During the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21, ten professional wingsuit skydivers jumped from a plane into the darkened sky seconds before totality engulfed Oregon.
The event was organized by Skydive Awesome, an adventure skydiving school in Madras, Oregon. The school provides jumps for divers of all experience levels, as well as tandem skydives, where students are harnessed to an instructor.
“The standard is you become a skydiver in about eight skydives, and then you have to learn through experience. We felt that was inadequate,” says Ryan Scothern, co-owner of Skydive Awesome.
“For us, all of our students are like our skydiving kids,” added Cara Rosier, Scothern’s partner. “We want to see them grow and learn and become accomplished in the sport.
For Scothern, there is no release quite like skydiving. ”There’s so much going on so quick, it actually opens my mind and lets me be free and calm. With all the stresses of most days, it’s a nice thing to be able to go up, expand your mind and relax,” he said.
Video footage of the Aug. 21 jump shows skydivers in wingsuits leaping out of a plane over Madras, Oregon, at 10:18 a.m. The wingsuit pilots wore GoPro cameras to record the once-in-a-lifetime event.
The video provides a first-person perspective of the jump as one diver descends from a height of 14,000 feet. Above him, the sun is being eclipsed and below lies a field and a river.
In other shots, a camera shows five wingsuit jumpers below, including one facing the sun as he free falls to the ground. Finally, the jumpers descend in formation, shadowed by the moon.
In the end, the parachutes are deployed in total darkness while a wingsuit diver lifts his hands in triumph.
“The idea of flying 10 wingsuits into a solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event, one I’m glad to be doing with this incredibly talented group of individuals,” said Marshall Miller, a professional wingsuit pilot who participated in the jump.
“I try to make the most of these special occasions. I want to do something on these days to actually remember them specifically for something we did on that day, more so than something we saw,” he added.
Miller grew up near Utah’s American Fork Canyon. His father, the legendary rock climber Kim Miller, instilled the love of adventure and risk into his son. Initially, he followed his dad’s rock climbing footsteps. Eventually, he took up paragliding before graduating to speed flying, skydiving, wingsuit skydiving, BASE jumping, and wingsuit BASE jumping. With more than 6,000 parachute jumps under his belt, as well as thousands of paragliding and speed flying jumps, Miller has traveled the world, jumping in over 30 countries.
On Instagram, one the other divers wrote, “This jump will be remembered forever and will go down in the record books for many [as the] ‘1st time humans have done something like this.’”
The wingsuit video clip was released by Outside TV. It is a preview of a longer feature titled “Solar Formation,” which will air at a later date on the Outside TV Network.