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Your Take: Quebec family heads record-breaking skydive

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skydiving-formation-litherland-480.jpgA team of 102 skydivers break the record for Canadians in a skydiving formation over Farnham, Que. (Submitted by Paul Litherland/Parachutisme Nouvel Air Facebook page)

Over the weekend, the Community Team received an astounding photo of over 100 skydivers coming together in a record-breaking formation over Farnham, Que.

"Four planes were used to haul the 102 skydivers to altitude and over the next 60 seconds, they would be successful in building and holding the formation for seven seconds before breaking up, tracking away, opening their parachutes and landing back at the drop zone," explains CBC Community member, skydiver and wingsuit flyer Paul Litherland.

It broke the record of the most people taking part in a Canadian-only skydiving formation, blowing past the former record of 59.

We spoke with Martin Lemay, 27, one of the organizers of the jump and part of a family entrenched in the airborne sport. Martin's father Michel runs and co-owns Parachutisme Nouvel Air in Farnham, as well as Parachute Montreal. Here's his story of how the jump fell into place, as it were.

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Video of the record-breaking skydive. You can view it in high-definition on Parachutisme Nouvel Air's Facebook page. (Youtube)

Ever since I was a kid, I have been plunged in the wonderful world of skydiving. Both my parents being skydivers themselves, I was surrounded by people jumping out of planes, all day every day. Are you now not too surprised that today skydiving is my life and my passion? I will jump out of planes for any reason, at any time with anybody. I just love it so much.

Since 2003, I have been training and competing along with my two younger brothers and my father; Benoit (21 years old), Vincent (24 years old) and Michel (our father, let's disregard age). Together, we have been Canadian champions since 2005 and have represented Canada in three world championships, one World Games and many more world-class competitions. Our goal is to become World Champions, and it will happen sooner than later!

Being so passionate about our marvelous sport and being part of world-class elite, as a team, we feel that it is our duty to share our knowledge to skydivers all around. Two years ago, our team was waiting for weather to clear during a competition. Michel and I started thinking that we could break the Canadian record for the largest formation in free-fall.

At the time, the record was 59 people, which took place in 2006 over Skydive Burnaby in Ontario. In our mind, there was no other way than to go way bigger and build a 100-person formation, all of them Canadian, and build it over our beloved country. We sat down and started jotting down names of people we knew could accomplish the task with us.

After a year of hard work and planning, Mission 100 came to life over Parachute Montreal in the last week of June 2011. Sadly, it was not going to happen at that time. The weather kept us on the ground for most of the event. On our last day of attempts, some technical circumstances prevented us to complete our all-Canadian 100-way formation.

Being the competitor and determined person I am, I could not let one failure get to me. I got right back at it and started planning the 2012 edition of Mission 100. Seventy of the 100 participants came back this year, stronger and better prepared than before.

This year, everything played in our favor: Nouvel Air Skydiving school facilities, the weather, the volunteers and the participants. Everything fell right into place, like I had it worked out originally in my mind.

The event began on Wednesday July 11 at Nouvel Air Skydiving School in Farnham, Qc. One day of training in small groups (24 to 35 people) and we were ready to start. Thursday was our first day of attempts. Not everything worked as planned and most people had to work bugs out. Next day of attempts, Friday the 13th!

I had a great feeling about Friday's jumps. In the air during the first jump, I knew it would happen that day. On the exit ramp before jump number three, I started crying because I knew it would happen.

It took three attempts on Friday to complete our 102-way formation. At 1330, on the third jump on Friday the 13th, we jumped from 18,000 ft from four different planes flying a V-shaped formation.

When I saw the last person joining the formation, I screamed with such a mix of joy, relief, happiness. I had put so much effort into this project that I was stoked it finally came through. WOW!

My ultimate skydiving goal is to become, with my two younger brothers, a world champion. I will put all I have on the table to achieve that goal. Mission 100 was the proof to myself that I can accomplish what I put my head into, with all the people I trust and believe in.

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Tags: Canada, Your Take

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