World Free-Fall Convention

Flying Illini

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Did anyone go to this, this weekend? I wasn't able to get there unfortunately...work got in the way (and I only live 25 minutes away.) :mad:
One person died yesterday when his parachute malfunctioned and it sounds like his reserve didn't open in time. RIP.
Anyway, anyone go? How was it this year?
 

avbug

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Blue skies, black death.

Didn't go, wish I could. Watched a cutaway a day while sitting here on duty, however. I went and found one of them, along with the freebag, yesterday. Every one a tandem.

Worse, my rig is locked away in my storage locker and no way to go get it. Loads landing here all day, and not a drop to drink, so to speak.
 

KigAir

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My first and only WWC was back in '94. I'll never forget how eager the locals were to pick up jumpers who landed off field and give them a ride back. My first jump there had the spot off a tad and everybody landed in a corn field. There must have been 4 pickup trucks waiting for us.
 

FN FAL

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From what I hear, Rantoul aint the same as UIN.

Wasn't there a helicopter rotor fatality the first year WFFC was at Rantoul?
 

Flying Illini

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FN FAL said:
From what I hear, Rantoul aint the same as UIN.

Wasn't there a helicopter rotor fatality the first year WFFC was at Rantoul?
I've heard only good things about TIP...guess it's who you ask. :rolleyes: They are expecting 50,000 jumps at this event.

Yes, two years ago there was a "skimming" (you know, ski across the shallow pond, land on the far side) fatality and some poor soul was minced by the main rotor-blades of a helicopter. They picked up all the pieces that they could.
My memory on this is very rusty, but I think that it was a photographer, trying to get a shot and he walked into the "clear" zone around the chopper as the pilot was lifting off.
 

FracCapt

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Flying Illini said:
I've heard only good things about TIP...guess it's who you ask. :rolleyes:
I know a lot of people that go every year....some that are just fun jumpers, some that work for skydiving manufacturers. Most all of them agree that Quincy was better...at least, up until the last 2 years it was there....but Rantoul is definitely giving it a run for its money, and getting better by the year.

Yes, two years ago there was a "skimming" (you know, ski across the shallow pond, land on the far side) fatality
It's called swooping.. Unfortunately, most fatalities these days are under perfectly functional canopies due to misjudged hook turns/carves and low panic turns(to avoid traffic, turn into the wind, etc).. Many people are flying canopies that are too small for their skill level. I've been guilty of that in the past...but have since gained quite a bit more experience and wised up. I still fly small canopies, but my canopies are larger than they were a couple years ago.

and some poor soul was minced by the main rotor-blades of a helicopter. They picked up all the pieces that they could.
My memory on this is very rusty, but I think that it was a photographer, trying to get a shot and he walked into the "clear" zone around the chopper as the pilot was lifting off.
The area where the helicopter was flying out of was a "restricted" area....nobody but staff anywhere in the area except for the boarding area...and then only jumpers that were going to be on the next load or two. There was an cornfield adjacent to the helicopter. There was a guy that asked, repeatedly, if he could go out in that cornfield and video the takeoff of the helicopter as it flew right over him. He was told no, time and time again. He snuck out there, and during the helicopters takeoff(he was still in ground effect accelerating), as it was very rapidly approaching, he stood up to video it. The rotor hit him in the head. The pilot saw him as he stood up, but wasn't able to react quickly enough to avoid him.

The worst part about the whole thing was that the guys family was trying to sue everybody even remotely associated with the helicopter or the convention...even though the guy was where he was told he COULD NOT go many times.

The WFFC is an awesome adventure....I would have liked to have gone this year, but couldn't....hopefully next year. I've been 3 times so far, and I've always had a great time. I highly recommend it to any skydiver.
 

Godvek

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Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?
 

Eagleflip

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Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?
You haven't seen too many jump planes, have you?

Most I ever did was a 6 way...(yeah, yeah, freefalling that is...the rest will remain thankfully hidden) ...wish I could have stuck around for a much larger formation.
 

FN FAL

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Eagleflip said:
You haven't seen too many jump planes, have you?

Most I ever did was a 6 way...(yeah, yeah, freefalling that is...the rest will remain thankfully hidden) ...wish I could have stuck around for a much larger formation.
At UIN WFFC. I was on a 20 way attempt with all us big time, big way wannabes...lots of fun, but I spent half the dive head down to get low enough to open and get out of that cluster frolic. Same thing happened at Baldwin...20 way attempt with video. We were all a bunch of big way wannabes, what a horror show! I remember watching the video and wondering what everybody had against the base, because it sure looked like they were assaulting it...me included. :)

To add injury to insult, the Baldwin 20 way attempt got spotted off airport by a friend of mine...he was a Baldwin local that used to fly at our DZ for a while. Someone ribbed him on the way up about his spotting ability and next thing you know, we're all landing in a farmers field a mile from the DZ.

Hey Frac or Eagleflip...were any of you guys at UIN WFFC when that guy broke his neck diving into the wading pool over by manifest? That was the begining of the end of good times at UIN WFFC. I remember the next day, we were on load number 3 for the 727 and one of the decedent's mates got up on the gangway after loading instructions were given and the sticks were organized and asked us all to sing their friend a "HIM"!

It was beautiful...especially for me and my friends, as we were there that night when the police tape was getting laid out and we saw them cover him with a sheet. I thought the "HIM" thing was beautiful...180 people paying homage to a lost friend or a friend we never got to meet. When the dive was over, one of our group's jumpers, a newbee skydiver blonde Amazon that was dating one of our long time regular jumpmasters, got all upset about the "HIM" thing.

Anywhoo...thanks for the memories!
 

avbug

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WUFFO: "Wuffo you go an jump outta a perfectly good airplane, wuffo."

WUFFO: anybody who asks the above question.

WUFFO: not a complement.

There are no perfectly good airplanes.

Pilots look at a new airplane and think about logging a little time in it. Jumpers look at a new airplane and think about how to make the best exit. Pilots who are jumpers think about logging takeoffs, but not the landings.

I remember years ago when I was a fledgling commercial pilot, a gentleman offered me some time in his Beech 18. I ran to grab a rig off the shelf, and he asked me what I was doing. I told him jump, of course. He wanted to check me out in the airplane, and much as I wanted to fly jumpers in it, when I saw that open door, the only thing that crossed my mind was jumping it. When you jump and fly, staying on board and watching everyone else have the fun seems more punishment than reward.

Any work I do for a drop zone, weather flying, turning wrenches, packing, whatever...is never for money. Trading out for skydives is much more valueable, rewarding, and welcome. I'll take a red bull in the morning, a hamburger in the afternoon, and a bite of someone's chinese takeout in the evening while everyone is getting drunk, as a fringe benifit.

Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Because the door is open, of course.
 

V-STALL

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Hey Av- I don't think he'll understand what a wuffo is either!
 

V-STALL

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FF-they just don't understand- or ever will!


a newbee skydiver blonde Amazon that was dating one of our long time regular jumpmasters, got all upset about the "HIM" thing.
 

FracCapt

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FN FAL said:
At UIN WFFC. I was on a 20 way attempt with all us big time, big way wannabes...lots of fun, but I spent half the dive head down to get low enough to open and get out of that cluster frolic. Same thing happened at Baldwin...20 way attempt with video. We were all a bunch of big way wannabes, what a horror show! I remember watching the video and wondering what everybody had against the base, because it sure looked like they were assaulting it...me included. :)
LOL!! Sounds like most of the big way attemps I've been on that turn into zoo dives. Of course, when you have certain big way organizers running the show.....you absolutely, positively, CANNOT turn it into a zoo dive...OR ELSE!! :p I hate it when somebody like that has to be a stick in the mud!

Seriously, though....I've been on a few "big way" attempts(though, not big ways by todays standards). The largest was a 72 way. I was a late diver out of the trail plane(the 4th Twotter) because I was a "very proficient freeflyer"....therefore, as they saw it, much more able to dive down to the base. Suuuuure......somebody failed to mention the base would be doing 140+. I got down to the base before the majority of the other divers from all 4 planes, but it still took me 30 seconds to do it(20 secs before breakoff). I then had to wait for my slot to form...which it never did. :(

My big ways, these days, consist of 4 to 10 way freefly dives. I don't do much RW anymore....because, quite frankly, I suck at it since I've done mostly freeflying for years.

Hey Frac or Eagleflip...were any of you guys at UIN WFFC when that guy broke his neck diving into the wading pool over by manifest? That was the begining of the end of good times at UIN WFFC. I remember the next day, we were on load number 3 for the 727 and one of the decedent's mates got up on the gangway after loading instructions were given and the sticks were organized and asked us all to sing their friend a "HIM"!
That was my first year there. '96, IIRC. I almost died that year...dang near midair at 200' with a couple guys flying a downplane. After that near miss....I thought....THAT DOWNPLANE LOOKED COOL AS HELL! Then I went and did my first, of many, CReW jumps! :D

When the dive was over, one of our group's jumpers, a newbee skydiver blonde Amazon that was dating one of our long time regular jumpmasters, got all upset about the "HIM" thing.
Too many people just don't understand the traditions....and how we deal with loss. HIM is definitely one of those things, althought not specifically reserved for when we lose a brother. Of course, then there are the things like the Muff Brothers and the Flying Hellfish....and our chants. ;)

The people I hang out with, and have met, while skydiving are a HUGE part of my life....my second family. I love this sport! :D
 

Peanut gallery

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Small world

I can hardly believe that so many of you are skydivers.

I must know some of you, I had a trailer in Z-hills back in the mid-80's.

Flew the Happyjet 727 at UIN in 94,95,96.

Did Don manage to get a jet this year? He calls every year to see if I can get one. Unfortunately I have not been at a 727 operator since 96.
 

Godvek

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Geez guys, I was going to say because the door was open.

:)
 

Flying Illini

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Thanks FracCapt for correcting all of my mistakes. I told you my memory was pretty hazy! Anyway, Yes, one death was from "Swooping" and the other was from a guy who couldn't listen to directions. Articles below:

Death arrives at free-fall fest
Published Online Aug 4, 2002
By JULIE WURTH
News-Gazette Staff Writer

RANTOUL - With thousands of jumps each day at the World Free Fall Convention in Rantoul, authorities had braced themselves for the possibility of one or even two sky-diving deaths.
But not this. And not so soon.
On Friday night, during the first day of competition at the former Chanute Air Force Base, a Maryland man was killed videotaping his friend's sky-diving adventure when he apparently got too close to the helicopter as it was taking off.
Timothy Kalendek, 32, of Joppa, Md., died instantly when he was clipped by the helicopter's rotor blades. He was pronounced dead at 8:27 p.m. of multiple traumatic injuries, said Bill Fabian, chief deputy coroner for Champaign County.
Fabian said Mr. Kalendek had a friend on board the helicopter and wanted to videotape his first ride. He had asked officials for permission to get close to the helicopter, but “for obvious reasons, they told him not to,” Fabian said.
“He was trying to get some unique perspectives as the helicopter took off,” Fabian said.
According to witnesses, Mr. Kalendek stepped out of an adjacent cornfield into the path of the helicopter as it was taking off, officials said.
The nose dips down as the helicopter lifts off tail-first, and the pilot also made a turn at the same time, bringing the blades closer to the ground, said Coroner Roger Swaney.
“The pilot takes off and basically puts the nose down and tilts the helicopter to go around the cornfields. The guy steps out and, bam, that's it,” Fabian said. “It just happened so fast that there's nothing that anybody could do about it. The helicopter pilot couldn't do anything. He was really shook up.”
Mr. Kalendek's brother-in-law was also videotaping the liftoff and caught the accident on camera, Fabian said.
The helicopter was carrying a number of passengers, but it landed safely and no one else was injured, officials said. The accident occurred in a rather remote section of the landing zone, and there weren't many people nearby, said Rantoul Police Chief Paul Dollins.
Dollins said there were no indications that the helicopter malfunctioned, and Fabian said he was told the pilot is “very experienced.” The coroner's office, the Rantoul Police Department and the Federal Aviation Administration are all investigating the accident.
“We're going to have to sort out precisely what happened,” Dollins said, noting that an inquest will be held. “It should have been an avoidable accident. Somebody erred.
“It's very, very unfortunate,” he said.
The helicopter, one of several that take sky divers up for jumps, was grounded for the duration of the investigation, said convention spokeswoman Beth Mahlo. She declined to discuss the accident until the investigation is complete.
About 11 sky-diving deaths were associated with the convention during the 13 years it was held in Quincy before moving to Rantoul this summer, according to Mahlo. “This was not a sky-diving accident,” she emphasized.
“We never expected this, and we didn't expect it so soon,” Fabian said of Friday's gruesome scene.
Mr. Kalendek's friends contacted his fiance back in Maryland and other family members, Fabian said. They've since headed home.
Despite the accident, events continued as scheduled on Saturday. Swaney, who talked with a number of sky divers Saturday morning, said they hadn't heard much about the accident.
“Mostly jumpers know safety and to stay away from things like this. They respect danger,” he said.
“Sky divers are a realistic bunch of people,” Mahlo added. “They know they're involved in a dangerous sport. And while they mourn every accident, they're very careful to examine it and find out why it happened, what happened,” she said.
Dollins said there have been no other problems with the event so far.
“Rantoul has been very kind to us, and the sky divers have felt that welcome,” Mahlo said.

Urbana sky diver dies in fall
Published Online Aug 5, 2002
By TIM MITCHELL
News-Gazette Staff Writer

RANTOUL – The World Free Fall Convention claimed its second victim Sunday when an Urbana sky diver was killed while making a landing.
Walter "Skip" Hublein, 45, of 2408 Somerset Drive, U, was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, at 9:13 p.m., according to Champaign County Coroner Roger Swaney.
Mr. Hublein was jumping in one of the last jumps of the day when he landed in an artificial swoop pond built at the Rantoul Airport, Swaney said. The coroner said Hublein's parachute was working at the time.
According to a Rantoul police report, an ambulance was called at 8:12 p.m. Mr. Hublein was pulled out of the water by bystanders, cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed, and he was taken by ambulance to Carle at 8:42 p.m.
Rantoul Police Chief Paul Dollins said a police officer was approached by a man riding a four-wheeled vehicle that an ambulance was needed at the swoop pond for a sky diver who had crashed, and the officer dispatched the ambulance to the scene.
When the police officer arrived at the scene, he saw three men pulling an unconscious man from the water, Dollins said.
"We have three witnesses who told us the man was trying to maneuver into the swoop pond," Dollins said. "As everybody knows, people who are sky diving and want to do the swoop pond thing usually do a maneuver to give them more speed coming down."
Dollins said Mr. Hublein's parachute was open as he attempted his landing.
"One witness said he observed the sky diver come down with the chute open," Dollins said. "It appeared the sky diver was going over the pond, and the landing would be normal. At the last moment, he banked to the left and struck the pond with the side of his body. He was apparently unable to pull out of the maneuver prior to hitting the water."
Swaney said the death is still being investigated.
He said an autopsy will be performed, toxicology studies will be done, and an inquest will be scheduled.
On Friday, Timothy Kalendek, 32, of Joppa, Md., was killed while videotaping a friend's sky-diving adventure. He got too close to a helicopter when it was taking off and was hit by the helicopter's rotor blades.
According to witnesses, Mr. Kalendek stepped out of an adjacent cornfield into the path of the helicopter as it was taking off.
The helicopter, one of several that takes sky divers up for jumps, was grounded for the duration of the investigation, according to convention spokeswoman Beth Mahlo.
About 11 sky-diving fatalities were associated with the free-fall convention during the 13 years it was held in Quincy, before moving to Rantoul this summer.
 

Big Duke Six

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I had the pleasure of attending Quincy in '00. I was not a complete WUFFO, having 3 tandems under my belt, but I was not a skydiver. Nonetheless, it was one of the greatest weeks I've ever had! Everyone was great and welcomed me fully, no matter that my wristband was the wrong color. I did get a chance to take a spectacular helicopter ride with Rod Tinney though. What an amazing guy!


Is he still doing the Conventions since the fatality in Rantoul?
 

FracCapt

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Big Duke Six said:
Is he still doing the Conventions since the fatality in Rantoul?
No. Rod has not flown a load since the accident. He still flies(and owns) a bunch of 412's on various contracts around the country, and still skydives, though. Last time I saw him was the Moss Point Mardi Gras boogie last year.
 

FracCapt

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Peanut gallery said:
I can hardly believe that so many of you are skydivers.

Did Don manage to get a jet this year? He calls every year to see if I can get one. Unfortunately I have not been at a 727 operator since 96.
There are many more here that are skydivers that don't speak up or just lurk. I started jumping in '94. I'm not as active as I once was(used to be 300-400 a year), but I still jump. My canopy has gotten larger since I've slacked off....and my jumps more conservative...but it's still a blast!

There hasn't been a jet at the convention for 5 or more years, AFAIK.
 
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