On target for national parachuting titles

Published on LSIS Jayson Tufrey (author and photographer)

Topic(s): Sport

Royal Australian Navy sailor Petty Officer Marine Technician Dave Walker competing in the Australian Defence Force Parachuting Association Championships. (photo: LSIS Jayson Tufrey)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Petty Officer Marine Technician Dave Walker competing in the Australian Defence Force Parachuting Association Championships.

Jumping from a perfectly serviceable aircraft and plummeting earthwards at terminal velocity isn’t for everyone, but Australian Defence Parachuting Association members will take on all comers at the national titles at Nagambie, Victoria, next month.

The military national championships were held from December 14-20 at Picton, New South Wales, where teams qualified for the national titles.

While the experienced all-Army teams took out all disciplines in the championships. Navy was strongly represented with Petty Officer Marine Technician Dave Walker, of HMAS Waterhen, marking a milestone by completing his 200th jump.

Sailors competed successfully in the second and third-placed tri-service teams across all disciplines.

“My team, the Purple Cobras, are an all-Navy team and we get a thrill out of skydiving together,” Petty Officer Walker said.

“There’s nothing like jumping with your mates in a nice tight four-way and just sticking all the positions – we enjoy the camaraderie you get from this sport.”

The three events being contested were the four-way formation, the two-way formation and two-way canopy relative work.

Scoring is effected by a camera operator jumping with each team to record their serial for the judges.

For Leading Seaman Aircraft Technician Avionics Melissa Bourke, of Australia's Federation Guard, it was her first time at the championships.

“My week went really well. It started off well and I gained more confidence as the week progressed,” Leading Seaman Bourke said.

“I enjoyed learning from so many people with so much experience – the coaches were great, offering valuable advice after watching our jumps.

“They were a good opportunity to meet new people, network and compete at a less stressful pace than other competitions I’ve competed in.”

Leading Seaman Bourke said her highlight of the week was scoring 11 points during a practice jump.

“That was really good for us as we had only been able to get together a few times this year,” she said.

“Other than myself, my team, Random Precision, comprised two RAAF members and one from Army. We had a variety of experience, from members with more than 1,000 jumps to those with fewer than 100."