We love this month’s cover photo by Dan Dupuis so much, we continued it as the Featured Photo.
by Matt Blank
This idea started with my desire to organize a day of Mr. Bill skydives. After consulting with Marty Jones, owner of Your Loft Rigging, we concluded tandem rigs would be the best option for successful Mr. Bill jumps due to their slow openings and ability to control the attitude of the jumping pair before deployment. Originally Josh Sheppard and I were going to take a group of people on Mr. Bills upon his return to California from his trip home to Michigan. Unfortunately, in a ‘skydiving first’ for Josh, he left me holding the bag and never returned. An infraction for which beers will be forever owed and drank.
When my good friend Cyn Currie, who is chief instructor at Skydive Monterey, told me she was coming into town on the day we were going to do this event I took it as a sign and planned to do some Mr. Bill-ing with her. However, as these things usually go, we couldn’t do just a normal Bill and when she told me she had been teaching aerial silks it was a no-brainer to add them to the jump. I have to give credit to our Perris DZ manager, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, and to our school manager, Shazza Kindsvater, for allowing us to attempt this stunt.
We executed this Mr. Bill from 12,500’ with the silks attached to the D-rings of the tandem rig with the material stowed in a flag bag. A single-pull cutaway system was secured to the main attachment point of the silks in case we needed to jettison the apparatus. Once our tandem canopy opened I held her between my legs while she released the silks. For the next several thousand feet she performed on the silks while I flew the tandem canopy. At around 6,000’ she bailed from the ribbons and finished the skydive on her own system while I landed with the silks trailing behind me.
Ideally we would like to turn this into a demonstration activity and perform it into stadiums and events with the intention to either land the pair or bail out low, with low-altitude specific equipment in place.
Ed. note: We mistakenly corrected “attitude” (as in orientation) to “altitude” in the printed magazine. Our apologies, Matt!
About the author: Matt Blank, BASE 1412, is a traveling instructor primarily teaching skydiving, rock climbing and snowboarding in Southern California.