Army parachutists take to the skies for championships

Netheravon airfield recently hosted the 20th Armed Forces Parachute Championships, a week long event that saw 130 skydivers from the British Navy, Army and Royal Air Force competing for medals in various sky diving disciplines.

One of those disciplines was the 4-way formation sky dive where teams of four jumped from the plane at an altitude 13,000 feet and during a prearranged routine attempted to score as many points as possible before deploying their parachutes.

"Since qualifying as a solo sky diver I have travelled to Cyprus and America, completed 250 jumps and trained with the US Army prestigious Golden Knights team." Cpl Gemma Perkins

Explaining what this routine involves and how she initially became involved in sky diving Corporal Gemma Perkins of the Adjutant General Corps Volt4ge Formation Team said: “Formation sky diving is essentially like synchronised swimming but in the air.  We leave the plane together as a team and try to complete as many formations in 35 seconds as is possible. You score a point each time your create a formation, release and then create another formation and so on until your time is finished. 

Its definitely an exhilarating feeling as you hurtle towards the ground at 125mph while performing the routine, it is difficult to explain to someone who has never done a jump but I still get the same level of excitement and adrenalin rush as I did from my first jump.

I only took up the sport two-years ago after going on an accelerated free-fall course through the Army and to be honest it was just something that I wanted to tick off on my bucket list.  But I absolutely fell in love with it and since qualifying as a solo sky diver I have travelled to Cyprus and America, completed 250 jumps and trained with the US Army prestigious Golden Knights team. 

I would certainly recommend the sport to anyone who is thinking about giving it a go”

In addition to the 4-way formation skydiving the championships included individual and team events, canopy formation, artistic freestyle and wingsuit acrobatics and over the course of the week the competitors completed 1300 jumps

With the Armed Forces Parachuting Championships over for another year Gemma and the rest of her team can look back with a sense of achievement of winning Silver in the 4-Way Formation Skydiving category.

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