5th Dubai International Parachuting Championships Underway

    Image by Juan Mayer The Dubai International Parachuting Championships began yesterday with the opening of registration, arrival of delegations as well as the first series of practice jumps. Registrations will continue today, Thursday the 27th November 2014 with the addition of the first series of meetings and conferences for the judges, and managers taking place. Final (late) registrations will take place on Friday, as well as the first series of competition jumps which will begin at 09:00. Later in the evening the opening ceremony will take place. The competition will continue on until the afternoon of Friday the 5th of December, with closing ceremony, award presentation and farewell dinner in the evening. The last two days of the event will see the departure of delegations as well as an air show.
    The DIPC first began 5 years ago and has since become a highlight of the annual skydiving calander, playing host to the best skydivers in the world. They will be competing for a total prize pool in excess of $400 000.

    Dr.Rainer EXI Hoenle, chief judge of the 5th DIPC recently published a bulletin to the Emirates Aerosports Federation (EAF) website detailing some of the technical aspects and rules of the competitive categories, which can be viewed on their website.
    The weather forecast for the next 10 days is mostly positive, with only a chance for rain forecast by some weather agencies on the Monday. Otherwise everyone is holding thumbs for a jump friendly period, with winds hopefully remaining below the limits.
    Dropzone.com will be bringing you updates throughout the event over the course of the next 10 days, so be sure to check in regularly.
    Video footage from the 2013 Dubai International Parachuting Championship

    By admin, in Events,

    FAI World Cup 2014 - Indoor Skydiving Competition

    The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) - The World Air Sports Federation, was founded in 1905. Skydivers from all over the world have been waiting for this moment of recognition where the indoor skydiving collides with skydiving and the indoor sport competition becomes real.
    In November 2014, history was made in the air sports. For the first time ever Indoor Skydiving was recognized as a sport by the FAI and a World Cup was held at iFLY Austin in Texas, USA. Many countries were represented such as Russia, USA, Canada, Mexico, France, Sweden, Czech Republic and Monaco.

    This is also the first time that a junior category has been recognized within the air sport. Aerokart Akademie sent their best flyers, two FS junior teams with flyers ranging from 10 to 13 years old and an average score of 12.8 and 10.7, Akademie 1 and Akademie 2.
    Both teams have been training hard and competed against five other teams in the same division leading the way for the Bad Boys, representing Czech Republic, with a beautiful win of 20.9 average score. Close behind was our USA team Spaceland Lite and Team eXact from Sweden. The podium never looked so good with so much international talent. In the female category, team Aerokart Deep Blue had a smashing victory with a 24.7 average score, allowing the female team from Czech Republic, Hurricane Factory Chicks, to get second place. These girls certainly made an impression with their coordinated jumpsuits and smiles.

    The Freefly discipline, part of the Artistic Events, always amazes the general public with the synchronized movements and sent the crowd rallying with applauses. Not to be surprised, team USA has put an enormous dedication into showing the world their passion for indoor skydiving and created a routine that took the judges off their feet. Team Mandrake, composed of Chris Dixon and Javier Serrano, won Gold with a 65.0 total score.
    Collective, the other USA team followed with the silver and Orion Freely from Sweden took bronze showing the judges’ one of the most challenging synchronized team exits of the competition The Mexican team, Avix, showed to everyone that with love and dedication, being part of the first world cup was an experience of a life time and to not ever be forgotten no matter what place you got.

    If you enjoy a dance routine performed by a single person that is full of emotion and energy; full enough to make your arm hair spike, than you know that the Freestyle category blew away many eyes and made many heads turn. Music choreography and soft dance moves were incorporated to impress the judges and general public. The indoor World Cup hosted seven Freestyle competitors and they all had their unique signature moves. USA was represented by our ‘Golden Boy’ Reese Willson with an total score of 60.4 and a final round flown with his arms inside his jumpsuit to encourage the disabled to participate in the sport! In second place were the famous pointy toes of Mike Silva with team Collective of the USA, followed by the exquisite flying technique of Olga Bakulina and Leo Volkov with the Russian delegation. Following up the Russians was Drew, Man of Steele, of the USA with his shocking triple flips, then the youngest world medal holder in indoor skydiving history Mateo Lumnios with his matching orange shoes. Lastly in the Freestyle category, Lise Hernandez Girouard represented Canada and got the crowd singing to “pretty woman” during of one of her performance rounds.

    Three countries were represented in the VFS category, USA, Poland and Mexico. SDC standard held their world class status with an average score of 24.3, sharing the podium with team Fly Definition in second place and Avix from Mexico in third. SDC Standard teammates Mickey Nuttall, Will Pesek , Rook Nelson and Jason Peters set the bar really high for anyone that would like to take their World Champion title away next year!
    A few years ago Gillian Rayner, the IPC Controller, explored the idea of creating the World Cup Indoor skydiving, working with Axel Zohmann, Director of the IBA, and iFLY Operations Manager, Erin Horton. Modifying the rules of skydiving and adapting them to an indoor 14 foot wind tunnel, we dedicated this World Cup to all future World Champions that will come after this grand year.
    To many hours of flying in the wind tunnel and to leaping into new winds, may this year motivate many of us to train and to empower our community to achieve new flying skills. We raise the glass to the FAI for making this dream a reality for all of the competitors. Here Here!

    By admin, in Events,

    Skydive Arizona Halloween Boogie 2014

    Photo by Hypoxic Imagine a skydiving vacation over Halloween in Arizona... free registration, discounted jumps, paintball wars dressed in costumes, an off-the-hook costume party, organizers leading your jumps from Arizona Airspeed, Arizona Arsenal and the Arizona Training Center, and jumps from all different kinds of fast airplanes - skyvans, otters and a DC3... Does that sound good? Well, nearly 300 registered participants lived that imagination at Skydive Arizona's Halloween Carnival from October 31st - November 2nd, and if you weren't here - you missed out!
    Skydive Arizona went all out setting up the desert landscape with scrapped vehicles, planes, hay bales and an awesome sound system to set the stage for the Apocalyptic Zombie Paintball Wars! Over 100 jumpers partook in the first annual games winning jumps and tunnel time.

    Photo by Hypoxic Rigging Innovations put up this year's grand prize of a free Curve Container for the costume party. Skyventure donated several certificates for tunnel time, Skydive Arizona donated several jump tickets High But Dry Balloons donated 2 free balloon jumps and the Bent Prop threw in a few gift certificates as well. And that was enough motivation to get people to dress up in clever, bizarre, and detailed costumes.
    A 5-panel judge calculated their scores and awarded these 3 homemade costumes top 3:
    1st Place - Wookie/Big Foot (Casey Vanhyhuys)

    2nd Place - Pixar Lamp (William Cain)

    3rd Place - Magic Carpet Ride (Tomer Falach)
    Other categories winning prizes were Sexiest Male/Female, Best Group, Best Presentation, Best Product Placement and Most Disturbing.

    Photo by Niklas Daniel In conjunction to the Carnival, Sara Curtis and Ryan Risberg led a group to prepare for the Head-Up World Record Attempts coming up this November 20-23. Helping them out flying camera were Sam Baker and Nick Blacksher. The success of the camp was building 22 out of a 29-way.
    Don't miss out on next year's Halloween Carnival! Mark your calendars now, I dare you!

    Photo by Niklas Daniel

    Photo by Niklas Daniel

    Photo by Niklas Daniel

    Photo by Sam Schwan

    Photo by Sam Schwan

    Photo by Niklas Daniel

    Photo by Niklas Daniel

    By admin, in Events,

    2014 USPA Nationals - A Weekender’s Perspective

    Photo by Ori Kuper | USPA | SDC This was my 4th year at USPA Nationals (and my 3rd at Skydive Chicago), so when I rolled up to Skydive Chicago on September 12, the day before 4-way FS was scheduled to start, I knew the drill. Get there early in the day before the registration lines get too long. Receive and dispense hugs from your friends from around the country, some of whom you only ever see at Nationals. Manifest for a couple of low-key “get the butterflies out” jumps with your team before chilling out until the briefing and draw that night.
    Except this year, Mother Nature had different plans. The first two days of Nationals had brought the miserable weather the Midwest is sometimes known for. The dropzone was full of maudlin vertical formation skydiving (VFS) and mixed formation skydiving (MFS) competitors, so some of those hugs were of the “Awww, I feel your pain” variety, as friends who’d trained all year were facing the possibility of weather truncating their competition to only a couple of jumps.
    The only competition going on was on the ground, with a friendly game of Four Square taking place outside, and a more competitive ($5 buy in) game of Corn Hole inside the hangar. Practice jumps on Friday were out of the question, so we went to bed with those butterflies holding strong, with their only to be exorcised on the first competition jump.
    Never fear, though, both Mother Nature and the meet management delivered on Saturday morning, with skies dawning clear (and pretty cold), and five Twin Otters ready to go to get not only the 10 4-way VFS and 10 2-way MFS teams in the air, but also get the Nationals’ largest event, 4-way FS (with its 56 teams) rolling.

    Photo by Ori Kuper | USPA | SDC Pausing for a moment to acknowledge what it takes to keep five Otters turning for two days straight, it’s hard not to be impressed by what the host DZs (and the supporting meet team from USPA) pull off every year, even with perfect weather. It’s a massive undertaking, and each time I compete, I’m impressed with how seamlessly it all seems to work (at least from the competitors’ perspective). I know that behind the scenes there’s a giant group of people working long hours to make sure that every part of the operations, from the judging stations to the fuel trucks to the toilets are working as they need to.
    Five Otters doing two passes per load means a jump run roughly every 2 ½ minutes. Skydive Chicago has a giant landing area, and the winds were favorable for parallel jump runs that still put most if not all of the jumpers in a good position for a safe on-field landing every time. Over my 10 jumps there, I only recall one or two times that we had a delay on jump run for traffic and spacing, and only one off landing (and that might’ve had as much to do with a slightly low pull as with the spot).

    Photo by Ori Kuper | USPA | SDC Saturday and Sunday brought two near-perfect days of weather, providing Meet Director Bill Wenger with almost enough of a window to complete the full competition for 4-way VFS and 2-way MFS. There was a heroic amount of scheduling Tetris taking place to alternate rounds of the two disciplines, especially considering there was quite a bit of competitor overlap. The vertical flyers competed at an atypical pace for Nationals, collectively agreeing that they’d rather accept shorter-than-required calls for the opportunity to get most or all of the competition rounds in. Saturday ended with MFS finishing five of its scheduled six rounds, and VFS finishing seven of eight, with the winners recognized at a medal ceremony Saturday night.
    At the same time, all of the 4-way FS competitors got through half their scheduled 10 rounds on Saturday, setting the competition up for an easy finish on Sunday with the predicted great weather. Sunday dawned clear and a hair warmer and a great day of weather allowed the 4-way FS competition to finish up. As Sunday’s jumps wrapped up in the early afternoon, both in the Open and Intermediate categories the race for Bronze came down to the final jump, with a crowd of competitors gathering around the monitors in the hangar to watch the judging of Round 10 live to see who would go home with a medal.

    Photo by Ori Kuper | USPA | SDC Speaking of medals, one of the best parts of Nationals is the awards ceremonies, which are scattered throughout the event as each discipline finishes up. There usually aren’t any surprises in the medals – the standings were set as soon as the judges finished their work, but it’s a chance to be recognized in front of your fellow competitors for a job well done.
    This year’s 4-way FS medal ceremony Sunday evening brought a special opportunity for USPA Director of Competition Jim Hayhurst to recognize someone that anyone who’s ever competed in 4-way has admired – Mark Kirkby – who is retiring from full-time competition with Arizona Airspeed after this Nationals. Typical of Mark, he won’t slow down much as he steps back into the alternate role on Airspeed, and will continue to coach and organize in Arizona and around the world.
    The enthusiastic and extended standing ovation for Mark showed just what an impact he’s had on the competitive 4-way world in the 20 years since he was a founding member of Arizona Airspeed. I’ve been privileged to jump with and be coached by Mark several times at Skydive Arizona, including my 1000th jump in late 2012, where I managed to talk three of the then-current members of Airspeed into joining me for a 4-way! Like so many of the top names in our sport, he remains ever helpful and humble as he passes on his wisdom to the next generation of skydivers and being part of the crowd that honored him was a great way to end my 2014 4-way experience.
    About Krisanne Combs:
    Krisanne Combs is a weekend warrior who has logged 1450 jumps in her 10 years in the sport. She competed in 4-way FS this year as part of 5th Wheel, a Northern California-based team. Krisanne lives in Oakland, California, where she has a paid job for a large health plan, and an unpaid job as staff for two freakishly large male cats. When she’s not in her local skydiving haunts of Skydance Skydiving or iFly SFBay, she’s probably planning her next skydiving trip.
    More of Ori Kuper's photography can be found on his website and Facebook page.

    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,

    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,

    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,

    Puerto Escondido New Years Boogie

    Event organizer, Monika Peligro Davalos, dropzone manager, Hector Montaño and the entire staff at Skydive Cuautla outdid themselves hosting another amazing New Year’s Boogie in Mexico! 110 registered skydivers invaded the shores of Puerto Escondido for their 20th Annual New Year’s Boogie. The eleven-day boogie from December 26th – January 7th, brought skydivers from all over Mexico, Austria, USA, Holand, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Peru, France, Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. Organizers were: Fernando Gallegos from Peru, Jose Alejandro “Negro” Novoa from Mexico, Jess Harper from Canada, and Melissa (Nelson) Lowe from the US.
    Monika Peligro Davalos organized several group dinners, as well as the annual, infamous lagaoon party, and white party that included launching lanterns, a banquet at Hotel Arcoiris with a DJ who spun away pop American music to latin salsa.
    Puerto Escondido is a remote paradise located on the west coast, far south in Mexico. Not only does Puerto Escondido still feel like Mexico, the drop zone is a paradise itself with flushing toilets, bunkhouses, a café, and a shaded packing area. The drop zone is also beautifully landscaped that adds to the essence of Mexican paradise.
    From the organized sunset tracking to the early bird 17,000’ jumps to the Mexican hospitality, this has been one boogie to remember.

    Skydive Cuautla is located an hour from Mexico City and hosts two annual boogies and more information can be found at www.SkydiveCuautla.com

    By admin, in Events,

    Skydive Arizona - Christmas / New Years Boogie 2013 Review

    The Christmas New Year's Boogie at Skydive Arizona ran from December 21st to January 1st. The drop zone pulled out all the stops to make sure there was something for absolutely everyone at this year's boogie. The registration fee was only $35 and jump tickets were discounted to $21 for the duration of the event. The boogie fleet included Skydive Arizona's Otters, Skyvans, and the DC3. Burner's Skydive Arizona hot air balloon (High But Dry Balloons) was also available for jumps most mornings and afternoons. The weather was nearly perfect for most of the boogie with afternoon highs frequently reaching the 70s.

    Load organizers from the Arizona Training Center, Arizona Airspeed, and Arizona Arsenal were on hand for the full event for belly flyers and free flyers, and Sean "Monkey" Horton was available to organize wing suits. The drop zone also hosted numerous skydiving events for those who wanted more structure to their jumping days. These events included an AXIS Flight School B-License Canopy course complete with water training; Women's FS Sequentials with Brianne Thompson (AXIS Flight School) and Sara Curtis (Arizona Arsenal); two 4-Way Days and two Big Way Days with Arizona Airspeed; and a Hybrid Day, a Tracking/Angle Flying Day, a Head Down Formation Day, and an Upright Formation Day with Arizona Arsenal.

    The fun continued every night after sunset with free boogie beer for all registered jumpers. To help cut down on drinking and driving, Skydive Arizona offered a free shuttle service for boogie participants every night from Christmas to New Year. Evening seminars were offered some evenings including Canopy Flight with AXIS Flight School, Intro to 4-Way FS with Arizona Airspeed, Big-Way Flying with Arizona Airspeed, Tracking/Angle Flying with Arizona Arsenal, and Basics of Free Fly with Arizona Arsenal. The boogie also offered free appetizers on Christmas Eve at the Bent Prop, a Christmas movie night (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), a Hypnotist show, a Skyvan Tailgate party (to celebrate the arrival of Skydive Arizona's new Skyvans number six and number seven), an 80s Dance Party, a bonfire and hot dog roast (an annual Skydive Arizona tradition), and a wish lantern release. The biggest hits for evening entertainment were definitely Casino Night and the New Year's Eve Party. The top prize for Casino Night was a trip to Lost Prairie 2014 or the Skydive Arizona Christmas New Year's Boogie 2014 won by Jesse Williams. Other prizes included SkyVenture Arizona tunnel time, Skydive Arizona jump tickets, Bent Prop gift certificates, a Phantom X helmet from Square 2, a balloon jump from High but Dry Balloons, massages from Toltec Wellness Center, and lots of other prizes from Rigging Innovations, Cypress, Bev Suits, Vigil, UPT Vector, and Icarus Canopies. The New Year's Eve Party included free champagne and a balloon drop at midnight. Select balloons contained even more awesome prizes from the sponsers/vendors already mentioned.

    Overall, a great boogie. Everyone had a chance to relax and have fun but also work on developing their skills in their chosen disciplines. Thanks to all the Skydive Arizona staff for their hard work that made this event run smoothly. And of course thanks so much to the 500 skydivers who came out to play!

    By admin, 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,