Vertical skydiving world record with 138 skydivers

So you’ve conquered your fears and mastered the insane act of jumping out of airplanes strapped to a nylon bedsheet with thousands of feet of airspace to meditate through on your way down. What’s next? How about flash-mobbing in a mid-air snowflake formation with over a hundred like-minded ground-haters?

That’s exactly (okay, not at all exactly) what happened last summer during a skydiving festival in Illinois, and GoPro recently released the video footage to prove it. A well-organized feat that required months of planning, the vertical skydiving formation took 15 attempts over three days to complete, at which point judges representing the international air sports agency Federation Aeronautique Internationale certified it as a new world record.

The old record, set in 2009, consisted of 108 skydivers flying in formation; 138 divers participated for the new record in Illinois. Because the divers were flying in a vertical orientation, like an aerial headstand, they reached speeds of up to 220 mph, averaging in the 170-180 mph range.

On hand was Red Bull Air Force diver Mike Swanson, a co-organizer of the event. Six aircraft and four camera operators were utilized, and throughout the 15 attempts, organizers reviewed video to determine which divers would be removed and replaced with one of the many eager jumpers on hand who hadn’t made the initial cut.

Participating divers hailed from all over the world, including Sweden, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, France, Italy, Australia, Belgium, the U.K. and the U.S.

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