World record events take a number of things to be successful—talented team members, capable leadership, a strong video team, experienced pilots, lots of large planes, tireless ground support and favorable weather. Team Ripcord had all but the last component when it gathered at Skydive Perris in California October 11 for a four-day effort to set a Parachutists Over Phorty Society World Record for Largest Formation Skydive.
Since being established in 2012 by Arizona jumper Kimbo Godwin, Team Ripcord has held five events focused on setting POPS large-formation records. During those five events, participants set a total of four POPS World Records. That success has resulted in Team Ripcord events attracting ever-stronger teams.
With a goal of setting a 150-way record, the team had exactly that number of jumpers when the event began. Under the leadership of Godwin as the event organizer, Dan Brodsky-Chenfield as jump organizer and Kate Cooper-Jensen, Larry Henderson, Victor Kravtsov, Scott Latinis, Jim McCormick, Tim Weible and Guy Wright as sector and plane captains, the team had the benefit of very experienced leadership. Unique to this event was the family element: Godwin’s wife, Valerie, led the ground support and administrative teams, which his three daughters helped staff.
On day one, the entire team made three jumps from 16,500 feet from three Skyvans and four Twin Otters. The second day, clouds and winds allowed for only two attempts before the skies darkened for what turned out to be almost 40 hours of rain and low clouds. On the final day, the team waited anxiously to get back in the air but was hampered by cloud cover. An hour before the end of the event, the team got into the air for a final jump, which was the best of the event but far from a completion.
While the team did not set a new record, it had much for which the members could be proud. For making only six of the scheduled 16 jumps, they did amazingly well. But alas, any record would have to wait. Before the team disbursed, Godwin announced that Team Ripcord would take another shot at it in 2020.
Jim McCormick | D-12379
Estes Park, Colorado