Posted on rec.skydiving 12 August 1996 by Jack Cunniff
Well, I'm back from Quincy... it was great to see so many rec.skydivers there. Rob Ebbing (and Don Kirlin) set out a welcome mat for all of us, in the form of a tent right behind manifest, complete with an "Internet Jumpers" sign. A number of people chose to make it their hang-out, which was really great... I know I enjoyed seeing folks meeting there, with their friends, and introducing me to their skydiving buddies.
A picture (gif format, 110K) of the @ sign skydive
Anyways - we got together to build the @ sign on Tuesday. I asked (via email) for a three jump commitment from people. There were almost forty people that showed up for the jumps, both rec.skydivers as well as web-page surfers. After splitting the group into two manageable-sized formations, we dirt-dived the formation. The center was to be a donut, with one person docked off of it, and then a big loop all around, which looks like an @ sign if you squint really hard and still believe in the tooth fairy. :-) In any case, each of the two groups (Group 1 and Group A - I'm a very inclusive type of guy), tried on two dives to build the formation. Neither group was successful, and I guess some people got discouraged, as they just didn't choose to show up for the third dive. This got me a bit riled up, but we still had around twenty people and two photographers that wanted to go up a third time and build the formation.
I'm glad they did, because we successfully built it. The video shows two people out of the formation, but the base and the loop around it were successfully built, and all the grips around the loop were taken. We've got pictures from above, and I assume that we have a photograph from below which will show the @ in all it's splendor. (Ok, so I'm going overboard here. It wasn't pretty, but we did have the donut (great base!) with a loop almost all the way around it, so I'd call it a success.)
I plan on running this attempt again next year. Our main objectives were met - we got a chance to meet other net-friends, had some fun, and even built the formation. Next year, we'll have everyone in, and the @ will look a little better - but I'm proud of all the people that stuck together and helped make this happen. It was a pleasure to meet everyone, and I appreciate all the effort that people put in.
PS - oh yeah. I wanted to tell you about a funny thing that happened. I didn't use a roster, just asked everyone to be at the meeting point at the right place and time. We did some informal introductions, but I didn't try to get everyone's name... Anyways, we got through the three dives, and while we were wrapping it up, one guy, an older gent with a Swiss-German accent (I'm guessing) asked me for copies of the photos and video. I gave him my email address when he asked me for my address, and he just looked blankly at it, saying "What is this?" I politely responded that it was my email address... and he said "What is email?" I realized that one of the people on our @ dive was a good skydiver, but with no concept of what he was participating in! He had just wandered over from another tent, and got into our skydive!
Hey, what the heck... the objective was to have fun, meet people, and build the formation - so that interchange really made my day. (Well, second to the post-freefall CRW dock that I made on the first @ attempt.)