Bay’s birds without wings
IF PLUMMETING towards the earth's surface at 300km/h wasn't enough, these daredevil skydivers have just spent the past four days honing their skills in free-flying.
Free-flying is a type of group skydiving that uses high speeds and flock formations to perform fluid aerial manoeuvres.
Fifty skydivers from across the country have travelled to Byron Bay to take part in the Flight Camp course.
Organiser Georgia Cosgrove said the course was about "learning how to fly your body."
"When you see a flock of birds flying together, they kind of all take a banking turn to the left together," she said.
"The focus is definitely learning to fly as groups but at faster speeds than we're used to."
During free-flying, skydivers adopt a predominately vertical body axis, with their head or feet facing the earth.
These aerial positions allow skydivers to reach speeds of between 280km/h and 330km/h - significantly faster than the average tandem speed of about 200km/h.
While jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet (4265 metres) might seem like a terrifying ordeal for most, each skydiver taking part in the course this week has completed between 500 and 5000 jumps.
"Every time you do a skydive you become a little less overwhelmed so you're able to focus on little things like body position and awareness."
For Ms Cosgrove, who has been skydiving for more than 12 years, the sport is about removing yourself from everyday life and gaining perspective.
"If you kind of take yourself out of the daily grind and you do something that makes you really in the moment - you can't be thinking about the bills or work stresses, you leave that all behind for the few seconds that you're in freefall," she said.
"And the beauty of that, I guess, is that when you come back to your daily life, you have a better perspective on everything."