. He underwent a series of grueling surgeries that resulted in bilateral hip disarticulation—amputation of both legs at the hip joint. Skydiving had been one of Joe's goals before he was wounded in Afghanistan, but solo jumping did not seem feasible due to the severity of his wounds. [ more … ]

The article above was also published in Italy

Déjà Vu?

90Percent (Italy), No. 4, 2014, pg. 39-43.

more … ]

By Iveta "Murv" Muravyeva; photos by Niklas Daniel

Todd Love
Operation X-Wing

CanPara Magazine, Oct-Nov. 2013, pg. 14-17.

Excerpt: Todd caught the skydiving bug after his first tandem with Mike Elliott and inspired Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW – to begin researching skydiving training. This was the beginning of Project X-Wing - a program established to facilitate initial skydiving training (AFF through A license) for combat wounded veterans. OEW set a goal of seeing each jumper (class 13-01 is four strong) all the way through to their USPA A license, which would ensure they could continue on in the sport and jump at any DZ independently. [ more … ]

By Iveta "Murv" Muravyeva; photos by Niklas Daniel

Operation X-Wing

Parachutist vol. 54, no. 8/2013, iss. 645, pg. 58-61.

Excerpt: Skydivers know nothing could take the place of skydiving in their lives, and many turn to it for solace when faced with adversity. This thought brought about Operation X-Wing, a skydiving program under the umbrella of Operation Enduring Warrior, an organization whose objective is to create awareness of, provide support to and honor our nation's wounded warriors. OXW facilitates initial skydiving training (AFF through the A license) for combat-wounded veterans. [ more … ]

By Iveta "Murv" Muravyeva; photos by Niklas Daniel

Love in the Air: Full Altitude

BlueSkiesMag issue #45, August 2013, pg. 12-13

Excerpt: You may have wondered, "So what if…well, how will he…what about…?" After a year of coordinating, planning, tunnel training and research and design, Todd finally had a chance to answer the skeptics. D-Day (literally—it was June 6) finally came and Otter 1 had six slots dedicated to Todd's first jump: Todd Love (the student), Brianne Thompson and Niklas Daniel (AFF instructors), Mike McGowan (who volunteered his talents for photography), Wes Moraes (video), and Murv (just lurking). History was made! [ more … ]

By Sara Curtis; photos by Amy Chmelecki

2 Way VFS

90percent (Italy), webnews Nr. 60, 07/2013, pg. 7-9

Excerpt: On July 6th, during the Patriots Boogie, Skydive Arizona and Arizona Arsenal hosted a 2-Way VFS competition. This will be a new test event at this year's U.S. Nationals at Skydive Chicago in September. … First place went to AXIS Flight School with Niklas Daniel, Brianne Thompson, and Dave Rhea (camera) at a total of 42 points. [ more … ]

By Brianne Thompson and Niklas Daniel; photos by Niklas Daniel and Mike MacGowan

Todd Love, une grande Leçon de Vie

French skydiver magazine paramag, iss. 314, July 2013 pg. 52-59

Excerpt: Afghanistan, 25 octobre 2010. "Lorsque j'ai avancé sur ce maudit piège explosif, le destin allait prendre une toute autre direction pour le gosse de 20 ans que j'étais, jeune soldat au sein de l'US Army. Nommés I.E.D., ces engins explosifs de fabrication improvisée sont le cauchemar des troupes de la coalition en Afghanistan. J'ai fait un pas, et il m'a sauté à la gueule, emportant mes deux jambes et la moitié de mon avant-bras gauche. Quelques mois plus tard, il me fallait renaître…"… [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

Todd Love

90percent (Italy), July/August 2013 (print edition), cover + pg. 22-26

Excerpt: After completing Todd Love's tunnel training this March, Nik and Brianne of Axis Flight School had no doubt that Todd was ready for AFF and would have no issues in freefall. Of course there were still some questions about canopy flight and landings that had to be answered, but after talking with Alistair Hodgson, Todd was confident that he could land the same way–by sliding in on his seat. Now it was only a matter of putting a couple of finishing touches on his custom UPT Vector3 container, adding the PD sponsored canopies, and scheduling the time for AFF. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel


Australian Skydiver Magazine, issue #65, vol. 2/2013, pg. 68-69

Excerpt: The term "Kiting" refers to flying your parachute overhead while you're on the ground. The exercise provides feedback that you'llbe able to see, as well as feel through your harness and hands. [ more … ]

By Murv

Love in the Air

BlueSkiesMag issue #43, May/June 2013, pg. 34-37

Excerpt: Todd Love. You might not know the name—yet—but you've probably seen some pictures or videos of him. You'd remember because those were the images that immediately made you stop whining about how hard your day was and how you just couldn't do something because it was too difficult. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

Todd Love

90percent (Italy), May/June 2013 (print edition), pg. 13-18

Excerpt: If you're like me, you love skydiving because it makes you feel alive. If you're like Todd Love, everything you do is to celebrate the fact that you're still alive and you live your life to the fullest. 25 October 2010 is what Todd calls his "Alive Day". This is the day he survived stepping on an IED in Afghanistan, which cost him both of his legs and his left arm below the elbow.
Todd has been determined to not let his injuries get in the way of any of his dreams, which includes skydiving. [ more … ]

By Lori Zito

Why Do People Skydive?

Blue Skies Mag, issue #38, December 2012, pg. 26, 28

Excerpt: The AXIS Expansion Project gave me a place where I could take my limited skill and learn more in a fun environment, in an organized manner, under the direction of a highly skilled professional. […] it was so much fun to be part of a group, to learn, meet new people, improve skills, and be greeted with enthusiasm. What the AXIS Expansion Project did was allow me to train with a group of people with a common objective and skill level, rather than train as an individual. I was improving and did not feel like I was a burden to the group. That, combined with the real-time physical feedback that can only come from flying with somebody who knows where they are supposed to be (and is consistently there), maintains the fall rate, knows the next block or random (all four slots), does not back-slide, etc. makes for a very successful group learning dynamic. When you are learning, a solid"sky reference" is invaluable and the AXIS format provided that element. [ more … ]

By Brianne Thompson

Part 1

Blue Skies Mag, issue #36, October 2012, pg. 6, 9, 10

Excerpt: In Stechelberg, Switzerland, Barry Holubeck and Benni Kalin launch from two different exit points on the same cliff. Benni foot launches his wing about 300' above and to the right where Barry will exit. After clearing some trees, he makes a left turn to put himself above Barry's exit point, then descends just below and makes a right turn. This puts him directly under the ready-to-launch Barry. [ more … ]

Part 2 of the article above

Part 2

Blue Skies Mag, issue #36, October 2012, pg. 6, 9, 10

more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

Skydive Vienna Boogie 2012

90percent (Italy), webnews no. 49, 08/2012, pg. 35-40

Excerpt: Skydive Vienna, locate at the biggest grass-only airfield in Europe (LOXN) celebrated its 40th birthday with the Skydive Vienna Boogie: Alien Invation 2012 (27th July to 5th August 2012). All skydivers from several nations did not only enjoy the blue sky – but also the available coaching for FreeFly with Niklas Danile & Brianne Thompson from AXIS FlightSchool. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

Canopy Flocking by AXIS

90percent (Italy), webnews no. 47, 06/2012, pg. 41-44

Excerpt: On May 6th, AXIS Flight School hosted a Canopy Flocking event and free seminars dedicated to educating jumpers on canopy flight at Skydive Arizona. The goal of the course was to expand on the awareness of each individual's canopy knowledge, as well as canopy separation while in the pattern. The course welcomed jumpers from all skill and experience levels, from jumpers with less than 100 jumps, to competitive canopy-pilots with several thausand. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel, Barry Holubeck and Will Kitto; Photos by Barry Holubeck and Will Kitto; Diagrams by Niklas Daniel

Mixed Formation Flights

Australian Skydiver Magazine (ASM), iss. 57, vol. 4/2011, pg. 43-47

Excerpt: A wing-suit flying relative to a canopy is not a new concept; however in the past it has always been considered a stunt rather than a potential discipline. As wing-suit and canopy technology continues to rapidly improve, we can almost guarantee that mixed formation flights will become more commonplace in the future. Therefore it is imperative that we take a closer look at what makes this activity possible and address some of the potential dangers associated with it. This form of flight is very new and safety is of great concern. By no means are we experts on the subject, but we would like to share some of the information we have accumulated over the last year during our training camps. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

AXIS Promotes Flight Safety with Flocking Dives

Parachutist vol. 52, no. 7, iss. 621, pg. 69.

more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

AXIS Canopy Flocking Event

90Percent (Italy), WebNews Nr.34, 05/2011, pg. 28-30

more … ]

By Niklas Daniel and Sara Curtis; Photos by Niklas Daniel

VFS Camera
Tricks and Traps

Australian Skydiver Magazine (ASM), iss. 54, vol. 1/2011, pg. 48-53

Excerpt: Vertical Formation Skydiving (VFS) is a new and strongly emerging discipline, which combines the body-flight skills of freeflying and the mental skills of formation skydiving. In the past, very few skydivers have had the ability to take part in this discipline because it takes a certain level of proficiency of flight, and a complex understanding of formations. Today wind tunnels are springing up all over the globe, assisting skydivers in their quest for awesomeness. (…) In this article we are going to take a closer look at the camera flyer. Even though there may be some similarities in the responsibilities between camera flyers on the horizontal and vertical axis, with the addition of a greater fall rate speed and added dimensions of the formations, filming VFS is probably one of the most difficult disciplines to shoot. Here we check out some tricks and traps of this fun and challenging position. [ more … ]

The article above was also published in Parachutist

VFS Camera
Tricks and Traps

Parachutist vol. 52, no. 6, iss. 620, pg. 46-48
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more … ]

By Brianne Thompson

Don't Be That Guy

BlueSkiesMag, no. 18, pg. 6

Excerpt: Learn about the "unwritten" side of being the coolest person on the drop zone [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel; Photos by Brianne Thompson

Thinking on Your Feet
Improving Your Sit-Fly

Parachutist, vol. 52, no. 1, iss. 615, Jan. 2011

Excerpt: Whether you are just learning to sit-fly or have simply hit a plateau in your learning curve, fine-tuning your basic head-up body position is worth the time. Many jumpers, even those for whom sit-flying initially came easily, find themselves stuck in place or unstable if they try to move from a neutral position to drive forward or take a dock. This article explains the basic mechanics of the sit orientation and offers solutions to common problems. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel and Brianne Thompson; Photos by Niklas Daniel

Theory and Application

Parachutist, vol. 51, no. 6, iss. 611, Sept. 2010

Excerpt: Tracking is an area that jumpers, regardless of skill level, need to continually practice and improve. Even those who have made thousands of skydives often need to go back and hone the basics, since many will have formed inefficient habits over the years. A good, basic tracking position will maximize both forward drive and lift to create the most horizontal separation from others in the shortest amount of time possible. In other words, at the end of a skydive, trackers should try to fall as slowly as they can and go forward as quickly as they can so they don't open their parachutes near anyone. [ more … ]

The article above was also published in Brazil in Portuguese

Teoria e Aplicação

Air Press (Brazil), year 16, #178, Dec.2010-Jan.2011, pg. 30-33

more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

Climb Out, Freak Out, Chill Out
A Guide to Filming 4-way

Parachutist, vol. 51, no. 2, iss. 604, Feb. 2010, pg. 50-53

Excerpt: This article is for jumpers who already have some experience flying camera and are trying to expand their knowledge of how to film formation teams in a competition setting. I will focus mainly on 4-way, because I believe it to be the most difficult formation skydiving discipline to film (aside from vertical formation skydiving), due to the many different exits and faster key speeds. However, once you have a firm grasp of shooting 4-way, the same principles can be applied to 8-way and larger formations. [ more … ]

By Niklas Daniel

AXIS Canopy Course

90Percent (Italy), WebNews no. 26, Sep. 2010

Excerpt: Axis Flight School held a basic canopy skills camp at Skydive Elsinore. The course began with a meeting in the morning in order to assess experience level and current understanding of canopy flight, as well as the student's individual goals. Before taking it to the air, the students were exposed to theories and principles of canopy flight using visual aids in the classroom. [ more … ]

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