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  1. Taz

    New Record Requirements

    The rules at the USPA Board Meeting were not changed. All wingsuit formation rules remain the same. I was at the meeting. For any further questions or confirmation, please contact Scott Smith, the chair of the Competition Committee.
  2. Taz

    Hawaii Wingsuit event

    This sounds so beautiful! Thought this might be helpful for the record attempt: 10 Steps to Set a USPA Wingsuit Record Can't wait for the gorgeous photos
  3. Taz

    USPA BOD meeting

    I am tweeting from the meeting at www.twitter.com/tayaweiss Anyone can follow. The presentation I plan to make about wingsuit records is online now: http://post.ly/OhQ1 I'm not the most prolific DZ.com poster, especially in the past few months. But if anyone wants my perspective or has questions about what I believe, anything related to the US National Record, my role as an IPC Wingsuit Working Group adviser, or anything else, send me a PM or email me, taya@raisethesky.org. I'll send you my phone number and we can talk. Blue Skies, -T
  4. Holidays are always difficult when you have lost someone you love. I went to the African Freefall Convention fearing the pain of Eric not being there, fearing the ghosts of our time there together two years ago when we organized wingsuit flocks and ran the first PASA wingsuit instructor rating course together. There was pain, but I found home and redemption in the warmth of friendship and the freedom of the big sky. On 29 December, I jumped again for the first time since he died. I cried in the plane. I cried while flying. I cried under canopy, and after landing. Thank you to those who quietly held my hand, gave me hugs, and without saying anything respected what I was going through as I processed the loss of my life partner, a man I spent more than 5 years with. Caleigh did an amazing job managing business in the canteen. When I look at her I see so much of Eric, and I was honoured to have her in the PAC on the sunset load 31 December when I went up to do a 2-way with him and try to say goodbye. I asked her to hold onto my engagement ring for me until landing. I had not jumped without it since he gave it to me over Easter in 2006 and needed to know that I could. I jumped out and had more than two minutes of flying with him off my wingtip. We came around the edge of a cloud and into the setting sun, and as I felt him next to me hot tears welled up in my goggles. Every flight, no matter how beautiful, has to end. We choose life; we pull. I said goodbye. Although I still get that clenching pain in my chest from his loss, I feel more peaceful accepting that everything changes. This is what he believed and practiced: "life is pain". Pain is just the other side of joy and love. I miss a lot of things, the hardest of which is the connection to Caleigh and Shanna that came from his role both as father and partner to me. But no one can fill his shoes now that he's gone. We can only reassess our own journeys in light of the space he has left along our paths. I am proud of the man he was, the partner he was, and of his soul's journey. It is a new year, and there is goodness in remembering how he took pride in the accomplishments of those he cared for. Somewhere around the 15th skydive at Mafikeng I realized that smiling in the open door of the Porter is as much tribute to the way he loved and lived as my tears are. And as I let go, I feel him more and more as part of me. I hope the same will be true for his daughters, and that they will continue getting to know their dad. Not just the skydiver and skydiving legend, not just the dropzone regular with a unique sense of humour who lived to jump. He was so much more than that in the last five years: a man with a successful professional career, who recognized the value of spending time with his loved ones off the DZ as well as in the air, who wanted his kids to go to university and see the world and live a well-rounded life. He had found balance, however tenuous. Perhaps because I am a skydiver too, I admire the way he applied compassion and commitment both within and outside of the sport--something that can be very difficult to do. I honour my life partner, a man with whom I found true love and real friendship. I believe that what he did in life is more important than his death. Now that he is gone I will continue to love him in the way I live. -T t, it's soon to be the Year of the Rat... wish you were here.
  5. Taz

    Floking Weekend at JSC

    Damn, boy, you just beat me to it. This past weekend was awesome. Photos have been uploaded at http://www.jsc.co.za/Photos.aspx?Show=photos&Mode=0&Cat=Wingsuits Basic stats: # WINGSUIT SLOTS FILLED: 101 NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 10. Taya, Tonto, Riaan (Newbie) Bergh, Bernard van Biljon, Simon Murray, Mark Riesnik, John Mackay, Dian Kemp, Pierre (Mare) Badenhorst, and PJ Eales. MOST WINGSUITS IN THE PORTER AT A TIME: 10 SUITS IN ATTENDANCE: 7. S3, PHI, GTi, Classic, SugarGlider, GS-1, S-Fly LARGEST SUCCESSFUL FLOCK: 9-way in perfect tight formation Despite a very windy morning on Saturday, the group decided we'd give it a go and see how the landings went. It was a good call: there was certainly no swooping in the high wind, but we ended up doing 8 full loads Saturday, alternating with a group of 27 tandems. The combination of brave wingsuiters and tandems kept the plane running. We started the day with two teams of 5 working on diving approaches and discipline in flying a particular slot. The teams did 4 jumps together with comprehensive briefs and debriefs before and after every jump. We then selected the most consistent "point of the arrow" to lead the combined flock: Riaan led the flock with Bernard on his right and Pierre on his left. Four wonderful 9 and 10-way flocks resulted in a spectacular end-of-day 9-way flock in a perfect "V" formation that could be clearly seen by spectators on the ground. This was definitely a JSC record. Sunday we completed 4 more flocking dives, this time working on the 3-dimensional positioning essential to much larger flocks that will be possible with December's AFFC planes. This kind of flock looks more like a cone with the flock leader at the tip, rather than a "V" where everyone is flying in the same horizontal plane. We nailed it, and on the last jump of the weekend the grins were so big you could almost hear the flapping of lips on teeth in freefall. Our accomplishments would not have been possible without a different run-in that took us up to 2 and a half miles out so we could fly straight back to the dropzone rather than flying a pattern requiring multiple turns. Such a pattern, while necessary if wingsuits exit on the same run-in as other jumpers, sacrifices a lot of altitude and precision. Thanks for the excellent run-ins all weekend go to the pilots, who never believed we'd make it back but did it anyway, and to Tonto's spectacular manual spotting on every jump. Big thanks go to Sam at manifest and to Barry, who took our cause to heart and made sure we were able to get the lift capacity we needed to achieve what we did. The Johannesburg Skydiving Club Committee and Skyhigh Express (the aircraft operator of the Porter) were very supportive in their sponsorship, and we appreciate their recognition of wingsuiting as an important emerging discipline in South Africa. We look forward to another event like this, and to meeting the challenges of even bigger-way flocking to come at the AFFC at the end of the year. After this weekend I truly believe the international organizers coming from Europe and the United States will be impressed with what we have built down here. ... in short, yee ha. Everyone who was there totally rocked. Organizing this thing took a lot of work (we're in Africa, wingsuiting is still really new), and all the fun made it totally worth it. Blue skies, -T Edited to add pic showing how badass we are.
  6. Taz

    Mirage G4

    After jumping a used Mirage G3 for my first 400 skydives, I received my new G4 4 weeks after placing my order. That means that four weeks after sending the order form through the fax machine, the rig was in my living room. It's an MXS-1/2, with a Stiletto 97 and PD113 reserve with Cypres. It's my first custom rig, and since I'm 5'4" and weigh about 105 pounds soaking wet, this is the first rig that has ever fit me perfectly. That bias revealed, I like this rig for a lot of reasons. Every detail on this piece of equipment has been thought out to the fullest. The risers with velcro-less toggles are the best I've ever seen. Hard housings for stowing excess cable ensure that if I need to cut away a spinning main, I will have no problem doing so. The toggles tuck securely into the risers with tabs at the top and in the middle, making them easy to grab after deployment without worrying about a premature brake release. There are convenient loops to put the excess brake line away after stowing the toggles. Pin coverage of both main and reserve is unsurpassed. One improvement from my old Mirage is that with the shorter reserve pin flap, coverage is just as secure but allows for an easier pin check without fumbling to tuck the flap back in. I ordered the hackey handle for my pilot chute, and even though I do a lot of freeflying I feel secure with this design that I will not have a premature opening. The back pad--wow. At first I noticed that it felt really comfortable in the air and on the ground walking out to boarding point. Last weekend, it occurred to me that I was enjoying my landings a lot more than usual, and realized that it's because of the way the rig sits on my back after opening. It makes flying and landing my canopy a whole new experience. The shape of this rig is less square than the G3, tapered at the bottom, and actually packs more easily with the split deployment bag. I got the full options with the Unisyn harness, which I love and recommend. I have never felt as mobile in the air as I do with this harness. It has actually made a difference in my flying. More importantly, my confidence in the care, testing, and improvements that go into Mirage products let me focus on my jumping. Mirage customer service is incredible. After plenty of phone calls with Justin and Trisha, while I was in both South Africa and the USA, I was more than impressed with how I was treated as a customer. No question was too stupid for a prompt and thorough reply, both on the phone and by email. Last week I got a follow-up call from Kim to see how I like the rig. That's a long-distance call, to my South African cell phone. When she missed me on the first try, she left a message and called back a few days later. Truly international service, too. No 3am "whoops, I didn't realize what time zone you were in" calls. This purchase did something that made the money totally worth it: it eliminated gear fear. Even if you go for fewer options and opt for the non-articulated harness, the Mirage G4 is a lot of rig (and peace of mind) for the money.