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How big will the biggest FS formation be?

 

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Poll: How big will the biggest FS formation be?
400 4 / 4%
Between 400 and 450 6 / 5%
Between 450 and 500 28 / 25%
Between 500 and 550 14 / 12%
Between 550 and 600 9 / 8%
Between 600 and 650 7 / 6%
Between 650 and 700 4 / 4%
More than 700 40 / 36%
112 total votes
 
GordonH  (D 9505)

Mar 7, 2006, 9:43 AM
Post #1 of 47 (5849 views)
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How big will the biggest FS formation be? Can't Post

Thought it might make an interesting poll...

How big will the biggest FS formation be?

I know when I started jumping everyone said that 200 would be the maximum, and now we have a 400-way completed. So what will be the biggest we can do?

Either just vote on the poll, or stick some words in a post if you have any thoughts on how the logisitics will work out - number of planes, bailout oxygen, exit heights, dive designs, breakoff options etc etc.

I have no answers, but fascinated to see what other people think...
Smile


beowulf  (C License)

Mar 7, 2006, 10:07 AM
Post #2 of 47 (5725 views)
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

hmmm interesting question. I am imagining an elongated formation so that more people could be added. You know like an extra wide zipper possibly. Maybe a one mile long zipper across the sky?? Shocked Wouldn't that be cool.
There is no telling how big a formation can be. Only the imagination can determine how far people can go.


(This post was edited by beowulf on Mar 7, 2006, 10:08 AM)


kallend  (D 23151)

Mar 7, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

I reckon you could get to 450 before needing bailout oxygen.

Planes and oxygen will set the limit, not ability or design.


Merkur  (D 27990)

Mar 7, 2006, 12:04 PM
Post #4 of 47 (5665 views)
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

With the existing setup, it might be possible to add probably ten more jumpers in each aircraft, which would lead to 450. Even the jump design wouldn't have to be changed much.
Anything bigger would need some major changes, like bailout oxygen and more and/or bigger aircraft. While this is all possible, it increases cost drastically - so this would be the primary limitating factor.
From BJs estimation (skydiveradio interview before the record) there miht be right now about 800 people max. that are able to do such a bigway (400way in this case).
As this might not increase drastically and given the fact that you might have probably about 100-200 jumpers who might not be able to attend at a given time due to several reasons (health, money, holiday, ...) another limitation is set.
But as long as I get an invitation, I don't really careWink.
M.


sdctlc  (D 16437)

Mar 7, 2006, 12:05 PM
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

You might need to consider if this is with or without bail out O2. BJ talked about this on skydiveradio a few weeks ago. Very interesting to hear. They we ejumpingfrom 25K and breaking at 7.5K (I think he said.) and he noted that going bigger might be possible but the working time was basically all used so that might be a limiting factor.

I would be curious on the exit altitude on the last few records, really back to the 200 way. Maybe even the 1st 100 way??? As the # goes up I wonder if the exit altitude increase is in line with that???

Scott C.


1010  (B 28561)

Mar 7, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Re: [Merkur] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

>From BJs estimation (skydiveradio interview before the record) there miht be right now about 800 people max

That was my thought as well from BJ's SDR interview. Since the average age of the WR formation climbs steadily every record, I feel pretty safe in saying that we are right now in the golden age of Skydiving Bigways. Twenty years from now it'll be a different story. Enjoy the present.


cosmobuddy  (D 3784)

Mar 7, 2006, 5:24 PM
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

When the first 16 way was built, everyone said that it would never go any bigger!


bodypilot1  (D 16037)

Mar 7, 2006, 8:52 PM
Post #8 of 47 (5577 views)
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Re: [beowulf] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
In reply to:
You know like an extra wide zipper possibly. Maybe a one mile long zipper across the sky??

Have ya ever seen a REALLY long 40 something zipper formation flying? During some of the jumps we do at The Arizona Challenge, that AirSpeed puts on, a long zipper is a delicate formation to keep flying without whipping, even by the VERY best skydivers in the world.


Be safe
Ed


Meux  (D 29365)

Mar 8, 2006, 5:27 AM
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Re: [1010] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

With the WT06 success and the 85 way CRW it certainly is an exciting time to be in skydiving. In 20 years the WT26 will be doing an 800 way hybrid. I'll be on the porch rocking and scratching my dog, loving the news.

Cheers,

Mo


beowulf  (C License)

Mar 8, 2006, 5:30 AM
Post #10 of 47 (5528 views)
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Re: [bodypilot1] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

oh ok
anyway what every they come up with to push beyond what ever the current limitations are it will be interesting to see. Out of over 200 jumps last year I might have done 6 or 7 RW jumps.


mirage62  (C 15580)

Mar 8, 2006, 6:40 AM
Post #11 of 47 (5512 views)
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Re: [beowulf] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

I really believe that in the future the hybrids will take over. It's the logical progression. The base of RW jumps is getting older (like me) and the REALLY good jumpers can do both.

Soon 5-10 yrs the idea that RW/FF as totally different groups will fade. The attitude will go away on both sides because there won't be enough of the single discipline jumpers to support it.

But these CRW guys will still be around....everyone is scared to jump with them! Tongue


krkeenan  (C 7860)

Mar 8, 2006, 9:04 AM
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Re: [mirage62] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
... these CRW guys will still be around....everyone is scared to jump with them! Tongue

Be afraid...be very afraid. Shocked
................
................


GordonH  (D 9505)

Mar 8, 2006, 10:04 AM
Post #13 of 47 (5478 views)
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Re: [sdctlc] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
...I would be curious on the exit altitude on the last few records, really back to the 200 way. Maybe even the 1st 100 way??? As the # goes up I wonder if the exit altitude increase is in line with that???

Scott C.

If I remember correctly, heights for the last 2 records were:

357-way (4 Hercs): exit 23,700ft, breakoff commenced at 7000ft
400-way (5 Hercs): exit 25,400ft, breakoff commenced at 7500ft (I think on the 399.5-way penultimate jump breakoff commenced at 7000ft)


(This post was edited by GordonH on Mar 8, 2006, 10:10 AM)


Premier cpoxon  (D 11665)
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Mar 8, 2006, 1:15 PM
Post #14 of 47 (5444 views)
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
400-way (5 Hercs): exit 25,400ft, breakoff commenced at 7500ft

Looks more like 6500ft on the video


Peterkn  (D 7417)

Mar 8, 2006, 1:53 PM
Post #15 of 47 (5440 views)
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

We might be able to raise the exit altitude slightly before we would need to use more sophisticated oxygen delivery systems (I was using a pulse oxymeter and never fell below 97% saturation, even after spending 25+ minutes above 24,000), but breakoff altitudes would also have to up as the size of the formation increases.

The way to build bigger formations is to make better use of the time available i.e. build the formations more quickly.
In my opinion, the easiest way to do this is to have more aircraft, with fewer people in each aircraft. Looking at the video of the 400-way, it took about 10 seconds to empty the lead Herc. If it was flying at 140kts then the last divers would have almost half a mile of horizontal distance, and over 1000 of vertical distance to make-up. I know some of the late divers were hitting over 220mph in their dives down to the formation, and at those kind of speeds its very easy to over-boogie and go sailing past.
Late divers from the other aircraft will have even more work to do, as they also need to make-up the horizontal distances that come from the separation between the aircraft.

In Eloy we had a skyvan and 12 otters when we were doing the 300 ways. I have to say that I was sceptical about the chances of that working, but the skydiving was much easier because the aircraft emptied much quicker and there was much less distance to cover. Im not suggesting we try doing a 600-way out of a skyvan and 25 otters (although Da4e Rucket might disagree), but putting smaller numbers in aircraft such as stretched CASAs or Fiat G-222s might be the answer.

Dive design also plays a big part in build speed and the ability to break-off effectively. The outside whackers on the 400-way had 10 people in them, and this was too many in my opinion. Wed probably have been better having fewer people in both of the outside two whackers, and adding another whacker instead. This would have made it much easier for people to reference off the whacker in front, and reduced the tenancy to chase grips rather than fly to the slot. If this had been the case then the 399.5 way would probably have been a successful completion with seconds to spare.

The other thing that would make a formation build faster is to have a higher standard of skydiving skills.
I think most people would agree that skydiving skills have increased dramatically in the past 20 years, and in that same period the world record has gone from a 100-way to a 400-way. How much more room for improvement is there in our general skydiving skills ?
On the 400-ways it was interesting to see situations where competent skydivers had to stand-down because of injury or illness, and were replaced by a member of the Alpha team. Its then that you see the difference between a good weekend skydiver and a world champion.
Im not suggesting that the selection process is at fault here, simply that there is room for the general standard of skydiving from the rank and file members of the team to continue to improve, and with it the ability build larger formations will follow because the build time will reduce.

At the end of the day, the size of the largest formation will depend on the political will of host nations to facilitate the events, or on the amount of sponsorship that can be raised to offset the cost of doing a record attempt as a commercial venture.

Ive already promised myself that Ill hang-up my jumpsuit when the world record gets to a 1000-way (assuming that Im on it of course), so beyond that Im not really bothered !

Pete Knight - Sector 11


garywainwright  (D 11021)

Mar 8, 2006, 3:41 PM
Post #16 of 47 (5427 views)
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Re: [Peterkn] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

how about lowering the break off height to 3500...


GordonH  (D 9505)

Mar 9, 2006, 12:27 AM
Post #17 of 47 (5396 views)
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Re: [cpoxon] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
400-way (5 Hercs): exit 25,400ft, breakoff commenced at 7500ft

Looks more like 6500ft on the video

That video with the Titan data starts with a height of 24.2 just out of the door, but we were definately above 25,000ft according to altimeters. That would explain the 1000ft difference.

I guess another factor in raising the exit height is how slowly the aircraft can safely fly in formation in the thin air at exit altitude. Anyone remember what speed run-in was at World Team 2006?


(This post was edited by GordonH on Mar 9, 2006, 2:31 AM)


PaulBertorelli

Mar 9, 2006, 4:22 AM
Post #18 of 47 (5371 views)
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
<<speed run in<<

According to Flip and one of the Thai pilots I spoke with, the lead airplane was flying at about 125 knots indicated. At 25,000 feet, that's about 188 true or 300 FPS.

In 2004, I am told, they used 140 knots indicated or 210 true--240 MPH. That may explain why there were more exit injuries in 2004 than in 2006.

Clean gross-weight stall speed for a C-130 is 100 knots and given the CG shift of 17,000 pounds of skydivers moving aft in 10 seconds, a 25-knot margin over stall is not much. Not sure I'd want to fly any slower than 125.

It hadn't occurred to me how far the last divers had to cover when the base is out 10 seconds ahead of them--but it works out to more than 3000 feet, depending on how fast the base decellerates off the ramp. But even if it's just 2000 feet, that's a long way. (In 2004, at the higher speeds, it would have been as much as 3500 feet.)

The fact that the airplanes flew slower than in 2004 and the radios allowed for perfect exit timing may have made a lot of difference, in my view.

--Paul


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Mar 9, 2006, 10:02 PM
Post #19 of 47 (5294 views)
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Re: [GordonH] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

>I guess another factor in raising the exit height is how slowly the aircraft
>can safely fly in formation in the thin air at exit altitude.

Well, stall speed and what the exit "feels" like both change at the same time. So you can just keep climbing while maintaining 140KIAS, and the exit will always feel the same no matter what altitude you're at. Stall speed will be at the same airspeed (IAS) as it always is.

What _will_ change is how spread out the exit gets.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Mar 9, 2006, 10:03 PM
Post #20 of 47 (5294 views)
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Re: [garywainwright] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

> how about lowering the break off height to 3500...

Just give everyone an unmodified round, and everyone pulls at 2000.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Mar 9, 2006, 10:18 PM
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Re: [sdctlc] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

> You might need to consider if this is with or without bail out O2.

About five years ago, a jumper came up with a very elegant bailout system. It used cartridges the size of CO2 inflator cartridges. You screwed them into a receiver, the receiver punctured the cartridge, and you got a minute or so of oxygen. Weighed under a pound.

The drawback was that you couldn't ship them, since oxygen is nasty in a fire. Thus ended that idea.

A system where each jumper had a bladder (perhaps on the back of their helmets) that held a few liters of O2 might work. The system would pressurize via a hose in the plane to some low pressure (say 60psi) and then feed the O2 into a nasal cannula via an orifice valve. On exit you'd pull the hose off, a one way valve would keep pressure in the bladder, and the bladder would bleed the remaining O2 into the cannula. Flow would drop off as the pressure in the bladder went down, but that's exactly what you want anyway - as you descend you need less and less supplemental O2. Fairly simple and only one moving part (the one way valve.)

(Of course people would have to actually _use_ a nasal cannula for this to work, which would result in a great deal of bitching and moaning.)

This reaches a point of diminishing returns, though. Going from 10K to 11K gets you another 5 seconds working time. But going from 25K to 26K gets you less (3 seconds? 2 seconds?) due to the higher fallrates at those altitudes.

We also have the additional consideration of fire. We don't think about it much, but O2 is a really serious fire hazard. A fire that got to a bailout O2 system would likely result in a very nasty death, as burning is so rapid at those concentrations/pressures jumpers would not likely have time to deal with the problem.


LeapingGnome  (D 9331)

Mar 10, 2006, 6:41 AM
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Re: [Peterkn] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:"On the 400-ways it was interesting to see situations where competent skydivers had to stand-down because of injury or illness, and were replaced by a member of the Alpha team. Its then that you see the difference between a good weekend skydiver and a world champion."

I would hope your not saying the alphas that were replacements were flying any better. From the post dives I saw some were flying very sub standard to the people they replaced. There is a big difference in 4 and 8 way and flying big ways.
In reply to:


(This post was edited by LeapingGnome on Mar 10, 2006, 6:48 AM)


gjhdiver  (D 7731)

Mar 10, 2006, 9:36 AM
Post #23 of 47 (5244 views)
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Re: [Peterkn] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Looking at the video of the 400-way, it took about 10 seconds to empty the lead Herc. If it was flying at 140kts then the last divers would have almost half a mile of horizontal distance, and over 1000&#8217; of vertical distance to make-up.

In this respect, the jumpers from the trail aircraft actually had less distance to go in most cases, especially their last divers, as their aircraft actually carried them towards the base. The lead aircraft divers had the longest way to go, as their aircraft carried them away from it for 10 seconds as you rightly surmise.

As for going bigger. I would imagine that the current 400 way formation could be tweaked up to about 450 without too much trouble, and could be done from the same aircraft configuration and altitude. I'd actually add more people into the base and fewer into the wackers to keep build time around the same. However, it's not really that that is the real issue, getting support for the endeavour is. BJ has been working sine 1999 with the Thais to bring this about, and anyone who wants to take on the challenge has a lot of work ahead of them.

As the others say though, if they give out the call, I'll be front and center with my rig again !


bodypilot1  (D 16037)

Mar 10, 2006, 9:55 AM
Post #24 of 47 (5239 views)
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Re: [all] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
In reply to:
I would hope your not saying the alphas that were replacements were flying any better. From the post dives I saw some were flying very sub standard to the people they replaced. There is a big difference in 4 and 8 way and flying big ways.

I hope this thead doesn't turn into a debate over how good one needs to be able to fly to get on or build a larger formation then the 400way we just accomplished.
The logistics of putting something larger together is beyond many, and I'm sure the person, or people, that attempt to take on the task of doing it will no dout have to take on the hard task of selecting the skydivers that should be invited.
Being able to make yourself available for the length of time to travel half way across the world, do practice jumps, and complete a record jump is probably one of the largest factors in getting the skydivers together to even do a large formation like this. Or just having the money to do it is a huge factor in what skydivers you get to commit after sending out all the invites, unless it's fully sponcered.
Sure there are great skydivers all over the world that couldnt make the trip, but let's not divide the ability of the skydivers that were on the 400way we just completed.

All 400 skydived there asses off. Let's enjoy our accomplishment. Smile

Sorry, just my .02, carry on....... Tongue


Be safe
Ed


PaulBertorelli

Mar 10, 2006, 1:45 PM
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Re: [billvon] How big will the biggest FS formation be? [In reply to] Can't Post

>>We also have the additional consideration of fire. We don't think about it much, but O2 is a really serious fire hazard. A fire that got to a bailout O2 system would likely result in a very nasty death, as burning is so rapid at those concentrations/pressures jumpers would not likely have time to deal with the problem.<<

Eeek. That's for sure. I read about 100 aircraft accident reports a month and came across one a few months involving an oxygen-fed fire in a Cessna 421. Gruesome. Those fires get out of control almost instantly.

In a C-130--and an Otter for that matter--add the spectre of oxygen and hydraulic fluid. Gives me the willies when you consider how lashed up the typical Otter oxygen system is.

I have one of the little bailout bottles we were given as a test project. It's about 8 inches long and fitted with a nipple so it could shipped empty and filled on site. But I agree it's probably more complicated that it's worth because much above 25,000 feet, I don't think the hose in the helmet will be effective. By 30,000 feet, you have to think about pressure breathing and that's not practical.

Maybe the idea of a larger number of faster-emptying airplanes is the solution. Or not.
I dunno.

--Paul


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