It didn't seem likely that the weather could be so fantastic two years in a row at the World Freefall Convention, but that's exactly what happened! This year there was not even an extreme event (thunderstorm in the middle of the night, tents blowing like leafs in the wind). The Weather Gods smiled on the Convention again.
The good weather allowed us to make more jumps than most of us thought possible! I myself (DJan Stewart) made 54 jumps in 9 days and was really ready for a weather break, which finally arrived on the last Saturday afternoon about 3:00 p.m. and lasted an hour. Jumping resumed shortly thereafter.
The Load Organizers' tents (#1, 2, and 3) ended up making many hundreds of jumps (almost 10,000 skydives were made on 1,300 loads). Expanded services were offered to the intermediate jumper, and I think they ended up being much higher quality than in previous years. If you used any of the Load Organizers, please go here to print, fill out and fax the form to DJan Stewart at 303-497-8125. This information will be compiled and used to improve the services we provide to jumpers. Mike Vederman (Dead Mike), who had a landing accident last year at Quincy, helped at the Load Organizers' desk. He was selling T-shirts with pictures of his skull imprint, his spirits are good and he looks great. He is hoping to be jumping by the next Convention.
Tent #3, which specialized in giving a home to the less experienced jumpers at the Convention, had many really good jumps, with a learning curve that was astounding! We had many dozens of skydivers who came from small Cessna DZs learn about exits from tailgates and Otters and who went from being barely able to dock on a star to achieving their Double Falcons and Eagle dives!! Truly a wonderful experience to have been part of. Thanks to all my wonderful organizers who helped make this Convention such a great experience.
The weather was also fantastic for Jet Day, which ended up making 8 loads of 180 skydivers each!! The Convention Load Organizers won the speed star competition, getting a new Convention record by building the star in 11 seconds!
Skydive City (Tent #4) ran the AFF concession this year and had almost 100 AFF jumps during the ten days of the Convention! There were several graduates who joined the ranks of skydivers. Skydive University (Tent #6) was also on site for those who wanted to learn in depth.
The entire Convention questionnaire is available here. The World Freefall Convention staff is very anxious to hear your feedback of WFFC 98 and how we can make it even better. Print, fill out and fax the questionnaire to me at 303-497-8125. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to write DJan Stewart. If you want to buy the video and did not pay for it through Pre-Registration, you may call (217) AAA-JUMP (222-5867) and order it for $41 (includes shipping), or email email@example.com. Or you can order it directly from Tom Sanders at his web site.
Keith and Melissa Abner (Keith is a regular on the rec.skydiving newsgroup) have compiled a wonderful home page with their Quincy 1998 diary, complete with pictures and a day-by-day log of the jumps they made.
At the WFFC 1998 Convention, 52 countries were represented, along with all 50 states. A total of 4,718 jumpers were registered during the ten days, and 65,000 jumps made! For all the beer drinkers at Quincy, an interesting statistic is that 393 keps of beer were given away, and 41 kegs of imported beer was sold by two bars. 503 tandem skydives were made, and 84 AFF student jumps were processed by Skydive City. Mike Burt made 180 jumps during the Convention! 76 units of blood were raised by the WFFC Blood Drive, and $30,855 was raised for charities.
There were four landing accidents resulting from turns too low to the ground, two of which were rumored to be fatalities. As of 1 October, they all have survived. And sadly, as most everyone knows, Jerry Loftis was killed on Friday, August 14. Details are not available at this time. He leaves behind his wife and two small daughters. A memorial fund has been set up for them. For more information, go to the Surf Flite web site.