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The Qatar National Army Parachute team's amazing demonstration of skydiving could be likened to Cirque de Soleil, with its precise choreography, impeccable timing, spectacular effects and synchronised aerials, all set off with lights, sparkles and bangs galore. The dramatic display has to be seen to be believed and requires a high skill level with no room for error.
Who are these incredibly professional display stuntmen? Veterans with thousands of jumps? No, they have been skydiving for less than a year. They have been coached from the beginning by American Chris Gay, Canopy Formation expert. He answers some questions about the Qatar demo team.
The team is made up of approximately 18 jumpers and several support crew. The man in charge is Colonel Fahad Dhafer Alahbab, followed up by a close-knit chain of command needed to organize and run such a project.
They did their AFF course at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales, Florida in February/March of this year, 2013. In April they went through a Canopy Formation Specialists (CF Specialists) camp and did their first Canopy Formation (CF) jump. After that all their practice jumps have been under the guidance of a CF Specialists coach.
This was one of the most aggressive and challenging projects we have taken on. However I think it shows that, no matter what the odds are, a team can accomplish more than anyone can imagine with a lot of hard work, dedication and focus.
CF Specialists has been training different aspects of Canopy Formation – beginner, sport, military, large formation, demonstration and competition – for the last 20 years and have developed a solid training program for all levels of CF.
For a group of individual people to come together and become a team in such a short amount of time. However I will also say the guys on the team worked harder for this than probably anything else they have done in many years. I am really proud of how they grew into such a well-rehearsed and professional team.
The demonstration consisted of a 9-way diamond with streamers and smoke, a 4-way diamond with the Qatar National Day flag, a 2-way smoke downplane team, a 2-way smoke canopy war team and 4 flag jumpers carrying flags of the Emir, the Father of the Emir, the Defense Minister Logo and a 1400 square foot Qatar Flag.
This display was a goal of the team from day one.
There are too many to talk about. Everything from timing, to spotting all the routines, to the airshows to the landings.
Yes, the team was very low profile during the training phase. Qatar's National day was the 'unveiling' of the Qatar National Army Parachute Team.
It was absolutely amazing. Each time a routine started or finished the applause from the crowd was heard and felt by the landing crew and even the jumpers in the air.
The person who had the vision to go with this project is Colonel Fahad. He has done a tremendous amount of work for raising the level of skydiving and professionalism of skydiving in Qatar, without his foresight this project would have never been possible.
Only time will tell…or at least that is all that I am saying for now. ;-)