by Pat Works
# UWF Chapter 3, Canopy RW, CReW,
“I quit when Joe fell off the left edge of the vertical 200-person double wedge canopy dock. . . . .The point man had locked his legs in when Joe fell into Tom's inflated canopy. The force of the vacuum opened his chest strap and he forgot to turn right. Everyone stalled into the collision and somebody panicked and started a riser dive that took out both left wings. Boy, you shoulda seen ol' Top Swooper try and flare with parts of the tail group suspended from his ankle!" < UWF Chapter 3, Canopy RW, CReW, UNITED WE FALL, RWunderground Publishing Co. ISBN 0-930438-02-7; Library of Congress: 77-84030 ,Copyright © 1978 by Madden T. "Pat" Works, Jr.
“Crew is how we pronounce CRW which is short for Canopy Relative Work. CRW is the art of flying parachutes (Canopies) in close formation with each other, most of the time actually docking with and taking hold of each other’s parachutes. CRW can be performed by groups of 2 or more, with the current world record being 100 parachutes in a diamond formation. Although there are many technical aspects of flying the parachutes in close proximity to each other, the “art” is knowing how to not get your butt wrapped in Nylon. (Nylon is the material that all modern parachutes are made of)----
“A canopy formation is a formation built by parachutists by flying their parachutes in proximity to each other and then taking grips ("docking") on other jumpers' parachutes. <Skydive Midwest > Experienced > Skydive Disciplines > Canopy Relative Work. The practice of building such formations is known by several names: canopy formations (CF), canopy formation skydiving (CFS) or canopy relative work (CRW or CReW).Canopy formation. < From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia >
“Section 6 – USPA – [A.] What is canopy relative work?
- Canopy Formation (CF) is the name of the competition discipline for the skydiving activity commonly called canopy relative work (CRW) or "crew."
- Canopy formations are built by the intentional maneuvering of two or more open parachute canopies in close proximity to or in contact with one another during flight.
- The most basic canopy formation is the joining of two canopies vertically during flight as a stack or plane (compressed stack).
- Canopy formations, both day and night, may be accomplished by experienced canopy formation specialists leading the dives. < Section 6 – USPA >
- Jump to Section 6-6: Canopy formations: A. What is canopy relative work? ... The concept of canopy relative work is that of smooth flow and grace ...”
A short history of canopy formations -- Canopy formations, or like it's still often called, CRW (Canopy Relative Work) began in the mid 70's. It is believed that Bobby Gray and Mike "Beanpole" Barber made the world first 2-way in 1975. After that we have seen a lot of different and bigger formations.
In the beginning jumpers made vertical formations by using the top dock method. Quite soon they saw that it became hard to dock once the formation grew bigger than a 4-way. A group of jumpers calling themselves the "Know-Sense Team" developed a new way to build formations. They started to use docking from below, and it became possible to build even bigger formations.
The first 8-stack was made in Livermore, CA on October 23, 1977. "Know-Sense Team" needed four attempts to complete it. Tom Courbat was organizing and Norton Thomas was the first to get his CCS ("Canopy Crest Soloist", an award for jumpers who have docked eighth or later in a formation).
At the end of June 1978 only eight 8-ways had been built. All of them had members of the "Know-Sense Team" participating. On July the 19th, jumpers from Thun Field, WA built the first 9-stack.
Also in 1978, the first European 8-stack was done. Jumpers from Belgium made it in Maubeuge, France. The vertical formations started to grow. Soon 10-, 11- and 12-stacks were seen in the skies. The next record, a 13-way, was the first time the record was taken out of the USA. This 13-plane was built in England 1980. Since then, the records have been broken again and again. The current world record is a 100-way diamond!
Even nowadays, only a few countries have built 16-ways or bigger complete diamonds: Australia, Canada, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and USA. If someone knows of any others, please let the author know.
Competitions began also quite early. The first major CRW competition was held in Zephyrhills, FL. The competition was held from October 27 to November 4, 1979. All the participating teams were from the USA. There were two events, 4-way rotation and 8-way speed. The first World Cup competition was held in Zephyrhills also. The year was 1980. The US Nationals included CRW in 1982 and the first World Championships were held in Gatton, Australia in 1986. < www.skydivehame.com/cf Chas Bunch. W "The Evolution of Canopy Relative Work" in 1993. >
Parachuting – FAI < www.fai.org/parachuting > News; Events; Records. European Championships & World Cup Formation Skydiving & Artistic Events. ... has been launched and can be reached from this link. It includes: The Judge's Panels for Canopy Piloting, Canopy Formations and Formation S..
Canopy Formation < www.fai.org/ipc-our-sport/canopy-formation >
Today there are 3 events in the Canopy Formation Discipline:-
- 4 way Rotations
Teams of 4 skydivers, supported by a skydiving videographer, are allowed up to 30 seconds to build a 4 stack formation. Once the initial formation (worth 1 point) is built, the top jumper rotates to the bottom of the stack to score another point. As soon as the rotating jumper is linked onto the bottom of the stack, the next skydiver on top may commence a rotation to the bottom, thus scoring an additional point. The team has 1½ minutes to score points. The team with the most points wins. The current world record of 21 points is held by Russia.
- 4 way Sequential
Teams of 4 skydivers, supported by a skydiving videographer, have 2 minutes from the time of exit to score points. A point is scored for each formation correctly completed in accordance with a draw made at the start of the event. The pool for the draw contains 14 separate sequences of two points and random formations worth 1 point each. For each competition jump there are either 4 or 5 different formations in the jump sequence, which is repeated during the jump to score as many points as possible. USA holds the world record of 12 points.
- 2 way Sequential
Teams of 2 skydivers, supported by a team videographer, have 1 minute of working time to complete a pre-determined series of formations. A point is scored for each formation correctly completed in accordance with a draw made at the start of the event. The pool for the draw contains 12 separate formations. For each competition jump there are 5 different formations and the team have to complete the series as many times as possible during the working time. USA holds the world record of 23 points.
In each event, the team’s videographer either transmits the video signal live to judges on the ground or delivers the tape to the judges for scoring immediately after landing. This video footage is used later for judge and team training, as well as media coverage of the sport.
World Records -- The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, in Lausanne, Switzerland, is the official accrediting body in the world for aviation records. Skydivers may claim records in several disciplines, including target accuracy landing, largest formation of jumpers linked in freefall, largest formation of jumpers linked with open parachutes, and most points accrued on a competition skydive. The records can be in the female or general (non-gender specific) categories. Skydivers participating in FAI records must hold a sporting license from their country's national aeroclub, which is the National Aeronautic Association in the U.S. Click here to visit the NAA site and obtain an FAI sporting license. “
Dropzone.com : Canopy Formation Parachuting < www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/safety/detail_page.cgi?ID=702 > Jan 6, 2009 – In the early days of CReW (as canopy formation skydiving used to be called)... the training camps for the new canopy formation world record attempts ... “