Cadets Break Formation Jump Record

Air Force Academy cadets set a new collegiate record for the largest formation parachute jump, according to academy officials. The Wings of Blue parachute team broke the previous 41-person formation record—also held by the team—by linking 46 parachutists together in mid freefall on March 31 over Gila Bend, Ariz. Jumping from 16,500 feet, the cadets assembled the ring formation in 52 seconds, holding for 10 seconds before dropping below 6,500 feet and deploying their chutes. The team planned to make 10 jumps to set a 48-person record, but was forced to cut two jumpers to ease the link-up, said the academy officials. The team made a total of five jumps over two days, setting the new record on the fourth attempt on March 31. Six pilots, three cameramen, and three mechanics supported the nine underclassmen and 37 upperclassmen on the jumps. (Colorado Springs release)