1997 Quincy World Freefall Convention
Well, another World Freefall Convention has come and gone, but as always, we'll carry some great memories with us forever. The @-sign dive, organized by Jack Cunniff, has provided an opportunity for members of the internet skydiving community to meet in person. People who have the skills and attitude to join in a 20-way skydive commit to making a few jumps together, with the intention of building an @-sign. Although this looks like a relatively easy formation, those that came together for the 1997 WFFC @-sign learned that it takes discipline, visualization, and camaraderie to make a successful skydive come together. Their perseverance resulted in the completed formation, shown below.
This year, there were forty-odd people that had expressed an interest in participating in the @-sign dive, during the email registration period. When it came time to actually dirt-dive at the convention, though, there were eighteen people that came forward and committed to building the formation. What was impressive, to the couple of veterans of previous @-attempts, was that everyone that was in the first dirt-dive was also on the completed formation. We really needed each of the eighteen to successfully fly their slot and build a good-looking formation, and everyone came through - even though most hadn't ever jumped together, and the average number of jumps was about 450.
The commitment level shown by this group was demonstrated in a few notable ways - first of all, the folks selected for the base agreed to meet the previous day. They practiced launching the 4-way, and quickly transitioning to the donut that forms the core of the @-sign. (Because it's a one-point skydive, we don't really need to launch the donut.) The other base practice dives went relatively smoothly, and the base people performed perfectly during the three @-dive attempts. The weedwacker people also flew their slots well, and nobody grumbled when they decided to "lay it down" on the grass and really see exactly where they needed to be in order to build a good-looking @.
Photos by Phil Sandberg
This year's group included
Frank Carr, Tracy George, Rob Waspe, Jack Cunniff, Michael Jernigan, Gerhardt Buhler, Kristen Paquette, Jonathan Sechrist, Mike Spurgeon, David "Dallas" Dunkin, Jack Rumple, Paul DeJong, Keith Abner, Troy Case, and Renati DiNoia.
(The organizer sincerely apologizes to the other team members not listed - their participation was vital, but his notes unfortunately don't contain their names )