Shortly after Christmas, three members of the Golden Knights traveled to Skydive Sebastian in southern FL to tryout for a slot on the 2012 Vertical World Record. The tryout camp was part of the Skydive Sebastian Invasion, which saw 450 skydivers from around the world convene on the airport. Of the 450 jumpers, 84 were there to attend the tryout camp. SSG Joe Abeln, SSG Reese Pendleton and SSG Jen Schaben made the trip hoping to get selected for the World Record Team. The current world record is a 108 jumper vertical formation. The formation reached speeds over 175 MPH. The organizers are holding tryout camps across the globe, putting together a team of the top skydivers in the world, and the Golden Knights are doing their best to be a part of it.
During the tryout camp, jumpers were assessed by the organizers in several different parts of each jump. How they were in the aircraft. How quickly they made it to the formations. Their awareness in the formations. How well they maintained control during the jumps. Breaking away from the formations safely and flying a safe canopy pattern. At the end of the camp each jumper was given a report card showing how well they preformed during the camp.
On the last day of the tryout camp and New Years Eve the organizers selected 42 skydivers for a special jump. They wanted to break the FL state vertical record of 24. Skydive Sebastian was very busy with 3 Twin Otters, a skyvan and a helicopter flying to accommodate the large crowd of jumpers. There was only time to get in two attempts at breaking the record. The organizers decided on a 42 way formation using a two aircraft. The 42 jumpers boarded the Twin Otter and Skyvan, climbed to 15000 ft and then amazingly broke the record on the first attempt. The record setting 42 way formation was a testament to the organizers skill. The Tyrout camp is over and the organizers are assessing all 84 jumpers before sending out the invitations. The Golden Knights will find out in the next few days if their efforts paid off.