Skydivers from all over have been trying out, training for and washing out of an effort to break the world record of 108 synchronized skydivers. After several months and 15 attempted jumps, the record was finally smashed on Friday after 138 divers came together to form a giant snowflake.
What looks like a mass of falling bodies in the beginning of the video below is actually a carefully planned move. You can see the skydivers come together almost immediately as they pour out of six different aircraft, forming the core of what will soon become one big, human snowflake formed by 138 persons. One of the organizers likened the move to "doing a handstand at 7,000 feet," according to TIME.
This wasn't a group of hobbyists out to do something fun, but rather an intense, focused effort to grab the title. From TIME's Samantha Grossman:
Though the actual feat took about two minutes, months of planning, tryouts and training went into the event. Once the official process began, organizers filmed each attempt, determining the group's weakest links and swapping in "benched" hopefuls. Only 13 women were selected for the dangerous feat — akin to doing a handstand at 7,000 feet, as Rook Nelson, an organizer and the owner of Skydive Chicago, put it. Three judges from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale confirmed the new record Friday evening.