Lindley Estes at the Fredricksburg (Virginia) Free Lance Star reports that a team from tandem skydiving outfit Skydive Orange set a new world record for an all-female head-down formation skydive, with 41 women jumping and joining hands in midair. This is quite a feat, given that only 15% of the members of the US Parachute Association are women.
The largest all-female formation skydive, period, was accomplished in 2009 and featured 181 women — but they didn’t have their heads down.
Taking off in three aircraft, the Virginia group jumped at a height of three miles and grabbed each others’ paws in a massive show of skydiving force, reaching 200 miles an hour before they pulled their cords.
Fredricksburg resident Nancy Koreen, in taking part in the skydive, helped skunk her own record — which was set five years ago with an 18-woman group.
Co-organized by Arizonan Melanie Curtis, this group trained in a wind tunnel and had to make ten attempts before they were able to pull off the tricky hand-joining feat. They’d done five jumps the day before; this was the last jump on the second day. On the previous jump, they’d missed the join-up by a single person. The event was designed to encourage female skydivers in the male-dominated sport, and drew participation from those who weren’t up for jumping:
According to Curtis, there were nearly 60 women involved in the event. And even though not all of them had the skill level to participate in the record jump, they were there for support.
“One girl who wasn’t quite ready showed up in a cheerleading outfit,” Curtis said. “There was a huge surge of female participation during the jump.”