Text and photos by videographer Brian Buckland
I have to be honest…..I was impressed this morning. 8:40 am and 5 Twin Otters took off from Skydive Chicago with 108 freeflyers and 5 cameramen in search of a new World Record. I never imagined that our wake up skydive for the day would result in 101 connecting. It was looking good.
Jump #2 and it only got better. Having been dealt the hand that the Skyvan was down for repairs, we were launching the base out of the lead Otter and it was turning out just fine. We worked out timing and put a super floater out of the lead plane to get more fliers in the air under the base. It was a good idea and we built up to 106 out of 108. This was the way to start a record!
Jump #3 rolled around and we took a step back. Three pods were having issues and the bench erupts (inside voices) with cheers ;) One person was in the wrong slot and that threw off two pods but all in all the skydives were very smooth; not a lot of big movements or waves. With only a few minor collisions, more just bumps the record attempts kept pretty safe.
Jump #4 came and it was more of the same from jump #3. More new faces are rotated in and the bench is starting to bustle with activity. Going for a record of 108 people and having at least another 40 that are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for their chance. Things were getting a little tense but spirits remained high!
Jump #5 …..107 out of 108. Soooooooooo close! As they say….the worst part about being on a 108 way is watching a 107 way. The team had the energy and the vibe was right, but you could see that the day was wearing on the group yet the organizers decided to go for one more jump before calling it a day.
Jump #6. There I was, sitting underneath 108 freefliers watching a pod with 3 or 4 out and I see super Pat from the far side of the formation start carving around 107 of his closest friends searching for his slot. He reached the un-built pod and as he picked up his slot, the true professionals that were waiting for him, jumped into position and grabbed their grips out of the sky. It didn’t build for long…..but we did it!!!!!
A new 108 way World Freefly Record set! The party is starting so I need to get off this computer and go enjoy the celebration! Pictures will be posted soon and we’re also putting together a very nicely edited DVD of the event from dirt dives to warm ups to the record shot by our friends over at GetHypoxic. Please contact me through my website if you are interested. I’ll post a link to that later. In the mean time, congrats everyone!!!!
Way to smash a record in 6 jumps!
Blue Skies Magazine congratulates all participants, pilots, judges, Skydive Chicago staff, packers and everyone that helped make this record happen – awesome job everyone!