Freefall skydiving formation – it takes planning, logistics – and guts!
Tanks, aircraft and ships usually dominate defense headlines, and it’s not every day that we see a Royal Navy Lieutenant making the headlines for succeeding in a World Record Attempt in skydiving – but actually it’s all part of the essential training that makes frontline forces prepared.
This month, as part of its sponsorship programme supporting excellence in operations relating to land, sea and air, IFS sponsored Genevieve “Freddie” Huntley to partake in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) 2014 Formation Skydiving Women’s World Record attempt. This aimed to set the official World Record for the largest, all-female, sequential freefall skydiving formation, held in Perris Valley in California.
And after a few days of practice, Freddie and team now hold two official FAI World Records in sequential formation skydiving after completing a two-point 117-way formation on the first jump of the day, in both the open and women’s categories – not bad considering the sport is only 15% women!
Freddie is a Lieutenant in the Warfare Branch of the Royal Navy having joined in 2008, and IFS supports the UK MOD’s partners BAE Systems and Babcock to deliver maritime support into the main HM Royal Naval Bases at Portsmouth, Rosyth, Clyde and Devonport.
Freddie has been parachuting for fourteen years – ever since her sixteenth birthday, when her family bought her a Static Line Course as a gift.
“I’m extremely proud to have been chosen to participate in this record attempt following the competitive pre-qualification and selection process. I hope my participation in this event will have brought huge benefits for the Naval Service beyond me as an individual,” Freddie commented. “I have already been asked to join the organisers for a potential future Military Freefall Record attempt, and I would hope my success might also help to encourage increased female participation in parachuting – particularly in the Royal Navy.”
Aside from the static line instruction and formation coaching Freddie already undertakes, this event has qualified Freddie to load organise multiple-aircraft formations for the Army Parachute Association – only two members of the UK Armed Forces are currently qualified to do this and both are in the army (and men!) so there is huge potential for Freddie to bring a wider interest to get involved in skydiving within the wider Armed Forces.
Freddie is keen to encourage other would-be skydivers to have a go – alone or in tandem. Find out more on the APA website at www.netheravon.com or look at the British Parachute Association website at www.bpa.org to see how you can take part.
Watch the video footage of the successful World Record attempt from www.skydivingphotography.com cameraman Gustavo Cabana.