Sunday, January 24, 2010

Skydiving wingsuit record

Skydiving wingsuit record: Jumpers mistaken for a UFO

Casting a kaleidoscope of colour against a cloud-filled sky, these jumpers boldly plummet towards a skydiving record.
The 68 daredevils came together in a near-perfect diamond to make up America's largest ever wingsuit formation. 
Wingsuits are specially adapted bodywear that give added control during skydives.

With flaps of material running across the gaps between their arms and legs the suits increase drag and allow the wearer to glide like a flying squirrel.
Recordbreakers: The 68 skydivers completed their feat over Lake Elsinore in California to raise thousands of dollars for charity

The record-breakers - who came from 16 different countries - jumped from four planes at 13,000 feet over Lake Elsinore, California.
President of the group behind the American record, Raise the Sky, Taya Weiss, 32, said that some onlookers had even mistaken them for a UFO.

She said: 'The jump lasted for over a minute, with the whole formation travelling approximately two-and-a-half-miles across the ground.  

'After a full year of holding skills camps and smaller records all over the world, each jumper on this formation had to be qualified before being allowed to join the team.  

'We did 15 jumps at this event, seven of which were using all four planes together, before achieving the record.  

'The team had to be up and eating breakfast at the dropzone by 6am every morning for a dawn start. We practice the formation on the ground before we jump. It's a lot of hard work, but the results are beautiful and inspiring, and very worth it.'
Is it a bird...? The divers swoop low over Lake Elsinore before opening their parachutes

The spectacular aerial images were shot by British cameraman Mark Harris, who wore a helmet-mounted camera while flying a wingsuit on his back underneath the group.
Brave Taya added: 'It is the standing US National Record for Largest Wingsuit Formation, certified by the United States Parachute Association.
'Wingsuit skydiving is still relatively new, so although a growing number of countries certify wingsuit records, we have not yet been recognised by the Federation Aeronautique International.  

'If they give us the go-ahead, we can start setting official world records, including as many countries as possible.'

Raise the Sky is a not for profit organisation founded in 2009. It seeks to have every skydiving record associated with raising money and awareness for a good cause.  

This wingsuit record raised $5000 for the charity City Year, which provides mentoring to keep underprivileged children in school.  

'We drop out of planes to keep kids from dropping out of school,' said Taya.
Invasion of the flying squirrels: The wingsuits allow skydivers to glide through the air and make a distinctive silhouette

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