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November 24, 2011
FOR most people jumping out of an
aircraft is a once-in-a-lifetime experi-
ence and once is more than enough.
Others, like AC Drew Lipinski,
of 460SQN, are more accomplished.
He has been competing for close to
20 years and is a veteran of more
than 9800 jumps. He has won two
Australian parachuting titles and rep-
resented Australia at world champion-
ships from 2003-2008.
"I keep doing it because for me it
puts life in a whole new perspective
and I enjoy the physical and mental
challenges you face every jump."
AC Lipinski is one of many ADF
skydivers jumping for joy after hear-
ing sports parachuting had regained
approved sports status by the
Australian Defence Sports Council
"Parachuting is a rare sport in that
it also serves a purpose in Defence,"
AC Lipinski said.
"Approving the sport will increase
our knowledge and currency, which in
turn will benefit our greater Defence
parachuting capability as well as pro-
vide the essential team-building char-
acteristics that all sports provide."
After a seven-year battle to regain
the sport's status and an unsuccessful
attempt four years ago, veteran para-
chuting competitor and campaigner
WO1 Phil Thamm could not be happier.
"The planets must have all been
aligned as our latest application to
the Sports Council was unanimously
passed," WO1 Thamm said.
WO1 Thamm said parachut-
ing started in the ADF in the 1960s
with military personnel competing in
local and national competitions, but
it lost approval in 2004 when a new
Defence instruction came into force
and the sport was deemed 'dangerous'
-- a notion skydivers like him have
worked hard to counter ever since.
"It was a very big sport in Defence
and one of a very few sports to engage
with South East Asia in competition,"
he said. "We even competed at the
World Parachuting Championships in
Germany in 1975.
"Parachuting has a misconception of
being dangerous and this is the percep-
tion we had to negate; so we developed
a comprehensive sport safety manage-
ment plan outlining how we run activi-
ties, including a risk assessment."
In regards to safety concerns, AC
Lipinski said practice makes perfect.
"Practice, preparation and a safe
attitude minimise the risks," he said.
"The biggest danger is pilot error
and you have to learn from the mis-
takes of others."
WO1 Thamm, who is also sec-
retary of the Australian Defence
Parachuting Association (ADPA), said
there were a lot of plans in the pipe-
line starting with a skills camp next
month and building on the member
"We have about 150 members and
the bulk of those are Army so I would
like to see more Air Force and Navy
personnel join up," he said.
"We would like to take a team to
South East Asia to compete in the
military competition and invite inter-
national teams to RAAF Base Wagga
"We used to have the US, Britain,
France, Thailand, Indonesia, China,
Brunei and New Zealand compete in
the Australian Defence Parachute
Championships and I would like to see
that happen again."
The first ADPA skills camp is
scheduled for December 19-23 at
Skydiving Sydney in Picton.
Coaching will be provided on can-
opy handling, formation skydiving
and canopy formation.
A competition will also be held at
the end of the camp with the aim of
selecting a team to represent the ADF
If you would like to attend this camp or
want more information, contact WO1
Phil Thamm at philip.thamm@defence.
gov.au or go to http://intranet.defence.
GO WET, YOUNG MAN:
AC Drew Lipinski who
says practice makes
Photo: Jessica Kluetmeier
After seven years on the outer, parachuting is back in as an ADF sport
Bill blogs on ... running in the sun
IT'S amazing how running has
become my saviour. As the weather
improves, instead of using the gym,
I'm finding myself pounding the
I participated in my second fun run
last week and completed 6.4km in 39
As with the first fun run I found
myself overtaking younger people and
maintaining a steady pace.
Leading up to the run I trained spo-
radically, and my motivation was still in
need of a boost.
with the disci-
pline of the
ing, I was
able to push
ahead and finish
I've put the
scales away for the moment and I am
using my original method of weight
gain or loss, my clothing.
The buttons on my uniform are still
there so I'm still on the right side of the
As we come into the last few weeks
of the 'Join Bill Challenge', I encourage
members undertaking their weight loss
campaigns to update their achievements.
Send in your emails and tell us how
you are going.
I still have a long way to go; the
Email Bill at vasilis.solomou@
RAAFies should start their
training now if they want to
take on the Mudder of all chal-
lenges next year.
Organisers of Tough Mudder
-- which they dub the world's
most extreme obstacle challenge
-- are urging service personnel to
test their level of physical endur-
ance and mental toughness when
the event arrives in Australia next
A Tough Mudder will be held
at Phillip Island, Victoria, on
March 31-April 1, and another
will take place in Sydney in
September. Tough Mudder aims
to raise $1 million for Legacy.
The endurance challenge
was designed by British Special
Forces and consists of a 20km
trail over rugged terrain, fea-
turing steep inclines, water haz-
ards and obstacles.
Calling for some Tough Mudders
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