World Record Breaking Group Skydive Over Illinois
About a month ago 164 people jumped out of perfectly good airplanes with one thought in mind: breaking the world record for the largest ever vertical skydving formation. It took 13 tries, but the group ended up smashing the old record (set in 2012) of 138 skydivers.
From the Chicago Tribune:
It was no easy feat. The team was selected after training camps in Spain, Australia and across the United States, with dozens of talented skydivers disappointed to not make the cut. Seven aircraft were flown in precise formation to ensure that the jumpers de-planed at the right place, time and altitude. The record-breaking jumpers exited at 19,700 feet.
The record was not without risks.
The skydivers flew at a minimum speed of 160 mph, and some reached speeds as high as 240 mph. Collision at such speeds can be fatal.
Jumping from such a high altitude brings a very real risk of hypoxia — a condition that arises from a lack of oxygen that can cause a variety of symptoms from euphoria akin to drunkenness, to unconsciousness — and death. Thus the jumpers and pilots all sucked down pure oxygen once their planes reached 14,000 feet to reduce the risk of falling sick.
And with nearly 170 canopies simultaneously flying in the sky, the risk of two parachutists flying into each other was also very real.
But despite the risks, flyers came from as far away as France, Britain, Dubai, Australia and one who spent three days traveling to Chicago from Reunion, off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, to participate.