March 10, 2008
Don Kirlin and The World Free Fall Convention confirm
the cancellation of the 2008 event. Citing personal
reasons and a strong commitment to continued
excellence, Don was candid about regretting the lack
of an event for this year.
"The World Free Fall Convention has never been just
another boogie. We don't intend to be just another boogie now.
Tough economic times have had a devastating impact on peoples
ability to travel, ferrying prices for large aircraft and lift ticket pricing.
Our intent is to always have the most unusual and exciting choices for
jumpships." Mr. Kirlin was quoted as saying.
"Our fervent desire was to provide yet another
totally unexpected, and as to date unused jumpship
for '08. We were not able to come to terms with the
aircraft owners as expected, and barring that, we
frankly would not have been able to provide the
highest and most unusual fleet possible." Don
"That coupled with a landgrab situation in Colorado,
has pretty much taken up all of the time we would
have liked to have spent in the actual marketing and
planning this years event"
The World Free Fall Convention is noted for having
the largest most diverse fleet of airships ever
offered to the jumping public. The Convention has
always had a base fleet of casas, otters, skyvans
and of course Mike Mullins King Air, but was also
the first to introduce the world of skydiving to an
inverted bi-plane, the Perris DC-9. World War II
Bombers, the B-17 and B-24 were available, and
helped to fund the maintenance of those historic birds.
Starring a Boeing 727 for several years in the 90's,
everything from a Ford Tri Motor, to a wide variety
of helicopters have been featured at the World Free
Fall Convention. A balloon capable of taking ten
skydivers to altitude, as well as a glider have been
unusual, and unjumped in other venues as well. The
World Free Fall Convention has always been a get
away for the total skydiving vacation.
Having donated well over $100,000.00 to various
charities within the communities which have hosted
it, the WFFC has shown its' host hometowns just how
generous skydivers can be.
The World Free Fall Convention has seen 17 successful
years, starting with skydiving numbers of 700 to 800
participants in 1990 and rising to a high in 2001 of
5700 jumpers, from 57 countries that made over 70,000
jumps during the event. As the number of annual
members in the USPA have decreased, so have those
numbers attending the WFFC.
Will there be another WFFC? Maybe, but only if the
event can have the same level of excitement and
enthusiasm that we saw in the 90's. That would
require a whole new stable of unusual and unique
aircraft in addition to updated venue. So, stay
The World Free Fall Convention website is
www.freefall.com and questions can be answered by
calling 217 AAA- JUMP
Beth Y. Mahlo
World Free Fall Convention
PS: below is the list of aircraft that have
participated during the 17 years of the WFFC. Most of
the specialty aircraft debuted at the WFFC and many
are still exclusive to the WFFC.
Boeing 727-100 & 200,
McDonald Douglas DC-9,
Super Constellation ,
B-17 Flying Fortress,
Rod Tinney's Bell 412,
Sikorsky S-58 Turbine,
Huey UH-1H ,
Bell Long Ranger,
Bell Jet Ranger,
Bell 47 D and G-4,
L-100-30 Stretch Hercules,
C-130 A Hercules,
Navy N-3-N Bi-plane,
Stearman 450 HP
Blimps & Balloons:
Family Channel Blimp,
Balloons 80,000 - 216,000 cu ft
Staggerwing Beechcraft Bi-Plane,
New Standard (1929) Bi-Plane,
Antonov AN-28, Skytruck,
Antonov AN-2 Bi-Plane,
Schweitzer 2-33, Glider,
Super King Air,
King Air 200,
Shorts Sky Van,
PAC 750 XL
Jump Altitudes: 300 ft - 30,000 ft
Skydivers from 65 Countries and all 50 States making
March 27 2007
Don Kirlin and the World Free Fall Convention announced today the 2007 event has been cancelled. Citing logistic and personal reasons, the world's largest skydiving event is taking a break. The convention has always been on the cutting edge of the industry. From unusual jump ships to manufacturers with new products to debut, the convention has been the place that lured skydivers from around the world to Illinois for 10 days each year.
Last Convention News for 2006
The last jump made, the chute repacked. The tents are folded and put away 'til another year.
We head home needing a vacation from our reunion.
Many thanks: to all that attended; to the pilots and crews of the jump craft for which we gather;
to the volunteers and staff that make it all possible; to the concessionaires that provided for our needs;
to the entertainers that helped pass the night time hours. Less than thanks to the storms that provided wet, sleepless nights.
June 8 2006
What's the thing about spoons? Spoons come in many shapes, sizes and materials.
Take wooden spoons please. They are smooth to the touch. Function well. Don't leave any after taste behind to show their deads. What about stainless steel spoons? Stamped on a big press in a noisy factory. Ya gotta believe that all that racket has to rub off on the spoons in some fashion. Then the silver ones go around the fancy tables, all shiny and bright to the eye. Oh and don't forget the gold ones, gleaming in the light of candles on the table.
It doesn't matter the material or the size, spoons are designed to do one thing and one thing only: stir sh*t up. Most of the meal they just lay there, worthless in their idleness. Somebody has to pick them up and put them in use. That's the time when messes happen. An ill instructed operator, operating as if well informed and experienced, spills and spills until you can't see the table cloth for the slop of the slobs.
April 17th News
The spring returns to Illinois, and the phones really heat up. "When does Pre-registration
start?" "How can I volunteer to be a part of the World Free Fall Convention?" "How many
vendors are coming this year?" "WHAT PLANES ARE LINED UP FOR 2006!!??"
Yup! We're working on all of those things. The staff in the office are answering phones,
getting the pre-registration forms up and running and sharping their pencils in anticipation
of your onslaught on April the 17th. Don't forget that the first day of pre-registration was
moved when we changed the event dates!
We have had many suggestions on things to do in an effort to bring the vibe up to the
previous years epic proportions. Believe me, we read every survey, and listened to every
request. Even the request to have the Space Shuttle do a low pass. Well, even Don would
have a hard time pulling that one off, but some of the things that have been brought to our
attention that we feel are within our ability are being worked on for you.
For instance, it has been said that the Skydivers want to see a wider variety of vendors,
and the vendors want to see a bigger representation of the skydiving world.
Hmmm. More/different jumpships got several votes. Everybody wants LOTS of
electricity, and porta potties, shuttles and tents. Providing 100 free load organizers made
many people happy. Making sure that the showers are good and hot from day one was
mentioned more than once. Providing enough fencing and security to keep a private party
atmosphere is certainly on the list as well. The free seminars every night seem to continue
to be a hit, top notch entertainment at night is always appreciated, and even the non beer
drinkers think that the beer should always be free. Making sure that the grounds continue
to be neat and clean with many available garbage containers was mentioned many times.
Keeping the jump prices low is a priority with everyone, and a really reasonable entry fee
is high on the list of most jumpers. Rantoul's hospitality was a frequent topic.
We discussed these things at the staff level, and really thank those of you who took the
time to fill out the surveys. We feel that this is YOUR boogie, and YOUR suggestions are
what have always driven our practices. In that continued vein, we tossed about entry fee
amounts. Since we took the time to do some research we have found that various boogies
have a HUGE variety of pricing. We also found that there is a very wide variety in what is
being offered in the way of amenities for those entry fees. Then we decided that what
others are charging is not our driving principle. Our driving principle is to provide
absolutely THE BEST BOOGIE on the face of the earth. Period. We took a very sharp
pencil and started doing some "cyphering".
The first ten dollars of a skydivers registration goes to the Village of Rantoul to pay for
the use of the airport. What we are left with, is what we have for paying for all of the
amenities that were mentioned in the previous paragraph. We all sat very quietly while
Don stared at the paper in his hands outlining our expenses vs our income. Since we have
all seen him write out checks totaling a quarter of a million every year before the first
skydiver arrives on site, we were not at all sure what his response would be. We all know
that there have been years where his generosity helped pay for our skydiving vacation. We
were hoping that perhaps a ten dollar reduction in the pre-registration fee would be
possible. Don took a deep breath, and then told us "Let's do it! Let's drop the
pre-registration fee TWENTY dollars!" Then he continued, "The regular registration fee
will come down TEN."
I told Don that once again, he has pulled off the impossible. The resulting pre-registration
fee brings the total to the WFFC down to BELOW our original fee in 1989.
Don't disappoint us now! We convinced Don to bring you the best boogie at the absolute
BEST price, and he has done it! Bring your buddies and treat them to the most exciting
skydiving event on the face of the earth! YOU are the vibe of the WFFC, and we are
looking forward to that wonderful vibe returning to spend 10 days emersed in the smell of
jet A and the roar of the engines!