Cloud Dancer
The 1995 Freefall Race
and the Funky Freestyle Festival

by Tamara Koyn


I attended the first ever held Freefall Race at Skydive Arizona and then the Funky Freestyle Festival. The following material represents only my best effort to capture information that I have acquired at this event. I do not guarantee that it is error free.

First the Freefall Race...

The competitor briefing was held Thursday night (December 28) [1995]. Bryan Burke, meet director, provided tips and comments. Regarding exit order... If exiting first, the freefall racer had to get out before the designated spot (before the light goes on at Skydive Arizona). The racer should track perpendicular to jump run and then begin the diving. During the diving, it is a good idea to hold a heading perpendicular to jumprun as divers can drift surprisingly far. Once under canopy, continue to fly perpendicular to jumprun. You may be under canopy for almost a full minute before the next group and flying toward the DZ may get you killed. You have to be willing to land out and walk. Getting out last is the other exit option. Be absolutely sure that you provide enough exit separation between yourself and the group before you. Some jump masters preach physically looking at the ground instead of counting (as upper winds vary) to verify that the aircraft has traveled across sufficient ground. Once again, fly perpendicular to jumprun in freefall and under canopy. Pointing your canopy at the DZ once again greatly risks your life. No more than two racers on a load.

At 200mph and greater, the drag on your bridle is sufficient to pull your main pin. This was the major reason that doing stand-ups were discouraged. In general, be sure that your gear is in order and properly donned for these type of high speed dives. An accidental deployment would be really bad from the speeds possible in the freefall race.

The noise of the relative wind can obscure the warning sound the DYTTER audible altimeter emits. One proposed option was to use a hard helmet, such as the Factory Diver, with a DYTTER. I used the Flashing DYTTER which has a warning light that flashes in the goggles.

No weights allowed. Competition consisted of 3 rounds to record the maximum average fallrate between 11,000 and 5,000 feet. The competition was very informal.

The device used to measure the average fallrate between 11,000ft and 5,000ft was a SkyCorder. It is orange (allowing one to easily find it if it was accidentally dropped on the ground) and about the size of two DYTTERS put together with a small display and two buttons.

In participating in the freefall race, I managed an average of 234mph between 11K and 5K. I used my pink spandex freestyle suit which has corduroy on the forearms and lower legs. These were definitely interesting dives. I got myself configured in nearly a no-lift dive. I continued to use my forearms and legs to make input as I wanted to know how fast I could go and still be in control of my horizontal movement if I had a partner with me at these speeds. Once the speed picked up, the wind started pushing my head about a little. It was continuous effort to maintain my balance and on the first run, I slid forward and backwards in access of 30 feet. At these speeds, the air is quite sensitive to any movement or correction you make with any one body part--even head movement felt critical. I used Flashing DYTTER as the warning sound of the DYTTER can be obscured by the sheer noise of the windflow. To deal with the strong air pressure, I tracked to get out of the dive. Tracking is an excellent way of bleeding off the speed without suddenly getting on my face and having my arms ripped off at the shoulders. After tracking, I flared into a reverse arch. At this time, it felt to me that I was falling very slowly and the air was very soft and gentle on my body. I had from 4,000 to 3,000 feet to enjoy this sensation. It is for this pleasure that I would dive again (on another jump of course). I dumped for a normal opening. Once I landed, my face felt warm like I was blushing or something. It was like this again on the second dive. I have to say that life over 200 mph is a little bit of a different world. I also carried with me a SkyCorder that measured the average fallrate throughout my entire dive except for sub-terminal. That average was 182mph. I determined with some friends that I probably passed 11,000ft at about 170mph and attained peak speeds around 250mph inside the window. Dan Briggs calculated that my average fallrate outside the 11-5K window was around 135mph.

The following people joined the 200mph club:
Dan Pierce237 mph230lbs
Tamara Koyn234 mph120lbs
Hubert Trimmel260 mph200lbs
Wolfgang Miller256 mph176lbs
Mary Traub205 mph (stand-up)110lbs
Rob Candey202 mph175lbs
Fred Strunk278 mph185lbs
Charles Bryan269 mph165lbs
Alfie Schranz237 mph200lbs
David McDonough213 mph??
Dan Briggs202 mph (stand-up)210lbs
Bryan Burke237 mph190lbs
Olav Zipser260 mph143lbs
Adrian Nicholas256 mph173lbs
Omar Alhegelan288 mph160lbs

I believe that competitors turned in their weight without gear.

Charles Bryan joined the 300mph club at 321 mph!

The following people joined the sub-100mph club:
Ru Gakhar95 mph100lbs
Mary Traub94 mph

Fastest Man was Charles Bryan at 321 mph.
Fastest Woman was Tamara Koyn at 234 mph.
Slowest Woman was Mary Traub at 94 mph.
Fastest Stand-up was Mary Traub at 205 mph.

The Funky Freestyle Festival Competition was held on Saturday December 30 and was judged by myself (Tamara Koyn) and chief judge Dale Stuart. Competitors could turn in up to 3 jumps to the judges before 4:00pm. Solo performers could either freestyle or skysurf.

Best SmileAnne & Martin
Funniest FaceBo Bauhn
Best Outfit/CostumeMary Traub
Best Off Sticking with RWMichelle Tang/Bo Bauhn
Funkiest MoveRu Gakhar
Most Original RoutineMary Traub/Ru Gakhar
Wildest RoutineMichelle Tang
Most Graceful PerformanceMary Traub
Least Graceful PerformanceBo Bauhn
Funkiest 2-way MoveAnne & Martin
Most Original 2-way RoutineAnne & Martin
Wildest 2-way RoutineAnne & Martin
Most Graceful 2-way RoutineAnne & Martin
Least Graceful 2-way RoutineAlex & Danielle
Best VideoGreg Gasson
(videoing Alex & Danielle)
Wildest VideoGreg Gasson
(videoing Ru Gakhar)
Funkiest VideoGreg Gasson
(videoing Ru Gakhar)
Most Interactive VideoGreg Gasson
(videoing Ru Gakhar)
Most Original Video MoveZ. Owensby & Greg Gasson
(videoing Mary Traub and Ru Gakhar respectively)
Best Off Sticking with Video for TandemsClaus Hallberg
(videoing Bo Bauhn)

The Freefly Clowns (Olav, Omar, and Charles with Adrian as a special guest) were actively jumping in their own group throughout the entire Christmas/New Year's boogie. The First School of Modern Skyflying was available as always to provide instruction. $60 per jump.
Cloud Dancer
© Copyright 1995, Tamara Koyn. All Rights Reserved.