Above: The record-setters smile for a group photo. Photo by Randy Forbes.
At the start of the 2022 skydiving season in Indiana, jumper Nichole Settles set a goal of organizing a jump to exceed the 14-way Indiana State Record for Largest Formation Skydive, which was set in 2009. She set her sights on a 16-way, since it was a size that jumpers could accomplish out of the Cessna Caravan flown at her home DZ, Skydive Indianapolis in Frankfort.
Although she had plenty of ambition, Settles was not 100% confident in her abilities to organize such a large group, so she recruited longtime skydiver Dana Parker to help. Parker generously shared his knowledge, and his mentorship of Settles set the whole project up for success! On September 24, Steven Davis, William Dougherty, Dave Durant, Marty Grider, Dennis Hardesty, Michael Hayden, Chuck Lorewood, Manu Martin, Christopher Ritter, Gary Stahl, Cheryl VanGordon, Sam VanGordon, John Ross Wallrabenstein and Tina Waycott joined co-organizers Parker and Settles to set the 16-way state record. The group succeeded on its third attempt from the Caravan flown by Ted Granger. Randy Forbes flew video for the record-setters.
“It was amazing having him and his knowledge throughout the process,” Settles said about working with Parker, “but it especially warmed my heart that he let me take the reins, for the most part, which allowed me to learn more about load organizing and gain the confidence to do it again in the future.”
Sixteen skydivers set the Indiana Record for Largest Formation Skydive. Photo by Randy Forbes.