Over 100 skydivers from across the globe — and all walks of life — attempted a new world record for freefall formation in the sky. The dozens of thrill-seekers, all between 60 and 78 years old, tried to set the new mark at one of the biggest skydiving centers in the world and home to several world records already: Skydive Perris in Southern California.
To challenge the record, divers jump simultaneously from five different airplanes and exceed speeds of 120 mph, joining hands and legs in a specific and predetermined order. They have less than 60 seconds to complete the figure, a breathtaking, 150-foot diameter snowflake, before they must float apart to open their parachutes safely. To succeed, every skydiver must stick to their preassigned position in the formation.
“It is an incredibly hard feat to achieve for any group of highly skilled skydivers, let alone when each participant is over 60 years old,” Skydive Perris said.
The current Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS) record was set in 2018 when 75 people connected over Illinois skies.
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The event dubbed “Boomers Away” was set to begin on Thursday, April 7. But high winds kept the Skydivers Over Sixty world record seekers on the ground that day, depriving them of several chances to practice the formation.
Photos: Skydivers Came This Close to Setting Record Above SoCal
The original plan was to set the record at 100. But the divers wanted to go even bigger, setting a target of 106 skydivers connecting in the sky. On Friday, they had their chance to do it.
“They almost succeeded on their first try, and then two more times after that, with just one or two jumpers not able to join the formation in time,” said Celine Pelletier from Skydive Perris.
Even though they connected 105 divers, the 2018 record survived. According to Pelletier, a record is broken only if the stated number of divers — in this case, 106 — is achieved. Anything less simply does not count in the record books.
The divers' last chance was on Sunday morning. When the clouds finally cleared, they all went up, focused and determined, but it wasn’t meant to happen this time. After eight attempts, most of them "oh so close," the clouds crept back in and the skies denied them one last chance to dive.
Despite the unsuccessful result, they plan to try again soon.