Catching up with… Patrick Passe
What makes Frenchman Patrick Passe one of the most successful world record organizers ever?
The Ripcord POPS Record event promoted so many great reactions on Facebook that our article is the 'pick of the best'. The first and longest quote is the story of the record as told by long time skydiver Bill McMurry, who was on Dan BC's first 4-way team…
This weekend marked the greatest moment in 41 years of skydiving. Two World Records in one weekend is so rare when even one can be so elusive.
On the preceding two days of attempts we never got close to a completion, with skydivers experiencing problem after problem. When Saturday arrived I was not encouraged that this group would ever pull this off. I was proven wrong in short order on Saturday.
I am grateful to my daughters Sierra and Sophie who were on the ground watching on Saturday when 128 of the best skydivers on the planet, organized and coached by my longtime and dear friend, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, broke the former record (123) with a new POPS World Record of 128! Sharing such an accomplishment with my daughters was a moment in my life that I will never forget. I know they won't either.
And then Sunday came around and there were 3 more jumps left of this event. Dan was now prepared to break our record of 128, now adding two additional skydivers from the deep bench at Skydive Perris. I was in disbelief, but no matter. There is nothing so finely felt or finely perceived as making large formation skydives, so breaking our record from Saturday was beside the point. Getting back in the air with 6 turbine aircraft and 130 skydivers was going to be a day of great fun.
I was blown away on the first jump of the day. Only one skydiver was out. What an incredible view looking across the flying men and women of this beautiful flying machine! The electricity that flows through one's body and mind is indescribable, except to say humbling and adrenalizing all at the same instant. Jump 2, again only one jumper out. Then came the last jump of the event. What are the odds that we would break our record on the last jump of the last day of such an event? Very unlikely, but let's get back up there!
So on the third and final jump of the event, Sierra and Sophie were again watching from the ground. They and all of the spectators held their breath as the last skydiver closed his grip on the formation to set a new POPS World Record - 130! I was honored and fortunate to have been slotted to exit from the plane with the greatest distance to cover, especially for the “late divers” in the back of the plane. Until the video was revealed, little did my girls know that the last skydiver to close on this formation was their dad!
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dan for his superior organizing skills and those of the other giants in the sport which include, Kimbo Godwin, Larry Henderson, Kate Cooper-Jensen, Carsten Cooper-Jensen, Tim Weible, Mark Brown, Guy Wright, Hal Spence and Louie Tommaso. Of equal importance to pulling off such a feat are the superior flying skills of six exceptional pilots who flew each plane in perfect formation made difficult by the required altitude variances between the planes. I was fortunate to be seated the cockpit to watch our Twin Otter pilot fly in perfect harmony with two Skyvans in the lead and three more Twin Otters trailing from the right.
Story by Bill McMurry
“What a terrific POPS event we just finished at Skydive Perris. Everything, literally everything about it was nearly perfect. Great weather, a fantastic team, excellent jumps, superb pilots, awesome riggers, two records and hanging out with new and old friends. But extra special was doing it with Bill McMurry, one of my oldest skydiving friends, buddies since I was 19. How great to be doing world records with him 35 years later. Truly amazing are the friendships created from this sport.“
Dan BC, Manager, Skydive Perris and BASE Captain
_“Thank you to all those that helped to make my vacation to California fcking awesome! Most notably:
Kimbo Godwin for herding cats… I mean, organizing the event.
The plane captains that helped us improve and go bigger. Base captain, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld.
The entire Skydive Perris and event staff - Pilots, manifest, packers, the bus and “bad spot” drivers, the ground crew, the loaders, riggers, the maintenance crew, the Bombshelter staff…The eight way chunk for setting the tone of “We got this shit!” on every single one of our skydives. Seriously, if you're looking for footage on how to rock the mother-fucking-shit out of launching an eight way out of a skyvan, you have 16 jumps from which to choose.
Last but not least, EVERYONE! All my teammates!!!!“_
Lynn Broberg, Participant*
“If you ever get a chance to be in the base chunk on a big way don’t pass it up. It is the most work and fun you will have skydiving. We had jumpers from age 40-80. That’s right 80! They call it POPS for a reason… I added some age appropriate music in the middle of the video that I hope all can appreciate. The practice jumps were done at normal jump altitude 12,000-13,000 ft. The record attempts were all done from 20,000 feet (MSL) about 18,500 feet above the drop zone. With the first wave of trackers leaving at 7,000 feet, that gave us about 65 seconds to complete the jumps.“
Randy Forbes, Cameraman
“It was amazing to watch! Six aircraft, spewing out waterfalls of skydivers, they gathered like shoals of mackerel, then a beautiful starfish formed, as if by magic. I’ll never forget that sight! It made me want to take up skydiving!”
Thad Poole, Spectator
“The formation fell faster than Republican polls in October! ;-) … The total number of jumps by team members from 22 nations and 23 USA states was 531,933 – but no one was brave enough to add up the total amount of years ;-) Team Ripcord Skydiving is planning to bring the team back together again for a fifth event—with all the new inductees—in two years from now. Mark it on your calendar if you are over 40 –– or will be in 2 years – and join the club!”
Kate Cooper-Jensen, Coach
Photographs and video were all captured on www.skydivingphotography.com by the camera team of Craig O’Brien, George Katsoulis, Terry Weatherford, Carlos Hansen and Randy Forbes. You can view the event stills and videos on the Skydiving Photography POPS Event Page HERE
Event highlight video by Randy Forbes, HERE
Video of the last debrief, (by Randy Forbes) when Dan announces the second World Record – Pandemonium! HERE