VR Proximity flight!
Feel like you're really flying down Tianmen Moutain
The Flanders Select, a new event in Skydive Flanders set up by Willy Boeykens, was a roaring success where fast planes on a large airfield and plentiful sun allowed for a lot of intricate jumps, and culminating in a new world record wingsuit formation. 86 skydivers of 18 nationalities converged on DZ Moorsele for this invitational event in wingsuit, freefly and FS. Having Skydive Flanders' two SuperCaravans and a regular Caravan available allowed for fast climb times to 15,000 ft, everyone making up to 7 jumps a day.
Formation skydiving had a group of 32 skydivers aiming for some challenging formations under the knowledgeable guidance of Milko Hodgkinson and Patrick Passe. The first day consisted of 16way formations to get the groups warmed up, sort out the exit and formation build times, and get some multi-point formations done. The group molded together quickly into a team able to turn up to 6 points in challenging formations, with a sunset 16way doing an impressive 10-point dive.
For the second day, wall to wall blue skies allowed for easy transition to 32ways, starting off with some more standard dives but quickly transitioning to more complex formations. The games continued on the third day with ever-increasing difficulty, including linked Open Diamonds, a 32way Rubick, and even a 32way In-Out held for a few seconds before break-off. On the last day, we alternated between 16 and 32ways, depending on the cloud cover, but for each the complexity of the dives remained high, to the pleasure of all participants.
Magali and Steve Braff from Airspace brought together 25 freeflyers from all over Europe organized by the fabulous duo Matt Hill and Mike Wittenburg. We started with some technical 12-way vertical jumps, went over into 25-way (love them 2-plane formations) vertical jumps with 2 points or mixed, brought together 2 separate trace jumps to turn them into 2 belly/back carving groups, build the AS logo, chased each other in head up tracing, did an infinity flip and went supersonic on the last jump.
We definitely challenged the pilots on the superfast supervans as we were almost all hanging outside the planes allowing us to build up fast. Mike and Matt pushed our limits in all 22 jumps and hell did we enjoy it! Thanks guys! Last but not least we need to thank the one and only Gustavo Cabana as this camera legend made us look good during all these jumps. Where can I sign up for next year's edition?
Flanders Select brought in 49 talented wingsuit pilots that were selected by the 4 organizers: Willy Boeykens, Jarno Cordia, Zun [Stephane Zunino], and Roger Hughes. With this selection the nescessary talent was present for their goal: setting an FAI world record. The camp started with a day of dynamic, vertical and flat formations. It was good to know that the people on this camp were not just a bunch of flat flyers without range or skill. As formations were building, the smiles on the faces grew as well. After 2 days it was time to get down to business and get people doing what we came for.
With the weather becoming problematic for a record attempt, we felt we needed to start with a smaller group to get warmed up. Jumping with 32 wingsuits out of a 2 plane formation we accomplished an FAI World record in just 4 jumps! The next day the weather was looking good so we went up to 42 way, needing a third plane and bigger break-offs. We had 3 jumps in by 4pm, and ready to mock up for the 4th jump, but then we found out that the judges were leaving at the latest 6:30, so the rush was on to get this jump recorded to qualify as a FAI record.
People were determined to get this record so, even though all were tired from the week of jumping, the spirits were high, and all participants knew what had to be done!! Landing on the DZ after our last jump, looking around at everyone with an uncertain look, was not what I expected, but even if we didn't get the record, getting a chance to jump with that many people is a great accomplishment. With the amount of talent we had in the group I never felt that we were going to walk away without a record… and indeed the judges confirmed a new 42 way wingsuit formation record!