Sunday, November 09, 2008
The Axe-man Cometh!
This early morning stuff is for the birds. Early morning breath leaves small puffies in the air for a moment, as hands desperately wrap around steaming hot Styrofoam cups of coffee. Cold muffins went down a little less easily today than yesterday, but they *are* good muffins, regardless of the cold.
It was obvious from the moment of sunrise that the winds and weather would not be terribly cooperative today, and as advertised, they became challenging.
We got the first loads in the air by 7:40 and kept pushing at the schedule to get each group up to practice their formation. Team D kicked ass this morning with perfection at the first jump. Not so perfect was the breakoff, where Scott Gray had an unfortunate collision with a UFO.
With Scott now out of the air, however temporarily, we set up for the next load, dirt-dived again and again, even lying down in the wet grass while wearing our wingsuits.
Second load went very well, and was uneventful. Until landing.
The wind had kicked up so badly that virtually no one made it back to the landing area, most landed well to the east, north, or both. More than one person was dragged backwards, and one non-wingsuiter suffered minor injuries while being dragged by their canopy. Thankfully some packers were able to run over and catch the wayward canopy before it became a full-on incident.
Myself…I ended landing in a pile of construction debris. Landing backwards is never a fun prospect.
With that…the day was closed. Norman Kent, Craig O’brian, Scotty Burns, and myself sat around the video room for a couple of hours telling photo stories and playing with the computers before adjourning for the day.
6:00 p.m brought about the dinner, safety briefing, and social time for the group. A great dinner of barbequed pork, chicken, and spiced sausage with beans and rolls was a comfort food this ole’ boy needed. After dinner, we received yet another safety briefing and watched a six minute video featuring footage shot by Norman Kent, Scotty Burns, Craig O’Brian, Douglas Spotted Eagle, and Tero Paukku. The vid showed all the various segments of the formation as they’ll fit together as one large, 250’ wide super-sized wedge.
Next time, I hope Jeff can give me more than 20 minutes notice that he needs an edited, burned DVD of the jumps for the day so we can have a massive view of all four groups, by the entire wingsuit team. 😉
The captains have built a grid that will fit over a photo of the formation. Anyone not in their slot runs a very high risk of being cut. The Alternates Team is salivating, hoping to move up into the slots of axeman’s victims. Ed Pawlowski was presented to the group as the guy that will be chopping folks from slots, and if you know Ed…mercy nor quarter shall be given. This formation will build, maybe as soon as tomorrow afternoon.
6:00 a.m. is looking even more ugly tomorrow. No tardiness, lest one desire a yellow card.
See my photo album for more pix from the Wingsuit World Record Event