Thursday, August 6, 2009

Skydivers Make Record Demonstration Jump in San Francisco

The views were 'just awesome' said Blake, of dropping into San Francisco out of sunny, clear blue skies.

From 12,000 ft down, for the first time in his life he saw over the city, and the Bay with Alcatraz, the Golden Gate bridges and beyond.

He was part of a specialized 100-strong team performing the biggest-ever skydiving

demonstration in America in order to promote the new T-Mobile myTouch 3G phone....see previous blog

'It's one of the coolest visual skies I've ever done. This was definitely the top drop and definitely THE demo jump I've ever done in 18 years of jumping,' he said, exhilarated by the success of the freefall.

'This is my first time in San Francisco. I grew up on the West Coast and it's the first time I've been here,' he said, as he stood minutes later in the Justin Herman Plaza by the Ferry Building.

The jump was organized through Skydiving Innovations, a company that specializes in skydiving demonstrations, often with some of its members in costume. Yesterday in the plaza there was an Elvis.

Many are either active or former military personnel from special forces both in America and Britain.

Michael, a Navy SEAL, said the biggest challenge had been turbulence around the skyscrapers.

Because of this, and because it was the biggest-scale demonstration ever carried out in America, their top 100 skydivers had

been picked.

'We wanted to get it right first time,' he said, as it would pave the way for other large-scale feats in the future.

The event, he stressed, had been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Michael has made 2,800 jumps and has been four years in the Navy, and pointed out that some of the team had made 6,000, 9,000, and even 12,000 jumps.

Next to Michael was Nathaniel, with 11,000 jumps, who was thrilled to have taken part in the 'biggest demo ever.'

According to the show's commentator, the average for the team is 7,000. One of the participants is the most experienced in the movie world, the man who parachuted off the Eiffel Tower as May Day in A View to a Kill in 1985. The film was the last of Roger Moore as Bond.

Also there was the skydiver who was the first-ever skydiver to re-enter in mid-air the plane that he had just jumped from, a manoeuvre executed by the plane nose-diving beneath him.

Another world record-holder was Carmen, one of about 20 women in the team. She has made 2,400 jumps and has 25 years of experience. As a Program Analyst for the California Department of Transportation, she also uses her skydiving skills to raise money for breast cancer.

She holds two womens' world records for the largest formation skydives and in September will attempt a third under the charity, Jump for the Cause, which raises money for breast cancer research at the City of Hope cancer center near Los Angeles."

On her Jump for the Cause blog she writes, 'I started skydiving Easter Sunday, 1985. I worked in a church at the time and thought, "what a cool way to get close to God!" The sky has been my sanctuary ever since.'

The skydivers mingled with the crowds in the plaza, some having to disentangle themselves from the pink and white streamers that had been sent up into the air to mark the launch of the phone, and posed for pics. Elvis especially was mobbed!

So will this giant razzmatazz achieve it's commercial goal of enticing customers to buy a myTouch 3G phone?

Alex and Paul, who work in the city, saw the end of the display and were now eating lunch on the plaza steps.

'It's not going to make me switch, but it will create some intelligence,' said Alex, with Paul agreeing, 'it's definitely made me notice it a lot more than it would if it was on TV.'

But to purchase? Paul said no, as mobile phone contracts are for two years so to buy a T-Mobile phone would mean breaking his contract.

Alex was philosophical. 'So who knows, when my current contract ends in a year-and-a-half, maybe they'll have something better.'

pics show: Blake; Michael; Carmen; Elvis being mobbed; Alex and Paul

Albums 1 of pics

Album 2 of pics

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