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  1. to continue on the topic of what's been done historically in docking... I found some 6way pics: And I'm pretty sure I recall seeing either a 6way or a 7way from Purple Mike's crew over in Texas, but memory fails me and the web page no longer exists. It will be cool to see what configuration the next record formations will have. Leg/foot docks tend to be harder, but ultimately we can only make a hand to hand line so long until it's way too unstable. Getting a docked 4way diamond seems the likely key to going bigger. Speaking of which... Anyone know of any completed docked 4way diamond that is entirely belly to earth? I recall a really cool one from the Defy Gravity guys in Russia a couple years ago, where the base was backflying. Just curious if there are more out there. Getting that solid piece flying consistently will be one of the biggest challenges in getting bigger and bigger docked wingsuit formations.
  2. Relax, relax, nobody is claiming this is the biggest docked formation ever built! It is only a record in the USPA recognition sense. For those who are not aware, USPA started accepting docked records since the most recent BOD meeting (summer 2013) - thanks Zach S for all the efforts in making docking a thing. The 4way at Chicks Rock is a starting point in setting official USPA records. There were certainly earlier formations, just no actual uspa record submissions because it wasn't an accepted category at the time, cause we were all too busy fighting over which grid works best :) Your 5way line from flock n dock is still awesome. You didn't "beat" anyone though. There was a much earlier 5way done in Spa quite a few years before flock n dock 7... this one here: **edited to add details: 2008 - Skydive Spa, Belgium - the first 5 way docked line of wingsuits is flown by Patrick de Guilebon, Tristan Whitmarsh, Jeff Nebelkopf, Jarno Cordia and Kristina Boole (source: flylikebrick's wingsuit history page) There have also been bigger ones done during the "flock u docked challenge" online comp... I think there was a 6way or 7way including some foot docks too. Really cool stuff! Don't think those can retroactively be claimed as records since you technically have to declare the formation before you build it all that bs first... I think? Someone correct me if I'm wrong. But even so, I'm sure the this initial 4way can easily be broken, at least the co-ed one (planning to get a whole bunch of ladies tends to be harder, though also not impossible) and we were actually trying to do so that same day. The interesting thing will be to see what number we reach before things start to get really tricky and we need to develop new techniques for flying these docked formations in a more stable way. Meanwhile, go break more records! Flock n dock this spring, anyone? anyone?
  3. you? anytime, matt same goes for your wife
  4. As Skwrl said, we'll be around a bunch of dropzones in the northeast all season, including a few trips to points further south (mid-atlantic region) here and there, so keep an eye on our calendar and if you see any of us at the dropzone, come say hi, we don't bite (much) In the meantime, enjoy every single one of those 150+ regular jumps first... there's a ton of fun stuff to explore in skydiving. Focus on becoming a well-rounded skydiver, spend some time getting good on your belly, get very aware of what's going on around you when jumping with other people (from small groups to larger ones), practice safe separation at break-off, solid altitude awareness, learn how to spot well and know where you are by more than just looking at the red light turning green at exit... and when you're ready, we'll be more than happy to make you a part of the flock! The best path is one of accumulating experience. who knows, when you get to 100+ jumps, if you've shown to be a safe, heads up jumper, I might take ya on a wingsuit rodeo just for a little preview :) Feel free to PM me with any questions
  5. My take is that the wingsuiter is responsible for navigation. if you exit and determine that you are too far from the dropzone, you can ditch the passenger much earlier (unless it's a big boogie with a gazillion aircraft running loads at the same time) and they can pull high and make it back. the passenger should get briefed about this possibility ahead of time. I like to get them off my back even higher than you do. 6k or 5.5 I roll them off. they should pull high. this keeps them out of other traffic too if they are in the saddle by 5. some passengers seem to think they need to track or something. the only situation where that would happen is if you are doing multiple side by side rodeos and the passengers end up being released at the same time... though ideally you wingsuiters should first separate from each other before dumping off the passengers. wingsuiter should be spotting the plane. passenger just pulls after separating from wingsuiter. they should have enough experience/knowledge to make it back from a slightly longer spot. if they do not have that experience, they are not skilled enough for a rodeo, end of story. yes, always make sure everyone knows what altitude everyone is pulling at. wingsuiter should not be flying in the tandem's airspace. know where they are hanging out, look for that, and avoid it. needless to say, no flyby with a rodeo on your back... exactly... all about experience. it's why I ask for 100 jumps. if your goal is to get laid like purple mike, your requirements can be different... but if we are to look at it from a safety perspective, riding a wingsuiter requires a certain level of experience that should not be taken lightly.
  6. +1 Try a barrel roll, try flipping onto your back and staying there for a few, then back over... front loops, back loops etc. go through the video manuals here: practice whatever's applicable. Try to master every acro maneuver to the point where you can do it perfectly on heading without losing too much altitude. Pick that reference point on the horizon, flip around, then check that point again and see if you've maintained your heading. Exploring flying stable in every possible position will train you to better handle any suit you end up jumping next (I'm assuming the TBird is a rental since it's for the month) If you enjoy the acro stuff a lot, demo a Phantom3 afterwards ;-) Don't forget about navigation each time. Making it back to the dz is still super important. No acro maneuvers below 5500, that's the tandems' airspace and we shouldn't do stupid shit in it. Do you have a buddy to jump with? If you're not both too dangerous to fly with each other, it helps to have someone around to use as a reference point. You can trade jumps, "one all about you, one all about me" style...
  7. grab a phantom3. stable and easy to fly enough that lots of us prefer them for first flight courses... yet with enough performance in it for the experienced flyer that lots of us still use it as our no.1 suit even after thousands of wingsuit jumps. as with anything, try before you buy, if possible. also, figure out what you want the suit to do for you... long, slow puffy surfs? agile aerobatics? flocking? docking?
  8. fully agreed, a lot of the summerfest formations looked totally beautiful and the spirit of the whole group was great as well. the grid may or may not be the greatest solution... oh, here comes the debate again... last time we tried, it was a ton of horseshit flying around... if only we could be civil about it :) and Kallend does hit the nail on the head with there being great alternative systems of measuring this totally with you on that, bro! though... it's interesting... some claim that more spread out dampens out the waves in the formation and allows for better alignment. I think that's more a question of the skill level involved, and that really good flyers can do this fine with tight spacing anyway. the wingsuit forum these days is just a dumping ground for political bullshit and snide remarks. it is not just a question for wingsuiters, it is addressed to the whole skydiving community, because the USPA's actions are being called into question, and the USPA is not just a wingsuiters' organization. and as someone who was at summerfest... sadly I did not get to jump on this one cause it was during the weekdays when I was working and being a dork the whole time... but pretty sure Purple Mike (who is well known as the most solid base flyer in the whole world) was flying base on all the attempts... I know everyone was putting in a lot of effort and a lot of great teamwork was involved, and a beautiful formation resulted that felt worthy of being called a record... and it's nice to inspire people and get them to celebrate an achievement and all that... but.. fuck! if you're gonna push for rules being official, you gotta then stick by the rules! This is perfect proof of why we are still not matured enough as a discipline, and have plenty of research left to do before we should be calling anything official and pushing for worldwide acceptance. While all of that is great and the efforts are deeply appreciated, it is things like these that show how far we still are from, say, what the freeflyers are doing... As usual, there's too much drama in wingsuiting and most people (in this case even some at the uspa level) want to shove the dirt under the rug and pretend nothing's happening... cause it does become really tiring to deal with it all... still no excuse though.
  9. fully agreed! some of you may have heard me talk about this concept over and over all summer... Palms up enables one to roll your shoulders more naturally... so it can help get a better track if your body isn't used to independently moving the shoulders into that position to begin with. It also depends a lot on the level of shoulder strength and flexibility, as well as rotational flexibility in your elbow joints. One can eventually figure out how to keep the shoulders in their best forward-rolled (boobs tucked in) position regardless of what the palms are doing. But if you're still learning this type of thing, rotating the palms to facilitate for the rotation of the shoulder can optimize the overall body position. On the other hand, palms facing the earth lets you push a little more aggressively with your forearms and hands, which can help in different ways... quick directional controls etc. I also find it makes a difference when taking a dock (edit: I'm still talking of docking in the context of wingsuit flying or tracking), influencing forward speed control... Helps to think about this type of thing when using different types of suits and trying to get docks flying longer and more stable.
  10. meh, that's easy. now I wanna se the big bird rodeo the tiny bird
  11. Great point. Adding "AAD checks" to my pre-rodeo checklist. Along the same lines, I guess wearing a helmet is also important. Was just at Summerfest a few weeks ago and watched a good friend get his gopro kicked off his helmet due to a messed up rodeo exit. That's enough force that, if applied to the right region of your skull, can knock you out. To answer the original question, I personally highly recommend 100+ jumps for rodeos, and very current, heads-up flyer. The passenger doesn't just need to "hold on". Sure, flying skills help, knowing what to do with the air around them makes for an easier ride. But most importantly, they need to be aware of what's going on, and capable to react quickly and effectively in weird situations. They need to be visually aware of altitude (the altimeter doesn't always read correctly in the burble), have a good sense of time elapsed and when it's likely time to get off etc. Passenger needs to be comfortable either landing off or making it back from a long spot. Finding the dropzone from further out, flying the canopy optimally from a long spot, having the presence of mind to pull higher in case of accidental dismount and longer spot (assuming the circumstances allow for it - no big boogie with too many aircraft dropping jumpers at the same time, proper communication with everyone else on the load beforehand etc) When the rodeo goes to shit, we may try a few tumbles and recovery attempts before giving up. The passenger needs to recognize when things are going too fast the wrong way, and let go. An inexperienced skydiver might hold on for dear life thinking it's just part of the fun, not realizing that the poor wingsuiter is getting bloodshot eyes as they desperately try to abandon the plan. Whatever you do, make sure to dirt dive both the exit and the flying position. Yea, I always get an array of nasty jokes when dirt diving a rodeo (often with some dude twice as big as I am), but it is by far one of the most crucial steps in ensuring the rodeo's success. Passenger needs to see where your wings are, where their knees/feet/pelvis/hands etc are going to sit, practice exit, practice flying position, and notice where your handles are and how to avoid them at all costs! As far as the wingsuiter's experience is concerned - fully agree with the 100 wingsuit jump minimum requirement. I might also add being very current on the suit they are planning on flying. If you just upsized big time, it might not be the best idea to test fly your new toy on a rodeo. Baby steps. Wingsuiter needs to be well versed in instability recovery on their own before attempting any maneuvers with a passenger on top. Wingsuiter also needs to be capable of briefing their passenger on all of the above (make sure to reserve enough time before the jump to do so - don't just manifest for the load and talk about it at the 5 minute call)
  12. either that, or someone will refine (erm, copy and dilute) it into a multi level CBIAFCS-I hierarchical rating system that smells a little too much like a pyramid scheme.
  13. not trying to start the old fight though I'm probably gonna get some bs going for saying this anyway... but can I remind you that something called a record is not supposed to be easy? pretty sure that if all our wingsuit flyers had the same level of skill and jump numbers as the freeflyers on the head down record, we'd have an easier time fitting any grid. that aside, interesting to see you guys get different results with pictures taken at slightly different positions/angles. and kallend gets to say "told you so" for the millionth time... whatever. all in all, it was an awesome boogie and the group of people there was a lot of fun to fly (and party) with. Both the bigger-ways and the fun acro and rodeos and other crazy shit from the second weekend. we got some sick pictures and video, and some long lasting fun memories. that's all that matters.