P3 Winter Fling

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P3 – Perris Performance Plus – is known across the international skydiving community for hosting world class large formation FS events 

Exit during the Winter Fling event
Photo by Kristian Caulder

In addition they also hold camps to help skydivers with 100 to 10,000 jumps get the experience and learn the skills to be included in these great events. In the past while training teams for upcoming world records P3 has had over 200 jumpers participating in their 100-way camps. That’s right, two separate groups doing back to back 100-ways! Many of the participants qualified the week prior at the P3 Big Way Camp.

As the focus of large formations has switched from pure numbers to more artistic formation flying done at events like the P3 Spring Fling, P3 Power Play, Arizona Challenge, Team Elite and Sequential Gang P3 developed their Sequential Camp to practice this type of intricate flying in particular. In February P3 modeled their spring format of the Big Way Camp/ 100-Way Camp combo by doing a Sequential Camp/ Winter Fling combo.  

Skydivers approaching the base during a Big Way Camp
Photo by Craig O’Brien

What you learn

Big Way Formation Skydiving, whether done on our bellies, head down, head up, in wingsuits or under canopy can be broken down to two basic parts:

  1. the ability to get to the formation in a quick, efficient and predictable fashion, and
  2. the ability to fly your slot in a quiet, smooth, controlled manner that helps the entire formation to build. 

The more intricate and fragile the formations are the more important Part #2 is. 

At the risk of throwing out a broad generalization, it is common to see classic big way jumpers who are great at Part #1, getting to the formation but not as skilled at Part #2, flying their slot. And classic team jumpers who do great at Part #2, flying the formation, but get lost seeing dozens or hundreds of people in the air and have trouble with Part #1. At the camps P3 participants practice all of these skills. But the Big Way and 100-Way Camps focus primarily on Part #1 and the Sequential Camp on Part #2.

Type of events

When designing large formation records we keep the formations as simple as possible with lots of structure which help the formation to hold its shape especially towards the center. It’s not about the “design” it’s about getting as many people on the formation as possible. Everyone is facing directly or almost directly at the center so they only have one line of vision to reference.  

But on Fling and Power Play type event formations it’s not about record numbers, it’s about the designs or multiple designs of each jump. Many of the formations have a lot of open space within the formation that needs to be maintained without grips. Jumpers are flying slots where they are faced away from center or building formations like cats and compressed accordions where it is much more difficult to see the center. On these types of formations each person will nearly always have two or three different lines of vision they must maintain to keep the shape of the formation.

An Open Diamond formation requires very good referencing in multiple directions
Photo by Kristian Caulder

For instance in the picture above there is an Open Diamond and we have Kevin Kierce, the jumper in blue at 11:00, who is the tail of the diamond. He has several lines of vision he must maintain:

  • The first line is always through the center. Looking through the center will give us the maximum amount of information. Between looking down the center line and what we can see out of our peripheral vision we can see almost everything. 
  • But then Kevin must also look directly to his side to see the line and distance between him and the other tail of the diamond to his right. 
  • Then he must look straight ahead to see the line and distance between him and tail of the diamond in the orange helmet in front of him. 
  • Then at some point he has to look out to pick up the grip with his left hand. 

In order for him to fly this slot and maintain the correct shape of the formation his plan for maintaining lines of vision would be something like this:

  • Look to the center
  • Look to the right
  • Look to the center
  • Look straight ahead
  • Look to the center
  • Glance out to pick up the grip, if it’s not there look back to the center.

While maintaining all these lines of vision you are making constant adjustments to hold your position.

Everyone has to fly with references not grips to make this formation connect and have such beautiful symmetry –  Photo by Kristian Caulder

Key of success

To fly formations like this we must be comfortably in the middle of our fall rate range. Frequently in belly Formation Skydiving we are all so worried about “going low” that we are actually too light. We have to arch like hell just to stay down with the formation and have trouble flying our slot. Our ideal fall rate is usually heavier than what we think.

 Our ideal fall rate is usually heavier than what we think

These types of formations and this type of flying is tremendously challenging and rewarding for the team. There are no easy slots and everyone must work together to make them happen. The rewards when you see the formations flying with such precision and grace captured by amazing camera flyers last a life time.

The ultimate goal for P3 events – perfection 🙂
Photo by Craig O’Brien

The February Big Way Camp, Winter Fling and future 2021 events

As International travel is still very restricted the groups weren’t as big as usual but the 36 who attended the camp and the 32 who filled the Winter Fling had a ball and did some amazing skydives organized by Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Kate Cooper-Jensen and Christy Frikken and filmed by Craig O’Brien and Kristian Caulder. The weather was Southern California beautiful and the Skydive Perris aircraft fleet and staff kept things running smooth. A couple of the “campers” qualified for the Fling and made it a two week vacation!

With the Total Break Sequential 150-way World Record still on the calendar for October and the 110-way World Record Star planned for 2022 P3 is hoping to use these camps and their spring events to build momentum and shut the door completely on 2020! 

Our usual trifecta of May events – the Big Way Camp, the 100-way Camp and the Spring Fling are ON the calendar for 2021 and we are looking forward to sharing the sky with our friends again! Plan for two of the three events to get the most progression and great skydiving experiences.

Until then you can “travel” with your eyes and check out the photos and videos from our latest events on the P3 Facebook page.

Plan your training! Good times are coming and Kate looks forward to seeing you 🙂
Photo by Kristian Caulder
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Meet: Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

Dan is Manager of Skydive Perris & Author of the highly acclaimed “Above All Else” book. He was a founding member of Airspeed and a multiple 4- and 8-way World Champion, competing for more than 20 years. Dan developed a training system through Airspeed and coaching so many teams. It works. His personal and coached teams consistently performed at their best in competition and often won – three consecutive and different Women's World Champion 4way teams for instance; Synchronicity, Storm and Airkix. He has so much passion for the sport, competing at Nationals every year, organizing at World Records, and trying new areas like Crew and freeflying. As a P3 skydiving organizer, coach and motivational speaker, he is inspirational.

Dan is sponsored by Skydive Perris, Sun Path, PD, Kiss and L&B altimeters.

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Please check out my book 'Above All Else' here