Monday 26 September 2016

Flying into the record books: 61 wingsuit skydivers form largest ever group of jumpers

Published 21/10/2015 | 08:24

This photo taken, Oct. 17, 2015, and provided by Skydive Perris shows 61 wingsuit skydivers setting a new world record for the largest aerial formation in the sky over Perris, Calif., about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles
This photo taken, Oct. 17, 2015, and provided by Skydive Perris shows 61 wingsuit skydivers setting a new world record for the largest aerial formation in the sky over Perris, Calif., about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles

Wingsuit skydivers from 12 countries have flown into the record books, creating a diamond-shaped formation while soaring over California before breaking apart and floating to the ground.

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The 61-strong group set the record for the largest such formation at Skydive Perris, south east of Los Angeles, shattering the old record set by 42 flyers in June.

This photo taken, Oct. 17, 2015, and provided by Skydive Perris shows 61 wingsuit skydivers setting a new world record for the largest aerial formation in the sky over Perris, Calif., about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles
This photo taken, Oct. 17, 2015, and provided by Skydive Perris shows 61 wingsuit skydivers setting a new world record for the largest aerial formation in the sky over Perris, Calif., about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles

Taya Weiss, the jump's lead organiser, said the record was verified by a panel of judges from Federation Aeronautique Internationale, which keeps track of skydiving and other aviation-related records.

One judge on the ground witnessed the jumpers leap from three separate aircraft at 13,500 feet, create the formation and then break apart at 5,500 feet. Two other judges reviewed photos of the jump later and confirmed it was official.

"It was an absolutely incredible experience," said Ms Weiss, who was also one of the jumpers. "We're a very small community, although we're growing, and to get everyone together from all over the world, especially to achieve such a difficult goal, is very rewarding."

The record feat included wingsuit flyers from the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, Russia, Poland, South Africa and Israel.

Ms Weiss said the flyers actually broke the old record twice. After 50 people went out for a first jump there was time for a second one, so 11 more joined in.

Skydive Perris was the site of another record earlier this month when 202 divers linked up to form the world's largest sequential skydiving formation.

Wingsuit diving differs in that skydivers wear special suits with pressurised wings attached to their bodies, allowing them to glide horizontally while they fall at a slower rate than regular skydivers.

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