The Tech Sport Parachute Club competed in the USPA National Collegiate Championships, which were held in Arizona last December. The team placed third in the 2-Way Formation category, which they considered a huge success.
“In terms of the actual events, it’s kind of like a swim meet,” said recent Parachute Club alumnus Edward Vear, who competed in the championships. “There’s different events, like 2-way and 4-way formation skydiving, as well as accuracy landing events. You basically wait until your team is called up for whatever event is going on, and then you all hop on the plane. ”
For all the non-skydivers, 2-Way Relative Work is when two skydivers perform rehearsed formations in the sky during freefall.
“For the formation events there’s someone on camera that follows your team down to record video for the judges,” Vear Said. “Then once you’re on the ground, you pack up and get ready for the next round. It’s a lot of fun and they make sure to split up the events so there’s something for all skill levels.”
“Anyone in the club with an A license can choose to participate,” said club captain Krista Hill, BA ‘19 on the national competition.
“I learned a ton during competitions, and it really showed me how much more there is to learn,” Vear said.
Hill and Vear started their Nationals preparation in October by practicing in wind tunnels, which gives skydivers a way to practice moving in freefall, but indoors. The team also partners with Skydive Atlanta for jumping in their leisure time, using equipment owned by Tech.
“Once you are a member of the club, you are free to go to the dropzone whenever you want,” Hill said. “You get two free jumps a month at Skydive Atlanta plus free gear usage since the club owns it!”
The club has a room at Skydive Atlanta and some skydivers go there almost every weekend to practice. In order to be able to jump with the team, new members must complete a course through Skydive Atlanta and then their Accelerated Free Fall program. Through practicing baseline jumps, members can become eligible to complete more advanced ones.
“We jump out of a King Air airplane at 14,000 feet. You can only do helicopter jumps after you get your B license, which is after 50 jumps and a canopy course,” Hill said. The club offers ways for members to get their B License through Skydive Atlanta.
Despite the rigorous safety training process and qualifications, the team members earn discounts for being on a collegiate team, and they enjoy the social benefits of the club as well.
“I love the community that skydiving gives me and the opportunity to learn new thing[s] every jump!” Hill said. “[Skydiving] really forces you to be present. It’s pretty hard to think about anything that might be stressing you out when you’re in freefall, and there’s a great sense of focus and blocking out everything else. It actually ends up being pretty relaxing believe it or not,” Vear said.