Bad Weather Can’t Stop Heroes

By Zach Lewis

Five Minute Call | September 2019
Sunday, September 1, 2019

This year’s Heroes Skydiving big-way formation skydiving and benefit event for Wings for Life, a nonprofit that supports those with spinal-cord injuries, had big ambitions and a lot to celebrate. Louis French organized the event at Skydive Paraclete XP in Raeford, North Carolina, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Heroes by taking a shot at the North Carolina state record with a planned 100-person formation. French lined up a great crew, including Doug Barron, Roger Ponce de Leon and Fortson Rumble as plane captains and Brian Festi, Zach Lewis and Andres Melo as videographers.

Sadly, bad weather plagued the four-day event, and participants were able to make only a single attempt for the record from 17,500 feet utilizing the full fleet of two CASAs and two Twin Otters. The sole record attempt built to more than 95-percent complete, and the team almost certainly would have broken the record if the skygods had provided a few more hours of blue skies. However, the weather did let up enough to make a few smaller jumps from 10,000 feet from a single aircraft, including a three-point 30-way.

But all was not lost! The event raised more than $4,000 dollars for Wings for Life, due in part to the generous raffle donations from the skydiving industry and Raeford businesses. The participants also enjoyed catered lunches and dinners, bands, beer on tap courtesy of Sun Path Products, a wine tasting from Rockfish Creek Winery courtesy of Aerodyne and a party hosted by Red Bull.

Zach Lewis | D-21616
Carrollton, Texas

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