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Aussie Record #2 – The Big Picture

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Building the stadium, with each sector adopting a defined approach zone

After yesterday’s preparation, practising the separate pieces of the pie, this morning [Friday 29 May] the Australian skydivers and friends tried them all out together in the same piece of sky. 126 people went into freefall together, potential for a new record but that was not the goal of the day. The aim was to make steady progress towards the summit. Setting a record is like climbing one of the world’s highest mountains; it takes months of planning, recruiting the right team, putting the resources in place… and then the ascent is made slowly, with steady progress towards the goal.

The stadium picture

Just like such an expedition, not everyone in the party can make it to the summit but they are still an invaluable part of the team, and the success of the group could not have happen without them. Overnight 2 more people were sat down from the load, hard decisions that had to be made for the sake of the commitment to the majority to set a record. It’s hoped that we can get a record and then bring at least some of these people back, as happened the previous record in 2010.

Last jump of the day, with the formation defined but not gripped

##Goals

So the aims of the day were: for everyone to have a chance to see the big picture; what everything looked like with so many people in the sky, coming from 7 different aircraft (3 sky vans and 4 Twin Otters); for the pilots to practice and hone their formation to give us the best chance; for participants to make equipment changes so they are in the middle of their fall rate range (adjusting weights, jumpsuits, overarms etc); for the organizers to try out their planned slotting for everyone and make changes where necessary; for everyone to get used to the big-way routine with extras like oxygen hoses and radios; for the team to learn to fly together to make a large stadium, to pre-build the formation, forming good tracking teams and developing safe canopy flying skills with so many parachutes in the air. All of these were achieved in just 4 skydives and a lot of groundwork.

Exit timing, counting down with fingers to duplicate Dan's count on the radio

##Equipment

Every plane has two skydivers wearing radios, they can hear Dan BC’s count down from 10 to Ready – Set – Go, and relay those to their aircraft so everyone can leave with perfect timing, closer than would be possible with visual only. Here’s a bizarre story – Zak, one of the jumpers went into freefall trailing a very long oxygen hose, he pulled the whole caboodle out instead of just his personal plug-in piece. He pulled it off for safety reasons and made the skydive… when he landed, the oxygen hose hit the ground right next to him! 😉

The group in the right trail Skyvan

##Record Attempts Tomorrow

Only a limited number of people were given permission to dock; the majority were flying no contact around the base, aiming to show the separate lines of the intended formation. Tomorrow, Saturday 30 May, after some more overnight changes by the hardworking, barely sleeping P3 Skydiving team, record attempts will begin. We have two days and 8-10 jumps, wish us luck and check out the event page on SkydivingPhotography.com for videos and photos in almost real time.

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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