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,

    Carbone Zone has touched down

    That's right! You heard it here first. Skydive America Palm Beach is now the proud landlord of some new guests. Yep, that's right. Scotty Carbone (a self-proclaimed skydiving gypsy), his lovely wife, Tammy, and his 3-legged dog, Hercules, have traveled across time and space from their last dropzone which was Skydive Spaceland in Texas and have finally landed and set up home on the Skydive America property.

    This is fantastic news for Skydive America and the jumpers as they have brought their entourage of trailers and tents including the cutaway cafe. Now Skydive America has the one thing it was missing -- the constant smell of food in the air, as they knock out some smashing breakfasts lunches, and dinners along with plenty of cold drinks, tea, coffee and homemade sandwiches, munchies and all sorts of skydiving goodies.
    Skydive America was, is, and has always been an awesome dropzone which I thought had everything (except decent food). I mean where else do you get to jump with Olav Zipser, Jerry Bird and Scotty Carbone all on the same load on a weekly basis?
    When asked how long they are going to stay, the reply was, "for at least a couple of years."
    Scotty brings with him about 12,000 skydives, good food, a bang-on sense of humor and some great organizing, along with more stories than an old Jewish grandma at a Matzo ball party.
    This weekend the skydiver writing this actually replaced his gold chain, that's been around his neck for the last 15 years, with a black piece of leather, a closing pin and a couple of beads, after being told by Carbone, "why you wearing that girlie thing kid, you need to be wearing one of these," as he kindly charged me $18 for my new necklace and told me how all skydivers with more than 200 jumps must wear these (hey who was I to argue -- I have 250 jumps -- he has over 12,000 and he did give me a free cup of tea).
    Anyway, having Scotty and Tammy there have only added brownie points to the dropzone and added a sense of history. I mean, when I am awakened at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning by the sound of horribly loud 70's music blasting from the "Carbone Zone" Trailer/Café, and I walk out of the bunkhouse and there's the sweet smell of bacon and French toast in the air and then there's Scotty Carbone with his big chef's hat, a pair of boots and boxer shorts and not too much else, scuttling around and kicking up dust dancing with cooking spatula in hand, it reminded me of a scene from "Good Morning Vietnam" or of old skydiving days. I don't know -- it just seemed to make me feel nostalgic and was definitely a lot better than a bunch of us sitting around eating cold Egg Mcmuffins before first load. So, needless to say, the "Carbone Zone", Tammy and Hercules, the 3-legged dog (who runs 22 miles an hour behind Scotty's scooter wherever he goes -- you have to see it -- it's hysterical), are warmly welcomed by the all the skydivers and everyone at Skydive America. (Yes, even the freeflyers have to eat you know.)
    When I arrived home after another great weekend of jumpin', the wife said "Where's your chain?" I said, "its in my bag -- I am not wearing it anymore. I'm a skydiver and Scotty Carbone said I have to wear this." To this she replied, "Who the f#@# is Scotty Carbone. If he told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?" (She's not a jumper.) Then, surprisingly, she said, "I actually hated that gold chain -- you look much better in that new thing, whatever it is."
    Andre Stepsky
    TFQ #1

    By admin, in News,

    Niklas Hemlin - Breaking Boundaries

    Image by Ben Nelson Niklas Hemlin of Arizona Airspeed ventured out with a goal in mind and captured his first World Record - but not in belly flying, in the new category, Head Up. Not many long-term and committed belly flyers transition over to freeflying later in their skydiving careers. Especially one that has invested most of their lives into belly flying. It's refreshing to see that the boundaries of belly flying and freeflying are starting to blend.

    Name: Niklas Hemlin

    Jumps: 15,500+ (just below 16,000)

    RW Jumps: 13,000+

    Freefly Jumps: 100
    ML: How many competitions have you been to?
    Niklas Hemlin: I have attended 35 national and international recognized competitions. You couple probably double that number if you were to include local and none recognized events.
    ML: How many medals have you won?
    Niklas Hemlin: More than 35.
    ML: Do you have any previous world records, if so, which ones?
    Niklas Hemlin: I do not have any belly big formation world records J This would be my first big-way world record. I have an un-official world record with Airspeed for the highest 4-way average from when we won the World meet in Dubai 2012 at 27.9 average points.
    ML: What motivated you as a young jumper and how did you get the idea to tryout to be on Airspeed?
    Niklas Hemlin: What motivated me as a young jumper was the next jump. I was head-over-heels in love with our sport and the whole nature of it…jumping out of a plane, plunging towards the ground in freefall, pulling your parachute, and safely land to do it all over again. Since then, my love is all the same and more intense than ever. I seem to effortlessly find new ways to keep my passion and intensity for our sport. It has so much to offer me and it is literally limitless. To me, it’s a lifestyle and way of life.
    ML: What is your new position on Airspeed?
    Niklas Hemlin: I used to be the inside center and now moved to the point position on Airspeed. Each position on a 4-way team comes with its own style and characteristics. Throughout my 4-way career, I have been floating around all the different slots and found that each offer its own challenges and satisfactions. It is always fun to be put in a situation to learn and refine a new style and to push yourself. To me, it keeps it all fresh and motivating. Performing any slot on a world-class level requires absolute dedication and focus.
    ML: You're more known in the community to be an RW skydiver, when did you start freeflying?
    Niklas Hemlin: I seriously started to freefly January 2014. I did do some freeflying back in 1997 here at Skydive Arizona after spending three months in Florida training with my Swedish 4-way team. Since then, I haven’t done any freeflying until I started up in the tunnel this year. I have managed to accumulate about 50 hours in the tunnel YTD and around 100 freefly jumps. I hope to meet my goal of 52 hours of tunnel for this year and 150 jumps.
    I’m a very goal oriented person and find it hard to keep my competitive spirit at bay. I had a goal of getting to a level in my freeflying that I could go and fly in the tunnel and in the air for fun and hold my own. I remember very vividly seeing people fly in the tunnel and in the air and wanted nothing more than to fly like them, effortlessly float through the air on all angles and on all their body’s flying surfaces. I looked so appealing and fun to me.
    Airspeed is my heart and soul and takes up a lot of time and dedication. It takes all you time and devotion to become a world champion or a world class flier in any discipline. That being the case, I felt I had to spend the 2014 season to learn freeflying before I transitioned back onto the team as an active member from being an alternate for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
    ML: What motivated you to participate in the upright world record?
    Niklas Hemlin: To put myself in a situation where I HAD to perform. I remember seeing and hearing about the upright record and the headdown big-way scheduled for the fall at Skydive Arizona. I used it as a goal to progress enough to where I could at least participate in the upright warm up weekend. That was enough motivation for me to keep my focus and training. The warm-up weekend went well enough that I was asked to participate in the record attempt.
    To be honest, I was, and in my opinion still am, not very good on my headup. It is a challenge for me because I really struggle with getting the hang of it and become as comfort and fly as effortlessly as I see others fly.
    Image by Ben Nelson ML: Can you tell me what kind of struggles you had on the record jumps and how you overcame them?
    Niklas Hemlin: The most overwhelming part of the headup warm-up and record was my visuals. What is left and right headup is right and left headdown. Wow, flying headdown to the formation from exiting head up and then get there to transition back into headup. Oh boy, that was a mind f*#ker (teaser). To be honest, I did not figure than one out until the second day of the record. The second biggest challenge for me was to keep my mind at bay. I was filled with excitement and anxiety and had to calm myself and focus on my basics. Freeflying is not all instinctive and I have to think about what I’m doing and what I need to do. So, if I don’t keep calm and anticipate my flying, it all goes to shit.
    ML: How much of the Upright World Record principles were like belly fly big ways?
    Niklas Hemlin: I would say a good 99.9%. That was a huge advantage for me having so much experience with big-ways. That was the easy part. At least I didn’t have to stress out about that.
    ML: What would be your advice to other belly flyers about getting into freeflying?
    Niklas Hemlin: Lower your expectations and embrace the whole process of sucking. Do it for fun and understand it is nothing like belly flying, but at the same time, it is just like belly flying. For me, it was very healthy and humbling to “suck” at something again. It was very refreshing to be a student again and having to learn and unlearn. Being the guy in the room with the least amount of experience and, literally, being a safety hazard was a lot of fun for me. Just something about being in the early stages of something new and falling in love with it and not being able to get it out of your head. Oh yea, and it will improve your belly flying tremendously!

    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,

    9 Dead in Swedish Plane Crash

    It has been a tragic few weeks for the sport of skydiving, as two plane crashes have lit up news headlines across the world. The first occurred just over three weeks prior with the Oahu crash in Hawaii which saw 11 individuals lose their lives when their Beechcraft 65 King Air crashed, killing all on board.
    Less than 3 weeks later there has been an additional plane crash, this time in Sweden, when a GippsAero GA8 Airvan crashed out of Umea airport, killing 9 people. The incident took place on the 14th of July around 2 pm local time.  While little is known about what caused the incident, eyewitness video footage shows the plane descending rapidly, nose first, before crashing on Storsandskar island.
    Eyewitness accounts further stated that they could see jumpers attempting to exit the aircraft while it was coming down.  Another witness was quoted as saying that she had heard a loud noise coming from above before she saw the plane head straight down. Also of note were several witness accounts of the plane missing its wing on descent, with mention of a damaged tail too. 
    The following video was taken by a witness to the incident and shows a brief glimpse of the plane on its way down.
    .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } A regional spokeswoman was quoted as stating, ‘I can confirm that all those aboard the plane have died.’
    At this point, very little information is available on this tragic event, and we will update this article with more information as it becomes available. 
    We’d like to extend our condolences to all those involved and their families. BSBD
    For discussions on this incident, please use the following forum: 

    By Meso, in News,

    Performance Designs closes out the PD Bullseye 2019 competition at Skydive DeLand

    Performance Designs hosted the PD Bullseye Sport Accuracy series across the US and Europe this summer. The competition visited 5 countries, 9 dropzones and met over 400 skydivers. This series was a chance for people with under 500 jumps to test their sport accuracy and become better canopy pilots. The 23 finalists traveled to Skydive DeLand on December 6th to meet each other, the PD team, train with Flight-1 and then compete for the chance of becoming a PD Sponsored Athlete. After an exiting competition the winner was announced: Paul Winner from Skydive Orange. Second place was taken by Lori Patalocco from Skydive Spaceland Houston and Third place by John Victor from Skydive Spaceland Dallas.

    “I felt that going into the competition, I had a chance. I’d put a lot of time into working on canopy skills this year. Then you get to the finals, start meeting the competitors and you realize that everyone has been working hard and the pressure was on. This event was incredible and thanks to PD for coming up with an idea that made so many people focus on their canopy piloting. What's next for me? I got my coach rating this year, and want to continue working with new skydivers and keep progressing on my free fly skills. Canopy wise, I’m hoping to attend an FLCPA event this coming year. I'm proud of myself and all the competitors for all the hard work we put going into this competition. I'm honored and excited about the amazing opportunities that our ahead for me.” - Paul Winner, PD

    Bullseye 2019 Winner
    Congratulations from Performance Designs to all the finalists for their hard work and enthusiasm for becoming better canopy pilots. Stay tuned for more details on PD Bullseye 2020.
    “We’re super excited about how the 2019 PD Bullseye season turned out. Loads of newer jumpers discovered and were excited about developing their canopy flight skills in a fun and competitive environment. It was great to see this series work and create greater enthusiasm in our community for safe and fun canopy flight. Learning to fly and land your canopy well is cool, and we’re glad we’ve been able to do a little part in promoting that.”

    Albert Berchtold, PD Marketing Manager

    By Administrator, in News,

    Plane Crash Kills 5 in Kauai

    Just a week after the plane crash at Parachute Center near Lodi which resulted in a Cessna 208 upside down in a vineyard, another crash has occurred. This time however, with tragic results. A Cessna 182H jumpship from Skydive Kauai in Hanapepe (Hawaii) crashed early on Sunday morning shortly after take-off.
    All five individuals on board the aircraft died, with four being pronounced dead on the scene while another was taken to hospital, though was also later pronounced deceased. On board were two instructors, two tandem passengers and the pilot. At the time of publication most of the names of those involved had not been released to the public, with the exception of Enzo Amitrano, one of the two instructors on board.
    A witness to the incident claims that the aircraft had left the runway when shortly afterwards problems with the engine were experienced. The pilot is then said to have attempted to bring the plane back towards the runway when flames began to come out of the engine as it descended rapidly.
    There are some conflicts in media reports as to whether the fire began during the descent or only after impact, regardless the aircraft did catch alight and firefighters had extinguished the fire withnin an hour of the incident.
    According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot involved was not familiar with the aircraft involved. Though it is not yet clear what role this may have played in the incident.
    Our thoughts go out to the loved ones of those involved.
    Discussions about this crash can be had in the incidents forum.

    By admin, in News,

    Contact Congress to Oppose User Fees for General Aviation

    Among the discussions currently taking place in Washington, D.C., about reducing the deficit and finding new revenue streams is talk about imposing new user fees on general aviation. There has been similar talk in the past, but Congress squashed the idea. There’s not yet any formal proposal, but there are enough rumors from official sources that many of the general aviation associations representing pilots and businesses that operate aircraft have asked their members to contact their Senators and Member of Congress to oppose the idea. General aviation users already contribute to the aviation trust fund by paying a federal tax on every gallon of fuel purchased, and general aviation users want to stay with that method.
    The basic idea of a user fee is to charge aircraft operators a set fee per flight. The charge could be anywhere from $25 to $100, and it could be assessed per takeoff or per radio contact with air traffic control (ATC). Skydiving operators—with multiple takeoffs each day and a requirement to contact ATC on each flight—would pay more than most operators; the cost of jump tickets would go up. A new fee could be aimed at jets only, or it could be aimed at all turbine aircraft, or all aircraft in commercial operation, or simply all aircraft. Regardless, if enacted, it is a sure bet that the fee would eventually increase and also be expanded to other users in the future. Adding insult to injury is that the FAA would have to create a sub-agency to track billing and enforce payment.
    USPA joins our general aviation brethren in fighting the user fee concept. Please take action now to ensure that Congress rejects the user fee idea.
    On the Senate website, select your state from a dropdown menu in the upper right corner to be directed to your two Senators’ contact information. On the House of Representatives website, enter your zip code to be directed to your one Representative’s contact information. A phone call is best, followed by an email, and even a fax; mailed letters take too long to arrive. In your contact, identify yourself as an aviation user, and explain how increased costs would affect your participation in skydiving—an FAA aeronautical activity. Ask them to reject the idea of new user fees for general aviation and to continue the collection of federal taxes on aviation fuels.
    The above article was taken from a USPS news release: www.uspa.org

    By admin, in News,

    New iFly Indoor Skydiving Center Opens in Dallas, TX

    iFLY has continued its global expansion of vertical wind tunnel centers with the opening of iFly Dallas this week. The company, who now operate 27 facilities around the world, cut the ribbon on the new North Texas on Monday, 18th November 2013. The center is located at the Stonebrier Center Mall in Frisco.
    The company has claimed that the center boasts the world's most advanced wind tunnel with wind speeds of up to 175mph. The tunnel measurements are 14’ in diameter and 48’ in height. It will cater to persons aged 3 to 103.
    Whether or not we will see the iFly Dallas center hosting any competition in the near future is left to be seen, and it does seem that given the location and the focus of the press release, that the Dallas center may be catered more towards non-skydivers who are looking for fun, as opposed to other tunnels that tend to focus more on competitive training. Never the less, the center will still be open to competitive skydivers and will also no doubt expand the already explosive growth of indoor flying.
    Over the past decade tunnel flying has become an imperative part of freefly training and is now an almost mandatory aspect of competitive training. The expansion and increase in accessibility has also seen an entire new wave of tunnel flyers emerge, as children under the ages of 10 have become proficient flyers. The impact that this may have on the growth of the skydiving industry will be seen in a few years. With these children already skilled in freeflying, it will no doubt give them a large advantage should they take up skydiving and begin doing it competitively - particularly within the freeflying discipline.
    iFly is largest indoor skydiving company in the world with 27 tunnels across several continents. The company has plans of further expansion and will see more tunnels being erected in the coming years. The company opened their Orlando center in 1999, and 10 years later, at the end of 2009 iFly had 18 centers up and running. In 2013 alone, they have opened up an additional four indoor tunnel centers.

    By admin, in News,