Skydiver set for record

Skydiver Joe Clarke. Picture: Marcus Whisson        www.communitypix.com.au   d434163
Skydiver Joe Clarke. Picture: Marcus Whisson        www.communitypix.com.au d434163

The 30-year-old safety officer began skydiving two years ago and is now weeks away from becoming part of the largest Australian skydiving attempt in history.

Mr Clarke will travel to Perris Valley in California this May with more than 120 Australians hoping to link up in a predetermined shape after jumping from seven planes.

The Trigg resident said the record attempt had been in the forefront of his mind since taking up the sport.

�One of the things it said on the record poster was that people who are just starting out shouldn�t exclude themselves from thinking they can be on an Australian record,� he said.

�So that gave me a bit of a goal and something to aspire to get on over the last couple of years and that�s what my jumps have been focused on.�

Mr Clarke said the attempt would not be without risk, but explained the rigorous training required before the crowd jump occurred.

�It does take a bit of time for the 100-plus people to build the structure and get in,� he said.

�There is definitely some risk involved… having that many planes flying close together is pretty risky but the pilots are well trained and then for everyone to go out and do their job there is a lot of training and preparation that goes into the record jump.

�Rushing can lead to roughness through the formation and that can make things pretty hairy when it comes time to break away and deploy your parachute.�

The event will take place in the US due to logistical issues from the number of jumpers involved in the record.

Mr Clarke said the participants would be flown to 21,000 feet, more than 5000 feet higher than the average jump, in order to give them more time in the air.

Mr Clarke will leave Perth for the US in mid May.