Jumpers Hone XRW Skills at Skydive Spaceland–Houston
By Stephen Megison
April was a rainy month in Texas, with almost every weekend either too cloudy or windy to jump. Fortunately, the last weekend in April was crystal clear at Skydive Spaceland–Houston in Rosharon, Texas, just in time for the third annual Spaceland XRW Skills Camp. With nine canopy pilots and more than 20 wingsuit flyers learning to fly with one another, this was the largest XRW camp so far, and the ratio was perfect for progress and growth under the organization, guidance and mentoring of Scott Lazarus. In addition to Lazarus, the canopy pilots had incredible mentors in Richö Butts and D.Q. Israd, while the wingsuit flyers found guidance and advice from flyers such as Ted Chen and Craig Lambton.
On Friday, the morning jumps allowed the organizers to assess skill levels and figure out the best mix of flyers to maximize the chances for success for everyone. Several of the participants arrived with only a handful of XRW jumps under their belts, hoping to make their first surf docks and hand docks. On every jump, the improvements were obvious, and by the end of the day, everyone was feeling good about their individual progress.
Saturday morning brought more great weather, and jumping started early. While some groups worked on static jumps and basic docks, other groups flew more dynamic jumps with complex docks and diving turns. Wingsuit flyers got to jump with the various canopy pilots throughout the day, allowing them to practice with different wing loadings, ranging from 3.0:1 to 3.8:1. As the camp progressed, participants achieved personal goals and came up with new ideas, and many had the chance to be a part of their first multi-canopy XRW formation!
One of the highlights of the camp was brothers Daniel and Stephen Megison taking hand docks on canopy pilot Adam Tallman, while their dad, Steve Megison, locked into the surf dock below. It was a special jump for the family and Tallman, who is now an honorary Megison!
On Sunday, the jumpers pulled off some amazing feats. The morning started with five canopy pilots and 14 wingsuiters flying in a huge formation. Later, Ted Chen flew a hand dock with Scott Lazarus, who had a wing loading of only 2.45! And as people started to pack up and head home, the camp wrapped up with an attempt at a hex dock (one canopy pilot docked with six wingsuiters) that came close to completing. All of the camp participants left with a sense of accomplishment and a huge amount of knowledge to bring back to their home drop zones.
Stephen Megison | D-32683