World Cup of Canopy Piloting Results

    Bartholomew wins Canopy Piloting Triple Crown, Hernandez earns European Canopy Piloting Championship & Windmiller sets new Speed World Record at the 7th FAI World Cup of Canopy Piloting
    They say there’s no rest for the weary and the pros at the FAI 7th World Cup in Canopy Piloting & 3rd European Championships were ready for battle as the competition got underway Wednesday.
    The World Cup in Kolomna, Russia is the third major Canopy Piloting championship in the past two months and while some began the competition with an eye on sweeping the three events, others arrived ready for redemption.
    7th FAI World Cup of Canopy Piloting:
    This leg of the competition season has seen the same 4 competitors battling for the top spot time and again: Team Alter Ego’s Curt Bartholomew and Nick Batsch versus the PD Factory Team’s Tommy Dellibac and Pablo Hernandez. However, 76 other pros arrived in Kolomna ready to take over.
    Day 1 - Speed & Distance
    There was no playing around during Day 1 when competitors completed 6 rounds of the competition and closed the day with a new Speed World Record and a tight point spread between the top 15 competitors.
    US Army’s Greg Windmiller (USA), began the competition with three Speed World Records listed in his resume and would add one more to the list before the first day was halfway over. With a speed of 2.371 in the final Speed round, he became a 4th time Canopy Piloting Speed World Record Holder.
    The field quickly shifted to Distance, and another World Record would be challenged in the first round with Skydive Dubai’s Cornelia Mihai (UAE) setting a new Female Distance World Record after flying 138.54 meters. Curt Bartholomew (USA) flying his canopy 154.02 meters was only .07 meters short of teammate Nick Batsch’s current world record of 154.09 meters. Batsch, however, would continue to dominate the Distance rounds, ultimately besting Bartholomew and the UAE’s Billy Sharman.

    Day 2 - Zone Accuracy Rounds 1 & 2
    The field awoke on Day 2 with expectations of an intense 3 jumps, with the scores so close that anyone in the top 15 could still podium.
    Bartholomew would broaden his lead over the other competitors with a 91 score (100 points) in the first round and a perfect 100 score in the 2nd round, which would be the only perfect 100 scored by any competitor throughout both completed rounds.
    After the second round, Bartholomew was comfortably in first by nearly 60 points, leaving Dellibac to protect his silver standing from Sharman and the rest of the top 15, who were all within striking distance should they outscore him in the last and final jump.
    Event organizers had planned to complete the competition on Day 2, but only about half of the field were able to complete the final round before a weather hold stopped the competition for the day.
    The competitors arrived the next morning ready to complete the final round, but would end up spending two days waiting on weather to clear to finish that final Zone Accuracy Round.
    With weather forecasts not showing a promising window, event organizers called the competition complete Saturday afternoon without the final round of Zone Accuracy.
    The World Cup of Canopy Piloting victory gives Bartholomew what is known as the Canopy Piloting Triple Crown - the current champion of the World Cup, World Canopy Piloting Championship and the World Games.
    Overall Winners:
    Gold: Curt Bartholomew (USA)
    Silver: Tommy Dellibac (USA)
    Bronze: Billy Sharman (UAE)
    Speed Medalist:
    Gold: Curt Bartholomew (USA)
    Silver: Tommy Dellibac (USA)
    Bronze: Billy Sharman (UAE)
    Distance Medalists:
    Gold: Nick Batsch (USA)
    Silver: Billy Sharman (UAE)
    Bronze: Curt Bartholomew (USA)
    Zone Accuracy Medalists:
    Gold: Curt Bartholomew (USA)
    Silver: Pablo Hernandez (ESP)
    Bronze: Dominic Roithmair (AUT)
    3rd FAI European Canopy Piloting Championship
    In addition to the World Cup events, 43 competitors were also vying for the title of European CP Champion.
    Hernandez would lead the field following a comanding lead in Zone Accuracy, followed by Brice Bernier (FRA) and Dominic Roithmair (AUT).
    Overall Winners:
    Gold: Pablo Hernandez (ESP)
    Silver: Brice Bernier (FRA)
    Bronze: Dominic Roithmair (AUT)
    Distance Medalists:
    Gold: David Maleze (FRA)
    Silver: Roman Dubsky (SVK)
    Bronze: Johan Karlsson (SWE)
    Speed Medalists:
    Gold: Brice Bernier (FRA)
    Silver: Peter Kallehave (DEN)
    Bronze: David Maleze (FRA)
    National and World Records
    Several new World and National records were set throughout the competition, showing the continued push in the discipline as competitors are going further, faster and harder.
    World Records:

    - Greg Windmiller (USA): 2.371 seconds
    Distance - Female:

    - Cornelia Mihai (UAE): 138.54 meters
    National Records:

    - Netherlands National Speed Record:

    Erwin Baatenburg de Jong: 2.505 seconds

    - Sweden National Speed Record:

    Johan Karlsson: 2.503 seconds

    - Norway National Speed Record:

    Barton Hardie: 2.686 seconds


    - United States of America National Distance Record - Female

    Jessica Edgeington: 136.49 meters

    - Netherlands National Distance Record:

    Erwin Baatenburg de Jong: 130.95 meters

    - Sweden National Distance Record:

    Johan Karlsson: 131.36 meters

    - Norway National Distance Record:

    Barton Hardie: 130.24 meters

    One more international Canopy Piloting event is scheduled for 2013, the 4th Dubai International Parachuting Championship from November 27 to December 10.

    By admin, in Events,

    World Team Fails to Break Record

    Photograph by Andrey Veselov/AP Attempts are currently under way in Eloy, AZ to break the two point big way world record. The World Team has 222 skydivers from 28 countries are working hard at carving their names into the record books. The goal is an ambitious one with the previous world record standing at only 110 jumpers, so should the World Team successfully accomplish their goal, they will have more than doubled the number of jumpers on the record that currently stands. The event is being held as the 20th anniversary event for the World Team.
    Training jumps began already on Friday, March 28 when warm weather and a light breeze offered the jumpers near perfect conditions for the first day of training. The first training jumps consisted of 4 groups of jumpers, a base group of 42, along with three other groups of 66. Initial jumps were quite successful with the base group managing to complete four successful jumps, while the groups of 66 managed to perform three jumps with two complete sectors on each jump. The record attempt schedule set three days aside for practice, with record attempts beginning on March 31st.
    On the second day of training the bar was raised with only two groups being created, as opposed to the four groups that jumped on the first day. The formation practice was now done via the formation of a 90-way and a 132-way. Each group managed to make four jumps on the day and again progress was clearly evident, as the jumpers gave it their all. Safety is always of the highest standard during big way events, and despite the extremely skilled nature of the team, the demands that a large scale record attempt puts on the competitors make it easy for concentration to lapse. The practice days of the event seek to slowly build up the quality of the jumps and move the team closer and closer towards the final goal.
    The final day of dedicated training began with some reshuffling of the formation sectors. The 132-way group which was operating on a full base got some practice in on the mini base by downsizing to a 90-way group, while the 90-way group from the day before would spend some time getting practice on the full base as a 132-way group. Practice on this day was cut short by 30-knot winds at 1600'. Time that was lost in the sky was spent by the team practising their jump with some dirt dives on the grass. Earlier in the day the 90-way team was able to make a first point completion, but the 132-way team was still struggling due to difficulties with the base.
    Record Attempts Begin
    The World Team began early on Monday, with a forecast for some less than ideal wind conditions later in the day. The plan was for a couple of final practice jumps in the morning before the record attempts would start, at around noon. The base managed to make two practice jumps, with only the Alpha team docking as one sector. The second jump provided a well established base and it was then decided for the record attempts to begin. The first jump would not seek for completion but rather aim to establish the build in stages. The base would complete and then allow the jumpers from the sectors to get into their quadrants and feel become comfortable with their position in the formation, there was no pressure for them to dock during this exercise. Unfortunately, as predicted, the wind did come up in the afternoon and cut the attempts short. The down time once again being used for dirt diving practice.

    Photograph by Gustavo Cabana/AP Improvements were made on Tuesday, 1st April when the team began practising achieving the full 222-way formation. The first jump of the day saw the teams beginning some of the docking on the base, while the second jump saw a further improvements in the attempt. The third and final jump of the day was the most successful with the formation then nearing completion. The team would look to then, on Wednesday further the progress and attempt to make their first point. Once the first point is made, the sights could focus on completing the two point formation.
    It was an early start on Wednesday when the team began through first dirt dives just after 06:30 in the morning, but before being able to get into the air at the scheduled time of 07:00, low cloud came in and caused a delay to the progression of the record attempt. The teams decided that they would spend the morning period while unable to get in the sky, to practice with smaller groups, which would then take to the sky once the clouds had passed. There were some changes to the base in order to give the group confidence that they would have a solid base to build on. The first jump after the weather cleared would consist of the 42-way base which would be docked on by a further 66-way group. This jump was extremely successful with the base building quickly and the remaining 66 jumpers slotting into position with good form; a 108-way formation was done to perfection and eyes then turned to the ultimate goal of completing the 222-way.

    Photograph by Andrey Veselov/AP The second jump of the day saw all 222 jumpers and come very close to completion. One of the sectors were complete while another fell just short. Overall things were very close, and hopes turned to being able to complete the formation and break the record later that day. Unfortunately however, the weather once again hampered proceedings and high winds meant that it would be the last jump for the day and attempts would resume on Thursday.
    Tragedy Strikes
    On Thursday, 3 April 2014 the atmosphere in the camp changed dramatically. Early in the morning one of the Diana Paris of Berlin, who was participating in the event suffered a malfunction. Paris, aged 46 was declared dead on the scene after her parachute was released too low, and unable to open fully prior to impact. Diana Paris was an experienced skydiver with over 1500 jumps. The team honored Paris later in the day by performing a "man missing" formation. The team have also decided that out of respect, they will not be replacing Paris for the record attempt, and instead will be aiming for a 221-way record instead of a 222-way.
    Despite suffering the loss of Paris, the team are still motivated to accomplish their record on Friday, the final day of the attempts.

    The Final Day
    The World Team returned to the record attempts on Friday morning, but were unfortunatly unable to complete the FAI sanctioned world record. Things were looking solid at the end and the team came extremely close, falling only two skydivers short of the record, with them being unable to link. As such an unofficial record of a 2-way 219-way skydive was achieved.
    Information sourced from The World Team Blog

    By admin, in Events,

    Women's Vertical World Record Camp: Teamwork

    Teamwork: work done by several associates with each doing a part but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.
    Have you ever been a part of a team? Felt the pressure of performing? Emotionally and physically put your efforts on the line for a common goal? That’s what we did August 1st – 3rd – a group of 23 women from Mexico, Canada, Dubai, Sweden and all over the US converged to participate in the Women’s Vertical World Camp hosted by myself in the cornfields of Skydive Chicago during Summerfest.
    This is one of several camps in preparation of the upcoming Women’s Vertical World Record attempts to be held November 27th – December 1st at Skydive Arizona. The specialty of this camp was designed so women could experience 2-plane shots, practicing different exits, flying in a formation, and on the last day, attempt to break a state record. (The current Illinois Women’s Vertical Formation State Record an 18-way set in 2005.)
    Every camp faces their own set of unique challenges – cutaways, fatigue, nerves, etc. Our camp especially did. Participant, and overall badass, Stephanie Eggum died from a low reserve deployment on our 3rd jump of the first day of the camp.
    An hour later after the news digested, we re-grouped. I asked, “I’m going to jump. Does anyone want to join me?” Unsure how to move on, the entire group agreed they were ready to jump. “Then we’re going to do 2-plane shots.” Some gentleman jumpers joined in to be the base and grew our group to practice 30+ ways. Each jump a special camaraderie was developing even though our jumps only yielded 19 to 20-ways.
    The next day we awoke to cloudy skies, but met to discuss the finer techniques of formation skydiving including exit techniques, showing videos from the current 138-way co-ed Vertical World Record, talking about the mental and physical aspects and what it takes to get on a world record skydive. We also took this time to introduce ourselves, state our home dz, jump numbers and goals. Not too much later the skies started clearing and we were back up doing 2-plane shots.
    After lunch the camp’s direction shifted gears in selecting a group to break the state record. “This is where it gets emotional,” I began. “It’s not political or playing favorites. This is about being a team. Even if you’re not selected to be on the record, you’re still as much a part of this team. Our goal is to build the safest, largest state record.” We finished the day building 14-ways.
    Saturday’s weather couldn’t have been more picture perfect – high, puffy clouds, light winds, and 70°F temps. There was an intense feeling as we walked together as a group to the skyvan. We were 20. The plane ride up began with clapping, the silence. From the first day till now, some of the women weren’t ready to build a 20-way. But now, they stood at the door with the experience and skills to be a part of a team, to build a record.
    We huddled around 11,000’ and I said, “I know you can do this, that’s why you’re here. Now you have to know it too. Be safe and let’s build a record!” The skyvan door opened and I could feel my own heart beating faster. I smiled, “Ready, set go!”
    The formation didn’t build on the first jump. Nor the second or third. I re-engineered the formation and we tried again. No success. I re-engineered it again. By this time, the whole drop zone was rooting for us. Spectators watched us intently with awe as we’d board the plane and greet us when we landed asking if we were successful. Although each jump wasn’t successful, something greater was happening – we were truly becoming the essence of a team.
    It’s easy to go up and do one jump and be successful. But can you do it over and over? Especially after two days of an intense camp, lack of sleep and having lost a comrade? We really had to dig deep for the energy and motivation; we had to keep doing our best even when we were doing our job and others weren’t; we had to be patient and keep moving forward.
    The sun was low on the horizon and the temperatures were slightly dropping. We huddled together on the ground in support of each other. “I believe in you girls. Level, slot, dock. Be safe, let’s do this!” We cheered loudly as we got on the skyvan. We clapped, hooted and hollered on take-off and became quiet with focus. “No pressure, but now there’s pressure. This is the last jump of the camp and our last attempt. Stay focused. Stay safe. Let’s build it!”
    We exited cleanly. The stingers were docking. Wackers were building. Levels were awesome. The formation was flying!
    When we landed we ran to each other because the dive just felt so good. It felt so good we were unsure if we made the state record. We smiled, laughed, high fived and hugged. In that moment, it didn’t matter if we built it or not. We knew how much we progressed as a team and that was our best jump together!
    After reviewing the video, we saw we were super close to building the formation, but at the last moment, ditters were going off and we broke off. So close!!
    At the close of the camp I didn’t feel defeated. I was lucky to have a great group of girls who stuck by each other’s sides, improved their flying, and was so determined that we embraced the real spirit of teamwork. And in that, we were successful.
    My heart goes out to the Eggum family. Your daughter was determined to be on the next Women’s Vertical World Record. We will remember her during the attempts. Much respect.
    This camp’s success also goes with having to give praise to the many who helped make it happen:
    Mike Bohn from Colorado came out to assist in the camp as a coach
    Camera: Norman Kent, Jim Harris, Brandon Chouinard
    (To view or orders from Summerfest, please check out Norman Kent’s gallery here:
    BASE BOYS: James Garnant, Ben Roane, Paul Jones, BJ Miclaeli, Pat Collins, Dennis Cowhey, Ryan Risberg, and Doug Legally
    WVWR Camp Participanats:

    Melissa Nelson – Utah

    Hermine Baker – Sweden

    Julie Wittenburg - Dubai

    Amberly Brown – Hawaii

    Cate Allington – New York

    Stacy Powers – Pennsylvania

    Helen D’Astous – Canada

    Katie Blue – Texas

    Logan Donovan – New York

    Noelle Mason – Florida

    Stephanie Eggum - Illinois

    Kelly Isenhoff - Tennessee

    Valentina Solis – Mexico

    Natalie Pitts – Colorado

    Tyfani Detki – Florida

    Emily Royal – Missouri

    Amy Cowhey – Illinois

    Paula Rodrigues – Mexico

    Jen Sensenbaugh – Texas

    Jen Frayer - Indiana

    Alyssa Manny – Colorado

    Stephanie Beeguer - Switzerland

    Lauren Piscatelli – North Carolina

    By MissMelissa, in Events,

    Annual Skydive Orange Boogie: Tight & Bright baby!

    Skydive Orange. Nestled in the countryside of the historic town of Orange, Virginia. The town’s old Silk Mill was one of the major producers of parachute cloth for World War II. However, what we skydivers know Orange for is the drop zone’s annual Skydive Orange Boogie and this year’s theme was tight and bright!
      A little over a year after completion, the annual boogie was held under their new hangar which held the 228 registered jumpers. Like many skydiving centers going from the historic barnstorming-type hangars, Skydive Orange’s new hangar is one to boast about: tons of indoor, padded packing space; large flat-screen TV’s for debriefs; and nice, clean bathrooms!
    The short-lived weather holds and weather forecasts did not detour many. Over the three-day boogie there were 1,129 jumps made from a super otter, CASA and R44 Helicopter. RW Organizers Kirk Verner, local Jim Smith and Joost Luysterburg kept all levels from big ways to beginner 4-way formations. Freefly organizers Matt Fry and myself did everything from tube jumps, beginner head down, angled and tracking jumps. And Andreea Olea and Cristopher Kotscha fed the birds wingsuit flocks all weekend.
    Undoubtedly Skydive Orange has a colorful tradition – awesome themed parties! These parties are the not-to-be-missed. This is where the sexy, the weird, the questionable and the creative deck it out in some ridiculous threads – or lack thereof! And for historical purposes, stripping down and laying the numbers (if this doesn’t make sense, it means you need to go and find out next year)!
    Quotes from random jumpers, “Memories of glow sticks flying through the air, and a glowing figure decked out lit up in Christmas lights running down the runway…”
    “Some idiot tried to take a ghost pepper challenge. And lost horribly! He was gracious enough to run and hurl outside the Tiki Bar though.” Ghost pepper one, Mike Norton zero.
    Props to DJ Ron Douglass, who tirelessly spun rhythm and bass until, more or less the next day.
    Skydive Orange ran like clockwork: smooth operators. This goes with the efforts of many who are up early and up late making sure the planes are fueled, jumpers and manifested and registered, organizers are fed, bathrooms are cleaned, planes are flown and everything in between. Props go to: the manifest crew, pilots, loaders, Liz Kang-event organizer, load organizers, Barclay & Collins band and the vendors who donated prizes: L&B;, Paraclete, Aerodyne, Join, Vertical, Liquid Sky, Blue Skies Magazine, Tony Suits and Cookie; to the vendors who came out: Chuting Star, Icarus, Sunpath, Birdman, Invertica and Liquid Sky.

    By MissMelissa, in Events,

    Women's Vertical World Record Set at Skydive Arizona

    The Women’s Vertical World Record [WVWR] attempts brought 95 women from 18 different nations to Skydive Arizona November 26-December 1st. I can’t help but reminisce back ten years ago when Amy Chmelecki and I organized our first WVWR and only had 20+ women from 5 nations. The rise of female participation from 2003 to now has been remarkable
    However, what makes this event so remarkable, are the women who participate in the journey of making history. We organizers, Amy Chmelecki, Sara Curtis, Anna Moxnes and Domi Kiger and myself, set the stage by hosting camps around the world to help prepare women for this venture. And that’s what it’s about, the journey, not the destination. We were set out to break our own world record of 41.
    There were many women whose journey’s I was so honored to be a part of, that inspired me in my own journey that I asked three of them to share a bit of their story. Shannon Fitzgerald D’Alessio made her first jump in September 2002 at Skydive Crosskeys. She attended her first WVWR camp I hosted at Skydive Elsinore in October 2012 and said she had the most fun there than in the past ten years of skydiving. “I left the camp feeling energized to improve so I could be on the record the following year.” After she made the resolution, she found out she was pregnant four days later.
    At age 17, Cathy O’Sullivan did her first jump out of a helicopter but it wasn’t until college days that she did her AFF Course. Cathy jumped off and on but in 2010 she moved Skydive Chicago and decided to seriously pursue learning to freefly. “The WVWR was the perfect goal to set in order to improve my skills and be a part of something amazing.” On June 30th 2013, just a few months before the record attempts, Cathy’s canopy collapsed about 30 feet from the ground from turbulence that left her hospitalized for a week and a broken pelvis/sacrum in four areas.
    Valentina Solis pulled off the most epic covert move from her parents at the age of 12 – she did her first tandem, without her parents knowing! That moment became much more for than just sneaking away, she knew that she was destined to be a skydiver and in 2007 started her AFF in Mexico. In 2012, Valentina finished her first marathon. Along that journey she met Cathy O’Sullivan and she sent Valentina a link of all the WVWR camp info. She knew then that was to be her goal for 2013. But she was just getting proficient flying on her head.
    When Shannon learned she was pregnant, she stopped jumping and flying in the tunnel. She did her first jump back after having a healthy baby boy ten months later, when he was 7 weeks old. “I wasn’t sure if I would be ready to participate. I went to the last scheduled WVWR camp in Eloy last Halloween and my flying was not awesome. I was pretty disappointed,” Shannon recalls. She not only had to deal with coping with her uncurrency, she also had to tend to sleepless nights and an enormous amount of energy to nurse her newborn.
    Cathy helped me organizing logistics during the Summerfest camp at Skydive Chicago, and I would glance at her as I reviewed our jumps. Her eyes were wide open with complete focus, sitting with her legs crossed, leaning forward with her fist under her chin. She had the look of determination. “The goal of the record stayed in the back of my mind. I tried to stay involved and sat in on the WVWR during Summerfest on crutches, and watched the debriefs in an attempt to learn as much as possible from the ground.”
    Valentina came to my camp in Sebastian for the Invasion Boogie in 2012/2013. I could tell she was a new freeflier, but that’s exactly why we hold camps. “I attended the first camp in Eloy and I realized how hard this actually was, and that is what made me stick to it and train hard,” Valentina said.
    “My husband Daless supported and encouraged me in every way,” begins Shannon. “He said to me, ‘How cool will it be to tell JD [her son] you’re a world record holder? If you don’t try, you’ll always wonder if you could have made it.’” Shannon’s husband took care of their son while she did more skydive training and the Nor Cal crew worked with her in the tunnel.
    Cathy’s doctor cleared her to “ease” back into normal activities less than 2 months to the attempts. She used a hanging harness to determine if her pelvis could handle opening shock, did stability drills in the tunnel and a friend organized a big way skills camp so she could get current flying with others. She said, “With the memory of my accident still fresh in my head, there were a lot of issues with fear that I had to learn how to manage as I was trying to ‘ease’ back in the sport. By far, the biggest challenge of getting back into the sport that fast was overcoming the fear of getting hurt again.”
    Valentina’s journey lead her through intense moments of frustration. She was training in the tunnel and attending big way camps. However digesting huge amounts of information on how to exit and approach formations and applying them were on two different tracks.
    “For me, the biggest challenge was building my confidence, controlling my emotions and having positive thoughts, despite the frustrations between the good and bad jumps."
    A world record requires so much focused energy – mentally and physically. It requires you to be your best for the team to succeed. There’s so much pressure and expectation to perform and it is the job of the organizers to select the team to conquer that goal. We organizers said at the initial debrief, “there’s no crying in skydiving. Only when someone dies or you’re at the Grand Canyon.”
    When the team was selected, Shannon was part of the first attempts, however Cathy and Valentina were not. Shannon explains, “My goal was to have fun and be safe. If I made the record, awesome. If not, I was spending 5 days doing awesome skydives with amazing women. So when my name was called for the first attempt, I was utterly shocked. Followed immediately by nerves and adrenaline.”
    “Having to tend to a sleepless child and breastfeed was a lot of hard work and controlled chaos. I had to do things that I never imagined would be a part of my skydiving routine. Every morning I would pump in the car while my husband drove me to the dz. I hired a packer, so in between loads I could jet off to the bathroom to pump again. I’d get done just in time for the debrief and dirt dive.”
    Cathy’s perspective shadowed Shannon’s. “By the time I got to Arizona, I had set my expectations realistically, expecting to be on the B team. I felt the B team was going to be an amazing outcome by itself, and would be valuable training for another record someday.”
    Valentina explained, “The beginning was very hard for me, as I wasn’t part of the attempts, so I had to keep focused and positive to do my best on the B team. On every jump I thought to myself, ‘this jump is my record and I will make this happen.’”
    After the first day’s attempts, Shannon was rotated out of the formation. “When Melissa walked towards me, I knew I was cut. I was disappointed, but not surprised. Jumping with the B team was awesome – a relief! I told myself I had nothing to lose, so my goal was to be consistent and solid.”
    The third day was challenging as the ladies were starting to feel the physical effects of going to 18,000’ for the last few days and facing the mental challenges of repeating the same jump over and over. Since the third day was the last day, we changed the size of the formation from 69 to 65, then 63.
    We organizers tirelessly reviewing the B teams jumps. “Melissa came up to me and asked if I was ready. I asked, ‘ready for what?’” Cathy recalled. “My initial response was disbelief, then I realized what was happening, then I said, YES!”
    “Working on being solid on the B team paid off!” Shannon explained. “I got put back onto the attempts!” Shannon kept a mature perspective throughout the changes. She even said to me that she had to concentrate on staying calm in the plane and in the air to control her nerves and focused on small things to improve.
    “When the final day of the attempts came I was super nervous and stressed, but deep inside I knew I was ready,” Valentina remembers. “One by one I felt I did a very good job on each jump. Then Anna came up to me and said, ‘get ready, you’re in the record.”
    Day 3, Attempt 12. The core 40 built quickly. The levels were looking good, the energy was there. A small part of the formation exploded and one person flew out, yet the rest of the formation was unaffected and finished building. The troubled section rebuilt and the last dock happened the last second before break-off. We knew we built a new world record!
    “It feels freaking amazing! I’m still in awe of all the hard core women who made it happen.
    In such a male dominated sport, I’m proud to be part of a group that reached this level of flying!” explained Shannon.
    “It’s still a little surreal. When the judges announced that we got the record, the floodgates opened and I literally had tears of joy streaming down my face (which was cool because the record was over and we couldn’t get cut for crying)!” she joked. “I looked around the room at all of the amazing people and was so proud of what we accomplished, and so grateful to be a part of it.”
    “Words are not enough to express how amazing this whole experience has been! I’m thirsty for more!” Valentina said. The mental strength played a big role for me and this quote became my mantra, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch, but on it’s wings. Always believe in yourself.”
    On every jump, cameraflyer Jason Peters had with him the ashes of our fallen comrade, Stephanie Eggum. The plan was to release her ashes on the world record. Although the judges weren’t in the air to confirm that Attempt #12 was official, through his lens Jason knew without a doubt that we had it and let Stephanie free. So to us organizers, we really built a 64-way.
    And this is why I keep doing this. The amazing experience, the amazing women, and the amazing ride. This is my 11th World Record, and it just keeps getting better.

    By admin, in Events,

    Swoop Challenge Hits The Copenhagen Lakes

    The centre of Copenhagen will become the stage for a world premiere on Saturday June 13th. The famous Copenhagen Lakes in the middle of Denmark's capital will host the first ever professional freestyle parachuting competition ever organized in the heart of a major city as the Swoop Challenge CPH Invitational gathers the world's top athletes for 6 days of intense parachuting in a unique format.
    The philosophy of Swoop Challenge is to take parachuting to the people. The action packed and intense parachuting meets the urban and cultural settings of a vibrant big city in a unique blend of culture and extreme sports in beautiful settings in Denmark's capital.
    The best athlete after the two rounds will be crowned Swoop Challenge CPH Invitational 2015 champion and will receive a USD 7,500 first prize. Second and third place finishers will receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.
    Innovation of the sport
    The Swoop Challenge CPH Invitational 2015 consists of six days of parachuting: A training camp and qualification, a grand air show in the Copenhagen Harbour and the competition day on the Copenhagen Lakes with more than 50,000 spectators watching.
    The professionalisation of the sport, the brand new competition format and the idea of having parachuting in urban areas has never been seen anywhere in the world.
    “We’re turning everything upside down and bringing extreme sport into the hearts of cities where people can experience it right in front of their own doors rather than out in the middle of nowhere where it usually takes place. We like playing with the contrast of extreme sports within a cultural and historic city while really focusing on the live experience for both spectators and viewers alike," co-founder George Blythe says.
    Image by Anders Bruun Larsen In 2013 he and co-founder Michael Kattrup Lassen came up with the idea to parachute in the middle of major cities, where people naturally are. In August last year with the help from a lot of friends they showcased the sport and had 14 athletes doing one display jump each to test what was possible. The outcome by far exceeded the expectations of the duo and they partnered up with other experienced persons in the parachuting and event world to pull off the next step of their plan: The first professional freestyle competition ever to be held in the center of major cities.
    "We know from last years pilot project, where we held a display with 14 jumpers, that parachuting in the heart of cities was very interesting. Back then we had no idea what was going to happen, but 20,000 spectators turned up at Peblinge Lake with both national tv stations, DR and TV 2, covering the event. This success gave us the drive to follow our dream of developing a full-blown competition in the middle of cities where the world’s best athletes would be brought to town. We now have some the world’s best that are very excited about the idea of Copenhagen and we’re really looking forward to presenting them to the thousands of spectators at Peblinge Lake Saturday June 13," George Blythe says.
    Best extreme sports athletes in the world
    Athletes from 11 countries are coming to Denmark and among the are multiple world champions and top athletes of the sport. They visit Herning and Copenhagen to take part in a competition of the highest international level and in a format none of them have seen before.
    Image by Aleksander Horup "One of my favorite disciplines in swooping is freestyle, and I love being able to swoop in very unique places. The opportunity to swoop in downtown Copenhagen in front of more than 50,000 spectators is awesome and something like this has never happened before. Swooping in a major city is a big dream and I am glad to be a part of such an amazing event," says American Curt Bartholomew, the defending swoop world champion from 2014 and 2012 and the 2013 World Games and World Cup champion.
    The 20 athletes will be attending a training camp and qualifying in Herning at Dropzone Denmark where they will compete for one of the 16 spots in the Swoop Finals in Copenhagen.
    Athletes from 13 countries are competing:

    Abdulbari Qubeisi, United Arab Emirates, 4,600 jumps

    Billy Sharman, South Africa, 8,642 jumps

    Chris Stewart, New Zealand, 5,100 jumps

    Christian Webber, Denmark, 2,800 jumps

    Cornelia Mihai, Romania, 7,000 jumps

    Curt Bartholomew, USA, 6,900 jumps

    David 'Junior' Ludvik, USA, 14,500 jumps

    Gage Galle, USA, 8,000 jumps

    Jeannie Bartholomew, USA, 3,000 jumps

    Kenneth Gajda, Denmark, 11,000+ jumps

    Kristian Moxnes, Norway, 8,000 jumps

    Leigh McCormack, Australia, 4,830 jumps

    Martin Reynolds, England, 5,500 jumps

    Micah Couch, USA, 10,000 jumps

    Nicholas Batsch, USA, 7,250 jumps

    Noah Bahnson, USA, 10,000+ jumps

    Patrick Kaye, USA, 15,000 jumps

    Petter Mazzetta, Sweden, 7,500 jumps

    Tukes Iwamoto, Japan, 10,000 jumps

    Support from official Denmark
    Both the City of Copenhagen and Sport Event Denmark are supporting the event and look forward to see this brand new initiative:
    "This is the first time a professional freestyle parachuting event takes place in the heart of a major city, and Copenhagen is the perfect venue with the lakes as the iconic backdrop. The setup is creative and unique in a way we haven't seen before and it correlates perfect with Copenhagen's image as a both historic and cultural capital and an urban and innovative city. When it comes to Swoop Challenge, Copenhagen shows that this is a city that loves sports events in the heart of the city," says Carl Christian Ebbesen, Mayor of Culture and Leisure in the City of Copenhagen. The city supports Swoop Challenge financially.
    "In Denmark we organize a wide range of international sporting events on land and water, and with Swoop Challenge now also from the air over Herning and Copenhagen. The Swoop Finals in Copenhagen will be the first, professional freestyle parachuting competition ever held in the heart of a major city, and Copenhagen will once again be showcased as an event destination of the highest international standard," says Lars Lundov, CEO of Sport Event Denmark, the national sporting event organization that works to attract major international sport events to Denmark and who supports Swoop Challenge financially.
    Swoop Qualifying Monday to Wednesday June 8th to 10th, Dropzone Denmark, Herning:
    Training camp Monday and Tuesday and qualification Wednesday for 20 athletes. The top-16 in the qualifying rounds will attend the Swoop Finals in Copenhagen.
    Swoop Night Lights Friday June 12th, Nordre Toldbod, Copenhagen Harbour:
    Spectacular airshow over Copenhagen in front of Toldboden and CPH City & Port Development's headquarters. From 18.00-20.00 (6-8pm).
    Swoop Finals Saturday, June 13th, Peblinge Lake

    Two rounds of competition at Peblinge Lake in front of Kaffesalonen’s platform, where the total score after two rounds decides the winner of the Swoop Challenge title. From 13.00-18.00 (1-6pm)
    For The Whuffos - How Swooping Works
    The participants jump out of helicopters in 1.500 meters/5000f and deploy their parachutes shortly after, as the focus is on the actual flight in the parachute, not the free fall aspect.
    The small and aggressive parachutes, called canopies, enable the athletes to fly fast towards the ground. When arriving above the course, the swooper dives the canopy towards the lake's surface to reach speeds of almost 150km/h and prior to contacting the water the swooper levels out the flight.
    The last stage of swooping consists of freestyle tricks on the water with high speeds before landing on a platform right in front of the spectators. 22 tricks currently exist and can be combined into different combos. There will be two rounds and five international judges will score each jump based on the turn towards the water, the actual freestyle swoop and the landing.

    By admin, in Events,

    Red Bull Aces Wingsuit Race 2014

    Andy Farrington of the United States won the world’s first Red Bull Aces Wingsuit 4 Cross Race in the skies over the central Californian town of Oakdale on Thursday, flying at speeds of up to 135 miles per hour (217 km per hour) and beating three other rivals in the final down a slalom course in the premiere of the new sport. In the high-speed, high-altitude race through four stationary gates that started with a leap from the back hatch of a sky van airplane at 7,000 feet and descended to the finish line at 3,500 feet, Noah Bahnson (USA) took second and Julian Boulle (South Africa) was third in a field of 52 of the world’s best Wingsuit racers from 16 countries.

    “This is just amazing, cutting edge and really the start of a revolution,” said Farrington, a professional sky diver who did stunt work in the film “Transformer 3” of his historic victory in the new sport that is attempting to make Wingsuit flying safer with the start and finish at higher and safer altitudes. “This is racing and this is the way to hold a competition. You are racing the people right next to you, at the same time and on the same, set course – just like in any other sport. Just like in ski racing, it’s cut and dry. You either make the gate or you don’t. You either finished ahead of the other guy or you didn’t. And you’re doing it all thousands of feet in the air.”

    The race format is in essence ski cross in the sky with four Wingsuit racers flying against each other at a time in a test of skill and courage as they navigated the slalom course. From the start at 7,000 feet, the racers descended at accelerating speeds to the first of four gates (at 6,500 feet) and then to the subsequent gates and the finish line (at 3,500 feet). The racers then pulled their parachutes at a safe altitude of about 3,000 feet. Farrington set a course record of 40:16 seconds in the final.

    American Katie Hansen was the best of five women in the race that does not differentiate between male and female and made it into the top 32.
    Results Red Bull Aces:

    1. Andy Farrington (USA)

    2. Noah Bahnson (USA)

    3. Julian Boulle (RSA)

    4. Jhonny Florez (COL)

    5. David Covel (USA)

    6. Sebastian Alvarez (CHL)

    7. Jason Moledzki (CAN)

    8. Charley Kurlinkus (USA)
    Photographers: Joerg Mitter, Balazs Gardi

    By admin, in Events,

    Dubai International Parachuting Championships - Day 7 & 8

    All Imagery By Konwent Photography
    The first day of CP in Dubai was supposed to take place on Tuesday, 2nd Dec on the Independence Day in Dubai. Unfortunately strong winds put both Accuracy and Canopy Piloting on hold. From canopy disciplines only CF was actually flying. The busy dropzone was focused more on perfomers, airshows and holiday celebration. First swoops were made on Wednesday morning.

    - "The conditions change between rounds but in the first round I was able to make good adjustements and scored 100" - says Curt Bartholomew from Alter Ego Team after first round of Accuracy - "Of course I prefer to go headwind, this is how it was today, but everything depends on location specifics and here Accuracy goes always in the same direction. Sometimes it’s downwind, sometimes headwind. The factor we cannot influence."
    - "I’m happy with the results so far" - Cornelia Mihai from Skydive Dubai Team with a big smile leaving the swoop pond - "We’ll see how it goes with next rounds."
    "The truth is that even the slightest change of wind speed or direction can make a huge difference in the results. It’s not rare for comeptitors to have more than one canopy of the same model (like Petra or Peregrine) but in different sizes to make a choice just before the jump accordingly to weather conditions. - In practice round I took Peregrine 75, but for the first round I flew Peregrine 67." - adds Curt.

    The pilot is a real engine of his canopy
    The choice of the canopy seems to be one of the CP aspects which may determine a career. To make it simpler, there are two manufacturers that provide swoopers with high performing canopies: Performance Designs and NZ Aerosport. They delivered to the market, the Peregrine and Petra, which are already used by the majority of competitors. As none of them are useful for everyday freefall jumping, users needed a canopy with performance of Peregrine/Petra and terminal deployment tolerance. (NZ Aerosports have, since publication told us that the Petra is able to open in terminal and opens well with a normal slider and RDS)
    So more than 1 year ago Leia form NZ Aerosport was announced to be ready to sell and just two weeks ago PD released trailer of Valkyrie. Both canopies are described as high performing with smooth openings and being perfectly good for freefall jumping.

    "If you take basic aerodynamics, this is the logical direction to go." - John LeBlanc

    - "If you take basic aerodynamics, this is the logical direction to go." - John LeBlanc, PD vice-president and head of R&D; - "But I must admit that the Valkyrie project started before the Peregrine development. We have 40-120 prototypes every year and we only announce the new product to be ready when it’s really great."
    - "It’s a step up from Velocity or Comp Velocity. It was designed to be an everyday usage canopy with higher performance." - says Albert Berchtold, marketing representative of PD - "It’s a different canopy than Leia, even if some claims otherwise. We were working on it at the same time as NZ for a couple of years now and we’re really happy with what Valkyrie became. Just ask users if they like it!"

    And we actually did. Pablo Hernandez, winner of DISL (Swoop League) says: "The first thing that comes to me when I think of Valkyrie is the amazing openings. Really smooth and soft, my neck and back loved it from the frist jump. It also has a lot of rear risers power and toggles power. It can be used as an everyday canopy but it’s good for competition as well, mostly for Accuracy. I don’t jump it here, as I only have 30-40 jumps on it but for the next competition I will probably take it."
    The first users’ descriptions of Valkyrie performance seem to be similar to Leia characteristics.
    - "We arrived at the Leia trying to find Petras little sister as it were" - says Richard Munro from NZ Aerosport - "A high performance wing that incorporates many design elements of Petra without some of the practical limiatations. It’s probably reasonable to think PD had similar intent with their canopy development. In the end, the competition between the manufactuers only leads to better canopies - the pilots are the real winners."
    - "I really love Leia, it’s good for Accuracy jumping in competitions but I would say it’s more dedicated to everyday skydives" - claims Lee Barraclough, competitor from NZ Aerosport - "The openings are really nice."

    "I really love Leia, it’s good for Accuracy jumping in competitions but I would say it’s more dedicated to everyday skydives" - Lee Barraclough

    But the truth is that aerodynamic and gravity rules stay the same for all canopies. If constructors want to achive a specific goal or parameters - no mercy - they will probably come to the similar conclusions and ideas.
    - "The canopy is only a tool, the pilot is a real engine" - explains Nick Batsch, competitor from Alter Ego Team - "It doesn’t really matter if those canopies are different (probably not much, by the way). If there actually is any dispute between manufacturers is more about ‘who did it first’, and not ‘who did it better’. It shouldn’t be taken too seriously."
    We tried to find a swooper who actually tried both canopies and apparently Curt Bartholomew is the only one.
    - "I admit Valkyrie is similar to Leia, it feels a little bit different as the manufacturers use probably different fabrics and materials and the construction is somehow different, but the openings are supersoft in both canopies, similar risers pressure and toggle power. Probably I would benefit Valkyrie more in Distance and Speed but to be honest, they are both really good."

    5th DICP almost done
    Windy weather 4 days in a row is not a common thing in Dubai. Organizers keep up with the competition but many disciplines were put on hold because of difficult conditions. Distance and Speed were done only during the second day of CP, on Thursday. First two rounds were a combination ob both, so called “Speed-Distance”. It’s an experimental combination (not confirmed by FAI) where one result of a jump influences two traditional categories: Speed and Distance. This means that the stake is doubled, the pressure is doubled and of course the risk of loosing precious points is also doubled.
    - "I’m happy that there is a trend of experiments, which I’ve already noticed in Klatovy, to make Canopy Piloting more interesting for the public. To make it more attractive and spectacular" - says Sebastian Dratwa - "But having in mind that this is the most important goal, I can’t understand why the Accuracy was completly isolated form the audience. Even Regan [media presenter] had to choose between being close to people and actually seeing how competitors landed."
    It is true that the Canopy Piloting discipline is the most interesting for the audience. But from all three categories, only Distance is easy to understand. Even if Speed is simple, without instant results on the screen, it’s not that exciting. On the other hand it really is great (also for competitors) that the negative zones in Accuracy were removed. It’s easier to follow the rules for competitors, not to mention non-skydivers watching the show. All attempts to bring CP closer to the audience are great. There is still a lot to improve in future editions but kudos to organizers for all their efforts.
    - "It’s great here, as every year. Sometimes the weather is not helping with organization of the competition." - says Regan Tetlow, media presenter of DIPC - "I love this place. Actually I decided yesterday to move to Dubai, I change my life from now on…!"
    As all three CP categories are done, there is an extra one for tomorrow: CP freestyle. Last year around 40 competitors (out of 70) took part in this additional event. Sadly, this year only the first 30 are allowed to participate.
    Let’s keep fingers crossed for them.
    The 5th DIPC will soon be over…
    Current results can be found at both Omniskore's and EAF's websites

    By admin, in Events,

    An Adventure in Mexico - Puerto Escondido Boogie

    After a grueling 38 hours in the car to Puerto Escondido Mexico, via Central Texas, (mostly brought on by a bad sense of direction and a belief that I could plan a better route than Google, the real drive should have only been around 21 hrs.) We arrived in the quaint coastal town of Puerto Escondido, OAX, for the new years boogie put on by Skydive Cuautla.
    Puerto Escondido is a small ocean town on the pacific coast, known for its beautiful beaches and friendly people. Puerto Escondido means “hidden port” because it has remained relatively untouched by commercialization that so often takes over tourist destinations. While not as well known as its neighbor, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido has been a longtime favorite vacation destination for the locals, allowing this town to hold on to a truly genuine feeling.
    As we descended from the mountains south of Oxaca, our first sight of the small Mexican town was of a picturesque beach, bright sun, gentle sea breeze, and blue sky, punctuated with the bright colors of the canopies soaring through the crisp ocean air. We quickly followed them to the landing area, a white sanded beach with deep blue water dotted with small umbrellas and sun bathers, and inquired as to where to find manifest. Everyone was more than happy to point us in the right direction, maybe a half a block up the street we found their buses out front of a beautiful traditional style Mexican patio, surrounded by a wrought iron gate, draped with banners urging us to come, "jump in paradise". Just a few steps inside this oasis-esque courtyard stood a thatch roofed cabana, with a set up of tables and computers.
    We quickly made our way over there, and after an attempt to comprehend my limited knowledge of Spanish vocabulary in regards to skydiving, an English speaking staff member found us and pulled us aside to help out. We had our gear checked, a safety briefing, and then told us how to purchase jump tickets, and informed of the white party that was set to occur that evening. We told them we would probably not jump that day, as we needed to find a hotel, shower (most importantly) eat and then come and jump. The organizer then immediately got on her phone and helped to find us a room at a local hotel. EVERYTHING was booked up, and she spent close to an hour of her time calling the hotels around us, until finally she was able to send us in the right direction. We ended up getting a room at the Caracol Plaza, which was the best hotel I have ever stayed at in my life, but that is a review for Hotels.com (but if you want to be treated like royalty, for the price of a pauper, definitely look them up).
    We washed up, grabbed some food, and headed back to manifest. We decided to do a warm up little two way jump, though we received a warm welcome and invitation to jump from everyone there, we made our way to the bus, and headed off to the airport. The loading went smooth, and their shuttles were clean and comfortable. Which made for an enjoyable ride to the airport.
    The Airport was located just 5 minutes up the road on the mountain top overlooking the city, where we were unloaded, geared up, walked out onto the flight line, loaded into the otter, and then airborne lickety split! The climb to altitude was as quick as it was beautiful, and we even got up to 14k AGL on this jump. The Otter was in tip top condition, clean and maintained better than most planes I have seen in the states. The other jumpers on the plane were helpful in describing the landing pattern again, and helped to make sure we had a good spot.
    We had a Great Jump, nice soft landings on the HUGE beach landing area, and headed back up to the manifest area to pack. The packing area was a large shaded area right across from the manifest hut, with tarped over floors, and a large grassy area behind the manifest hut. We had ample room to pack, and they even had some packers on hand to help with any overflow.
    As sunset load came down we headed over to the beach to watch everyone come down, where we were greeted with beers, and everybody took pictures and celebrated a good day of jumping while a Fire orange sun sank low into the into the sea, casting a warm glow upon the smiling faces of the jumpers.
    We retired to our hotel to prepare for the New Years Eve white party. I was skeptical at first to spend 700 pesos a person on a party (roughly $60 USD), but after we arrived at the party every ounce of doubt was removed from my mind. They had paper lanterns and sparklers for us to light off on the beach, the paper lanterns floating skyward like fireflies into the cool night air, while we drank sangria, and took group photos, before walking up to a restaurant courtyard area. There we sat at long tables, surrounded by friendly people, a DJ spinning music, skydiving videos playing on a projector screen, and the smell of food grilling floating through the air.
    The Beer was cold, the conversations warm, and many new friends were made that night, (shout out to all of the Canadians that came out to escape the winter weather!). Some speeches were given, translated into both Spanish and English, and then food was served; And let me tell you, we ate only local food the entire time in Mexico, and the food they served was the second best we have had in all of Mexico! They passed out party favors, hats, tiaras and horns for everyone, as well as champagne and grapes, which might not have been the best idea, because it was a large group of skydivers, and we just can’t have nice things, so it took less than a minute for grapes to begin whizzing through the air followed shortly by tortillas and paper plates!
    At the stroke of midnight a firework show kicked off, and the party jumped into high gear! It was a beautiful moment as the moon shone brightly overhead, fireworks cracked in the sky, music floated through the air, and everyone was happy and together, not separated by culture, country or language, but united as Skydivers doing what we love. We enjoyed the festivities, hailed a cab, and retired to the hotel for a night of finally sleeping on a real bed, and not curled up in the seat of a car.
    Our second and final day there, Manifest did not begin operating until around noon, so we had the morning to experience the town, visit the small tiendas, enjoy the food from roadside vendors, and visit the beach. There was much more to do in this little town, and beauty was everywhere you looked, from the fantastic landscapes, architecture of the buildings, to the street art plastered on the alleyways and building around town.
    We were invited on more jumps, and had more wonderful experiences with the staff and fun jumpers at the boogie. We ate in the cafe on the manifest grounds, our home DZ still has the best kitchen in the world, but the food and service here was a close second. We had awesome jumps that day, and even got to see the awesome staff in action when I landed off on a tracking dive (surprising right?), and saw a cutaway on our jump. Someone was in a boat and grabbed the main and free bag right as they hit the water, and a bus and people on ATV's were there to check on us and give us a ride back to the manifest area before I could even stow my brakes. We made it back, packed, and then set out for a night on the town before we left for home in the morning.
    EVERYTHING about this boogie ran like a well-oiled machine, the staff of Skydive Cuautla and their volunteers did a phenomenal job of organizing this boogie. The people, all over Mexico, not just at the boogie, were friendly, the facilities were top notch, both the Super Otter and the Sky Van were in incredible condition, loads went up fast, and the altitude was always generous. We have definitely found a new years tradition, and will sing the praises of this boogie to all of our friends. I will be there again this coming new year with bells on! This is one boogie you MUST attend at least once in your lifetime, as you are surely missing a big chunk of your skydiving life if you do not!

    By admin, in Events,

    85 Way CRW World Record Set

    A view like no other - until you have flown up next to 81 multi-colored parachutes, all hooked into formation, flying briskly
    through the sky, its hard to explain the sheer beauty of it all. A diamond of parachutes, more than 250 feet tall, weighing in
    at over 8 tons, yet flying quickly and effortlessly through the sky. Its large enough to show up on local air traffic radar,
    visible for miles around - yet consisting merely of 85 individuals flying through the sky as one. You fly up next to it, watching
    people dock, encouraging them on while waiting your turn. Listening to radio calls as the size the formation has built to is
    being announced. Flying in flat and level from the side, coming to a stop right before you dock on the formation, and inching in
    the last few feet. Looking across the formation at your mirror image, and seeing them docked and flying well. Knowing that the
    formation is of record size, feeling the breeze in your hair and the wind on your face, Waiting for the starburst call, and
    shortly after break off the air is filled with whoops and hollers as everyone can now celebrate. The feeling of accomplishment on
    finishing the 85 way on our first attempt. Especially knowing that their were a few jumpers on the load, who albeit very
    skilled, had never been on anything as large as a 25-way. The awe-inspiring view of seeing a formation this size - especially for
    the first time - is something that is so difficult to explain. Pictures just don't do it justice.
    The view from the inside would be just as spectacular. After you dock, people continue to dock all around you. Every direction
    you look is a parachute, and everywhere you look is a person who is arched and looking up. Hearing the radio calls, knowing that
    the formation is building well, mentally cheering those on who have yet to dock. Absorbing all of the waves and bumps that pass
    through the formation as it builds, yet knowing without looking when each point of the diamond comes on as you can feel the
    formation lean over and fly. Looking over your head at a tower of canopies as far as the eye can see - with nowhere to run to if
    things go wrong.
    In the daytime, the formation glowed in the sunshine - so many bright colors in stark contrast to the ground below. Flying so fast
    in the center that the outsides are cupped back. Anyone who got behind would not be catching back up. On the sunset loads, the
    colors all fade in the dusk sky, silhouetted against the fading sun, the local lakes still shimmering on the ground. All canopies
    look the same, making the formation appear whole, instead of 81 individual pieces... That is until the starburst call occurs,
    and all grips are dropped and the formation looks like fireworks going off in the sky.
    It takes teamwork to build something as spectacular as what was built over Lake Wales last week. Everyone must have a good jump,
    no malfunctions, or miscues can occur or the formation won't build. Break offs are carefully coordinated, with everyone leaving at
    their assigned times, so that everyone can separate safely from the diamond just built. Much gear was swapped without thought -
    canopies weights, connector links among many other things were freely traded as needed because everyone knew we had to work
    together. Rusty Vest worked tirelessly doing repairs and repacks as need be over the week, as did other riggers. We had a whole
    team of people just working on getting the radios working well and set up correctly so that everyone could hear as needed. The
    video crew did a great job of filming all of the dives, both big and small, and sharing with us the film for debriefs. Our
    pilots did a great job as well - unlike free fall loads where all planes fly in formation, our planes fly by at different
    altitudes, needing to match not only the altitude of the ever-sinking formation but also while maintaining a slow airspeed for
    Our leaders did a good job encouraging that teamwork - having wings work with their teams so everyone knew how to fly, to having
    safety seminars so everyone knew how best to handle emergencies. They kept the team encouraged while fighting issues at the
    beginning of the week, and engineered a beautiful formation that was so solid it was never in danger of having problems.
    The formation seemed to grow more solid the larger it built, leaving no doubt in anyone's minds that a 100 way will soon be built.
    It was only in 2002 that the organizing committee - Chris Gay, Mike Lewis, Dave Richardson, Chris Balisky, and added for this event,
    Brian Pangburn broke the then world-record of a 53 way with a 57. That had stood since '96, and since 2002, we have grown the
    record by 50%.
    The dives are carefully engineered - from a VERY fast base - the top canopies are using micro-line, trailing pilot chutes, and
    removable sliders, to faster, more heavily loaded canopies down the center line, to smaller canopies on the outside - this
    formation was designed for speed, and fast it did fly. When building a formation of this size, everything from canopy size, to
    body height to wing-loading to jumpsuit style must be considered to keep the formation flying well. If the formation
    slows down, the outside canopies - those who only have one grip taken on them - can start to out fly the formation and when they go
    too far forward, can wrap around the formation. We've never built a formation this wide before - it was only in 2003 that
    we added the first row 9 wings, and now we've added row 10's.
    It takes experience among the participants as well - the pilot of the formation - Mike Lewis - had to step down from piloting for
    personal reasons, but Chris Gay stepped up to the plate, donning 90 pounds of lead plus gear so that he could jump the 193 up top
    and keep the formation flying fast. 5 second splits were what were needed in between docks to have time for us to build this,
    and people came through. Steve Sassetti and Liz Godwin, both with ankle injuries, continued to jump because they were
    needed on the record. Steve hobbled to the airplane on crutches while taking the ashes of two of our former CRWmates - Scott
    Fiore and Joel Zane, on the record with them. They died in a skydiving accident the previous year, but they flew on the record
    with us.
    The week was a spectacular one - skydivers and old friends coming from all over the globe - from as far away as Australia and
    Russia. Listening to Aussie Sarge yell "Arch and look up" into the radio in our ears all week created quite a lot of chuckles
    and a lot of imitations. I love the Australian Cane Toad I now have mounted on my rig, although I'm a bit hesitant about the
    Vegemite I received as well. After Sarge was goaded into trying a southern delicacy - pickled pigs feet - he got his revenge by
    forcing Chris to eat some Vegemite on toast. Judging by the expressions on their faces, I think Chris got the better deal!
    Watching Chiara, a skydiver tot who is everyone's favorite, run around with Eugene's blow up doll was a source of great amusement.
    The rubber band fight at the banquet where some of the judges seemed to be facing the most abuse luckily didn't sour them on us as
    they still awarded us the record the next day. Remembering Marylou spraying champagne on everyone as her very poor poker face gave
    away the fact that we had gotten the record. The celebration Friday night wasn't enough to keep us from breaking a record the
    next day, but luckily for us, we didn't have to jump on Sunday, as the party at Ernie's house Saturday night probably would
    have. Watching wrap videos, drinking beer, and eating well provided a spectacular celebration to end a most festive week.
    The fun, the views, and the friendships are things never to be forgotten at an event like this. So much knowledge is spread when
    you get a hundred of the best CRWdogs from around the globe together to accomplish a common goal.
    Click here for more Photos and Videos of the Record

    By faulknerwn, in Events,