Sequential Joy in Klatovy

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It felt like heaven… 

Back over Klatovy 🙂
Photo by Antje Grube

to be back in Klatovy with the big-way Sequential Gang

It’s been a difficult year and a half, to say the least, with the world going through the worst crisis I have personally experienced. Athletes all over the world, in all sports, experienced the same difficulties in training and had to deal with their “normal” life going to hell. Depending on where you lived the situation was bad or awful, with dropzones closed for long periods of time and with safety regulations that prevented gatherings. The big-way world stopped, our skills suffered from lack of training and we missed our sky family big time.  

I’m aware that, compared with the sufferings everywhere in this period this is a very small issue, really tiny, but this is a skydiving-related article and I am a fanatic big-way lover, so I get to decide the perspective. 😊

No envy for the solo flyers… none 🙃
Photo by Jürgen Klaus

The Group

Patrick Passe was our one and only leader for the Klatovy Sequential Gang because Milko was still stuck in the UK, alongside all the Brits that could not make the journey. Patrick had put together an incredibly strong team, eager to shine again at a high-level event. In Hohenems most of us managed to get the rust off and we were ready to play with the “big stakes” again. A few new faces appeared in the mix, all of them super strong 4-way players and big-way enthusiasts. We hope they had lots of fun with us.

We dearly missed the Brits, who were not allowed to enter the Czech Republic. Over 20 people and Milko Hodgkinson (my favorite big-way captain in the whole wide world) had to stay at home and watch the fun from social media. It was incredibly annoying, especially since the restriction relaxed just one day before the start of the event, too late to make a difference. We really hope to share the skies with you guys as soon as possible!

Sequential Gang sending good vibes to their UK friends, with Maddy and Andreea holding the Union flag
Photo by Jürgen Klaus

In the meantime we enjoyed a lot the company of Maddy Heath Kelly, the only Brit present in Klatovy. Maddy moved to Belgium some time ago to be with her lovely other half, Angelo, so she could join the event. Many of us are in her debt for the wonderful yoga sessions she coordinated in the mornings so we could be in shape for the event. 💪

Morning yoga
Photo by Bogdan Piștea

The jumps

Patrick did an awesome job coordinating alone the 49 happy skydivers that showed up and he made no secret of the fact that he was going to push our skills to the limit! It was FUN! 🙂

The weather was not perfect, but as we managed to do more than the 16 jumps that were initially planned, no one complained. On the first day, Sunday the 8th of August, we split the group in 2 and did only two single-plane jumps, dancing around the clouds that played with us all day. But after that, even if we had some stand-by periods, we played hard and we played better and better!

My favorite formation – 9 pieces flying side-by-side, some of them outfacing
Photo by Jürgen Klaus

After the first day Patrick threw at us complicated sequential formations, many times with outfacing people or pieces flying side-by-side and he pushed the acceleration pedal hard when the situation allowed it. I can write ten more pages but sometimes photos speak for themselves and we prepared a nice gallery for you at the end of this article. 🙂 A good moment to mention the camera team that flew with us this time – Jürgen Klaus and Antje Grube, you are awesome and we thank you very much for the work you have done and the incredible memories you immortalized for us!

The event ended on Friday with tired, but happy faces all around me. We are especially grateful to the organization of the dropzone for all their efforts in making our stay as perfect as possible.  

Snippet from the Sequential Gang fun in Klatovy

Skydive Pink Klatovy

If you’ve never been to Skydive Pink Klatovy… what are you waiting for?! It’s by far my favorite dropzone anywhere. It is efficient, the staff friendly and well prepared for their jobs, the accommodation options are good (rooms, trailers, hangar) and you can always camp like I did this year. The food is great and you can choose from pizza (one of the best I had EVER) and other more simple or sophisticated choices provided by the other two food points present. The dropzone is super-friendly for kids and dogs. There is a pool that we love, which always has a great atmosphere. Not to mention that the common showers have heated floors!! (Ladies, I kid you not! Only for this luxury that my ovaries appreciated a lot I will love the owner Thomas Lewetz forever!)   

But maybe the best thing about this dropzones are the planes (it’s easy to love the Skyvans, not so much the price of the jump tickets, but with 2 engines it is what it is) and the badass pilots, who every year manage to provide perfect exit frames jump after jump! 

Dancing with the clouds
Photo by Antje Grube

This year, challenged by the weather, they also proved they are not robots! ☺ On one jump, they were trying to avoid a not-so-friendly cloud so the exit point was long and the dive… difficult and icy. Of course all of us who were in that position aborted the dive immediately, but in the end we still completed almost 80% of the complicated 1st point we had to do. All of us, except 3 lucky ones (and yes, Angelo, skilled canopy flyers 🙂) landed well outside the dropzone. I think a few Italian curses were spoken in Davide’s mind while he was trying to collect his canopy from the high crops he landed in, but the most important thing was that nobody was injured. We were all collected by the DZ’s cars and safely back in 20 minutes. The pilots profoundly apologised, but as I said, we were happy that they proved to be human in the end. And – hey! – we still got to jump! Thank you Marc Duysen, Jens Roggelin and Phillip Artweger.

I had the amazing joy of throwing my kids from a plane during this trip thanks to Airgasmo Tandem Company based in Klatovy (the legislation is kind from this point of view, I think they take persons over 10 years old and 35 kg). Tomi and Brianna loved the tandem and said, “best birthday presents EVER… except the phones, Mama, but just because we can use them longer!” 🤣🤣🤣. My parents, like all normal grandparents, didn’t appreciate the initiative, but after a day my Dad concluded: “Well… they were not born in a family that loves chess”. I ❤️ my family!      

I just love how my country’s colors (Romania) look in the air! Thank you Aerodyne and Romanian Airclub 🙂
Photo: Author Andreea Piștea on her Romanian flag canopy, by Antje Grube

What’s next?

As I said before it’s been a challenging time that didn’t allow us many chances to train at the level we were accustomed to, so this event led by Patrick with the awesome Sequential Gang participants was an incredible boost. Thank you, Patrick! We understand the difficulty and uncertainty of organizing events at this time, so we really appreciate your efforts.  We are all looking forward (and hopeful) to next year. I smiled like crazy only reading the 2022 plan.

But until then fingers crossed for those of us making the trip for the P3 total break training in US! Skydive Perris is waiting for us! 😁 We all really hope we’ll be back to whatever “normal” means these days and we’ll have a chance to break records and have the time of our lives together again. 

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Meet: Andreea Pistea

Andreea started skydiving at 16 years old and the step between hobby and passion was almost immediately made. Nothing changed in the years that passed.

She is a USPA coach, AFF Instructor, Multiple World Record holder in big-ways, former captain of TNT 4-way team and a Romanian Airclub athlete.

Andreea enjoys FS, wingsuiting and freefly. She flyes Sun Path, Aerodyne, Squirrel, Cookie Helmets and Cypres.

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