Flying with other parachutes in different formations.
Crew is how we pronounce CRW which is short for Canopy Relative Work. CRW is the art of flying parachutes (Canopies) in close formation with each other, most of the time actually docking with and taking hold of each others parachutes. CRW can be performed by groups of 2 or more, with the current world record being 100 parachutes in a diamond formation. Although there are many technical aspects of flying the parachutes in close proximity to each other, the “art” is knowing how to not get your butt wrapped in Nylon.(Nylon is the material that all modern parachutes are made of)
During a skydivers initial student training they are always told in no uncertain terms to avoid all other skydivers while flying the parachute. Along comes a “Crew Dog” (this is what most skydivers call those who choose to participate in CRW) and says “want to go and learn how to bump into and grab each others parachutes”? Well as you can imagine this sends most skydivers running.
The brave ones who stick around learn that CRW can be a very rewarding and educational part of their skydiving activities. It teaches canopy skills that you will learn in no other skydiving discipline. It also instills confidence when flying in close proximity to other parachutes. This can be very beneficial when attempting to land in crowded landing areas or unfamiliar surroundings.
Equipment and planning
CRW can be performed with standard skydiving equipment, but is far safer and easier with specialized equipment designed specifically for CRW. The normal sequence of events goes as follows. The group practices the formations on the ground so that everyone knows what the plan will be in the air. They then ride the airplane to altitude, exit, and immediately open their parachutes. There is no freefall when participating in CRW. After opening their parachutes they fly together and complete as many formations as possible before the planned break-off altitude. They then separate and fly their parachutes to the ground as any normal skydiver would do.
There are many possible formations that can be attempted while participating in CRW, the “Biplane”, “Stack”, “Diamond”, and “Down-Plane” are names of just a few. Below you see a picture of two skydivers executing a “Down-Plane”. CRW has been a part of the skydiving community since the development of the square parachute. Although relatively small in number, CRW continues to have its die hard fans. The desire to learn, and a little more courage than normal is all you need to get started in the nylon filled world of CRW.
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