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14 November 2021

Jen

Best Skydiving Stunts: 3 Examples from NZA Athletes

Holy Skydiving Stunt, Batman! We got in touch with 3 of our athletes to give us their best skydiving stunt stories. 3 skydives by 3 athletes but all very different from each one. Scotty performing some swooping glory with the Nitro Circus fellas. Max and his fellow Red Bull team members taking XRW to the extreme. And Zack giving a play-by-play of what goes on at his flocking camps. You know when someone says “hold my beer and watch this” and then everything goes pear shaped? Well, this certainly isn’t the case for these guys. We’ll gladly hold their beers.

  • Stunt
    noun [c] (exciting action)
    an exciting action, usually in a film, that is dangerous or appears dangerous and usually needs to be done by someone skilled:
    It’s a typical action movie with plenty of spectacular stunts.
    Tom Cruise has performed his own stunts for Mission Impossible, defying warnings from professionals.

 

DISCLAIMER: Our athletes are highly trained skydivers who have worked and trained hard to be able to complete these kinds of stunts. We recommend you DON’T try these ‘at home’ folks. And if you do wanna give them a go, get yourself onto a skills camp(s) and get learning. And then do some more learning.

 


 

Scotty Hiscoe

 

This dude is honestly The Man. Aussie champ for the last decade in VFS, record holder for the 164 way freefly jump, is a captain/organiser for the 200 way freefly jump as well as having all of the ratings in skydiving. He holds his own in the tunnel with his fellow Aussie team mates, Team Focus. However, skydiving is his passion and love with 17 years and 13500+ jumps logged. He may not grace the comp circuits as far as canopy piloting goes, but there ain’t a line he hasn’t flown at his local DZs. Stunts are what he loves, pushing his Leia to her limits and having a sick time.

So when he and our Athlete Co-ordinator, Hayden Galvin, were having a chinwag not so long ago (chinwag definition – to have a chat or friendly conversation with someone), this year’s Funny Farm came up in the convo. In particular, that stunt. You know, the one where the Nitro Circus folks did flips and sh%t while Scotty swooped his Princess underneath and across the pond. We’re talking a stunt of epic proportions. And if you don’t know, then keep reading to find out how it came about, how it happened, and then watch the video. And if you did know, then keep reading to find out how it came about, how it happened and then watch the video. Cos that sh%t does. not. get. old.

 

Finish this sentence; the most exciting/fun skydiving stunt I have ever done is…

 

Swooping underneath the Nitro Circus boys doing flips out at Funny Farm. Although I have been lucky enough to do some cool stunts in the past, this one was just done at a special location with a bunch of legends. And probably has the funniest story.

 

What was the story behind it?

 

The idea first started the first night I got to Farm. I was having a few beers around the fire and was introduced to Harry Bink, Nitro Circus big dog FMX rider. He told me they had brought some ramps out and were going to be doing some jumps.

“Straight away I said “ohh man I should swoop underneath you guys.”

He kinda looked at me like I was a dreamer! And then pretty much told me to relax and worry about them doing normal jumps first. I brought it up a few times to the FMX riders and Roger Mulkey over the next few days. I think once we got to know each other better and they saw a few landings, they started coming around to it.

 

Where did this epic stunt take place?

 

The stunt was performed at the Funny Farm boogie. Every couple of days we would put on a bit of a show, the Nitro boys doing motorbike jumps, as well as swoopers, paramotors and wake boarders. It was all going on. I think it was the third and final show when I asked Roger “can I do it today?” He said “yeah, I think today is the day, but keep it quiet and we will get you to get out last on your own pass. Let everyone think the show is over, get out and swoop under the boys and blow everyone out that’s watching.” There were probably about 80 people watching.

 

 

scotty hiscoe swooping icarus leia under fmx riders over pond

Who doesn’t love a wide angle shot? Especially when showing off a beautiful Princess flying with some legends. Photo credit: Scotty Hiscoe

 

How much training did you have to do for this stunt?

 

Well, I wouldn’t say there was any particular training for this skydiving stunt. When I swoop, I’m constantly looking for the best lines and any gaps to swoop through, I’ve done a lot of it. The training was pretty much just a lot of swoops in the days leading up to the actual stunt. Swooping the pond, swooping the campground, swooping the trees, as long as I was consistent it was no problem, I seemed to be on my game, I think I did 47 jumps that week at farm so I was current for sure.

 

What was the biggest challenge of this skydiving stunt?

 

There were a few challenges with this stunt. The first being the timing. Luckily, Jesse Warren had been filming and timing our landings earlier in the week to see how long it would take from the start of the turn until landing. That way he would know when to tell the bike riders to start their run up. He did this with everyone doing the shows, asking how big a turn they were doing etc., so he could tell the riders when to go. The plan was to do a 630 degree turn, swoop under the riders doing flips and then hopefully have enough power that I could carve across the pond, drag water and finish at the end of the pond.

 

scotty hiscoe swooping icarus leia over pond with fmx riders photo credit erica tadakoro

Epic photograph by Erica Tadakoro capturing the moment Scotty swooped his Princess under the Nitro fellas

 

The danger is coming out high and flying through where the bikes are jumping. That would have been catastrophic with the potential for some serious injuries, so I wanted to make sure I was on the ground before flying under them, which meant setting up a bit deeper. The problem with that is I probably wouldn’t have enough power at the end to carve and drag the pond. I had to pretty much plain out in the perfect spot to be safe and make it work. So my plan was to be just that little bit low on my turn and put slightly more input in at the bottom end to make sure I was on the ground going under them with enough power, drive and speed to pull it all off to plan.

 

How many attempts did it take?

 

The funny part about this stunt was there was only one shot, one attempt. We wanted to keep it a surprise, so doing a practice swoop under the ramps without the bikes would ruin that element of surprise and everyone would know about it. I’ve swooped through way smaller gaps than that before so I didn’t see it as a problem to just go for it. The riders knew I was going to try it at some stage, but the funny thing is, even they didn’t know I was going to do it straight away.

 

Were you nervous on the jump?

 

On the walk out to the plane one of the riders, Josh Sheehan rode out to me and said, are you going for it? I was like, yeah dude I’ll see you soon and shook his hand. Only a handful of people on the whole DZ knew it was happening. I don’t normally get nervous skydiving, but for some reason I was peaking about this one. Maybe because the whole jump for me was just about that landing.

Not being a comp swooper, it was different for me, usually I just swoop things off the end of my freefall jumps. I was quiet in the plane, I had a dry mouth, I had butterflies, I started to overthink the jump a bit, started over visualising. I had to just stop and tell myself to just do my thing like any other swoop.

 

 

What happened on the jump?

 

When I exited and opened, it was sunset so I just looked at the horizon for a bit and calmed myself down. Then I just did my thing. The riders watched me setting up and asked Jesse if I was just having a look. Jesse told them no, this was happening and they were gonna go for it. They were a little worried, but he told them I knew what I was doing and as I started my turn he pretty much just told them to go for it.

It all went exactly to plan, I did a good turn, adjusting my accuracy through the 630. I was a little low as I started the last whip of my turn, just how I had planned. I planed out slightly closer to them than originally intended, but it worked out to be right on the sweet spot. And then I pretty much just started dragging grass as they were going over me and that left me with heaps of power to carve and drag water across the pond and make it out the end. The timing was slightly off as I just went underneath ‘Sheeny’ doing the backflip and not right in the middle of them all. Other than that it went perfectly. 

 

Why was the stunt a success, what was the best bit and how did you feel when it was over?

 

The crowd were awesome, there were lots of cheers and a bunch of people ran out to the landing area to give me hugs and high fives (didn’t get left hanging this time) and that pretty much kicked off a pretty wild party night.

“I was stoked it all went exactly to plan and asked myself what I was worried about? Haha”

This stunt worked mainly because all the right people were involved at the right time. The Nitro boys are unbelievable at what they do; they are so solid and consistent. The weather was perfect, although it wasn’t in the lead up it just turned on at the right time. I was super current and had consistent landings and flying parachutes near or under things is what I like to do the most, I love displays. And finally it was just at the perfect place with the best vibe and the best people. 

 

So what’s your next skydiving stunt?

 

I have a few in mind, the hardest part is getting permission to do them with all the rules and regulations and a big enough sponsor to help make them happen. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Check out Scotty and the Nitro Circus fellas on socials

 

Scotty’s IG handle: scott_hiscoe
Nitro Circus IG handle: nitrocircus
Scott ‘Topdog’ Fitzgerald IG handle: toppdog
Jayden South IG handle: southyfmx
Harry Bink IG handle: harrybink
Josh Sheehan IG handle: sheenyfmx

 


 

Max Manow

 

This Leeeeegend is a long time athlete of ours as well as sponsored by the Red Bull peeps. He spends his time jetsetting around the world with his RBST mates Marco, Marco and Felix doing all kinds of stunts. He regularly contributes to our blog articles, so it’s no wonder we asked for his input on this particular article.

Chances are you’ve seen a photo (or two) of Max pushing his Petra to her limits. Competing, freestyle, XRW – you name, Max has probably done it. He’s also one of the brains behind Momentum and has even visited our factory in New Zealand. Oh, and he’s bessie mates with our Testie Chris.

 

 

Finish this sentence; the most exciting/fun skydiving stunt I have ever done is…

 

A night XRW jump for the Swoop Freestyle event in 2017.

 

What was the story behind it?

 

I was a competitor for the Swoop Freestyle event and was asked to do a demo jump with my teammates Marco and Marco for the show night event. The plan sounded pretty straight forward and we had trained the show already, so I felt ok with it. A classic jump with a lot of potential for serious problems though.

 

Where did this epic stunt take place?

 

In the heart of Copenhagen, show act with my team members Marco Waltenspiel and Marco Fürst. Followed and filmed by Wuzi Wagner.

 

How much training did you have to do for this stunt?

 

We have been training for XRW for a while (30-50). We trained different exits, jump runs, exit altitudes, timings, etc.

 

red bull skydive team xrw 3 wingsuiters docked with max manow flying icarus petra with mountains in background photo credit chris stewart

Max and his RDST mates doing their XRW thing with some seriously over the top scenery in the background. Photo credit: Chris Stewart

 

What was the biggest challenge of this skydiving stunt?

 

How to find each other in the sky, the pyrotechnics, spotting (the landing area was the inflatable float on Peblinge Lake). For me, the most dangerous part of the skydive stunt was the landing. A short float, surrounded by water with 22lbs lead under my Icarus Petra 62.

 

How many attempts did it take?

 

We only had one attempt and we pulled it off. I remember well considering alternative landing areas. But at wingload 3.3 with 10kgs and a Petra 62 over my head in the middle of the night over Copenhagen, the options were limited and I was extremely relieved when we all made it back.

 

Were you nervous about the jump?

 

As the canopy pilot of an XRW formation, you are in charge of spotting, so not only did I take responsibility for myself, but also for the 2 wingsuiters and the camera flyer. The show jump worked and I’m sure towards the outside everything looked planned, in control and perfect. I guess in a way it was, however the tough conditions made us (especially me) worry until the very last second.

 

max manow blindman under icarus petra with dani roman chasing under icarus leia photo credit la vida epica

Don’t forget to check your blindspots on landing… photo credit: La Vida Epica

 

What happened on the jump?

 

The jump was supposed to happen around sunset, but due to delays it became a night jump. We took off from an airport quite far from the venue and didn’t get any reliable updates on wind conditions, etc. I had changed my sunglasses for clear ones, however, they didn’t fit very well so my vision was quite bad. When the spot was right according to our calculations and the GPS spot of the plane, I jumped.

Just after opening and at the height we normally get together in formation, there were clouds. Not a lot but enough for the wingsuiters to not be able to see me. We had trained this approach many times and even though we couldn’t see each other, everyone just did what we always do and got together in formation almost blind!

When we turned final on our pattern we were still quite far away from the venue when we realised the wind did get a lot stronger and now we were flying in formation but practically stuck in very strong head wind. We just made it back and everyone landed where they planned. Hectic!

 

Why was the stunt a success, what was the best bit and how did you feel when it was over?

 

We felt relieved when it was over! Everyone on the ground, happy and grateful. My toughest show jump yet with a lot at stake. We all realised how fine the line was. We just walked between a huge success and a major potential problem for everyone involved.

Training, training, training. We stuck to the plan. Everyone. It’s the key element that helps when things don’t go to plan. The best pilots could not have done it if they didn’t prepare and plan together before.

“It’s a team effort and being able to trust each other, knowing what everyone is going to do is the recipe for success.”

 

 

 

 

So what’s your next skydiving stunt?

 

Since then we have done many different stunts together and succeeded over and over. We are training a lot together and preparing for every variable we can think of. It is the reason we are as good as we are at what we do and I discourage everyone from ‘winging it’. Whether it’s on a work jump, fun jump or a highly demanding, high-risk demonstration jump in the middle of the night over a city for many thousand spectators!

 

Check out Max and his mates on all the socials

 

Max’s IG handle: max_manow
Red Bull Skydive Team IG handle: redbullskydiveteam
Marco W IG handle: marcowaltenspiel
Marco F IG handle: fuerstmarco
Felix IG handle: felix_seifert
Momentum IG handle: momentum_flight

 


 

Zack Rosser

 

Our last Icarus Athlete (but by no means least) spends his days flipping burger patties with a side-line as a wedding photographer. He’s all about the film and creating new video edits. Zack decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps (or wings) and become a paraglider, but turns out there isn’t much of a scene for paragliders in South Australia. Skydiving on the other hand? Plenty! So he signed up to do a tandem jump and never looked back.

You’ll find him on an evening strolling down the beach with his girlfriend and two dogs to catch the sunset. Definitely one of those ‘pina coladas and dancing in the rain’ kinda guys.

Zack has been pushing and developing his flocking skills, with the goal to run regular camps around Australia.

 

Finish this sentence; the most exciting/fun skydiving stunt I have ever done is…

 

Develop my canopy flocking camp structure.

 

What was the story behind it?

 

Every time I ran a canopy course, I always found a reason to try to get off the ground and into the sky. So I started introducing 1:1 or flocking jumps on my courses. Participants could put into practise all the tools they’d learned on the previous few days of the course. Everyone would always come down frothing at flying their canopies in close proximity. It wasn’t till one person said that there should be an event purely just on flocking. Light bulb moment!

The idea got put aside like most good ideas do. It wasn’t until I saw what the Momentum guys were doing in the States that I thought I need to do this now. There weren’t any events happening in Australia at the time for flocking.

 

icarus canopies flocking over cloud with smoke streamer

There’s no such thing as a sucker hole in Australia. Strap on your GPS and away you go! Photo credit: Unknown

 

Where did this epic stunt take place?

 

The event was held at SA Skydiving and it was the perfect setting being my home drop zone. Miff has such a passion for canopy flight, he was stoked that my premiere flocking event was to be held at his DZ.

 

How much training did you have to do for this stunt?

 

The preparation was probably the hardest part. I had some experience with basic flocking, flying ducks, etc., but none when it came to the dynamic movements. Word was sent out to close friends to see if anyone was interested to help trial some jumps. I started to gather a little team of testers keen to try any ideas.

So the research I did was honestly watching every flocking video posted by Momentum on repeat! Writing down so many notes and then visualising every jump in my head. Walking it through, pretending I was in every slot and how it would work. Visualisation can be a very powerful tool. Seeing the jump being successful as well as considering what could go wrong in different slots. And then spending time thinking of preventions to avoid that happening.

I’d started putting together a draft camp structure of what I could envision being a progression throughout the event for the participants. I organised a Zoom meeting with Chris Stewart and Andrew Woolf to seek their opinions, advice and suggestions for what I had planned. The conversations we had were priceless and the information they’d shared was just what I needed. I was able to fine tune the progression and have a safe solid plant ready for my flocking event.

 

What was the biggest challenge of this skydiving stunt?

 

The biggest challenge I found was matching wingloadings and canopies. I had to work out what requirements I needed to set for the event. It literally blew my mind at how compatible some canopies can fly together. I’m flying my JFX2 99 with someone on a Crossfire 3 149 who is out-driving me! In my mind, it didn’t make sense but it came back to the wings’ characteristics. That being said, at a recent flocking camp I was coaching at, I was on my JFX2 99 with a group of wings ranging from a Triathlon 170 through to a Sabre 2 150. Everyone was flying tight. Crazy!

 

Were you nervous about it?

 

When you organise an event, so much time, dedication and emotion goes into it. You want it to be successful and everything you envision it to be. However, the one thing that you can’t ever control is the weather. First day, blanket of cloud (with patches). I was pretty bummed to say the least. We still decided to make the most of what we had. We got the handheld GPSs, created a plan, toned back the jumps and got stuck into the day. I remember going up for the first jump and jut feeling so so nervous. At the same time, excited, as months of hard work had gone into this and it was finally happening. It was surreal.

 

icarus canopy flying together in a line

Icarus athlete and cameraman, Steve Fitch, getting a sick shot of Zack flying with his group at one of his flocking camps.

 

What happened on the jump?

 

We started off with a simple ducks formation. We worked on approaching the formation and seeing if everyone was compatible to fly together. 5 canopies lined up side-by-side with the sunrise. How’s that for breakfast?!

The jumps were cranking and we’d started to set into a routine of jump, pack, debrief, brief and go again! The froth levels were high as my group could see the potential of the camp. The progression was way more than I ever anticipated. It meant at the end of day 1, the groups had proven their skills so that day 2 really was time to step it up. We were building formation and then moving them synchronised as one through the sky.

 

“You know you’ve done a good jump when your camera man lands and is frothed right up throwing high fives around!”

 

With how the group was progressing, I knew it was time to pull out a jump I had planned and thought was a pipeline dream but now glimmers of reality. I briefed the group on flying in side-by-side lines whilst we had a smoke flier following behind us. Once everyone was settled we would break the two lines and then have them fly past each other. Then we’d finish up turning into a group spiral.

Everyone was pretty excited and it turned out to be someone’s 500th jump too, the icing on the cake. We walked the jump many times, making sure everyone understood the brief and knew their own individual goals which in result would achieve the team goal.

Gearing up, walking to the plane and then climbing to height, all I was doing was visualising the jump over and over in my mind. I was nervous, super nervous, but the visualisation of the jump being pulled off super successfully calmed my mind and brought the excitement to the surface.

“All the hard work over the months was leading up to this one jump, this one opportunity, this moment and I was going to f%cking capture it!”

The jump was executed perfectly, we lined up side-by-side in a tight formation, smoke lighting the sky trailing behind us. Both groups broke to the fly on level past each other, the amount of F%CK YEAHs as we flew our nylon past each other was too many to count but everyone was frothed up, screaming for joy! Myself and our cameraman, Bryce, linked up for the last time of the event for a 2 way swoop. Every single person landed so frothed up it was insane! When your cameraman is dishing out hugs and slamming high fives, it’s 100% a fkn good jump!

 

icarus canopies flocking in silhouette with sunset over cloud photo credit steve fitch

Flocking and a sunset? Photo credit: Steve Fitch

 

Why was the stunt a success, what was the best bit and how did you feel when it was over?

 

Everyone gathered into our debriefing room to watch the footage and everyone on the DZ was stoked to see the results. “F%ck Yeah” was the most common saying going around and it was the only saying that suited it too.

The high of the event carried on over the next few weeks as I put together the event edit, going through all the footage, interview scenes and B-roll looking for the perfect shots for the edit. After too many late nights/early mornings spent editing till the video was ready for everyone else to see.

I had in the back of my mind that the video might have gotten some attention from other jumpers in the state or maybe another state but never did I ever imagine the response it got. Other drop zones were contacting for me to come to them and other jumpers asked when my next camp would be.

“Hearing that NZ Aerosports themselves saw value in what I’ve been doing made it all worth it and was the best feeling to hear that.”

I believe the event worked so well the way it did for a few reasons. Firstly, the DZ SA Skydiving were so supportive in the development before the event ran. They’ve supported me as an individual so much and then above and beyond during the event, I can’t thank Miff enough.

Secondly, would be the team I’d chosen to assist me with the event. My two cameramen, Bryce and Norseman, were unreal. They weren’t afraid to get the shots and their support and assistance to myself never went unnoticed.

Last, would be to those who registered and were willing to learn, listen and then put new skills into play. Developing their canopy piloting kept pushing the team’s goal even higher and higher.

A few individuals were involved during the development who were just keen to be guinea pigs and learn more about flocking. Niall and Tiarne, who I am super grateful for their time, money and support they invested in the early stages working towards the event.

 

 

So what’s your next skydiving stunt?

 

Since this event, I’ve helped coach alongside Jesse from highfly Australia at his flocking camps at Byron Bay and Far north Freefall. Both super great events! But next flocking camps for this year will be in WA at Hillman Farm and then finishing in SA at our state meet in October.

This year has been way above anything I’d thought I’d be achieving and I am so f%cking excited for the future or even next year for that matter. Flocking is my new passion, I love flying my canopy, seeing my friends smiling back at me.

My dream is to bring the event to New Zealand and the ultra dream would be to run some flocking jumps at the Jyro Boogie!

The biggest thing I’ve learned along this journey that I’m now living my dream of coaching around Australia, which I never thought would happen this early on anyway. Set your own dream and make it happen! You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.

 

Check out Zack’s Socials

 

Zack’s IG handle: zackrosser
Facebook: Zack’s Canopy Course

 


 

Related Articles

 

18 Levels of Swooping: Which one are you?
Emergency Procedures and Plan Bs – Staying out of the Danger Zone
10 Examples of Skydiving Mistakes
25 Ways to become a better canopy pilot
Downsizing checklist for skydivers

 

 

 

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