The first eight days of the Convention in 1997 didn't have any weather to keep people out of the air. Although we had some rain late on the first Sunday night, the storm brought in cooler weather and the temperatures from Monday through Friday were in the high 70's and low 80's! For anyone who has jumped through the triple digits that Quincy can experience, it was a wonderful weather week!
As the Jet arrived on Saturday, it was accompanied by low clouds. One hundred and eighty skydivers owe beer for riding the Jet down! One load was dropped, then mechanical problems kept the Jet from flying any more on Saturday, so it was held over until Sunday, when a total of five loads were flown. Many happy skydivers ended their Convention with a jump from the Jet.
There were 4,612 registered skydiving participants at this year's Convention, from 46 countries and all 50 states! The Missouri National Guard will be handing off the tower duties to the FAA next year, and they were in training at this year's Convention. There were 56,823 jumps made, with 6,750 aircraft takeoffs and landings. And there were 412 tandem jumps made at the Convention this year!
Many jumpers new to the Convention expressed nervousness about being under canopy, imagining hundreds of canopies all converging on the same area at once, but the reality is that there was an average of 22 canopies in the air every 4 minutes, 14 hours a day, so it was rare to have very many canopies in the air at one time. It is always important, no matter where you are jumping, to keep an eye out for someone else who may not be paying as much attention as you are.
We are compiling the data from the questionnaires filled out by the jumpers who used the Load Organizers so that we can improve our services. This year we expanded the novice/low intermediate section to give personalized service, and next year we plan to have some new ideas for the intermediate jumpers. If you have any ideas of how we might do this, please let us know, because we do listen and respond to your requests! Write to DJan Stewart to get your ideas included.
The 1997 Convention video will be shipped December 8, the delay due to some unforeseen problems. If you are interested in ordering one, email Robert Kittila with your address and/or phone number and how you would like to pay for it. You may also call him at (303) 499-9628. Max Dereta will be handling the European orders. Email him at email@example.com. The video will cost $41 which includes shipping and handling. (There are rumors of an X-rated video. This is not affiliated in any way
with the World Freefall Convention.)
The rec.skydiving newsgroup was rampant with rumors of people being killed at the Convention. The reality is that two skydivers were killed because of landing accidents early in the week.
There were numerous trips to the hospital. Almost every accident was either because of canopies coming too close to each other on final approach or misjudging the landing. Either at a boogie or at your own home drop zone, learn to "rubberneck" under canopy and land in the less congested areas.