World Team Game Plan
Most large and successful projects start with a comprehensive vision, and that vision is brought to life by implementing an effective Game Plan. World Team established and followed a game plan for each milestone it has achieved. To be successful, game plans should be diligently followed, but should also be flexible enough to allow changes when initial conditions have changed, or when valuable new information comes to light.
Everyone who participated on the current world record is acutely aware that raising the bar in the large formation record category will be exponentially more difficult than it was to build the 400-way. It is essential that participants are more skilled and better prepared when they step up to build the next world record. To meet this imposing challenge, the World Team Leaders have developed a strategy that includes multiple improvements over the World Team ‘06 game plan. Here are some of the more significant ones:
Plan A: World Team has engineered a formation design that is currently the most effective and most efficient for building very large formations - up to a 500-way. The Base-60 used for this design has been successfully used for several mid-sized formations. The whacker sectors designed by World Team have proven to be the sturdiest and fastest building structures involved with big-way skydiving.
Plan B: World Team is not satisfied with just one excellent formation design… so a second design has been developed to provide World Team with two options as it moves forward with its world record plans. The Base-48 design of the Plan B formation is based on an old but proven concept for big-way skydiving. The skeleton of the new formation is based on the “diamond spine” structure that is similar to the one used for the 200-way. The new whacker structure implements a valuable means to beat the clock. This will not be done by flying faster, but rather by allowing more people to dock simultaneously. During the final stage of each record dive, up to 48 people will be able to dock at any single point in time.
Many skydivers will take part in building the World Team Base formations during the prep events. Prior to the record events, the most effective Base formation will be determined. A Base team will then be formed to work as a practiced unit and set the base for other large formations. During the prep events, all elements of both formation designs will be thoroughly tested, and the best elements of each will be galvanized into the final design of the world record formation.
During World Team ’04, Rusty Vest introduced the use of tracking teams — and tracking team pull-outs — to big-way skydiving. World Team is now embellishing on Rusty’s theme in order to lessen the canopy congestion at pull time, and to shrink the size of the team’s collective footprint of open canopies. A comprehensive graphic representation of this new Tracking Team concept will be presented on this site in the near future.
Radios: For the 400-way, World Team introduced the use of air-to-air radios to coordinate the exits for all skydivers from all aircraft. It is intended that radios will used by most skydivers during the new record events. The World Team radios will be used at several prep events to tweak the clarity of signal and to familiarize the skydivers with the use of radios.
Bailout Oxygen System: World Team has developed a simple, effective and fully functional bailout oxygen system for high altitude jumps. This system has been successfully tested up to 27,000 feet in freefall, and up to 30,000 feet in an altitude chamber. It has also been used by multiple sport skydivers as a supplemental oxygen system for “regular” high altitude events with much success.
Team Member Selection Process
There is no single “best” means for selecting team members for a world record. A combination of processes is required to assemble the most effective team. Team Leaders’ personal experience with individual skydivers is vitally important. The selection process, however, also benefits from an effective means of checks and balances. Designated selection committees can be very effective, but committee members can face difficulties when trying to make objective evaluations about skydivers whom they only see on paper and hear about from others.
One of the more beneficial functions of World Team’s interactive website will be an easy means to evaluate the air and ground performances of all prospective team members during multiple events, in multiple nations, over multiple seasons. As World Team Leaders organize and direct big-way events, they will be able to submit online evaluations for all prospective World Team members attending their events. Cumulative scores will be used to establish a ranking of all participating big-way skydivers, and this ranking will be used as a valuable key tools for the selection of World Team members.
Typically, World Team events tend to be innovative, challenging, successful, affordable, and lots of fun – and are conducted to raise the bar on big-way skydiving, creating a memorable event for the participants, and showcase the host nation on the global stage.
Prior to each record attempt, some World Team events take on additional significance. This is the case for events that take place in 2011, such as the Flight of the Phoenix and the 2011 Kaleidoscope Dives. These events will include elements that are designed to enhance the success of the world record event, while still embodying all of the popular World Team attributes.
Prior to World Team’s next record event, a very large formation (~288) sequential event will be conducted using a strong contingent of World Team skydivers representing every sector and led by the World Team Leaders. In addition, World Team will be conducting several other large, mid-sized, and smaller events that will serve as the cornerstones for its world record project. These events will also serve as gateways for talented skydivers to become proficient in their big-way skills so they, too, may be able to join World Team.
FSC Concept: FSC (Faster—Cleaner—Smoother) is an moniker coined by Rob Laidlaw of Skydive University to help World Team develop a more efficient approach to big-way skydiving. Faster indicates being more efficient when performing each phase of each skydive: no gaps on exit, a straight line to one’s radial, set up in the slot in position to take a grip, etc. Cleaner means no unnecessary movements; no wasted energy to accomplish one’s task. Smoother is about being so quiet and precise that no one is aware of your presence – unless they take a grip on you. At all World Team prep events, there will be a heightened FSC awareness, and an effort to perform according to the FSC criteria.
The big-way prep events are designed for advanced skydivers, with the goal of providing challenging, yet affordable, sequential events that raise the bar on big-way skydiving without reaching an unwieldy formation size. Such events will allow more players to try more positions during an event, allow more transitions and more formations to be completed during an event, and will incorporate some of the new world record techniques without impeding the flow of the dives.
All prep events will provide an opportunity for big-way skydivers to be added to the World Team database, and to be evaluated and ranked relative to the other participants. Ground performance scores for all events will also be included in both ranking categories. In this way, skydivers who consistently demonstrate top performances will be ranked according to relevant criteria.
All big-way enthusiasts are encouraged to check out the World Team Calendar of Events and apply for any which match their interests, schedule, and skill level.