Canopy Formation Skydivers Fall from Planes
By Kyle Taylor and Cat Isgrigg
While many people go to the East Coast to see the fall colors, canopy formation skydivers know that the West Coast is the place to be for a truly incredible display, because that’s when Skydive Elsinore in California hosts its annual Fall From Planes event. This year’s event, organized by Eric and Linda Gallan, took place October 11-14 and attracted more than 50 skydivers from across the United States and four countries. Over four days, organizers Jackson Hoffman, Sean Jones, Brian Pangburn, Kyle Taylor and Keith Tolley piloted beautiful and intricate formations through the sunny Southern California skies.
A high level of talent was evident at Fall From Planes this year, as many experienced big-way CF jumpers came to warm up for the record attempts preceding the International Skydiving Hall of Fame Celebration at nearby Skydive Perris. They were joined by Elsinore’s local CF competition teams and the Czech national 2-way CF team, which had an opportunity to test out Elsinore Revolution’s Performance Designs Storm canopies while receiving coaching from Pangburn, a world champion.
Naturally, some exciting firsts occurred during the event, including Nick Kent, Curtis Shaw and Phil Sparrow docking last on thread-the-needle jumps. This is a tricky move, since the last jumper must fly around the frame-shaped formation’s burble to dock in an open slot in the middle. The thread-the-needle jump has become a rite of passage in West Coast CF, and the organizers were excited to have the talent available to build the frame and give the newer jumpers the opportunity to complete it. On Saturday night, Skydive Elsinore hosted night jumps, and Daniel Purdy piloted his first night canopy formation, a successful three-point 4-way by the light of the full moon. And Jacob Cogbill flew a challenging slot on a 9-way diamond formation, a personal goal of his for this event.
The giving spirit of the CF community was in evidence at this event. Although intended mainly for experienced jumpers, the group welcomed two newer CF jumpers and volunteered their time help them learn. Everyone involved would agree that seeing the progress of Mark Gale and Julia Nicole Wilde (who participated in their first 9-way diamonds during the event) made it all worthwhile.
On Sunday night, the drop zone staff and other fun jumpers joined the CF folks for a Hawaiian-style pig roast catered by local chef Kaci McCulloch. Attendees washed down the delicious dinner with beverages provided thanks to the many firsts that occurred during the event.
Skydive Elsinore’s staff and pilots made the event a great success. They welcomed the CF community and good-naturedly handled the complex spots and airspace requirements. This welcoming attitude is quickly making the drop zone the place to come for CF on the West Coast.
Kyle Taylor | D-31575
Dana Point, California
Cat Isgrigg | D-34645
Fountain Valley, California