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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Go BIG!

by Luciano Bacqué
by Luciano Bacqué

How do you get invited on record attempts and cool sequential like Power Play, Sequential Games and the Arizona Challenge? A big-way camp is a great start – and a Sequential Camp the next step.

What is a big-way camp?

A big-way camp (BWC), is the outdoor equivalent of a tunnel camp. It is run over 3 to 5 days and covers every aspect of big-way flying:

  • exits from base, left and right trail;
  • floating;
  • diving;
  • stadium set-up;
  • approach;
  • docking;
  • flying the formation;
  • tracking teams;
  • canopy safety;
  • teamwork;
  • improvement.

Participants try everywhere it’s possible to go, from superfloater on the lead aircraft to last diver in the left trail plane. It can be really fun to go places your body shape never took you before! Each jump is thoroughly briefed and debriefed with video, in a ‘no-fault environment’, you are encouraged to get out of your comfort zone – stop a bit later, wear a tighter suit or go last diver when normally that would scare you! The camps will push you as hard as you are prepared to push yourself.

What will you learn?

You will learn all the skills detailed above, and the peculiarities of the different slots/approaches. You will learn to use weights, different jumpsuits, t-shirts, overarms, etc, to adjust to the fall rate you need. A heavy guy going out last might use a freefly suit, a light person in the base could wear two weight belts. This will show that you have more range than you think, and teach you how to select the right tools for each skydive. You will learn to read the formation design to anticipate fall rate. You'll love flying tracking teams in ever tighter formations. It is also a great way to learn base (both free-flown and chunked) and inner big way work. It's not all about going last diver after all; to be a great FS Big Way jumper your comfort zone should include base chunk all the way out.

by Craig O'Brien
by Craig O'Brien

Who are big-way camps for?

For everyone, especially those who may come from smaller Cessna-style dropzones and haven't had the opportunity to jump bigger planes. It can be intimidating to turn up straight to a large DZ without knowing if you have the skills. Going to a BWC then gives you the confidence to go to any boogie or big DZ and join the organized loads.

They are also perfect for newer skydivers who learned great body positions and excellent flying skills, but do not have experience of building and flying 20-ways and 40-ways. A BWC is the perfect place to learn what the heck those last divers do.

If you are invited on a record, you owe it to your teammates to turn up current with big-ways and with safe, rehearsed canopy skills. The training jumps at the event are designed to make the particular record happen, not for you to brush off the big-way rust.

You should have basic flying skills – if you can get out of a plane and dock on a 6-way that's good enough.

Australian Record 2010, over Perris, organised by P3 — by Norman Kent
Australian Record 2010, over Perris, organised by P3 — by Norman Kent

BWC Tips

If you go on a camp, make the most of it.

  • Challenge yourself - organizers appreciate it and you will learn most
  • Go out of your way to make new friends
  • Listen, learn and commit to each dive 100%.
  • Buddy up to make sure you're not late
  • Follow the plan you are given, not how you used to do it
  • Be careful and alert under canopy
  • Be safe and have fun!

P3 Big-way camps – USA

In my opinion, nowhere does it better than the P3 camps at Skydive Perris, with legendary coaches Dan BC, Kate Cooper-Jensen, Doug Forth and Larry Henderson. Their pilots fly in very tight formation, and they have the communication nailed. The weather is generally hot and sunny :) P3 are the original and best BWCs, fulfiling a need as there are really very few of these type of events around the world.

Camps have an eclectic mix of ages, experience, nationalities and personalities. The big-way scene is a community, and this is your introduction to that happy band, making connections that spawn friendships, invitations to events, and offers of bed space the other side of the planet. Oh, and you will laugh. A lot.

by Craig O'Brien
by Craig O'Brien

2018 Dates - USA

P3 Big Way Camp

  • Dates: 3-6 May 2018
  • Place: Skydive Perris, California, USA
  • Planes: 4 Skyvans (22 place), 5 Twin Otters (22 place)
  • Apply: On the P3 Skydiving website here

Basic camp for all skill levels. Everything you've ever wanted to know about big-ways.

P3 100-way camp

  • Dates: 10-13 May 2018
  • Place: Skydive Perris, California, USA
  • Planes: 5 Skyvans (22 place), 3 Twin Otters (22 place)
  • Apply: On the P3 Skydiving website here

Designed to prepare or refresh you for 100-way events. Participants must have attended a P3 BWC or come with good references.

Strutting your stuff on these events in front of Dan BC and Co is the first step to an invite on the very cool invitational Spring Fling (17-20 May, 2018) or even the coveted P3 Power Play (21-24 June 2018). (Read a Power Play virgin's experience here)

P3 Sequential Camp

  • Dates: 22-25 Feb 2018
  • Place: Skydive Perris, California, USA
  • Planes: 5 Skyvans (22 place), 3 Twin Otters (22 place)
  • Apply: On the P3 Skydiving website here

The next step is to do a Sequential Camp (22-25 Feb 2018), where you will try more intricate slots, outfacing and tricky transitions. They normally run one in November too. The P3 camps are designed to progress anyone from big-way bunny through 60-ways, 100-ways, Sequential, all the way to Power Play, the most challenging dives of the year, like this one:

Complete — by Luciano Bacque
Complete — by Luciano Bacque

2018 Europe Events

If in Europe and not prepared to travel to the USA you could try the below events in Kharkov, Ukraine. Last year they ran their first camp, which was well received.

Friends of WOW BWC

  • Dates: 30 July to 3 August 2018
  • Place: Korotich, Kharkov, Ukraine
  • Planes: Antonov-72 and Antonov-28 (taking 60 and 22 skydivers).
  • Coaches: Milko Hodgkinson, Illya Balashov, poss Herman Landsman
  • Contact: Alia Veselova: alia@skyphoto.ru
  • Register: here

Run alongside the Euro Women's Record, an opportunity for partners and friends to jump the big jet

International BWC

  • Dates: 20-24 August 2018
  • Place: Korotich, Kharkov, Ukraine
  • Planes: Antonov-72 and Antonov-28 (taking 60 and 22 skydivers).
  • Coaches: Dieter Kirsch, Kate Cooper-Jensen, Illya Balashov
  • Contact: Alia Veselova: alia@skyphoto.ru
  • Register: here

Second year of this structured camp, including socials and excursions. Last year's event is described here

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