Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Skydiving Record in San Francisco

The largest-ever skydiving demonstration in America happened at lunchtime today in the skies over San Francisco.

A hundred top skydivers, many with military experience and holding skydiving records, landed in four different places near the Bay.

The event was a launch by T-Mobile of their new myTouch 3G phone.

First, L39 Patriot jets flew low between the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges streaming pink, white and blue smoke.

Then five planes carried the skydivers up. From 12,000 ft they jumped, dotting the sky with colour as they opened their chutes and floated over the edges of the city and the Bay.

Trailing plumes of smoke, some performed 'stacks', jumping in pairs and breaking away nearer the ground to allow banners to flap behind them.

An Elvis was in the air, if not singing Blue Suede Shoes then perhaps Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

There were four landing sites. Two were in sight of the Golden Gate Bridge at Marina Green and the Moscone Recreation Center near to Fort Mason, one was at Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf, and another at the Justin Herman Plaza opposite the Ferry Building, close to the heart of San Francisco. Because of the plaza's popularity, there were landing spots at both ends.

The plaza was crowded both with people who had come to see the event and those who were there fortuitously as part of their regular lunchtime break.

Before the air show, there was entertainment from breakdancers, The Renegades, professional skateboarders and a BMX Biker, all of whom have achieved recognition in their sport and compete internationally.

Entertainment was running from midday to 6 pm, with acrobatics from the San Francisco Circus, jugglers, mime artists, and plenty of music with live performances including drumming displays.

And costumed characters to enliven an already lively scene, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Jimi Hendrix to name a few, said Rae of T-Mobile. She was rounding up her lime-green tee-shirted teams to promote the new phone.

The plaza was festive. Strings of large red and white balloons arched over the heads of the crowd. Midday chimes from the clock tower at the Ferry Building were struck. 'Hello, San Francisco!' announced the commentator, and the show was rolling with relay broadcasting on the jumbutron - giant screen - from a live satellite at Coit Tower.

Heads tilted upwards to search for the jets, but they flew too low to be seen well, and the best views were on screen, only a few distant glimpses available over the Bay.

And then came the skydivers, first appearing around the side of a skyscraper. As they landed, a celebratory burst in the plaza sent pink and white streamers and balloons skywards.

The myTouch 3G phone was well and truly....launched!!!

Interviews with the skydivers in next blog...

Album 1 of pics:

Album 2 of pics

pics show: the jets relayed on the screen at the Justin Herman Plaza by the Ferry Building; jumping over Marina Green near Fort Mason; a skydiver over the top of the Ferry Building; skydivers stacking in pairs and displaying banners; flying near the Bay Bridge

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