fbpx
Nathan Roth, recording the Sequential Vertical World Record 64-way team, photo by Seth Robison

Vertical Sequential World Record

Visit Us

No fewer than FOUR points of 64-way, with time to spare!

64-way exit by Nathan Roth

Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration

Thomas Edison

When Thomas Edison made his famous quote about perspiration, he might’ve been predicting the sweat-soaked exploits of the vertical freefly world. Imagine a group of daring innovators and a bit of a mad scientist from Colorado leveraging some of that clever brainpower that might have come along from a career at the patent office.  

It’s years in the making, pouring some of that inspiration into what could be minutiae, but exploding into something extraordinary. Here’s a tale about a Eureka moment born in 2019 that sparked a passion so intense, it redefined a sport…

In the name of progress, the best scientific minds have tirelessly observed, measured, and tested. Leaping in blue is no different, now with a crew armed with cameras and GPS altimeter’s that could dissect every nuance of a jump. We collected data, gained a new insights, and with hard work this was turned into an understanding, not only of our individual efforts but collective impacts of everyone working as a team.

Appliance of Science

Boarding an airplane with no intention to land in it is a unique experience, to say the least. To those who don’t know the thrill, we dedicate this narrative. We’re all a little weird, embracing our quirks and eccentricities in the pursuit of greatness. We all need a purpose, and even in the freefalling community, we sometimes lose sight of ourselves. Hence, we seek to reignite that purpose, using science to improve our performance.

How many know that 64, is a nice, even, binary multiple?  Yeah it’s 2 to the 6th power.  So a scientist might be one, but with the help of 63 others, including another remarkable field-test engineer, research can begin.  Funnily enough, if you count in binary (1s and 0s), the 63 people surrounding you in the sky end up being 0b-111111.  It was sunny these few days so squint. Yep, six vertical lines, and we were definitely vertical.  And six lines, hmm…. The six-month mark heralds the arrival of Gemini, the twins. It’s also the birthday of the twin or organizer and renowned field expert.  A unique man in his own right [Andy Malchiodi] , now complemented perfectly by his counter-opposite, the mad scientist [Matt Fry]. 

These men joined forces once before.  Now they come together again; once again they accomplish something powerful.  The time has come to put science to work with years spent committed to the textbooks and field experiments. The final piece was the assembly of the right automatons, the rest of the research team who’ve spent the past several years standing alongside, committed to grinding out the experiments.

Approaching the base, by Seth Robison

Wild Ride

My own journey from Texas to California was the most wild part of the experience. The same for the Florida boys. Ah if only commercial airlines were as committed as vertical sequential free-fliers. So airport lounges, missed connections, and a final arrival in Cali, with a foot like lead on the accelerator.

Hell yeah, my heart pounding. But… it was the anxiety of 64 people waiting and you don’t keep precision waiting. Nevertheless, the team kept moving and arrival was a weird quiet we would seldom imagine from a skydiving experience.

Teamwork

The team works as a team and only two warm-up attempts down, they folded me back in. And like any discovery of liquid precision, it only took 10 seconds after leaving the plane when I felt the first calm I had in the 26 hours it took to get from Houston to Elsinore. For the next day and a half, Thursday and Friday, each attempt was a logical scientific progression.

3-point World Record!

2 x 2 – It was Jump 2 on day two…. That’s when the first record was set. 3-point, 64-way, Done! 

Back in 2021, many of us remember the 2-point 77-way vertical sequential record we set. We remember two things. Firstly, it was the most chill, calmest record experience most had ever experienced. Secondly, even after we completed the 2-point in 2021, we knew the third point was damn close. We actually gave it a few tries, before we all agreed it was time to jump into the SDC pond and start drinking.

Here now in 2024, the calmness is ever-present, and the new 3-point was merely a step. Mostly it was a step to Friday evening barbecue, although we did make two casual attempts Friday for the fourth point.

Building, by Nathan Roth

Science of Success

Saturday morning, we came in, committed to the process, reinforced the analytical procedure, and boarded the planes. Like clockwork, 64 people connected into point one. So smooth, so quiet, it felt like an eternity (yeah, we had time to count the extra seconds) until we approached the ‘key’ altitude. Then Boom, point 2, done! Precisely four seconds later, point three, then immediately point four. The only issue was what to do with the remaining extra seconds until the first break-off wave.

We landed with confidence of course. We knew we did something. But like any good research scientist, one of our professors suggested another experiment, another skydive. It was a great distraction while we waited for the judge’s verdict. Damn, that slow internet…

Okay, so maybe a tinge of anxiety. How come our science was solid but the internet science wanted to struggle?! Whatever the case, we figured, well, we’re all here, we might as well climb on the plane and keep doing research. So we did. Jump 2 on Saturday was a little science experiment from 15,000 just to test an alternative to point one.

Record Confirmed!

Well, we learned three things during that second jump on Saturday. First, just because something works on paper doesn’t mean it works better in the sky; it needed testing and the results were in. Yep, that was my segue… The internet finally worked! Andy confirmed, “We’re not doing any more jumps.” Yep! Because WE DID IT! A 4-point, 64-way vertical sequential world record confirmed!

AND!!! A first-ever perfectly level 32-way BFR (yeah, a Big F#$%-ing Round) perfectly built around the inner 32 (photo above, 4th point).  It might have looked square to some instead of round but that’s because we’re scientists!  You know…. Squares.  Besides, this was the closest to angles we were gonna get this weekend and we decided to save the Pi for later.  I’ve heard it goes well with a pile of yogurt.  Just what every Gemini wants for their birthday, besides two world records.

Oh, and the third thing we learned from Saturday Jump 2 was that Randy (Lund) didn’t nail the cannonball superfloat leap, but it sure was hilarious anyway. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to mention that Naftali (Mizrachi) was really lucky his 360 camera actually blew back inside the plane. Wow, yeah, way too much science but it works! And it will scale!

We had a whole day left, but we were done, and happy.

Breaking off by Nathan Roth

Reflections

On my return flight, I chuckled to myself. “Why didn’t we complete a fifth point?” I thought. But then I realized, we’re only just beginning. There’s more to come. Just imagine the precision to come from all this research. It’s coming the next time we all get together in 10 airplanes over the green grass of corn country when all we have to do is “Just Touch It.”

This victory wasn’t just about the record. It was about the journey, the camaraderie, the shared sweat, and the laughs. It was about every single one of us, all 64, each a crucial piece of this extraordinary puzzle. We were pioneers, explorers in the sky, pushing the limits of what was thought possible.

I couldn’t help but laugh… Thomas Edison was right. It was 10% inspiration. The 90% perspiration gets cold when you’re by the door but it melts very quickly with the massive dose of sky-high audacity.

But this spectacular victory was not merely about setting a record. It was about the journey, the shared laughter, the camaraderie, the collective sweat. It was about us – the audacious 64, each a vital cog in this grand design. We were explorers of the sky, pushing the frontiers of what was deemed possible.

The audacious 64, and cameraflyers, image by Seth Robison

World Record video – Edit by Todd Scrutchfield

Visit Us









Meet: Todd Neville Scrutchfield

AGE: 46
HOME DZ: Skydive Spaceland - Houston
YEARS ACTIVE: 15
JUMPS: 6,000 ish
NIGHT JUMPS: 63
BIO:
Just a subtly interesting weirdo somewhere on the spectrum, masquerading as a canopy pilot, occasionally moonlighting as a freeflyer.

Contact Me

    Scroll to Top