SOS – Sixties Oh-So Close

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Photo by Craig O’Brien

Skydive Perris was the scene April 7 when 110 spirited and highly experienced jumpers gathered to pursue a new large formation world record for jumpers sixty and over. The current SOS record is 75. The next four days would include the highs and lows that are common at any record event. With an age span of 60 to 78, most of the jumpers had been through the process of setting records many times.

Photo by Gustavo Cabana

Strong Leadership

The leadership team was strong and included two members of the International Skydiving Hall of Fame; Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld and Kate Cooper-Jensen. The leadership team was rounded out by Larry Henderson, Scott Latnis and Patrick Passe. The camera team included some of the best with Craig O’Brien, Norman Kent, Gustavo Cabana and Luciano Bacqué.

The world class camera team – Craig, Norman, Gus, Lucho
Photo by Gustavo Cabana

No Messing – 110 Jumpers in the Air

Day one there was no jumping due to winds. Day two started with the entire team of 110 head up in five aircraft consisting of Skyvans and Twin Otters. Only the 40-way base was authorized to dock on the first jump. Others used the jump to see the picture and feel the fall rate. The second jump of the day (and the event) was the first effort to build the entire formation and set a record. It was stunningly close to complete. All team members joined the formation but a few only after a few others dropped grips. What a start!

Photo by Gustavo Cabana

Oh So Close!

Weather dictated that only nine jumps, of which eight were record attempts, would take place during the four-day event. In a credit to the impressive talent of the team, three of the last four attempts were complete but for one different missing jumper. Unfortunately, none of the jumps resulted in all the jumpers being in a complete formation simultaneously. But four of the eight attempts were oh-so close.

Photo by Gustavo Cabana

We’ll be Back!

Don’t be surprised if you see this team give it another try. They had way too much fun along the way… and left with some unfinished business.

Photo by Luciano Bacqué

SOS Team

  • Captains: Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Kate Cooper-Jensen, Larry Henderson, Scott Latinis and Patrick Passe
  • Cameraflyers: Craig O’Brien, Norman Kent, Gustavo Cabana and Luciano Bacqué
  • Team Manager: Jen Wallace Domenico
Photo by Gustavo Cabana

From the Organizing Team

Kate Cooper-Jensen

Kate Cooper-Jensen by Gustavo Cabana

Go big or stay home. And big we went. We were hampered by weather and only ended up making 9 jumps, and every single jump was EXCELLENT. What impressed me the most was the absolute camaraderie, teamwork, and support that was given from and to all. Many of the jumpers had been jumping for well over 40 years with a good number over 50 and at least 2 over 60 years in the sport. Oldest was 78 (two participants) and youngest was 60 by a matter of days but without doubt we were ALL young at heart.

Kate Cooper-Jensen
Photo by Gustavo Cabana

Dan BC

Dan BC by Gustavo Cabana

“The current record was 75. With everyone I knew we could easily do a new SOS 80way world record. I went through my lists. Wait a minute, I think we might be able to do 90…perhaps 100… maybe even 110? But 80 would be a sure thing. 110 is a 38% increase. That is a huge jump for a record. 80 would be a guarantee. Should we go for 80?…. no way!! That’s not how we do it. If we’re confident we are capable of 110 then we’re going for 110. We’d rather risk going big with the largest chunk of our family we can than going for a record with as few of us as necessary. So that’s what we did, and it was awesome.

Photo by Luciano Bacque

“We took on the biggest challenge we thought possible. We made one amazing jump after another. We completed the first actual 110way attempt except for one grip being dropped just before the last was picked up! We did four beautiful jumps with one person out. A different person each time and all very skilled, experienced flyers. One formation after another flew beautifully. We were doing some amazing skydiving! On the last jump the only person out passed out.

Photo by Gustavo Cabana

“As the clock ticked down we only had a few jumps left. It is the Captains’ duty to consider going smaller if that would still give us a record. We discussed it. Who would we sit down? Do we just cut 10, 20 or 30 people because a smaller jump has a better chance of succeeding? Not a chance, we’re too close and everyone is skydiving great. We’re going for it. And there would have been a damn mutiny if we hadn’t!

Photo by Gustavo Cabana

“It was the epitome of “Living Life in a Big Way.” Reaching as high as we can. Pushing ourselves and each other to be the best we can be. Going for it because that is what life is about. And doing it together, with all our family. It was truly one of the biggest highlights of my skydiving life, World Meet gold medals and World Records included. I’m on cloud nine just thinking about it. I wish we had gotten the record but wouldn’t change one decision we made. It was so much fun and I am forever grateful.”

Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld
Photographer Norman Kent photo bombs the group shot
Photo by Craig O’Brien

Article by Jim McCormick, comments by Kate Cooper-Jensen and Dan BC

SOS Record 2023

If you’d like to sign up for the next SOS record with Dan register your interest here

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Meet: Jim McCormick

Jim McCormick is a skydiver, author and organizational consultant based in Colorado. He has earned numerous state, national and world large formation records. Jim is also the Director of Development for the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame.

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