Formation skydiving

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4-way FS (Formation Skydiving)
Breaking away from a formation before parachute deployment.

Formation skydiving is a skydiving event where multiple skydivers attach themselves to one another by grabbing each other's limbs or by the use of "grippers" on their jumpsuit while free falling through the sky. The goal of this skydiving program is to build a formation of multiple divers arranged in a geometric pattern. Skydivers take pride in this event as they say it creates order in an extremely chaotic environment.

Formation skydiving can be further divided into several sub-categories, so named for the number of members in a team:

  • 4-way sequential
  • 4-way vertical sequential (VFS, Vertical Formation Skydiving)
  • 8-way sequential
  • 16-way sequential
  • 10-way speed
  • Large formations (Big-ways)

A competition in 4-way formation skydiving (FS-4) takes place like this:

There are two kinds of formations, called randoms and blocks. The randoms are singular formations with full separation of all grips both before and after building the formation. The blocks are double formations with a special designated movement pattern in between, called an inter. The start formation may, or may not be similar to the ending formation. The inters are differently performed. Here are some examples:

Inter 1: The grips are released between some of the flyers, so they become two pieces of two team members. they both do a 270 degree turn, and reconnect to a different formation

Inter 2: Three people stay connected, and do a 360 turn, while the last person, flies alone.

Inter 15: All grips are released and everyone does a 360 turn back to the original formation.

Blocks are designated by numbers, while randoms got letters. Blocks are worth one point for each correct formation, that makes 2 points, and randoms count as 1 point. There are 22 blocks and 16 randoms.

competition consists of up to 10 rounds, and each round consists of 5 or 6 points, which the teams are to repeat as many times as they can within the working time of 35 seconds. The score judging are based on the videographers material.

A competition draw may look like this:

  • 1: C-E-B-13
  • 2: 14-20-8
  • 3: 15-16-H
  • 4: J-O-1-D
  • 5: 6-18-19
  • 6: 5-F-21
  • 7: 10-K-G-M
  • 8: 22-3-P
  • 9: 12-9-4
  • 10:11-17-Q

The winning team will be the team that has collected most points, by completing the most correct formations within time after the final round is ended. In case of weather or technical problems, or other causes, a competition will be valid as long as all teams has completed at least one round.

A recent sub-category of formation skydiving is vertical formation skydiving (VFS). Skydivers build formations using higher-speed body positions normally associated with freeflying, such as head down and sitflying.

World Record[edit]

  • BIG-WAY:

The current FAI world record for largest free-fall formation is a 400-way, set on February 8, 2006 in Udon Thani, Thailand by World Team. It was held for 4.25 seconds. They used five C-130 Hercules airplanes and exited from an altitude of 25,000 feet. In April 2013 The World Team tried to break the record for the largest 2-point formation dive in skydiving history. All 222 members came together and made a formation, broke apart, and then reformed to make a completely different formation. The team attempted the jump many times and came very close to breaking the record, but were unsuccessful each time. The World Team has not made anymore official statements about attempting the record again. "World Record Jump Attempt in Arizona". Air Sports Net. April 14, 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 

Longest sequence i one round:

  • 4-Way

Set by the French(Aerodyne Aerokart) and the Russian(Sky Panthers) national teams, at the World Meet 2010, in round 3, where both teams posted 56 points in worktime (35 seconds)

  • 8-Way

Set by the USA(Golden Knights) national team, at " the 5th Dubai International Parachute Championship" in 2015, in round 2, where the posted 33 points in worktime (50 seconds)

World Championship[edit]

Year Venue Airplane 4-Way Champion Points (avg) 8-Way Champion Points (avg) 4-Way Female Champion Points (avg) 4-Way Vertical Formation Points (avg)
1975 Germany West Germany, Warendorf United States United States 40/49.92* United States United States 100/163.85* Not Held Not Held
1977 Australia Australia, Gatton, Queensland Canada Canada 73 (7.3) United States United States 42 (4.2) Not Held Not Held
1979 France France, Châteauroux Canada Canada 82 (8.2) United States United States 66 (6.6) Not Held Not Held
1981 United States United States, Zephyrhills, Florida United States United States 116 (11.6) United States United States 83 (8.3) Not Held Not Held
1983 South Africa South Africa, Sun City, North West Switzerland Switzerland 115 (11.5) United States United States 102 (10.2) Not Held Not Held
1985 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia, Mali Lošinj United States United States 118 (11.8) United States United States 120 (12.0) Not Held Not Held
1987 Brazil Brazil, Foz do Iguacu France France 134 (13.4) United States United States 119 (13.2) (9 rd) Not Held Not Held
1989 Spain Spain, Gerona France France 152 (15.2) United States United States 138 (13.8) Not Held Not Held
1991 Czech Republic Czechoslovakia, Lucenec France France 171 (17.1) United States United States 181 (18.1) Not Held Not Held
1993 United States United States, Eloy, Arizona DHC-6 Twin Otter France France 195 (19.5) United States United States 169 (16.9) Not Held Not Held
1995 France France, Gap, Hautes-Alpes Pilatus PC-6 Porter United States United States 207 (20.7) United States United States 195 (19.5) Not Held Not Held
1997 Turkey Turkey, Efes CASA C-212 Aviocar United States United States 210 (21.0) United States United States 224 (22.4) Not Held Not Held
1999 Australia Australia, Corowa DHC-6 Twin Otter France France 208 (20.8) United States United States 211 (21.1) Not Held Not Held
2001 Spain Spain, Granada CASA C-212 Aviocar United States United States 214 (21.4) Russia Russia 193 (19.3) United States United States 147 (14.7) Not Held
2003 France France, Gap, Hautes-Alpes Pilatus PC-6 Porter France France 229 (22.9) Russia Russia 221 (20.9) (11 rd) United Kingdom Great Britain 165 (16.5) Not Held
2004 Croatia Croatia, Rijeka Mil Mi-8 United States United States 227 (22.7) United States United States 172 (19.1) (9 rd) United States United States 169 (16.9) Not Held
2006 Germany Germany, Gera DHC-6 Twin Otter United States United States 117 (23.4) (5 rd) France France 123 (20.5) (6 rd) United Kingdom Great Britain 95 (19.0) (5 rd) Not Held
2008 France France, Maubeuge Pilatus PC-6 Porter United States United States 195 (24.4) (8 rd) France France 151 (21.6) (7 rd) United Kingdom Great Britain 120 (20.0) (6 rd) Not Held
2010 Russia Russia, Menzelinsk L-410 Turbolet France France 277 (27.7) France France 203 (20.3) France France 236 (23.6) Not Held
2012 United Arab Emirates UAE, Dubai DHC-6 Twin Otter United States United States 279 (27.9) United States United States 229 (22.9) France France 207 (20.7) France France 185 (23,1) (8 rd)
2014 Czech Republic Czech Republic, Prostejov L-410 Turbolet Belgium Belgium 264 (26.4) United States United States 216 (21.6) France France 214 (21.4) France France 179 (22,4) (8 rd)
2016 United States United States, Chicago DHC-6 Twin Otter TBD TBD TBD TBD (8 rd)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]