After 15 attempts over three days, 138 skydivers falling at speeds of up to 220 mph finally created a massive snowflake formation over Ottawa, Illinois, and set a vertical skydiving world record as four camera operators filmed the jump. Some footage was released at the time the record was established last summer, but this quality HD video was just posted online Tuesday, and it is magnificent. Watch:
Vertical flying is “basically doing a headstand” in the air, Rook Nelson told the Associated Press at the time of the record. Nelson is owner of Skydive Chicago where the record was broken and certified by three judges from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. The previous record was 108 skydivers, set in 2009.
The skydivers climbed into six aircraft, which flew them to 18,500 feet, where the jumping began.
More from the A.P.:
If they’re not paying attention when diving into the formation at upwards of 220 mph, “it’s going to be like someone running a red light and you taking them out,” Nelson said.
Each skydiver knew exactly when to exit the aircraft, whom to follow and where in the formation they should be. At 7,000 feet, the skydivers began to peel away on a last-in, first-out basis, and each wave deployed their parachutes at altitudes specified according to their positions in the formation.
“We don’t want everyone to open their parachutes at the same altitude because then everybody lands at the same time. We stack the sky vertically” to avoid collisions, Nelson said.
All landed safely and, presumably, are now enjoying seeing themselves jumping, falling, and forming a snowflake in HD.
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