216th Anniversary of the First Parachute Jump

    Today recognizes the 216th anniversary of the first parachute jump, made back in 1797 by French aeronaut André-Jacques Garnerin. Garnerin, who was born on the 31 January 1769 was a student of the legendary ballooning pioneer, Jacques Charles. Charles himself, a decade before Garnerin's record was set, set a record of his own when along with Robert brothers, he became the first to used a hydrogen-filled balloon for manned flight. Garnerin, no doubt heavily inspired by his professor, began to forge his own path in the aeronautics world, becoming the Official Aeronaut of France.
    France was undoubtedly the hot spot for aeronautic discovery and innovation in the 18th century, and in 1783 it was the Frenchman, Sébastien Lenormand who invented what is considered the first modern parachute.
    The original design that was used by Garnerin for the first parachute jump was naturally a far cry from what we are familiar with today. The parachute itself was made from silk and was approximately 23 feet in diameters. The device was constructed using rope to connect the basket to the edges of the material. Prior to ascent the parachute resembled a closed umbrella and consisted of a pole which ran down the middle, with rope that ran through the pipe. This was used to attach the parachute to the balloon that he would be ascending with.

    The occasion of the first parachute jump itself took place in Parc Monceau, Paris on the 22 October 1797. Garnerin made ascent to a height of around 3,000 feet, before cutting the rope that connected the parachute to the balloon, and in turn allowed him to begin his descent. The descent was anything but smooth and Garnerin had to deal with the basket swaying violently during the flight, as well as having what could be described as a bit of a rough landing, with the basket scraping along the ground. In the end though, Garnerin had successfully completed the first parachute jump and paved the way for modern parachuting.
    Despite the fact that Garnerin was the first to perform a manned descent with a parachute, it is worth noting that 12 years prior to this, Jean Pierre Blanchard had used a parachute with a basket attached to perform parachuting demonstrations using a dog as a passenger.
    While given the advances made in France each year in the latter part of the 18th century, it was inevitable that a manned parachute jump would occur. It was Garnerin who made it happen first and can in turn be seen as the first modern parachuter in the world.
    Google honored this anniversary by adding a parachuting game to the Google doodles. Be sure to go check it out!

    By admin, in News,

    How to Start a Collegiate Skydiving Club

    Numerous people have asked me how to start and maintain a club in the past, so I have put together a little (or not so little) essay on how to do this. I started the skydiving club at the University of Maryland, College Park in September 1998. It has grown quite a bit since then and there is much more active participation by the members. The beginning of a club is very strenuous on the founder, as there is a lot of legwork and red tape to get through. But, someone has got to do it.
    Each school works differently for how a club could be formed. Anyway, you could find our constitution at: http://www.inform.umd.edu/StudentOrg/cpsc/Documents/Constitution.doc I thought that you could use that as a standard constitution to see what you could put into your constitution. Each school has different rules on what should be in a constitution but for the most part, they are all the same.
    You should see if you your school would actually permit such a club (skydiving) on campus. I say this b/c I have a friend who tried to start a club at U. Delaware and they didn't let him b/c the school takes on a different role with the student clubs there. At U. Delaware, the university has control over the club that they would be liable for any incidents. At U. Maryland, we are considered a student organization/club, NOT a sport club and the university allows us to do pretty much anything b/c they don't have any liability over us. The only thing that we must abide by are the basic university rules (non-discrimination, etc.).
    Okay, so I could only tell you how I started the club here at U. Maryland as I don't know how it works at other universities. We needed to fill out a student organization form that required a President's and Treasurer's signature. Moreover, it required a minimum of 7 other undergraduate students to sign and put their social security #'s (Student ID's) on it. Finally, we had to have an advisor sign it. The advisor could be anyone who is faculty/staff of the university as long as they are not an undergraduate student (I'm UMD's advisor now as I finally became a graduate student and TA for the university). Most professors are kind of wary about signing a form to be an advisor for a skydiving club. Therefore, you might need to go to your Office of Campus Programs (that is what it is called at UMD) and request some literature to show to the potential advisor on what they are liable for or what they are not liable for within the club.
    After you get them to sign the application and you have the signatures/SID #'s of other students and the constitution done, you hand it in to the Office of Campus Programs. It may take a little while for them to approve it as they need to read your entire constitution and pick out the details that need to be changed.
    After they approve it, you might want to apply to the Student Government Association (SGA) to be a club under them. They may require you to change the constitution a little according to their policies but this is usually a standard procedure and the Office of Campus Programs should be aware of it already. So, you end up filling out another application to the SGA with some student signatures and Student ID #'s (25 minimum in UMD's case). After the SGA approves it, you may have to just be a SGA club without funding from the SGA for the first year. Again, it depends on the school. Anyway, the treasurer or whoever you have as the contact person would get a notification that a budget is due if you are requesting funding from the SGA. You need to fill out a budget with items that you wish the SGA would fund you for. I find the best way to get the SGA to fund a skydiving club is to orient everything around SAFETY as you stress that you want to keep all the skydivers in the club safe. They rarely refuse this. But, if you choose to itemize the same exact item without using the terms safety, they may reject your request. For instance, if you want to get some funding for equipment, you could call it "Safety equipment", which you may have to put under "Contractual Services" (as that is what it would be considered at UMD.
    Another example would be time in the wind tunnel, which you could call "Free fall Safety Training". This would also fall under "contractual Services". At UMD, they have a few different categories that you could itemize things under such as "Transportation", "Advertising", "Contractual Services", "Subscriptions", and "Dues and Fees". "Transportation" would be the use of a motor pool that your school may have (i.e. van). "Advertising" would be something such as an ad in the school newspaper. "contractual services" typically means paying for a "lecturer" to come (in skydiving, it would be an instructor or some other skydiving expert). Or you could use "Contractual Services" for stuff such as Safety Training (as in my example of the wind tunnel). Moreover, you could designate the "Contractual Services" to alleviate the initial cost of 1st timers. The SGA would also be happy with this as you tell them the entire goal of the club is to get more students into the sport of skydiving and introduce diversity among the club while keeping it as cheap as possible. "Subscriptions" would be something like a subscription to "Skydiving Magazine" in the name of the club. But, this would be rejected if you don't have a centrally located office where students could come to. "Dues and Fees" would refer to the club membership fees to USPA ($200 the first year and $100 every year thereafter). The money from the SGA doesn't usually go directly to the club, but rather an invoice may need to be required by the company, which you want the SGA to pay with the Federal Employee # and mailing address for the check. The university may take a while to process this and send it to the company that you want the money to go towards. Our university is big on "Safety" and "Diversity". So, you could tell the SGA that you are trying to make the club as diverse and safe as possible, so you need their financial assistance. If the SGA says no, they are just pricks.
    You could make your club a "sport club" by contacting your school's "Campus Recreation Services" department and talk to them about it. They may fund you after a year of recognition or so. This funding may include club gear (rig, etc.) and owned/maintenance by the Campus Rec. Services. But, at UMD, it ends up being a huge hassle b/c the Campus Rec. Services requires meetings every week, a lot of paperwork, permission for the club to leave the state (our dropzone is in a different state), and permission to spend money where we want to. The only advantage of becoming a sport club is that the Campus Rec. Services may potentially buy us gear. Of course, this all depends on the school.
    Next thing you might want to consider (depending on the drop zone's waiver and the university's policies) is a legal waiver for your members to sign. You could get this done through the Student Legal Aid Office that some schools may have on campus. We started using the legal waiver when we first started but that got phased out b/c the drop zone's waiver covered us, as well as our club is just considered a "referrer" as opposed to a profit organization.
    A website helps the club enormously in getting information out to the public and to the students who don't quite understand what skydiving is about. You should have descriptions of the types of jumps (i.e. Tandem, AFF 1, and Static Line), prices of the jumps, and pictures of what each type of jump looks like. Also, you should have directions to the drop zone, contact information for possible students, events calendar, FAQ section, statistics on how skydiving is safer than driving your car or even walking on a treadmill. You could take a look at our club's website to get a general idea of what information you may want to have on your web page at: http://www.umd.edu/StudentOrg/cpsc
    You need to choose which drop zone will handle your club. You should call all of the local drop zones nearby and tell them that you are apart of a club at a university and you want to set some prices that are discounted dramatically from the regular price. If you are apart of a big university, you could tell them that and that you are potentially able to get hundreds of 1st timers each year. Also, you may want to work a club membership fee into the price of the 1st jump. That way, the club could make some money towards other things (i.e. boogies, gear, etc.). You could even have a "referral fee" worked into the price but that is your choice. Basically, you should have the total price be lower than the regular price by a good amount, which will increase your potential of getting students to jump through your club. Another thing to consider when choosing the drop zone is the type of aircraft they have. Drop zones with little Cessna's may not be able provide the necessary service for large groups. Also, if you were to charge a membership fee to people who are jumping through your club for the first time, you may want to give them something back in return such as a "free" t-shirt, sticker, etc. that would cost the club $5 per person. This money would be met up with the money from the membership fee. Anyway, this item that you would give the student would also allow you to get advertising on campus. A t-shirt would be worn around and others may ask that person about it. Then, they would probably direct those people to your club.
    You should choose 2 - 4 jump dates throughout each semester to start off with. That way, if someone can't make it 1 of the dates, they could make it to another one. Before each jump date, you may want to have an "information session" meeting somewhere on campus. In the meeting, you should go over what each type of jump is like, the costs, the places to sleep/shower at the drop zone, safety, clothing to wear on the jump, what skydiving feels like (not roller coaster type of feeling), pics/video of people who already jumped who are in your club, etc. The pics/video of professional skydivers are good to get the students interested but it is also good to have some of the experienced skydivers at the university. That way, the students would realize that it is very possible that they could become good at the sport while having a good time as you started out the same way at some point. You may want to have the club pay for some pizza, which sometimes is an initiative to get people to go to the meetings. It is okay b/c it will pay off as people will become interested in skydiving through the meetings. You could make this meeting as formal or informal as you wish. You might want to have some gear there to explain the different components of it along with its safety devices (i.e. AAD and RSL). Moreover, you might want an instructor from the drop zone come and make a speech about skydiving and the drop zone itself. Just remember this, the students are going to be very nervous and scared about their first jump, so keep that in mind when giving a speech in these meetings. Don't make any skydiving jokes mocking death. In fact, explain to them that skydiving is safer than most acts of daily living. But, still keep their attention by telling them that you are a student too and like to have fun. Just don't act cocky about it as the students will think that their safety would be in jeopardy. The most important key to these meetings is to smile and act extremely excited about the sport. The students will draw off of your enthusiasm and you will have more students wanting to jump despite the costs!
    Besides these information meetings, you should have general club meetings with the active members. You should discuss advertising issues, budget issues, etc. with them. This way, you all could brainstorm for more ideas as well as it would get the other members more involved with the club. This way, you don't have to do all the work. You could delegate the work so it is easy for everyone including yourself.
    Advertising: You should plaster the campus with fliers in the most NOTICEABLE areas. For example, at UMD, no one put fliers up on the bathroom doors in the dorms nor in the elevators until after I started doing it. Students notice these fliers while ignore the most used flier spaces (i.e. kiosks). You may want to make quarter sheet fliers and pass them out at a place on campus that many students frequent (i.e. Student Union or Dining Hall, etc.). Make the fliers have a dark background with light colored writing (i.e. white letters). This also, makes it more noticeable. Try not to have too much text on the fliers as students would just glance at it. You may want to just put "SKYDIVING" in large letters with information on the next jump or meeting along with your website.
    Other ways of advertising are pretty much infinite. You could put an ad in the school newspaper, put an ad on the football stadium's TV screen (or basketball), have some demonstration team jump onto campus with a banner trailing behind them, set up a table in front of the student union with pics of skydiving on a poster on the front of the table, co-host a happy hour with a local bar, or just email all of the presidents of other organizations (including frats/sororities) with information on your club.
    Fund raising would predominately be through your membership fees or referral fees. But, you could always purchase t-shirts or stickers, etc. with your club logo on it and sell them at a reasonable cost.
    If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at: Lgershen@umd.edu
    Blue Skies, Soft Landings,
    Lewis D-25265

    By admin, in News,

    Close Call As Perris Plane Collides With Fuel Tanker

    A jump ship at Perris airport was involved in a collision with a fuel truck on Wednesday 24 May 2017. According to official reports, the plane was in the process of landing when it hit the fuel truck, causing damage to the front and the wing of the plane. The aircraft then spun out of control, stopping just short of one of the building structures.
    Despite a hard collision with the truck, and extensive damage to the plane, there was no fuel leakage from the truck after the incident.
    Only minor injuries were reported by one of the two individuals on board, both of whom declined any medical treatment at the scene. The situation could have been different had the fuel tanker leaked, or had the plane been going any faster.
    The 1976 de Havilland “Twin Otter” DHC-6 suffered severe damage to both the right wing and the nose of the aircraft. It wasn't immediately clear whether the aircraft was being rented by the dropzone or whether it is owned by Perris.
    After the series of plane crashes in the past 2 years, this incident will go down as a best case scenario, with no fatalities or severe injuries.
    The information as to exactly what happened to cause the plane to collide with the tanker wasn't immediately published, and would likely warrant an investigation prior to any public information being released.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydiver Wins Lawsuit Against Teammate

    CALGARY, June 26 (Reuters) - A Canadian skydiver who was knocked out by a teammate during a jump, then plunged nearly half a mile (more than half a kilometre) to earth, was awarded C$1.1 million ($748,000) in damages by a judge who ruled the teammate was negligent.
    Gerry Dyck, an expert who had made about 1,800 jumps before the 1991 mid-air accident, sued Robert Laidlaw, charging the team member failed to take proper care to avoid the collision that caused him severe brain injuries and ended his career.
    The case raised questions about how much risk one can expect in an inherently risky sport, and included expert testimony from a veteran Hollywood stuntman known for his work in several James Bond movies.
    In his 19-page decision issued late last week, Alberta Judge Peter Power ruled Laidlaw violated well-established safety procedures by failing to keep a proper lookout for Dyck while manoeuvring his body in preparation for opening his parachute.
    "The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff which was breached by the unchecked turn into the plaintiff's air space," the judge wrote. "This act, which was foreseeable, was negligent and resulted in substantial harm being inflicted on the plaintiff."
    Dyck's injuries were severe enough to prevent the 43-year-old former surveyor from holding a job ever since.
    "The judge found that this is not a sport about people falling from the sky like flies, it's a sport that's highly regulated, that's highly controlled in terms of procedures and prescribed practices," Dyck's lawyer Greg Rodin said on Monday.
    During the trial in Calgary this spring, the judge heard the eight-person team jumped out of a plane at an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,800 metres) on May 5, 1991. The members went into formation to perform manoeuvres while free-falling above the farmland near Beiseker, Alberta, 47 miles (76 kilometres) northeast of Calgary.
    The jumpers were to perform manoeuvres until they fell to 3,500 feet (1,067 metres), then "track off," or steer away, so they could open their parachutes.
    As they opened their chutes, Laidlaw's elbow hit Dyck in the head, knocking him unconscious and causing the two men's parachutes to become tangled.
    At about 2,200 feet (670 metres), Laidlaw managed to free himself and land using his reserve chute. But Dyck, out cold, remained entangled and plummeted to earth, sustaining severe brain injuries and broken bones in his right arm.
    Laidlaw had testified that as he moved away from the centre of the formation, he lost sight of the other jumpers in his peripheral vision, indicating to him that he was sufficiently clear of his teammates.
    Testifying on behalf of Laidlaw was B.J. Worth, an expert skydiver and stuntman, who co-ordinated and performed aerial stunts for numerous motion pictures, including such James Bond films as "Tomorrow Never Dies," "Goldeneye," and "License to Kill."
    Worth's testimony did not convince the judge, however.

    Dan Downe, Laidlaw's lawyer, said he was surprised by the ruling, and was reviewing it to determine whether there were grounds for appeal.
    "We were quite confident that the trial evidence indicated that Laidlaw did not make any turn prior to collision, and he was the only eyewitness because Dyck was rendered unconscious," Downe said.
    Rodin said Dyck was pleased with the result because it proved his right to compensation after nine years, and that he believed the skydiving community would "benefit from a decision that holds jumpers accountable for their conduct in the sky."

    By admin, in News,

    Angled Wingsuit Windtunnel To Open in Stockholm

    With more than four thousand jumps over the last fourteen years, Jarno McCordia is one of the most experienced and highly respected wingsuit pilots in the world. Here he joins us to discuss a couple of upcoming projects from the pointy end of wingsuit flying. First up is a look at the soon-to-open indoor wingsuit facility in Stockholm.
    Towards the end of 2016 footage began to emerge of an angled tunnel facility in Sweden where some ambitious aeronautical engineers have been conspiring to do for wingsuit flying what vertical wind tunnels have done for our skydiving skills - change everything.
    Brought quietly onto the project in early 2016 by the founder of Phoenix Fly and wingsuit development grand wizard Robert Pecnik, Jarno immediately saw the potential:
    “The whole thing was already underway a fair bit when I got involved in an active way. Secretly Robert had already been working for almost a year with the team behind the technology to realise the project. The first test flights had already been done when I was invited to come take a look at the flying and help assess things - mostly from an instructional point of view but also to see how far we could push the flying. Normally a lot of the development and testing we do together is open and shared process - so to have Robert tell me he had some news but couldn't show me anything until we met in person made me suspect it was something big.”

    “The flying I saw at that point was just steady cruising, but it immediately made me realise what I was seeing and the potential of how it could change the sport in a similar way that indoor skydiving transformed Freefly and FS in terms of skills and training.”
    Many disciplines within skydiving are evolving quickly and wingsuit flying is no exception. Suit designs are continually updated as our methods are refined and our abilities better understood. Steep and fast is the way to maximise the potential of a wingsuit - but getting it right takes time. How does the tunnel work and what have you learned about the instruction process so far?
    “The whole tunnel chamber is a moving structure of which the angle can be altered from pretty much flat to almost vertical. This ability to do this gives us a glide ratio varying from 1:1 all the way up to 3.65:1 (comfortably more than the sustained full glide on high range wingsuits) and the controllable speed of the tunnel is from 0 to almost 300km/h. Balancing these two factors means the tunnel is able to match the glide angle and for the suit one is flying and be appropriate for the skill level of the pilot. We have looked a lot at the teaching technique for beginners as we see that as being a significant percentage of customers. Experienced wingsuit pilots will also need to learn the basics first so that was an important area to focus on.”
    The indoor skydiving industry has a complex system of managing students abilities while they are training developed over many years . With good quality instruction accidents are few and far between but there is still some inherent risk. What have you learned so far about keeping people safe?
    “In terms of spotting and safety, procedures will vary a lot from what people are used to. I cannot go into to much detail yet due to a pending patent, but there is an assisted flight system that holds the student in a central position in the tunnel. There is free range of movement in all directions but only up a certain degree. In a similar way to how a seatbelt works, any rapid movement towards the ground or the walls is halted in a gentle way. Once pilots reach the stage where they can fly around free without any assistance it will be possible to get into close contact with the floor and walls, though experience has shown that the lower windspeed and design of the tunnel make those situations a lot less severe than one would expect. I’ve been practicing some quite aggressive acrobatics and of course it does not always go down without a hitch, though due to the padding and angle of the chamber you never really hit hard and you get gently rolled down to the floor - feet first.”
    “Initially there is something very intimidating about flying in a confined space but it pushes the accuracy and precision of your flying to a new level. It has definitely helped me realise how much further we can develop the precision of our flying. Even in the smaller test setup we have been flying 2-way and performing advanced acrobatics. Once the full-scale tunnel opens in September the possibilities are limitless - we are already going to host the first indoor acrobatics competition in December.
    LT1 is currently scheduled to open in September 2017.
    You can read more about the project and the history of the facility here: https://flywingsuit.se/

    By admin, in News,

    World Championships in Freestyle Swooping Coming This August

    FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017 will be the first ever World Championships in the urban parachuting discipline, freestyle swooping, and it will take place in the heart of Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, August 25 and 26 2017 - making this the premiere of a whole new urban world championship settings: Taking world class air sport to the people in the middle of great cities.
    18 of the best canopy piloting athletes in the world will battle it out for the first ever world championship title in the freestyle discipline over two phenomenal days of high octane parachuting athleticism in the centre of Copenhagen. Over 100.000 spectators will be watching the event live with millions watching online and behind the screens worldwide.
    The event format is the idea of two Danish entrepreneurs and in only three years, the event has grown massively and has revolutionised the sport.

    Swooping is the new darling of parachuting and the freestyle discipline is the most spectator friendly and adrenaline seeking within human flight.The high-impact, adrenalin-fuelled discipline of Freestyle Canopy Piloting is known as Swooping, and involves parachutists flying at high-speed across a ‘Swooping Pond’ to score points based on style and execution.
    Canopy pilots jump out of a plane or helicopter in 1,500 m/5,000 feet altitude, release the canopy straight away and start to navigate towards the surface immediately. To gain great speed, they make a series of turns before reaching ground level, and right before they make contact with the surface, they straighten out and with speeds up to 150 km/90 miles per hour, they do their freestyle trick on the water surface before landing on a platform on the water right in front of the spectators.
    From local pilot project to official world championships
    With the world championship stamp from the The World Air Sports Federation, FAI, the Danish organizers have gone from an idea and a pilot project to an official world championship in only three years.
    "In the space of three years we have gone from an idea and pilot project with 10,000 spectators to an internationally recognised platform with hundreds of thousands now following live and behind screens across the globe. We have taken the sport on a journey, with the athletes now seeing themselves in a professional light and professional settings in the heart of major cities whereas they before were used to competing in small airports without spectators or media coverage. We have managed to bring the environment and talent together in a major project within the city and now with official recognition and the World Championship we are a step closer to realising our dream of a World Series," George Blythe, CEO of A. Sports, the organisers of the FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships says.
    International federation: We could not have a better venue than Copenhagen
    "Freestyle Swooping really is one of the most exciting and dynamic air sports to watch. So it is very exciting, and my genuine pleasure, to welcome the athletes to the very first FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships in Copenhagen. There couldn’t be a better venue than in the heart of this great city. It really is unique, and will help bring this rapidly growing sport to thousands of spectators both in the city and through the media. I would like to wish all the competitors, organisers, and volunteers a fun, safe and fair competition. I am looking forward to following this amazing event," FAI President Frits Brink said.
    "The FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships adds another dimension to our work with sporting events. Here we are talking about an event that has been developed in Denmark and now has been appointed official world championships. That fact is a cadeau to the organisers and the partners behind," says Lars Lundov, CEO, Sport Event Denmark which partners the event.
    FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017
    Training and Swoop Night Lights Friday August 25, Qualifying and Finals Saturday August 26 2017.
    Location: Peblinge Lake, Queen Louise's Bridge, central Copenhagen.
    18 parachute pilots from 12 countries.
    It's the first swoop freestyle world championships ever in freestyle swooping (canopy piloting).

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    By admin, in News,

    Skydiving From a Drone - A World First

    The world’s first human jump from the drone is accomplished
    Latvians have accomplished the world’s first human flight with the drone and jump at high altitude. On May 12, a 28-propeller drone built by Aerones has lifted a skydiver Ingus Augstkalns at a height of 330 metres, from where he accomplished the planned jump and landing with the parachute.
    Successful achievement shows the reliability and lifting-ability of the drone technology that approves unlimited possibilities for its use in saving people, fire-fighting, sports and entertainment.
    Ingus Augstkalns, an author of the idea and skydiver: “Emotions are fantastic. Both feeling how easily and quickly the drone lifted me, and because Latvia proves itself in innovations of technology. It is obvious that we will experience an increasingly important use of drone in our everyday life. Definitely also my friends skydivers all over the world will be excited about these new opportunities. We live in an exciting time.”
    Jānis Putrāms, a chief engineer of Aerones and a pilot of the drone: “Already in the near future, our technology will save human lives, will help to fight fires and carry out other challenging and significant work. With this project, we show that we are ready for serious tasks in the field of civil defence and sports.”
    The jump was accomplished in Māļi, rural area of Amata, Latvia, in cooperation with the State JSC Latvian State Radio and Television Centre (hereinafter -– LVRTC), whose communications tower of 120m was used as a platform for the jumper. In order to reduce potential risks, the drone took the jumper from the tower of 120m and then lifted up in the height intended for the jump.
    Preparations lasted six months, at which time the payload of the drone increased up to 200 kg and a number of tests were carried out, including the flights with the jumper over the river Daugava.
    Aerones is the Latvian drone manufacturer that is focused on the development of drones with high lifting power.
    Ingus Augstkalns is an experienced skydiver and a wind tunnel flyer. He also is a co-founder of innovative technologies companies AERODIUM Technologies, Cube and Captomatic.
    We thank our partners Latvian State Radio and Television Centre, FILMORY, FlyVision, SABI, f64, AERODIUM, Civil Aviation Agency and Skydive Latvia for cooperation and support for project implementation.
    Editor's Note: With the exit altitude being just 330 meters, some may consider this more of a BASE jump than a skydive. Whatever you classify it as, we classify it as awesome.



    By admin, in News,

    Eating (And Breathing) Your Way to Peak Airsports Performance - Part 2

    Holistic Performance Specialist Lucie Charping Talks You In
    Image by Juan Mayer In our last article, we met holistic nutrition coach Lucie Charping, who works with elite athletes to get them--and keep them--at the top of their game. Often, that game is an airsport. Here’s the continuation of our conversation regarding peak performance strategies for more “normal” airsports athletes, like you and me. (Spoiler: These strategies work just as well if there isn’t a charging bull on your helmet.)
    ALO: If going cold-turkey on every naughty item in your diet isn’t the way to peak performance, then what is?
    Lucie: Changes made little-by-little help an athlete increase awareness and get in touch with their body’s natural intelligence by balancing the systems that run us. In actual fact, we're healed by those same systems that keep us going, so--if you balance those systems, such as blood sugar and pH--you'll be setting yourself up for a broad spectrum of positive effects, healing from stress and sports injuries among them. Make better choices until you build the momentum that gets the pathways programmed.
    ALO: It sounds just like establishing a yoga practice. Right? As soon as you keep the promise that you're going to do it for five minutes, before you know it, it’s 10; 20; 40; 60...
    Lucie: Absolutely. People think it's matter of willpower. It’s not. It's really a matter of neurobiology--what's happening in your brain, what's happening with your biochemistry, your neurotransmitters, what's happening in your gut--that’s making the decision about what you're going to eat.
    You can’t fight your hormones. No matter how strong of mind you think you are, you're ruled by your chemistry. You are strong of mind because of your chemistry. So: If you get your chemistry in alignment, you’ve essentially learned to hack yourself. You can not only be happier, more effective, more creative and more motivated in your daily life--but if you’re the kind of person who relishes a heightened-stress, high-consequence situation like skydiving, tunnel flying, BASE jumping, etcetera, then you’ll get even more benefit from this kind of management. You’ll learn faster, you’ll have faster decision-making and you'll have more focus to excel in these unique sports with their unique pressures.
    Of course, I could say to you, “Here; go to the dropzone with this power-packed superfoods smoothie of maca and cacao with all these berries in it.” And it would be super awesome, of course; it’d give you a short burst of energy for a short amount of time. But it’s not sustainable to do that every time you go to the dropzone; every time you go to the tunnel. If you learn how to balance your blood sugar, you're going to have an abundance of energy for an extended amount of time, and you don’t have to plug a blender in next to the packing mat.
    ALO: Let’s talk a little more about energy. It’s a big part of airsports to manage your energy when you’re waiting on loads or tunnel rotations or weather, and a lot of airsports athletes struggle with it. How can this stuff help with that?
    Lucie: The peaks and valleys in these sports are quite steep. I see a lot of adrenal fatigue and overactive minds in the group of people that I work with.
    For this, I’ll use the term “extreme sports,” because these athletes like to push their minds and physiologies to the extreme. When you put yourself in a high-consequence or high-risk situation constantly, the chemistry that is firing in your brain is full of reward chemicals. It’s highly addicting. Over time, you reset your brain’s baseline for what it means to feel good.
    When you're on the ground or on the bench, those reward chemicals are not firing. So, what happens is--more often than not, and you can correct me if I'm wrong--we have major addictions in these sports. Not just to drugs, though that is certainly within the landscape. We have addictions to sugar; caffeine; tobacco; all kinds of stimulants, and you can see for yourself how people are having to use those things constantly between jumps and flights. It's not because the individual a yahoo; it’s because their baseline chemistry is telling them this is what is required for you to feel happy now.
    So, on the ground as an action sport or, say, “extreme sport” athlete--for peak performance, you must learn to cultivate that chemistry whilst not risking your life. And you do that with the food that you eat and with relaxation practices. You can keep your blood sugar level, which keeps your mind and body in a receptive state, then cultivate that satisfying chemical response through breathing. Then you won't have to reach for an energy drink every time you pack, bouncing from one coffee to the next, not eating all day at the dropzone and then binging whenever you manage to get home.
    Peak performance comes with time. And so, it’s interesting to note, does optimal health and weight, without calorie counting, or deprivation, or guilt.
    ALO: It sounds way simpler than I thought.
    Lucie: It’s not really simple, it’s elegant. To me, that's where the power is. If you want to talk about what is both the barrier and the bridge between business as usual and peak performance for airsports athletes, it’s a single path, and it’s not complicated: cultivating these practices of prioritizing your food so you balance your body's chemistry and practicing mindfulness techniques in order to bring a single point of focus to your mind. Not only do you get better at jumping and flying; you become happier as overall person.
    Your body is magic; it's magnificent, actually We often forget about that. But we never, ever should.
    Lucie is based in San Diego, but travels to wind tunnels worldwide as the nutritional arm of Fusion Flow Retreats. To reach out to Lucie for a personal consult, pop over to her Facebook page.

    By admin, in News,

    Insights in Head Up Records - Interview with Fly Warriors

    Last June a new European head up record was set. 43 skydivers (plus 2
    cameramen) in the sky of Empuriabrava broke the previous 21-way record. Fly
    Warriors, a team of 4 talented freeflyers, was behind that achievement. Three of
    them, David Nimmo, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez and Gustavo Cabana visited the
    Belgian sky during the Flanders Boogie. I had the opportunity to interview them
    and get some insight of how this was done. After thanking them for accepting
    the interview, this is how the conversation went like.
    Who are Fly Warriors? Tell me a bit of your history, previous teams, how you've gotten together...Nimmo: Luis and I were both members of Babylon freefly for
    many many years. Around 2015 this was coming to an end, the end of an era, and
    being still very keen to push the sport and not to pull back the reins in and
    slow down, we combined with a 3rd guy -Raph Coudray-. He had just finished competing in VFS in one back to back world championship. It was kind of a natural
    thing forming something together. And then we added a couple of young guys -Leo and Gyzmo- into
    the team with similar ideas and did a 4 way dynamic team, which actually won the
    world championship together. That kind of was the first year. Then Leo and Gyzmo wanted to focus on tunneling. And with Gus, we needed
    video with obviously steady imaging and high quality. His level in freefly has
    improved a lot in the last years, he has put a lot of effort on in, and we
    asked him to join. And that's how we've got on. Real
    professionals, independent, autonomous, all of us doing our own thing, but we
    come together to do advanced and worthy stuff. So these jumps (head up European record) is how we do it.
    Luis: One of the rules to become a Fly Warrior is that you need to be
    over 40 (laughs).
    Damian: So if you guys meet somebody young but really great... he
    simply has to wait.
    Nimmo: Too immature. At 40 you start to be a man maybe (laughs).

    Warriors (From left to right: Gustavo Cabana, Raphael Coudray, Luis Adolfo Lopez-Mendez, David
    Nimmo) with the record holders and the rest of the crew. Photo: Mariana

    Empuria seems to be
    Europe's skydiving capital. What is the reason for that, what makes it so
    special in your opinion?Gustavo Cabana: Empuria has over 30 years of history and during that time
    they had many events and teams who train there because of the
    weather and the aircrafts. It is just the best place in Europe to skydive, the
    weather, the aircrafts...
    Luis: And the location.
    Gustavo: And the location! The location is incredible. I think it is
    the only dropzone in the world that is in the town. It is not in an airfield,
    in the middle of nowhere, it is really in the side of the town. Every time
    you go away to jump somewhere else and you come back you can't believe that.
    As a photographer to have the chance to jump there, to have the sea, the mountains,
    you know, it is kind of the perfect background.
    You were the
    organizing team for the recent European head up record. Congratulations for
    that fantastic achievement. What drove you to take on that challenge? At which
    point did you decide "we have to do this"?Luis: Nimmo and myself, when we were in Babylon, we were involved in
    other European records, head down. Head up started to wake up and become what it
    is today (with respect to records). So when we went from Babylon to the
    Fly Warriors Nimmo said to me that we should organize a head up record. And so
    we decided to start with the first one, two years ago. We did a 21 way.
    The problem is that the capacity of the planes is
    limited. It is too expensive to have that many planes and to make it happen. So
    being in Empuria with 3 planes made it easier to organize and we decided to put
    the full fleet into work. And then we were thinking in starting a bit smaller,
    but the two camps we organize in Empuria were really good and big and then the
    feedback and registration for the record... we had to tell people to stop,
    there was a waiting list. So we went for go big or go home, and we started with
    slots and 2 camera flyers, which is the capability of the planes.
    Nimmo: We basically maxed it out. To go any bigger we
    would have to find money for other aircraft or another location. Europe or South
    America don't have 5 Twin Otters or 7 Skyvans in the garage like in Eloy. So, it
    is harder go to massiver. Shame.
    How did you
    organize the try-outs to attract jumpers from all over Europe? How was the
    process of organizing the try-outs to select who is going to be part of it or
    not. Was it enough with the camps you had in Empuria, or did you try to have
    other people that you trust to organize some other camps, somewhere else in
    Europe?Nimmo: To try and make it work, there is some smooth out. We had
    different areas within Europe, like the German speaking section, the
    Scandinavians, the English, the French... and for each area we had a team
    captain. He was allowed to do some kind of trials to find out people of
    this area that he would recommend to come to the record. So those 5 guys that
    were part of that team had their job to do in the jump, and also to bring
    people to us. It's helped to some degree but the biggest thing we did was some
    try-out camps last year and 2 camps this year. We had a big interest in people
    wanted to do head up, and we had the capacity maxed out in those camps. Most
    people came from there. It worked out well. The
    dropzone wants to do formation records. That's an offer than other places can't
    do, that's a premium product that we have, and they are happy to that in the
    future. So of course in the future if we can we will keep doing this up to 40

    Base exiting from Twin Otter. Photo: Gustavo Cabana

    The level has to be
    super high once you select jumpers in the try-outs. How do you organize the
    jump then? How do you decide who goes in which airplane, who is on base, who is
    gonna sting it...?Luis: We try to find a slot for specific qualities. Maybe you are a
    heavy person and fly strong, so we put you in the base. The first stingers are
    people that can fly fast to get there. And then who closes
    the pod needs to have the ability to grab 2 hands and then give shape to the pod. So we kind of
    assess the people and give them a slot. We also had Antonio Aria taking care of
    the bench. He is a very good organizer and part of the world record crew. And
    in the last world record met with Raph Coudray and David Nimmo in Eloy. So that, combined with
    our experience, the experience of the world record, and Antonio taking care of
    the bench helped us to take decisions. When we needed to have a change we would come to Antonio and
    say "we need a second stinger", and he would say "ok, from the
    bench, this guy is rock solid. Now. Today". Because sometimes you have the
    issue that you know people that are good flyers, but maybe they are having a
    bad week or a bad day. And there is some other people that might not be that
    strong, in paper, but that day they are on and then get on it. We had issues
    with some flyers that were really good, but they had to be cut off, which it
    was a surprise for me, and for sure for him. But then other people did their
    job and at the end it is not a personal thing, we have a job to be done, and is
    to get a record. It is a common goal
    and not a personal goal. Which sometimes people don't understand. At the end,
    after every record I tell Nimmo I won't never do this again -and then we do
    another one-. Because you have 45 people that love you, then 15 that understand
    that they had a very good training with the bench group, and 10 that don't like you
    Damian: I guess it is also difficult if you have the level to be
    there but are kicked out because you are not being consistent enough, I
    guess... you know, it has to hurt your ego as well.
    Luis: That's the biggest problem in skydiving at the end.
    Damian: Ego?
    Luis: Ego. Ego is a bitch. And it can kill you.
    How did you decide
    in other factors like altitude (did you take it as high as possible, decided to
    do something lower...), speed (does the base accelerates or slows down, how
    much...), shape of the formation, number of people on base, number of people on
    base during exit.... How do you decide about all those details?Nimmo: Experience. We have done it enough and we trust that gut.
    The formation is just a standard formation, a round thing with
    round things attached to it. The base of whatever size and then you connect
    pods like doing Lego. So there is nothing really to think about. And with Luis'
    experience and Raph's, we look at people and we decide where they are gonna be.
    Then you make mistakes and they might not be in their best place so you move
    them around. But the most important thing for me is that we had a good base.
    This is the key. If you have planes doing their job, the base doing
    its job then you just have to take the picture. That's it. If the planes make a
    mistake, they are too far away, whatever. The timing of the exit. Or the base
    makes a mistake. Then for sure I guarantee nothing is gonna happen.
    Luis: But everything starts from the number of people we are gonna
    use. Nimmo and myself were discussing for a few months already about how much
    people we are going to have in the base, if it is going to be 6 or 8 or 10. If
    we have enough people to do that base, to do the pods, what is going to be the
    shape... Like he says, we kind of go with the feeling. We can do this and we
    put it on paper. We do on the first attempt what we think is best, and then you
    realize that this person can be better here or there. So you start moving
    pieces around so the structure is more solid.
    Nimmo: We had a struggle with the beat. We did 6 jumps a day, which
    is a lot to 18000 feet. In the 2 and a half days that took us to do the record
    we did 16 attempts. Which is a lot of fucking work. So we really pushed it when
    we had the conditions. We could have problems with the weather... there
    are so many variables.
    Gustavo: The thing with a record is that you need more time, no? So
    why don't you go to 20000 or 25000? The problem when you go past 15000 is that
    there is less oxygen and people are more prone to have hypoxia. For that we use
    oxygen onboard, which helps you to keep sharp. But also because the planes need to climb
    in formation, it takes longer to go up and it is kind of... I think we found
    over the years that going to 18000 or 19000 maximum is a good compromise between
    the effort to climb and what you are going to get for the extra time in
    freefall. Also in the head down and head up world records we went to 18000-19000.

    The challengers getting together during one of the attempts. Photo: Gustavo Cabana

    It took 16 jumps to
    get the formation completed. How was the atmosphere before that? Were you
    absolutely confident you would make it?Nimmo: I mean, yeah. For sure the last 2 jumps... in the last one
    too... we were flying very strong. We knew we would get a record. We started to
    cut. We said 45... now we need to get a result. 44. We didn't get it. 43. Done.

    The head up world
    record is a 72 way, done in Skydive Arizona. Do you see that as an attainable
    number in Europe? Or are we limited because of the size of the dropzones and
    the number of planes there?Nimmo: It is logistics. You need to get sponsors that say "fuck
    let's make this happen, here you have 20 grand, two more planes". Hell
    yeah. But otherwise we have to pay. We, as the flyers. And there is a point
    where you go "I rather spend that money doing other cool shit". The
    record is very cool and it goes in the history books. It is an
    achievement for all the participants. But you are still limited by how much you
    have to pay for that. So yes, it is possible, but you need some extra sponsors.
    Gustavo: 3 years ago we did a world
    record with 106 people (FS sequential). But the thing is that bringing the
    planes there is super expensive. And if that money has to come from the pocket
    of the skydivers... it is too much money. It is really expensive to fly a plane
    to a dropzone.
    Luis: And it was happening, this 100+ way because Dubai helped financially to make it happen.
    Gustavo: If not it is impossible.
    Nimmo: It is possible, but we need someone to support it. But, why not?
    Shall we look? Maybe we get hungry in a year or two.
    Luis: That's why we stopped with the head down once. Basically.
    Nimmo: Logistics. That's about flying at the end of the day. Because
    if you have to choose between logistics and not flying you go "fuck this,
    I want to fly". So there is also that trade off in the equation as well.
    How much you want to work on the ground to make it happen, but all you want to
    do is flying.
    Luis: There is a lot of work behind the scenes. Registrations,
    payments, getting everything done... The good thing about our team is that
    everyone has a speciallity. And we combined them, and we do whatever we do
    strong. We are lucky that we have a very experienced camera flyer plus he is
    really experience with oxygen. So we have that part covered. Nimmo and me don't
    have to think about it. Nimmo has a lot of experience organizing big ways. And that experience helps you to do the
    things. Me and Nimmo are taking care of the administration as well. Receiving
    and sending emails. Nimmo was talking to the captains, I was organizing the
    Nimmo: Judges, T-shirts.... Bullshits that are just as important. And
    we all do that without effort. You don't have to grab anyone and tell them
    "do this" like a child. It is just "Hey, could you do this?
    -Yeah, sure". And it gets done. So this
    also makes the team mature enough to realize you have to do something to make it
    work and to do that without having to be hit with a stick.
    Luis: And how it works, I don't know. Because we are 4 alpha...
    Nimmo: Yeah, 4 alpha males, and we don't kill each other, that's rough.
    Damian: That's already an achievement (laughs).
    Luis: That's an achievement right there.
    Nimmo: Because we are more than 40. After 40 you can work together.
    Luis: But I think that's the key, you know? You have things that
    bother you about each other, because we are humans. But we are old enough to
    either talk about it or understand that no one is perfect and you have to deal
    with humanity.
    attempt diagram. 44 and 45 were cut off for the final record. One of the mottos
    of the record was "make head up great again". Why did you came up
    with it? When did it stop being great?Nimmo: That was because head up was kind of neglected. Head down
    records started in whatever it was... 21-way in Florida in 2001... when the 1st
    head up world record was in 2015 or something. That's 14 years neglected. For
    no reason. Head down has got massive, 164. Head up was nothing. So I was
    talking with Steve Curtis, a good friend of mine from Eloy. He thought "let's do a 30 way" the first one. They
    did 52! You couldn't believe it! Because it was just left on the
    shelf, blow the dust off and it was ready to go. So make head up great, bring
    it to the level it deserves. It is even more fun to fly, easier visually, it is
    more of human kind of orientation, it is better, for sure, its fun.

    Damian: That's funny that you chose the word "neglected"
    because I had a follow up question that used that word. Do you think it has
    been neglected in favor of head down?
    Nimmo: Head down is easier to build. Head up for sure its hard. You have to get
    in there, be humble and give it a try, and you have to work much harder. But
    visually it is easier, its more natural. People look like human beings not
    assholes and feet (laughs). But to be
    there you have to put a lot of work. Work really hard. But then it is super
    good. And it is so small! There is the 72-way, so we can get a head up record
    every year to get it up to 150 or something. I mean, it won't be like that
    What was in your
    opinion the biggest challenge of the record? What's the part that you've found
    more difficult? Was it the flying, finding the right people, nothing of it was
    really a challenge?Nimmo: The whole thing is this one big fucking package. So you just
    have to do it all. Was this harder than that? It doesn't matter, you have to do
    it anyway.
    Luis: The situation with the record is that it doesn't matter if we
    flew 42 way for 20 seconds and one person is missing. There is no record. Or 43
    flew for one minute but the camera didn't work, you know? Or 2 planes were
    super good and then one plane just lost it and people don't arrive. So at the
    end everything has to work, like Nimmo says. The pilots need to work together
    so we have a good drop, then the base has to be solid and then from there you
    start to construct. The camera needs to be in the right place, take the right
    shot so the judges can validate it. So, I would say, there is nothing more
    important than other things, because without the pilots we could not do it,
    without the base we could not do it, without stingers we could not do it,
    without the second stingers we could not do it, without the pod closers as
    well, without the cameras you can not, without the oxygen....
    Nimmo: Just before, until
    Sunday it was fucked up weather. And then hallelujah, we had blue sky. We were blessed with the
    weather. Again, that's another factor and you can't control it. But it would
    have been very frustrating that being the fucked up. But it wasn't.
    Luis: And then everyday you need a lot of work after the jump and
    before the jump. At nights, Gus can tell you, how much work he has to do to
    prepare the planes to be ready to go.
    Gustavo: Yes, because after every couple of jumps we need to exchange the
    oxygen bottles. Attach them to the plane, the regulators. And sometimes the plane runs out of oxygen,
    and people are waiting... It is kind of stressing, but at the
    end of the day you have to do it, and when it works it is very satisfactory.
    I was on the boarding area with my rig and I had to
    check and make sure that every airplane had oxygen to go up. Because I've been
    in many occasions in other records when you go to altitude, and they cancel the
    jump because one plane run out of oxygen. And we had all to come down. It
    happened many times. Minimum 4 times in 4 different events.
    Damian: It has to be frustrating.
    Gustavo: Specially if you are the responsible for that. Everybody
    wants to kill you (laughs).

    43-way formation completed. Photo: Gustavo Cabana
    Who do you think is
    going to organize the record that will break yours? When and by how much? If
    that happens!Luis: What do you mean? In Europe?
    Damian: Yes.
    Luis: We will try to organize all the records in Europe.
    Nimmo: This is the best you could do. So if somebody wants to do it
    again... well, show me. In the history of records normally the dropzone or
    group that organized the previous one they do it again. The Arizona crew do the head up records.
    Rook Nelson does it with the head down records. Not because nobody else can do it,
    but because these guys really do it. If Rook said "fuck head down I am not going
    to do it" for sure someone will pick it up and try to run with it. But
    then, they don't have the experience. So it also makes sense to go with the
    guys who have done it once, twice, or five, six times.
    If somebody else tried to organize it I would never try to do anything against it, you've got to
    respect it. But the record is coming together, unified. We have to work
    together or we are going to get nothing. Unified, together, big. Not your own
    little shit.
    Question for Gus.
    The record is 43 people, plus cameramen. Gustavo, you were the wizard behind
    the lens -with Will Penny as second cameraman-. You were also in other records.
    How did you live each one of them?Gustavo: I always think that the cameramen are under pressure, but
    not the same kind of pressure as the participants. Normally in a record we
    have several cameras, so if one fucks up, the other one can have the shot. But
    in the formation if one fucks up there is no record. Our pressure is more about
    trying to be happy with us, with our job. The participants need to do their job
    to get the record, and I feel like I need to take the best picture I can to be
    happy with me. Also, I've been involved in records since many years, and what I
    like about them is that everyone come together, to do something together. It
    is not like in a competition where people compete against each other, and some
    are going to be happy and some are going to be losers. And not only jumpers,
    also people on the ground are helping you, your wife, your girlfriend, your
    boyfriend, whatever, are there to help you to make it happen. The feeling you
    have when is done is very unique. The feeling of unity and working together. I shoot almost every
    discipline in skydiving: Belly, canopy formation, head down and head up. And at
    the end I think that everyone has his own pace and feelings, but one feeling
    that for sure is great is that you are taking a picture of the best skydivers
    at that time in history. And it is a very good feeling to be part of that. It
    is cool. Everyone there worked hard to be there. It is not like "I want to
    do a record because I want to be cool". No, you need to work your ass off
    to be a record holder.
    European HeadUp Record 43 Way, June 23th 2017, Skydive Empuriabrava, Spain from Gustavo Cabana
    Assuming each one
    of these records is special, what made this one special for you?Gustavo: For me the most important record is the next one. It is not
    like this one is special, and the other one was less special. The record
    happened and it happened, it is in the past. Now you are looking forward to do
    something more. I think all of us are looking for that, looking to improve, to
    do it better, or bigger, or whatever, but looking forward, not backwards.
    Damian: Do you still see room for improvements, seeing that you are
    current record holders, that you have so much experience, and you are among the
    best in the world, do you still see room for improvement for what you do? Gus
    behind the camera, you guys load organizing...
    Nimmo: 100% man
    Luis: 100%
    Gustavo: If not you quit.
    Nimmo: We don't know shit. 20000 jumps and we feel like we know
    nothing. Sure.
    Luis: I learn everyday, even in these events (boogies). From the
    people, what I am doing. How did it work? What line I chose? Why I did that?
    How can I make it better, get it tighter? And that's how we do it, we think how
    to improve it, make it better, more efficient, we can dive better, we can build
    better, how can the base fly better, how can we fly better. Everyone for sure
    is looking at themselves in that video. And you are like "ok, I could have
    done this better, I shouldn't have gone that far, I need to do it earlier, the
    transition later". So I think everyone is criticizing themselves. At least
    me. I am looking at myself. I am looking at the picture, but I am looking at
    myself to see if I did a good job. How can I do it better next time?
    Nimmo: When you stop that shit you are getting old, and next step is
    death. So I am not going to stop that (laughs). You must keep doing this or you
    Luis: Or retire.
    Nimmo: Or retire. Play golf or some shit.
    Luis: And then you think about your swing (laughs).
    So, after this
    record, what is next? Is there any other challenge in the pipeline? Or are you
    taking a break? Was it enough for the moment?Nimmo: We never take a break, we are constantly freeflying and along
    the way we do these things. What is the next thing? I don't know, but there is
    always something coming up.
    Luis: I would say that record wise probably Nimmo would like to go to
    the next head down record. Not me, I don't like head down
    anymore. But for head up, when they decide to organize another world record I
    think we are going to put an effort, probably the whole team, to go there and
    be part of it.
    Damian: I suppose that being the organizers of the European record
    it is kind of natural for Fly Warriors to be part of the world record if
    they organize it somewhere else.
    Luis: Yes, well, we did a try-out camp for the world record in
    Empuria. In partnership with Steve Curtis, Sara Curtis and Antonio Aria.
    We saw how they organize it, and they saw us. And I think we've learned a lot. And they invited us to go there and help them organize. I didn't go, because I had other priorities financially at that moment, but the dropzone supported us. Nimmo and Raph went there and they were part of the organization of the world record. So I think that yes, we are going to be involved as Fly Warriors, even if it is only one or two.
    Gustavo: Or 4
    Nimmo: Gus shot the fucking record. So it was 3 out of 4 of us in the
    record. I still like head down. Raph has lost a bit of the interest in big
    stuff. You've done it, you've done it. But there is always another one to do.
    You can always go a little bigger. Same shit, different day. Make it a bit better.
    I missed one and wish I've gone. So if they do another one for sure, I'll try
    to go. If I am not broke I'll go.
    Gustavo: The plan I think it is 200 for the head down next year. And
    the following year they are going to do a 100 for head up, for sure. One thing
    funny about freefly is that they never did a round number. In belly it was 100,
    200, 300 and 400 which is the last one. But in freefly they went with 108,
    one hundred forty something, 164?. I hope this time they will do a fucking 200 and fucking
    100. Why they can't be like the normal people? (laughs). Hopefully, let's hope
    for the best.
    The last question:
    Would you like to say something that I haven't asked about?Nimmo: We've been talking for a long time here. It is good that we
    are finished (laughs).
    Gustavo: It is the longest interview ever (more laughs).

    By admin, in News,

    Adam Mattacola of Avalore Freefly

    According to his bio on the Avalore team page (www.avalorefreefly.com), Adam Mattacola, apparently began jumping in 2004 at my local drop zone, Sibson, near Peterborough in the UK when he was still in his teens.
    I don't remember him.
    Back then I had 200 jumps and thought I was the right royal shiznit.
    Who was I to look for the new AFF grads to jump with? Pshhh puh-
    LEASE! I was too busy making sweet 2 way head up jumps and trying my
    best to look like I knew what I was doing by colour coordinating my
    free fly suit colours I had on order. I had just got my C and was
    strapping a camera to my helmet. I was WAY too busy to deal with the
    likes of this young scrote!
    Fast forward a few years and an almost quick blink of the eyes later,
    and the same guy is hot off the presses, having just rolled off the
    newly awarded Euro 40 way HD record and the 11 way Brit HD record
    days before his 22nd birthday and he has also been garnered the austere title of UK Senior FF champs 2005 with his Avalore team mates. So is a record holder AND champion. All in the space of a few years since he first started. Accomplished at the sprightly age of 21, a full decade younger than me.
    "Hmmmmm", I pondered to myself this week, "how in the sweet name of
    Buddha, Allah, God, Jah and Jehovah did this guy get SO good SO quickly?!"
    Am I bitter? Of course not! That would be infantile. It's all love in
    this sport (especially when I might run into the young hotshot at
    some point and want some coaching off him!).
    Seriously though, Adam is obviously one of what I like to call the
    "new breed", one of the "rising stars" and all that other names
    that people call those very talented, young people who seem to progress so quickly in their given sporting discipline. I was curious to find out how he had managed to do it, in such a short space of time, and share his insights with the members of the skydiving community, old and young alike, so that we could possibly learn something from him, and shine some light on an obviously very talented flyer.
    So without further ado, I decided to find out just what the hell this guy
    had been up to to progress so quickly and do so well for
    himself in such a short space of time.
    Name: Adam Mattacola AKA Killa Cola

    Age: 23

    Occupation: Airkix wind tunnel instructor/ Coach; AFF Instructor and
    Skydiving coach

    First skydive (date and location): Tandem skydive Sibson August 2004, AFF Seville August 2004

    Years in sport: 3

    Number of jumps: 517

    Number of mals: 0 :-)

    Kit: Vortex2 Hurricane 120, PD120 with CYPRES

    Describe yourself in one sentence: determined, loves a challenge,
    loves to get laid and a little crazy.
    I did a tandem jump in August 2004 at Sibson, I had always wanted to jump out of a plane since I was little....I've always been a little thrill seeker and who loves to do something new...in my head not many people have done skydiving and it scared the majority. I like to be
    different. After we'd jumped that was it, I was hooked - no fear in me
    at all and I had a big cheesy smile on my face which I could not wipe
    off for days. As soon as I landed I went to the internet and booked the AFF!!!! I knew this sport was for me.
    AFF in Seville 2 weeks later out of a small Cessna with instructors
    Alex and Jonno (thanks guys). Levels 1-5 I passed first time without a
    correction signal and with instructors letting go (no tunnel time at this stage).
    So that night I suppose you can say I got a bit ahead of myself and
    thought this was an easy ride and went and had a few beers.
    But stayed out late and only had a few hours kip like you do and went to the DZ knackered. Level 6.....spin flip twist spin spin flip twist all the way down. Hmmm shock to the system. Maybe this is not such an easy ride after all. Repeat Level 6 and yes it was a repeat - literally! ....spin flip twist spin spin spin. Instructor said go home have some rest and lets finish the course tomorrow.
    Went home had a kip then practiced on my bed all night. I soooo wanted this license. Then the next day I passed all levels and was one happy bunny. Jumped at Hinton. Got into freefly at around 50 - 60 jumps because it was something new and everyone said how hard it was.... I love a challenge, I love to learn something new and hard! I then went to Sibson and started to jump then had a Russia trip to Kolomna, it was great. 84 jumps in 2 weeks. Halfway into Russia I was still rusty in my sit and it took me along time to get to the base. As soon as I got there it was time for break off! Damn! Everyone started to mock me and I was like, "Come on... I only have 70 jumps!" So I decided "I WILL GET THERE BEFORE BREAK OFF!". So, out of the plane and zoom - but I didn't take into account stopping. Straight through the base. "Oops!". My nickname is "Cola" due to my last name and then they just added "Killa" as I tried to kill them all... hence "Killa Cola".
    A lot of the jumps were 2 way sit with Dylan and now I can freefly.
    (it's better to learn in smaller groups I think). After 200 jumps my buddy "Big Al" AKA Heman recommended me to Airkix to be an instructor. Thanks to him I got the job. I was an electrician before and was happy to leave. Weeks went on and everyone raved about how fast I picked up flying. I just thought they were being nice. A couple of months in and I was there flying around with the top flyers and then all of a sudden they were asking me how to do things. It was one big hit the first time it happened. The legends asking advice from me, all in just a few months! I competed in the World Challenge 2007 wind tunnel comp with Michi from Bedford. We came fourth, only 2 points behind Babylon, who were third. Avalore at this point, were looking for a third member as one had left. They asked me whilst at Airkix. I wanted to compete and get experience but had no money. Avalore has good sponsorship and let me trial for them at Lillo in Spain and they were happy with me. I am now a member of Avalore by spending next to no money - I'm very lucky.
    I then wanted to be able to teach anyone, so I did my AFF instructor
    course at Lillo so now I can teach from complete beginner to advanced
    headdown and can now pass on my knowledge.
    I heard about the Euro record and was desperate to take part.
    It represented something new and challenging and something not many people can say they have done. The biggest I did before that was 7 way head down. I went from the trial straight into a 20 way. Wow! I was buzzing. Got onto the 30 way record attempt out of 70ish people who turned up for the trials. Deep inside I was exploding with excitement but trying to stay cool about the whole thing. We completed it first time. Then it went to 36 people, then up to 40. Then as a fun jump/British record jump we did an 11way - 3 points. Now, when I get the chance, I will train with Avalore for the Nationals and hopefully we will do well. Alot of other good teams are out there. I now do coaching for all levels of skydiving too. A lot has happened to me in a short space of time - sometimes even now I have to step back and take a deep breath and make sure I'm not dreaming as all of this has happened in the space of working at Airkix within 1 year!
    What's a typical day like for you:
    Wake up to a cheesy tune as an alarm on my phone, so I can't help
    but smile even though I'm tired. Hot shower then turn it cold for a few
    seconds just before I get out. Wakes you up. Go to Airkix to work, give
    experience and enjoyment and share the sport I love with hundreds of people, and see them smile from ear to ear. Chill out when I get home, then do 'the thing I'm learning' at that particular time. I always like to be learning a new skill from learning a different language to playing piano or guitar or another sport. Then either go to bed or maybe go on my laptop and look at certain pages on the internet which I can't say about in this interview and...well...you know the rest!
    Who do you look up to in the skydiving world and why:
    I look up to every high achieving competitor as it takes a lot of commitment, hard work and motivation to be in a team. I also respect a lot of students due to there determination by not quitting when they come to a move they struggle to do.
    Best jump you have ever had and why:
    I think maybe the pants jump I did in Russia. Seven of us in just our
    boxers and all not really very experienced. It was basically naked bodies flying all over the place out of control with the great expressions on their faces - so much fun but we froze our bollocks off!
    Favourite type of jump right now and why:
    Has to be a chasing dive with buddies, without trying to lose one another. It's true free flying as you fly at all angles and positions like eagles, carving tracking and belly/ back flying (which I feel are also important areas to be good at) and quick directional changes. Tracking also has to be one of my favourites as I can't do it in the tunnel, and there is so much to do in tracking, so many angles and different speeds.
    How have you managed to progress so quickly in such a short space of
    Tunnel time for sure is the quickest way to learn skydiving
    skills. It disciplines you to do everything on spot with a coach
    right in front of you and if you hit that wall, you don't want do it again so you make yourself do it right! I always pushed myself and never let something beat me because it was too hard to do. I believed in myself and after I flew I watched back over my flights and made sure I understood how the wind works with your body instead of just flying and being able to do it without actually understanding WHY. That's the way to do it, making sure you understand why things happen. Being relaxed is a also a big part of flying, so if possible you need to be sure you're not sexually frustrated. Trust me it affects your flying!
    Favourite coach you have had coaching from and why?
    The Airkix tunnel instructors.... a friendly, helpful bunch who have
    time for their students and they are very good at what they do.
    What makes a skydiver experienced?
    Attitude to the sport, safety wise, is very important and that's for both while under canopy as well as in freefall. Also, not knowing HOW to do something but more importantly, WHY it happens - that's the way to learn. If you understand "the why", it is better then doing it a million times and not understanding it. Some people with a couple of hundred jumps have better knowledge of the sport than some guys with a 1000 jumps.
    What would you change in the sport if you could change any one thing?
    Make it cheaper and be able to jump from a higher altitude.
    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    I really don't know...I can see myself still in this
    sport for sure, but I think mainly just coaching and passing on knowledge I have gathered over the years. I tend not to plan the future - I'm more of a guy who goes with the flow and whatever is around the corner, I've just got to make the most of it. You only live once!!!
    Greatest non skydiving accomplishment:
    4th in the Bedford World Challenge, but if you count that as skydiving
    related then most probably being in a dance video doing breakdancing.
    Favourite quote:
    Make it happen and live your dream - life is only as good as you make
    Freefall or canopy ride?
    Freefall - you share the experience with alot more people while it's
    Swoop, or straight in?
    Swoop - it's challenging and it's something new to learn, but it's also very dangerous if you underestimate it.
    Jump numbers or experience?
    Experience - if you have the knowledge and understand it, its better
    than a bit of paper saying I've done 2000 jumps.
    RSL or no RSL?
    No RSL - could be a situation where it would not be best if reserve come out straight away.
    AAD or no AAD?
    AAD for sure just make sure it's the right one for what
    you are doing....if you swoop - make sure you have a swoop CYPRES.
    Fun jump or training:
    Fun jump - no pressure and makes it easier to enjoy every moment of
    the skydive
    Noddy or Big Ears:
    Steak or Tofu:
    Steak... rare
    The journey or the destination:
    The journey - the destination may not turn out to be as good as you
    thought, but getting there is one big adventure and you have no idea how its going to work out.
    Sex or jumping:
    Got to be sex, as it is free......well for most people
    anyway...sex while jumping would be interesting!
    Money or fame:
    Money. Fame could lead to no privacy. Money will take a lot of worries
    Many thanks to Adam for taking the time out to answer these interview

    By admin, in News,