FS Records galore at Flanders, where the Belgie chicks kicked ass, making every single jump a success story…
What started two years ago as a dull moment at a skydive bar, turned out to be one of the most successful events in the history of Belgian skydiving! A few ladies launched the idea to build a new record, since the last record was set in 2005, with a 24-way female formation. The project “Ladies@theDZ” was born. Ladies@theDZ has 3 goals: bringing female skydivers together to train them, give them more confidence and exposure, breaking the 24-way record and raising money for female cancer research.
During the season 2018/2019 we organized several training camps. The more experienced skydivers trained in 12 to 16-way formations, whilst the beginners got a chance to build up their skills in smaller groups, so they were able to join the bigger groups later on. This way, we created a group consisting of about 30 ladies. During these training camps we worked both on individual and group skills, as well as also on creating a positive and cheerful atmosphere.
But then after two years of hard work, the most terrible thing for every record-organizer happened. The weather forecast was horrible for the whole planned four days.
Nevertheless, the ladies were there on Thursday August 15th 2019 and were determined to break the record. After TEN HOURS of waiting and staring to the sky, it finally happened! The clouds broke open and the blue sky appeared. Our coach Maya Van Campenhout took the lead, together with Ils Van den Weygaert. They briefed the team and everybody was ready to go.
To get the ladies motivated and focused, the coaches told the group: “Ladies give all the best you have! Because this might be the only attempt possible this weekend. We can do this!”
And then, magic happened. On our very first jump together, a 25 female formation flew for more than 10 seconds.
The next day a few new ladies joined our group and some others had to leave due to work related obligations. The group reduced to only 24 ladies, but we knew we could set another Belgian record: a 24-way sequential with 2 points was our goal of the day.
And magic happened again! We set the record on our first and only jump of the day! A 2-point 24-way!! But no crazy party time for us yet that evening, because everybody wanted to be ready and focused for a bigger formation the next day…
Saturday, we managed to bring 29 ladies together from all over the country. The weather again was awful and we spent the entire day waiting. Luckily a professional photo-session and a very interesting big-way seminar from Luc Vereecken kept us occupied for some part of the day. Around 7PM, the winds calmed down and at 7.30PM we finally took off!…
And we did it again! A new record was set with twenty-nine ladies flying a formation that was stable for ages it seemed.
We really wanted to go for two points, but with the clouds being too low and after three (!!) go-arounds, the ladies left the plane at 10,700 feet to again, build a 29 way formation. Who needs 15,000 feet for a big way anyway? 😉
On our last day, Sunday August 18th in the presence of national and regional press, we took off at 3pm. And again on our first jump of the day we improved our record of Friday with a 27-way sequential with 2 points!
Maya had a new jump all prepared where in between the two points there was a total break off and every girl had to fly a different slot. We were all set to go, but just before take-off, our pilot got word from the manifest that the winds were too strong. The 2 ladies who had fewer than 200 jumps were grounded and they left the airplane 🙁
Maya decided to continue and, during the flight, she briefed a new jump with the pilots and manifest acting as a go-between for the 2 planes. This only goes to show what amazing qualities she has as an organizer! And on top of that, it all worked out! A 25-way sequential with 2 points flew as planned. We now have to wait and see whether the Federation will accept the jump as a new record.
This amazing and diverse group consists of female skydivers between 21 and 53 years old. Some of them only started jumping last year having only 187 jumps, others have been jumping for 37 years and are having more than 4,000 jumps. But only a few ladies had more than a thousand jumps. So this wonderful result is thanks to the great skills, 100% dedication and focus and the positive spirit of everyone involved.
THANK YOU !!
This project is realized with the support of our club Skydive Flanders, the Flemish Skydiving Federation, Netlease, DVV Ceusters insurances, Vigil, Aerodyne, Pan-European Investment Group, L&B, Indoor Skydive Roosendaal, VDP Service, Cookie Helmets, Intrudair, Pgasus, Samm Parachute Rigging Service, Jera, Brouwerij Broers and a lot of our male skydive friends that bought our ‘Ladies@theDZ beer, T-shirts, buffs and raffle tickets.
We were able to donate more than €2,500 to the female cancer research fund!
Article by Ils Van den Weygaert and Cathy de Wilder
Ils Van den Weygaert has 4,000+ jumps, has been skydiving since 1982, and is passionate about bigway skydiving. Proud member of the Women on Wings team 2018 and the ladies@thedz. USPA AFF instructor and AFF Examiner for the Flemish Federation. Cathy De Wilder began in September 2010 but stopped skydiving after one season. She started again last year. Thanks to the amazing coaching of Maya and the incredible support of the ladies, she participated successfully on most of the records – but was one of 2 girls that had to leave the plane on the last jump, with no C licence.
Coaching by Maya Van Campenhout
Maya Van Campenhout has 2,200+ jumps and almost 10 years in the sport. Coach of ladies@thedz, 4/8 way coach, AFF jumpmaster, member of ISR Fireflash and Les Stunts. Passionate about making a jump as perfect as possible
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