The Evolution of Jetman Dubai

    Image by Max Haim There's been a ton of social media hype this week about the new Jetman Dubai video released by XDubai. The video, available in 4k quality, has already amassed over 2 million views on youtube within 48 hours of release. But what is the story behind Jetman and will this venture see an evolution to methods of human flight?
    Back in the mid-2000s, Yves Rossy of Switzerland set history by becoming the first person to fly with the use of a jet-propelled wing. A step that closed some of the gap between wingsuit flying and aircraft piloting. Before venturing into jet-propelled human flight, Rossy was both an air force and commercial pilot, serving in the Swiss Air Force before flying for both Swissair and Swiss International Airlines.
    Rossy first began skydiving, then looking to wingsuiting and skysurfing in order to maximize his flight time, but neither of these were able to satisfy what it is he was after. Rossy didn't want to be freefalling, but rather flying, with as little restrictions and as much freedom and agility as possible, while still ensuring the longest possible flight time. This is what then prompted him to begin his development on the original jet propelled wing.
    After developing an inflated wing design in order to achieve more flight time, Rossy then began to design the first jet propelled wing, which was flown in 2004. This first propulsion based wing was only a dual jet propultion system, which allowed him to maintain flight level. In 2006 he changed the design to use 4 jets instead of the original 2. This change allowed Rossy to go from merely being able to maintain flight level, to being able to ascend while in flight too.
    Since 2006, Yves Rossy, the Jetman has flown in several high profile flights and accomplished impressive achievements. Rossy is now primarily flying in Dubai, with Skydive Dubai seemingly being the sole sponsor of the venture at this point in time. Teaming up with Skydive Dubai has meant that Rossy has been able to get some crazy video footage of his latest flights, with Skydive Dubai being notorious for their video production quality.

    The Next Chapter
    In early May, Jetman Dubai began hinting at the announcement of a new development in the Jetman Dubai project and after a few social media teasers, a video was released on the 11th May which announced that Yves would no longer be flying solo. Instead, he would be joined in the air by Vince Reffet, a well known skydiver and BASE jumper. Vince was born into a family of skydivers and did his first jump at just 14 years old. Now just in his 30s, Vince already boasts an impressive tally of over 13 000 jumps.
    The French protege is specifically recognized for his freeflying skills, and is best known for his position on the Soul Flyers team.
    The training of Vince by Yves Rossy has opened up far more opportunities for the Jetman Dubai project, with the most noteable being that of formation in flight. According to the Jetman Dubai website, Yves began training Vince as early as in 2009.
    The visuals of these two individuals flying together are so outstanding that it has many calling fake on the videos. However the truth is that what you see is the result of some extremely skilled pilots, working together to create something majestic.
    The Jetman Wing
    The Jetman Dubai wings weigh in at a total of 55kg with a wing span of 2 meters, and contain 4 Jetcat P200 engines. Speeds on descent can reach 300km/h, while ascent speeds clock in at around 180km/h. The flight will typically last for between 6 and 13 minutes. Flight begins with an exit, most commonly by helicopter, and when the flight time is over, a parachute is deployed for landing.
    A question on a lot of people's minds seem to be whether or not this type of jet propulsion system could work its way into the public. Though it seems that those keen to do some jet flying of their own should not hold their breath, apart from a large budget, it's difficult to see any situation in the near future whereby the safety aspect associated with these wings will allow for public use. In the mean time however, we can sit back, watch and enjoy.
    Who knows what is next for the now Jetman Dubai duo, but we can't wait to see it...

    By admin, in News,

    The AFF Two-Step

    Receiving an AFF Instructor rating is one of the pinnacle points of a skydiver’s continuing education and experience in the sport skydiving world, and has been a personal goal of mine for approximately two years. I was sure that the moment I had six hours of freefall time and my C license, I'd be able to knock this thing out fast.
    How wrong I was...

    This badge is likely the most expensive badge in the
    skydiving world
    When I first began skydiving, I was presented with the opportunity to spend some time in the tunnel at Perris, CA, with Ed Dickenson and Jay Stokes. I immediately took Ed up on his very generous offer to help me in my progression towards being a camera flyer. At 27 jumps, I entered the tunnel to learn some of the techniques I’d later use to fly with tandems, four-way, and fun jumpers. The video is hilarious.While I waited for Ed, we hung out at the school in Perris, and I overheard many conversations taking place between students and instructors. It was at that point I decided to become an instructor. Jay Stokes, Ed Dickenson, and Jack Guthrie all encouraged me to look towards that goal, yet six hours of freefall and a C license seemed so far away at that point, it quickly fell off the radar. I was having a hard time waiting for my 200th jump just so I could put on a camera anyway, let alone being an instructor.When I hit 200 jumps, I immediately got my coach rating. Alright! I was prepared to be unleashed on unsuspecting just-off-AFF-students.My first coach jump went great and filled me with a confidence that I had never before experienced. My third coach jump didn’t go so well with me finding myself very low, opening at an altitude that got me grounded for the weekend. Little lessons seemed to constantly present themselves. Although most of my wingsuit coach jumps have gone well, I once took a student with only 160 jumps. Bad decision; he had a cutaway (on a rig he'd borrowed from me) and I'm grateful that's all that occurred. I grounded myself for the weekend, and learned that lesson the hard way.It seems like most of us have stories like that; this one was my moment of enlightenment.
    Over the next two years opportunity to teach, be taught, sit in on teaching experiences, and grow within the sport continually presented themselves. Like many skydivers, I surely thought I “had it all” in the 500 jump range when in truth, I was merely beginning to understand how much more there was to learn. As one skydiver repeated over and over (and over), “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Well…he’s right. I was discovering how little I knew, how far I had to go, and I was finding myself on the road of discovery.Being part of the qualification process for the 71 Way Wingsuit World Record opened my eyes to what good wingsuit instruction could be. I gained information over the last year that is integral to the first flight process as well, taking instruction from Scott Campos, Scott Callantine, Sean Horton, Justin Shorb, Jeff Nebelkopf, Scotty Burns, and several other very experienced wingsuit coaches. Like most skydivers, I've experienced great coaching and not-so-great coaching in my skydiving progression.
    Being present when a friend was part of a tragic incident at the start of the year convinced me that I needed to know more about instruction, and I began looking at available AFF course opportunities. At the PIA conference, USPA President Jay Stokes informed me that Certification Unlimited (Jay’s instructional entity) was putting up a Coach and AFF course at Skydive Arizona in the following weeks. Timing was going to be tough, as I had some minor surgery scheduled, but I was excited to take advantage of the closeness of the opportunity, at one of my favorite dropzones, and in warm weather while it was freezing back home.

    Image Left to Right:
    Alex Chrouch, Jay Stokes, Craig Girard, Kelly Wolf, Nikos, Eliana Rodrigues, Douglas Spotted Eagle

    Arriving in Eloy on a Saturday, I was completely pumped to start my education then and there. After all, I have 1300 jumps, 19 hours of freefall time in a couple of years, so this was going to be a fun cakewalk, right? I mean, I’ve got more than three times the requisite hours, lots of experience teaching, how hard could it really be? I’d taught parts of many First Jump Courses, taught many wingsuit students, and sat in on several courses. I knew I was ready.
    How incorrect my thought process would prove to be.
    Jay began with the syllabus and schedule for the course. It was daunting, but still appeared to be not insurmountable.
    We did a bit of class work that night but the real class began in earnest Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. with the dew wet on the grass, sunrise barely behind us, and no coffee in sight, Jay smacked the class between the eyes with a number of videos that showed why the AFF program is so important, why the training would be very precise, and why each jump would be rated with “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” with no grey areas. “I’d bust my own mother if she wasn’t doing it right” is something we’d occasionally hear. And I believe it, but wasn’t intimidated by the concept. In fact, the only thing that had me intimidated was learning that repeat World Champions Craig Girard and Eliana Rodriguez were in my class. It’s somewhat difficult for a Hyundai to shine when parked between two Ferrari’s, right?
    I knew I’d nail this stuff in a heartbeat. The written test was a cakewalk, just missing one question. And that question used math.
    To say “I suck at math” would be akin to suggesting that “Omar is an OK skydiver.”I use a calculator for two plus two. True story. The ground training process is specific, but I’m used to this stuff, it’s pretty basic if you have the program down (thanks TDog, for providing some good pointers).Passing the written test indeed was a cakewalk compared to what came next... the in-air practicals.
    Game-on, kids….We were assured the first jump would be our one opportunity to experience a “good student practice jump” where the student would behave and do essentially everything instructed, exactly as instructed.True to his word, Jay jumped like a perfect student. I was on the main side, Alex on reserve side.The jump went well from the Otter; no exit problems, the student responded perfectly to my signals, even if I was a little amped and anxious on this first jump. I thought Alex and I were a solid team. Suffice it to say that Alex did an outstanding job of flying his slot, keeping eye contact with his partner (me) and of doing his part in keeping our “student” corralled.Next jump, Jay paired me and a different partner with Kelly, a newly-minted AFF Instructor Evaluator.She went out the door with legs both bent forward at unique angles, arms in every direction but straight forward, and the only guarantee we had was that she wouldn’t roll onto her back during this practice jump.
    Manhandling her into a level position without punching her required a great deal of strength. My partner lost his grip, floated up, and next thing I knew, I was alone with my student. I wasn’t going to let her go, except I was required to. And did so.She flew away, turning like a propeller just starting up and gathering speed as she backslid, turned, and orbited. I knew I had fewer than 15 seconds to catch her (which sounds like an eternity, but in truth, it’s the blink of an eye for the second jump as an AFFI Candidate). I caught up and had her blocked in a few short moments, but those same moments seemed like an eternity in themselves. She grinned and decided to go the other way. I think what troubled me wasn’t that the grin was mischievious; it was evil, clearly payback for what she had been subjected to as an AFF candidate. Cruel, cold, calculated evil. But we were having fun, right? My partner was floaty, at least 20’ up and 20’ out from where our student was spinning, but he did eventually make it most of the way back in. I ended up on the reserve side after her spins and subsequent blocks, and so the dance at the bottom was a little different; it was my first experience with dancing on the left. I pulled the handle, deploying my student and she looked at me with a grin that made the previous evil smile appear to be innocent; I’d failed to ride through the actual deployment. The triumph I’d felt at properly feeling the rhythm and cadence of the dance evaporated like palm sweat in a 120 mph wind.
    Moving on before I exaggerate more than I already am….let’s look at the third jump of the afternoon.
    It was beautiful. Stunning. The sort of sun and sky that Eloy is famous for, and it was about to be spoiled. This time, I had no partner and no one on whom to place blame for the carnage that was about to occur. Combat Wingsuiting, combat RW could not have prepared me for a single, main side exit in which my student extended arms straight forward, legs nearly as much so, almost as if she’d been laid over top of a fence to dry, face down. I muscled her so that she remained belly to earth and she obviously didn’t like that action very much. She immediately pretzeled her legs with the right leg looking like it was flying over a hurdle in a heat, and the other leg bent 45 degrees forward and bent again at the knee. It was like she was performing a classic freestyle position but on her belly instead of her toes pointing straight down. Arms were practically folded above her head, and it was all I could do to force an arch. Duh…throw a hand signal and there might not be quite so much force necessary….
    Thumb down, she arched like a pro. “Today’s skydive is brought to you by the letter ‘U’” as she arched so hard that she plummeted. Thank heaven I hadn’t asked her to wear the lead. I don’t like lead much, and my fall rate range is pretty broad. All those tandems and AFF videos have helped.
    OK, she’s settled out. Calm, flying great, she gets a thumbs up and a terror-laced grin from her instructor. I give her signals to do a practice pull and toe taps. She does great and so therefore has earned a release. I released and she backslid from the moment I let go of her harness. Damn, that girl is fast, but so am I. I chased her with a side-slide, threw her a legs-out signal. Wow….look at her move forward! Faster than she was going backwards. Now, I’m orbiting and don’t even realize it until I’m looking at her butt in my windshield. So…forward I go, and out goes the hand signal for arch; I was behind her. She didn’t have a rear-view mirror so my only option was to slide sideways, slide my left hand under the BOC as I started to slide past, and toss her another “arch” symbol. Whew! She settled out….Mr Toad couldn’t have had more of his way with me than Kelly did on that skydive.
    And that was just the first day….
    Variations on the theme make for a colorful tale; the ground experiences as we prepped to get into the aircraft were equally interesting but it would spoil the movie if I share too many of the instructor’s tricks as they acted the part of wayward students. Suffice it to say that they’re there to help you succeed, but also there to allow you to fail if you’re not on your toes and looking out for the best interests of the student at all times. The dives aren’t about you, they’re about being sure your student is getting the appropriate attentions and instruction at all times.
    I won’t bore you with further details of the skydives because they’re all about the same sort of story; carnage, deceit, evil appropriations of an examiner that demands you be able to drive forward in a sideslide while dropping like a stone to do an assisted rollover as they’re spinning with a maniacal grin, laughing at the poor sap chasing them. It’s like “Hare and Hound” with Dr. Dimento as the wily rabbit, always one step ahead. Just as you catch up, they cooperate. In the moment you breathe a sigh of relief, they’re on to the next trick. Carly Simon going through my head with “Anticipation…”
    Lest you think I exaggerate too much, grab any AFF instructor who has had Jay’s program or anyone who Jay has taught. They’ll tell you I’m not kidding and if truth be told, I’m underselling the experience.
    Lemme share a small story; If you deploy your instructor/student “for real” by pulling their hackey, it’s an automatic Unsatisfactory and regardless of whether you did everything previous right or not, you weren’t successful on this skydive due to that one fairly significant factor. “Students” wear a simulated hackey that AFF candidates are required to pull at a specific point in the skydive. AFF Candidates will hold the simulated hackey handle til they meet up with the instructor on the ground.Jay didn’t care for the fact that I kept stuffing the hackey handle down my pants when it came time for my own deployment. On my last skydive, we’re standing in the door of the aircraft and my ‘student’ is going through “check out” and in his up/down/arch mode when I realize there is no simulated hackey visible on his main-side lateral.I’m screwed. I absolutely must deploy my student at the bottom of the skydive. I must pull the simulated hackey and show the instructor that I pulled and that I rode through the deployment. That small handle is the proof in the putting that I did exactly as I was trained to do.
    In other words, those handles are important.
    What to do, what to do?
    Worry hammered me throughout this skydive, my last in the series of eval dives. With a “Satisfactory” I’ll be able to catch my flight scheduled to leave Sky Harbor in about two hours. If I get an “Unsatisfactory,” I’m not going home and believe me, the price for that would be very high. I have commitments outside of skydiving, y’know?
    The point of do or die is one that lasts for about three seconds or 500 feet. I make my decision and dammit, I’m sticking to it. Maybe.
    I reach for my student’s leg gripper, look at my altimeter and begin the process. I’m counting down. By now, the “dance” is so freakin’ ingrained in my head that I’m doing it in my sleep, so much so that I’m convinced I did it perfectly on this skydive even though video shows I didn’t.
    Reaching over to where the simulated hackey was supposed to be, I spied it turned behind the lateral.
    Gave it a yank at the last possible moment, and proudly raised the simulated hackey as I ducked my head beneath his deployment hand (the last thing you want to experience is a bridle wrapping around your neck, or having the deploying hand knock you in the side of the head; it might be construed as interfering with the student).
    And rode out his deployment. The last thing I remember seeing as my instructor lifted above my head was his look of wide eyes, pointed finger, open mouth, and the smile on his face. We got to the ground, I watched my student land, and debriefed the skydive.Mirth in my instructor’s eyes, he says “Nice job. Now tell me what you didn't like about that skydive."A grin crossed his face told me he was well aware of the location of the simulated hackey. And, I knew I’d passed the program at that point.A wave of relief passed over me and I felt like falling to my knees and crying myself dehydrated, but I doubt any moisture would have come forward. I’d forgotten to rehydrate in my excitement of this last day. I was drained. I was pwn’d. I was reduced to jelly and tissue in this last moment. No way, no how would I have signed up for this experience had I really known what was in store for me, of this I was sure. All week.
    At the end of the week’s worth of mental, physical, and emotional torture, after hearing Lou Gossett in my subconscious screaming “I WANT YOUR D.O.R.!!!,” I’m a better skydiver. I’m a better person, and I’m a more informed instructor. I now know a little more about what I don’t know. As I said before, I'm now firmly on the road to discovery. "SATISFACTORY" or "UNSATISFACTORY", anyone who endures the process will come out a better person on the other side of the hellfire. I promise.
    I now have a new respect for those that have undergone this process before me. I understand why they are looked to with a unique sense of appreciation at every dropzone, I understand that the program is as much or more about teaching the next step in the educational process of qualified skydivers as it is about providing a license to teach the uninitiated. The AFF rating is a license to teach but it’s more a license to learn. In roughly 18 skydives, I learned a lot about what students can and will do. I learned how to best manage those situations with my new found abilities, and learned that if in 18 controlled scenarios I could learn this much, how much can I learn in a year, two years, five years of teaching a variety of students? I’m excited at the prospect.
    Respect and appreciation is due where it’s due, and I’ll take the opportunity to point out that as skydivers, we all have foundations made up of the bricks of those around us. Jack Guthrie, Jay Stokes, Ed Dickenson, Norman Kent, Mike McGowan, Debbie Z, Lance B, Kelly W, Joey, Chris, Phil, Blake, Craig, Eliana, Alex (I’ll jump with you any day, kid), Nikos, Jeff, Justin, Scotty, Scott, Chuck, friends on dropzone.com…and so many others are the bricks that have helped pave the road on which I have driven as a skydiver seeking more knowledge. I don’t know how to thank you all for the inspiration beyond paying it forward and being the best instructor I can be as you have been great instructors in my life. OK, enough lovefest. Thank you.
    It's the little things that make the difference on a skydive whether for the better or worse. Taking instructon from Norman Kent's camera course that taught me to anticipate movement, taking instruction from Ed in the tunnel that helped me develop a very high range of fall rate for a heavy person, and being part of numerous FJC and FFC courses helped me develop a comfortable ground patter and rhythm. All the pre-AFF prep you can do, I recommend you take the time to do it. You'll be glad you did.
    Whether you went through AFF, Static Line, IAD, take a moment to thank your instructors; they worked hard to get to where they are, to be at a point where they can intelligently and safely teach others, including yourself. It’s a big, dangerous world out there and instructors walked just a few feet ahead of you, checking to make sure it’s the best environment within which we all learn. Buy em’ a beer, give em a smile, even if it’s been a long time passed by.

    Receiving my rating from Jay Stokes, Certification Unlimited (and current President/USPA)

    In the event you’re wondering by now, students are a little less safe; I squeezed through my AFFI course. It’s an expensive patch and logbook endorsement, but one I urge towards anyone with an inkling to teach.
    I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
    Blue skies and puffies....

    By DSE, in News,

    The 5 Most Inspiring Skydiving Videos of 2012

    Each year the boundaries of skydiving are expanded, giving way to new avenues of progress and to endless possibilities. The year 2012 was a big year for the sport, with a number of records being set. But aside from the records, there are also groups or individuals who slowly push the standards up with a display of skill. Other times we're inspired more by the surroundings and the cinematography of the video. We take a look at some of the most inspiring skydiving related videos from 2012.
    1. Felix Baumgartner jumps from the edge of space

    One doesn't really have to say anything about this video, I'm sure everyone reading this knows all about it already, but for those that don't; on the 14th October 2012, millions of people around the world were fixed to live streaming of a world record attempt by Felix Baumgartner to set the highest ever skydive. The final confirmed exit height was 128 100 feet, allowing Felix to reach speeds of 833 mph during his freefall. Whether you love him or hate, one cannot deny the magnitude of this jump.

    2. Gary Connery lands a wingsuit without a parachute

    This jump had a lot of media hype, not as much as the previous video - but the idea of skydiving without a parachute was obviously a subject that brought a lot of attention. The idea has been something that Jeb Corlois had been talking about for years prior, though his idea for landing was and still is quite different. Some argue that Gary Connery's jump was less landing without a parachute, and more just crashing into a pile of boxes. Though the technicalities of the jump aside, there is something liberating about the idea of being able to exit a plane without a rig on. Over the coming years, we will not doubt see further attempts to perform the act of landing without a parachute, and this first step - was definitely a jump worth the attention.

    3. Vertical Skydiving World Record

    While this video was technically uploaded in early 2013, the footage is from 2012 and comprises of a record setting 138 person vertical skydiving record. The video was created as a marketing strategy by GoPro for the Hero action camera - and regardless of your POV camera preference, it's hard to argue that they didn't put together an absolutely amazing video. While only lasting just over a minute, it's a pretty awesome minute of viewing.

    4. Skydive Dubai - Part 2

    This video was a follow up to an extremely popular video that Skydive Dubai released originally in 2011, the original video has over 11 million views on youtube, and if you're looking to attract potential clients, what better way to do it than using viral networking to show just what an amazing place to jump Dubai is. While the footage may not show all too much groundbreaking skydiving, you can't help but want to head there immediately and get on a plane when you look at the view. If the point of a video is to get you up in the air, this video accomplishes that flawlessly. The best way to describe it, is fun!

    5. Soul Flyers tear up wind tunnel

    Something for all the tunnel rats out there. Soul Flyers always manage to get one amped with any video they're in and this wind tunnel video is no different. There's some absolutely amazing flying in this video and for anyone who hasn't stepped inside a tunnel yet, it may well get them wanting to. The cinematography is also extremely good for a discipline that's notoriously difficult to get good footage of.
    Which of these videos inspired you the most. Let us know, or share your favorite skydiving videos of 2012 in the comments section below.

    By admin, in News,

    Taylor Air Sports closes

    Taylor Air Sports has folded it's last parachute and closed it's doors at the Fairfield County Airport. "We told them we were not going to renew their lease when it runs out next May," said Steve Goodyear, president of the Fairfield County Airport Authority. Gene Taylor, president of Taylor Air Sports, said they decided to close the doors Jan. 1.
    Taylor Air Sports provided parachute training for students and carried out jumps at the airport during good weather.
    Taylor said they were running approximately 1,000 students through the school a year and providing between 3,000 and 4,000 jumps a year.
    "We've been there for 14 years, and I spent the last two years there full-time trying to make it a go," Taylor said.
    Goodyear said one of the reasons for not renewing the lease was concern about the number of jumps being made onto the runways with the air traffic coming into the airport, especially on the weekends.
    Taylor said the closure and the non-renewed lease was partly political and partly because he just didn't want to bother with it anymore.
    Ron Houser, a member of the Taylor Air Sports Skydiving team, said he would miss it.
    "Taylor Air Sports has run a safe, fun and friendly operation at the Fairfield County Airport since 1988," Houser said. "Their safety record is impeccable, as any of their customers can attest to."
    Houser said Taylor was the life at the airport.
    "Taylor Air Sports actually breathed life into the Fairfield County Airport. On Saturdays and Sundays, when TAS was open for business, a majority of the cars in the parking lot belonged to TAS members or skydiving spectators. There were countless people who had no interest in the airport or flying at all who would come there to watch the skydivers," said Houser. "With the departure of TAS and Gene Taylor from the Fairfield County Airport, that facility will lose a very valuable resource of aviation knowledge and experience. These are qualities that any airport of that size would be proud and happy to have available to it."
    Taylor said that he was looking around and trying to find a place to base the school, but it had been a tough couple of years.
    "If we don't find something by the beginning of the season, sometime by April or May, we will quit," Taylor said. "It's too bad, but that's life. I quit a lucrative full-time career to pursue this, but business is tough enough without having to fight the Good Ole Boy network at the Airport Authority. It's time to move on."
    Goodyear said the airport was looking to use the hanger for other aircraft.

    By admin, in News,

    Taya Weiss - Following her heart

    As skydivers, we like to tend to think that we know a little more about life than the average Joe Blow Whuffo. We like to think that we see something that others don’t, and never will, without experiencing the incredible rush of crossing the threshold of an airplane door at 12,000 feet, entering into the unfamiliar world of freefall. Sometimes, knowing how we and what we do can be regarded as insane by a good portion of the world, we can use that knowledge to gain a sort of perspective on the world that was never available to us before we took that first step.
    Some of us told our families that they were just going to have to live with the fact that we skydive. Well, I guess most all of us told them that in one way or another. Regardless of how it was worded and how positive they were about the whole notion, though, I have heard one thing echoed throughout the industry and the families who support us; what makes the fear bearable is the knowledge that what their loved one is doing means the world to him or her, and that is what matters.
    As our friend, Taya Weiss, leaves for South Africa for a year, it is this same attitude that many have expressed; we are all sad to see her leave us, but at the same time, are so pleased that she will be following her heart in taking this enormous step for her life.
    Taya is a 24 year old skydiver from Northern California, who, in the past year and a half that she has been jumping, has generally been found at Bay Area Skydiving in Byron, or Skydance Skydiving in Davis (with at least one reported sighting at the Chicks Rock! Boogie in Elsinore).
    After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she attended Harvard, where she acquired a bachelor’s degree in Social Theory. She is a highly intelligent, caring, inspirational individual, who has a lot to offer the world and its citizens. It is Taya’s passion for helping others which has lead her to make the decision to spend next year in South Africa, working with a human rights organization called Visions in Action (www.visionsinaction.org).
    Everything that Taya has is going into this endeavor. As a friend, and someone who thinks she is an awesome person, I offered to help her in raising the money necessary to survive through this yearlong volunteer position by sponsoring a raffle in her name.
    Basically, we have nearly 20 prizes totaling over $2500 in possible value, from some great sponsors. There is anything from a free pair of freefly pants from Firefly, to free copies of Good Stuff, both the VHS and new DVD versions, discounts off of helmets, ½ off a new Reflex II container, and much more.
    I would encourage you to check out the website below for more information, and to send off a quick e-mail to wish her well. The days are counting down to her departure at the end of December, and any and all moral support is greatly appreciated.
    So, If you want to have a chance to win cool prizes cheap, throw a couple of dollars in an envelope and send it off. Not only will you have a chance to win, you will be supporting a fellow skydiver in making a difference in the world.
    For more information, check out the website:
    You will see options to participate through paypal and through US Mail. The paypal account is [email protected] (also the address for any questions relating to the raffle). Please visit the website for the snail mail address.
    You can email Taya at: [email protected]
    Blue Skies!
    "Skydiving is an expression of freedom, courage, and individuality, a physical and visceral celebration of life at its most intense and beautiful. At the very least, it will be the best adrenaline rush you've ever had." – Taya Weiss

    By admin, in News,

    Sylvester Armand St. Cyr

    Sylvester Armand St. Cyr passed away in his sleep earlier this month. It was a peaceful transition for a very productive, prolific member of the cast of the human stage and arena. Sylvester St. Cyr joined the Christian Skydivers Association in October 1994, number 215. He was a retired teacher, actor/writer, a member of POPS, SOS and jumped at Perris Valley, California. He had made over 1,000 skydives.
    Sylvester was a spokesman and recruiter for the CSA at POPS and SOS meets throughout the country and in Canada and Australia. In May 2001 he organized the First International CSA Freefall Fellowship at Perris Valley.

    Sport parachuting was not the only adventure that Sylvester knew. A paratrooper in the US ARMY in the early 1950's, he was also a two-time boxing champion and coach of the championship team while on duty in Korea. Following his stint in the military he became an undercover narcotics officer for the New Orleans Police Department. As a New Orleans patrolman, he was the victim of kidnapping and attempted murder. He escaped by defying the perpetrator's orders to run a police road block with his cruiser and instead aimed it at a tree and jumped just prior to the vehicle's impact.
    His adventures in undercover work and the characters he met provided the background material for his book, The Saint and Sinners.
    Sylvester was also an authority on New Orleans style jazz musicians. His father, Johnnie St. Cyr played in Louis Armstrong's band and with many other popular musicians. He grew up in the music business and learned it first hand.
    His acting career spanned movies, television and most notably the stage. Sylvester appeared in at least fifty stage productions including "Guys and Dolls," "The Philadelphia Story," "A Raisin in the Sun," and "A Soldier's Play." In addition, he also performed stunt work.
    In his later years, Sylvester, nicknamed L'Ange Noir or The Black Angel, teamed up with his long time friend Paul H. LaCroix to perform skydiving exhibitions, especially for high schools. LaCroix and St. Cyr, both from New Orleans, had known each other since 1947. LaCroix piloted their airplane, a Cessna 172. Often accompanied by Bob Pruitt, they claimed to be the only Black Skydiving Team in America. Sylvester lost his pilot and old friend this past summer when LaCroix also passed away.
    St. Cyr often filled the counselor role in his earlier work as a teacher. He was always concerned with the lack of direction in some of the young men that he met. "They think that the only way to make it is professional sports," he once said. Sylvester wanted to demonstrate that the sky's the limit for opportunities and furthermore, pro sports is open only for a few.
    L'Ange Noir has flown into eternity to join his beloved Jesus Christ. We will miss him but pray that his example will remain a strong vision to those that gather at the drop zones and venues around the country where he left his smile, his love and his encouragement.
    This is a Eulogy for Sylvester "Saint" St. Cyr by Ron Schott, CSA1 of the Christian Skydivers Association.
    Sylvester Armand St. Cyr
    West Covina, California
    29 May 31 - 3 Jan 02
    by Ron Schott, CSA1

    By admin, in News,

    Swoop Style Masters at the Scalaria Air Challenge 10th Anniversary

    Falling from 1,500 meters at
    speeds in excess of 130 kilometers per hour, this years “Swoop Style”
    competitors will yet again risk their lives to take home the prestigious title. This
    relatively new sport, only made possible through recent advancements in
    parachute technology, has become one of the most highly anticipated events at
    the Scalaria Air Challenge each year because of the extreme skill and bravery
    needed to participate. Competition is fierce as participants jump from a
    helicopter 1,500 meters above the ‘seepromenade’ and soar down through
    obstacle courses at dangerously high speeds in hopes of landing on a small
    platform on the water. Speed, line and accuracy are the ingredients for success.

    “Swoop Style Masters” will take place for the third time this July at the 10th
    anniversary edition of the Scalaria Air Challenge in St. Wolfgang im
    Salzkammergut, Austria. Top athletes from around the glove including Bill
    Sharman, Patrick Kaye, Julien Guilho and the Red Bull Skydive Team (with over
    10,000 jumps will descend upon the
    Air Challenge in order to make history for their sport. However, Swoop Style
    Masters is not the only event at the Scalaria Air Challenge that will shock and
    awe. Constantly pushing the limits of what is possible, it is an event that
    originally began as a small gathering of seaplanes on the beautiful Lake
    Wolfgang and has turned into an internationally recognized spectacle in the air,
    on the water and at the resort. This year, the event will celebrate 10 Years of
    outstanding performances, celebrity appearances, and inspiring exhibitions, with
    over 30 flying guests including:

    Dornier DO-24 – the only seaplane of its type
    Lockheed Super Constellation
    Red Bull’s Flying Bulls – the whole family
    Baltic Bees – 6 jet formation
    Red Bull Air Race World Champion Hannes Arch & Pete McLeod
    Felix Baumgartner | Red Bull Stratos Jump Hero
    Blacky Schwarz – Red Bull Cobra Pilot & Helicopter World Champion
    About scalaria – the event resort: Nestled in the Alps, scalaria event resort is
    an ideal destination for meetings, presentations, conventions, ceremonies and
    banquets. The resort leaves nothing to the imagination, offering 4 unique event
    facilities, 20 meeting rooms, 400 beds in impeccably styled rooms and 360-
    degree views of the Salzkammergut and Lake Wolfgang. The elegant blend of
    traditional and contemporary styles are an attraction to international brands,
    such as Red Bull, Nike and Aston Martin. For more information, please go to

    By admin, in News,

    Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship Program

    When Copenhagen hosts parachuting's inaugural Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship August 25th & 26th, not only will it set the scene for the best athletes in the world but turn one of the oldest and most historic European capitals into an urban sports festival.
    Combining world class sport with DJ's, live music, street food, air shows and various activities for all ages, will create a great festival feel around the World Championships. It is expected that over 200,000 spectators will visit the event at Peblinge Lake, downtown Copenhagen during the two event days. It will be possible to try tandem jumping over the city, bungee jumping, virtual reality parachuting and running across the lake in Fun Ballz.
    "We want to create a festival feel around a world class sport by offering a host of activities and giving the audience a full Swoop Freestyle event experience. With different activations and touch points, the spectators will get opportunities to connect with the sport in an engaging way. We believe that by mixing world class sport with, great activities, music and street food, it will set the scene for future events in major cities where a broad activation is key," says George Blythe, CEO of A. Sports, the organizer of the Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championships.
    Adrenaline packed sports festival in the heart of major cities
    By taking the sport of parachuting, which is usually performed in small air fields, and bringing it into major cities, it gives the host city and local partners a great opportunity to work with potential clients and businesses.
    Highlights from the 2016 CPH Invitational  
    "With the help from one of our partners, all spectators can download an app and send out their own live feed experience with a chance to be featured in different videos with other spectators both on the big screen at the venue and at the live feed going out to millions around the world," George Blythe adds and points out the mission for Swoop Freestyle: To build a world championship series in major cities worldwide such as Formula 1.

    "The Swoop Freestyle FAI World Championship 2017 will not only be the first ever World Championship in urban parachuting in the heart of Copenhagen – it will also form the basis of a genuine festive celebration combining sport and spectators with a festival of side activities embracing the championship – an approach which is typically Danish," says Lars Lundov, CEO, Sport Event Denmark, the national sporting event organization that partners the event.
    18 pilots from 10 different countries and with a total of 150,000 jumps between them:
    #1 Curt Bartholomew, 31 years old, USA, 8000 jumps
    #2 Nick Batsch, 35 years old, USA, 8500 jumps
    #3 Claudio Cagnasso, 28 years old, Venezuela, 6500 jumps
    #4 Ian Bobo, 46 years old, USA, 20000 jumps
    #5 Cornelia Mihai, 32 years old, UAE, 10000 jumps
    #6 Pablo Hernandez, 31 years old, Spain, 15000 jumps
    #7 David Ludvik Junior, 38 years old, USA, 16000 jumps
    #8 Marco Fürst, 26 years old, Austria, 4000 jumps
    #9 Tom Baker, 27 years old, USA, 7000 jumps
    #10 Chris Stewart, 28 years old, New Zealand, 7000 jumps
    #11 Aurel Marquet, 34 years old, France, 2900 jumps
    #12 Ulisse Idra, 27 years old, Italy, 7000 jumps
    #13 Jeannie Bartholomew, 36 years old, USA, 4000 jumps
    #14 Max Manow, 28 years old, Germany, 5000 jumps
    #15 Mario Fattoruso, 30 years old, Italy, 6000 jumps
    #16 Christian Webber, 30 years old, Denmark, 3400 jumps
    #17 Abdulbari Qubaisi, 29 years old, UAE, 6300 jumps
    #18 Travis Mills, 35 years old, USA, 13500 jumps PROGRAM - FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championship 2017:
    Friday August 25th - Swoop Training and Swoop Night Lights
    3.00-3.30pm (15.00-15.30): Highlights from 2016 on big screen
    4.00-6.00pm (16.00-18.00): Swoop Training - Round 1 and 2
    6.00-6.15pm (18.00-18.15): Fly Boards show
    6.15-9.00pm (18.15-21.00): Swoop Sessions, live music
    9.15-9.45pm (21.15-21.45) - Swoop Night Lights (airshow with night jumps, lighted suits and pyro) Saturday August 26th - Swoop Qualifying of Swoop Finals
    12.00-12.30pm: Swoop Sessions, live music
    12.30-12.45pm: Fly Boards show
    1.00-3.00pm (13.00-15.00): Swoop Qualifying, Round 1 and 2
    3.30-3.45pm (15.30-15.45): Show with wingsuits, BASE and Acro paragliding
    4.00-6.00pm (16.00-18.00): Swoop Finals, Round 1 and 2 + medal ceremony. Who will be the first world champion?
    6.15-9.00pm (18.15-21.00): Swoop Sessions live music, and meet'n'greet with the athletes Other activities both days:
    Tandem jumps over Copenhagen (For booking link and prices - click here)
    Water blob (rental)
    Floading couches (rental)
    Fun ballz (rental)
    Virtual Reality parachuting (rental)
    Bungeejump (rental) 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 10 countries.
    It's the first swoop freestyle world championships ever in freestyle swooping (canopy piloting), sanctioned under the FAI, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Website and social media:
    Website: http://www.swoopfreestyle.com
    Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/swoopfreestyle/
    Instagram: instagram.com/swoopfreestyle
    Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1888604534750053/  

    By admin, in News,

    Survivors Recall '92 Skydive Crash

    Los Angeles - Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld remembers nothing about the airplane crash that nearly killed him, or the five weeks he lay in a coma afterward. What he does remember is that one of his best friends died on the skydiving plane that crashed 10 years ago last Monday.
    "It infuriates me," he says of the crash. "I'm still very good friends with his mother, with his sister. I see them and talk to them and it just kills me, that I had anything to do with it."
    In one of the worst accidents in skydiving history, the twin-engine de Havilland plunged to the ground during takeoff at Perris Valley Airport, killing the pilot and 15 skydivers.
    Brodsky-Chenfeld, 40, was among six survivors. He was coaching American and Dutch skydivers and had recruited some to come out to Southern California for training. Among the dead was his friend James Layne, whom he had taught to skydive in Ohio.
    Federal officials determined that contaminated fuel caused the right engine of the DHC-6-200 Twin Otter to lose power after takeoff. The pilot then made a mistake.
    The overloaded plane's right wing dipped and struck the ground. Witnesses said the craft bounced upright and then nose-dived, shearing off its nose and wings.
    Troy Widgery, 35, of Denver, recalls the aircraft was 300 feet in the air when it rolled over and he saw the ground out of the door. The crash knocked him out for several seconds. When he awoke, he found himself on top of bodies, fearful that the aircraft would catch fire.
    "I thought, well we lived through that and now it's gonna burn. Gotta get out of here. Everyone was either dead, dying or couldn't move."
    Widgery spent several days in the hospital with a broken hip, collarbone and other injuries. "I was jumping two months later. Once I could walk again, I was skydiving," he said.
    The skydiving school about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles survived and has flourished, now handling about 10,000 student jumps a year.
    Pictures of the dead hang on the school walls, and there is a memorial park near the drop zone. On Monday, friends will gather there for skydiving and a barbecue.
    "It's an opportunity to be among people who truly understand our pain," said Melanie Conatser, co-owner of Perris Valley Skydiving.
    Brodsky-Chenfeld, of Chandler, Ariz., suffered a head injury, a broken neck, a collapsed lung and other internal injuries in the crash. He is "covered with scars" and still takes medication for back pain and other problems caused by his injuries.
    Yet he, too, was back to skydiving only months after the crash, following two major surgeries and with a brace around his neck. He has made 9,000 jumps since the crash, and started a championship skydiving team, Arizona Airspeed.
    "It's hard to ever consider a life that doesn't include that," he said. "It's really important that every day of your life you're doing something that really challenges you, something that you love to do."
    ~ Associated Press

    By admin, in News,

    Sunshine Superman - Press Release


    A heart-racing documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE jumping movement, whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular –and dangerous– feats of foot-launched human flight. Experience his jaw-dropping journey in life and love, to the pinnacle of his achievements when he and wife Jean broke the BASE jumping Guinness World Record in 1984 on the Norwegian 'Troll Wall' mountain range. Incredibly, within days, triumph was followed by disaster. Told through a stunning mix of Carl's 16mm archive footage, well-crafted re-enactments and state-of-the-art aerial photography, Sunshine Superman will leave you breathless and inspired.

    About The Film

    Sunshine Superman is a non-fiction feature that lets the audience experience what it feels like to jump off a cliff and walk away alive. In the freewheeling 1970s, what is now considered an “extreme sport” was considered simply crazy. Jumping off a building or bridge with only a few moments to release your parachute was not only seemingly illegal, it was deemed suicidal, even by many seasoned skydivers. Yet this is not a film about death. It is about the essence of life—of what it feels like, if for only a moment, to truly fly.
    In that era of danger and excitement, a man named Carl Boenish helped coin the acronym “BASE”, which stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth—the various objects from which Carl and his friends would jump. Carl was the catalyst behind modern fixed object jumping; an electrical engineer and filmmaker who believed in BASE-jumping as a spiritual practice through which mankind would overcome all of its self-imposed limitations. He religiously chronicled the early days of BASE in beautiful 16mm film, often with cameras mounted to the jumpers’ heads. Carl’s skills were perfectly married to his milieu and his moment, as he was able to capture on film the very birth of the activity of foot launched human flight.

    Jean and Carl Boenish in SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
    Carl’s story, and his visual chronicle of an era, could have easily been obscured in the era of YouTube, or at least remained hidden within BASE’s secretive culture. Several years ago, however, director Marah Strauch and producer Eric Bruggemann began research for what was originally to be a short film on early BASE-jumping. As Strauch interviewed the people who had witnessed the sport’s birth, and discovered more and more footage of ordinary men and women in fearless flight, she understood that BASE’s story was much larger, much wilder, and far more beautiful than she could have guessed.
    The Boenish archive, to which the filmmakers have been granted exclusive rights, is utilized extensively throughout Sunshine Superman, as are many other early films and videos documenting BASE’s eccentric characters, historic moments, and tragic losses. In the eight-year process of making Sunshine Superman, the filmmakers have archived and restored thousands of feet of original films and other historical material. And yet the film does far more than recover these lost documents. Strauch has traveled the globe to conduct personal interviews, revisit tragic settings, and above all to document the living, breathing continuation of the story Carl Boenish set in motion.

    A scene from SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Director's Comments

    “At its core Sunshine Superman is a love story. As a filmmaker I wanted to capture the essence of danger and the bitter sweetness of falling in love. I am interested in characters that pursue activities or goals that most people would think are waste of time and in this case a death wish. This film is about having your breath taken away, either by love, passion, or by dizzying heights. This film is on the surface about discovering a new extreme sport, in the 1980’s in California. On a deeper level the film explores themes of death, obsession, and living an authentic life despite the consequences.
    My uncle Mike Allen was a BASE jumper and aerial photographer and it is through him that I entered the world of BASE jumping. My uncle, who died in a 1991 auto accident, was a well-respected member of the BASE jumping community. He learned some of what he knew about aerial photography from watching the films of the Father of modern BASE jumping, Carl Boenish. Mike Allen left behind a pile of his BASE jumping videotapes and films and it is from these labels and titles that I found the fellow jumpers Mike had known. I also discovered the sport of BASE jumping; it struck me as an expression of freedom and a celebration of life. I was astonished and brought to tears by the beauty of the footage.
    Carl Boenish was considered the most prominent inventor and the “Pied Piper” of BASE jumping. I was enthralled by the story of individuals who push themselves to transcend human limitations. Carl did not believe in man-made limitations. He believed BASE jumping was an expression of the human spirit. He was a visionary. Carl Boenish was also a filmmaker. He pushed his own physical limits to make films. He was transcending the physical, to find the spiritual. He was flying. Carl wanted to share the joy of BASE jumping with the world.
    When finding the look of the film I gave Nico Poulsson and Vasco Nunes (the Norwegian and the US cinematographers) many references for the look of film from German/ European Romantic painters, to Andy Warhol’s portraits, to Scandinavian design catalogues from the 1980’s. We looked at sources that create a very stylized and cohesive film that will hopefully feel very familiar yet different due to the subject matter and milieu. We created a film that embellishes the patina of the 1980 in California and Scandinavia. At the same time showing the beauty and sublime Romanticism of nature and man in nature.

    Carl Boenish in SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
    I was interested in creating a film that pushes the boundaries between documentary and narrative. Sunshine Superman makes use of the largeness and the expansive nature of the story and scenery. We shot on location in Los Angeles, Texas, and Norway. We shot the film as if it were a large-scale narrative production. We attached cameras in places that can only be reached by highly talented rock climbers. We shot BASE jumpers flying from mountains with state of the art equipment. We shot a non-fiction film but I am fully intending Sunshine Superman to offer a visceral cinematic experience.

    Press Release by Magnolia Pictures

    By admin, in News,