Why do skydivers jump?
- They love having turned their fantasy of human flight into reality.
- They treasure being a part of a very special skydiving family
From June 25-28, after months of quarantine and little to no jumping worldwide, the participants of the P3 (Perris Performance Plus) Power Play appreciated these things more than ever and promised never to take them for granted again.
Skydive Perris in California, the host of many premier national and international boogies, competitions and camps, cancelled all of its spring 2020 events. But as June approached and California lifted some its COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Power Play organizers—Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Martial Ferre, Doug Forth and Craig Girard—decided to try to salvage the event, which generally attracts 48 to 64 of the world’s most experienced and creative formation skydivers.
In May, the organizers sent an email to the Power Play gang asking who would come if they held the event. One third said they would absolutely be there, another third said there was no way they would go, and the final third said it was too early to decide. So, the organizers held off until June and then sent another email that said basically, “We’re hoping to try something. We don’t know what that something will be. It could be a 13-way. It could be a 30-way. It could be one group or two. Although we don’t know what we’re going to do, we’d like to know if you’re coming.”
In the end, 20 participants attended, and it was the happiest group of skydivers the world has ever seen. The skydivers were so glad to see each other! So happy to get to jump together! They had an amazing time and made some fantastic skydives. Brodsky-Chenfield organized the group, and Craig O’Brien filmed the jumps.
Dr. Bob Domeier helped the drop zone figure out good virus safety procedures and come up with a plan. Sure, it was a bit of a pain for everyone to wear masks, sanitize their hands before boarding the plane, leave the door open on the way to altitude and have their temperatures taken before entering the DZ, but they agreed that it was a small price to pay to be able to get together and play games with friends in the skies! The Power Play group also received a text containing the dive plan prior to each jump. Since Power Play jumps can be complicated, this minimized the time spent dirt diving. The 20-way group also debriefed in a room big enough to accommodate an 80-way and kept the door open.
Participant Steve Briggs (who also happens to be a biology professor at the University of California—San Diego) wrote to Brodsky-Chenfeld after the event. His remarks echoed the feelings of the rest of the participants when he said, “Thanks for all the work that you and the Perris staff put in to make this happen and for doing it with scientifically based viral-defense protocols that ensured our jumps—including those from 18,000 feet above sea level—were all we had to worry about. You and Skydive Perris have always been champions of safety for our sport and incorporating best practices to prevent viral infections into your drop zone operations has set the standard for the skydiving world.”