I just finished reading some of Bill Newell's articles on the starcrest website. It was very interesting to read about the first RW back in the 50's. They talk about people with lots of jumps making the first 3, 4 and 8-way formations, passing the baton etc .. and how spectacular they were at the time.
As someone who went through AFF a few years ago, I can't relate to how hard it was to do RW back then.
I'm really interested to know if anyone has stories about how difficult it was to learn to fly your body in those days .. before we had instructors holding on with cool hand signals to remind us what we're supposed to be doing.
How hard was it to "just figure it out" without having any manuals, youtubes or general public knowledge to refer to?
Also, was gear a huge factor in RW being learnt? Some of those old belly mounts and enormous rigs with Rube Goldberg-esque looking hardware seem like they'd be damn near impossible to fly in freefall.