“Women in skydiving need to get together frequently and share their knowledge, skill and joy of the skies, as well as fun on the ground.”
They say it takes two to tango but we know it takes a whole group of rad chicks to make a movement especially in action sports. That is what Hedda Anderson is doing with the female skydiving event “Fly Chicks” in Norway. The event has been on hiatus since 2013 but this year will see chicks taking to the skies at an event that promises to be bigger and better than the years before, throwing in a world record attempt for good measure. Our previous interview with Amy Chmelecki on women in skydiving mentioned the absolute freedom that the sport of skydiving offers. Amy is equally as passionate as Hedda about promoting women in skydiving and introducing more chicks to the sport. If you’re a female skydiver, not matter what level, get down to Flying Chicks in Norway this July and be a part of this incredible movement of women in skydiving.
“Women will kick ass together in the skies.”
We caught up with professional skydiver, base jumper and Flying Chicks event organiser Hedda Andersen to talk about why she thinks women in skydiving need an event like Fly Chicks, the event’s history and what you can expect from the event this weekend in July. It sounds like she’s got lots in store, including hot men in aprons on standby serving champagne the night before taking to the skies to enjoy the freedom that everyone speaks of.
So Hedda, what is Flying Chicks all about?
“I hope Fly Chicks can be an inspiration to all women in skydiving to get together and learn from each other.”
Flying Chicks is a skydiving event for women by women. It started out in the winter of 2005, when Norway’s largest skydiving club Oslo Skydiving Center (OFSK) welcomed the event suggestion from the mother of Flying Chicks Christine Haug. Together with Ellen Fagerslett, Ellen Burchardt and Anne Sofie Bøe, in June 2006 they created and executed the first skydiving event in Norway solely for women. Back then the event had 36 participants and was held at the Oslo dropzone, Østre Æra. The event continued to grow year by year, peaking at over 100 participants!
I remember my first Flying Chicks event in 2009, all these amazing and talented women getting together to share the skies. It completely blew me away. The vibe at the drop zone was great and filled with promise. The attitude towards the level of women’s skydiving was, “let’s lift it”, let’s give the guys some real competition in the skies. You felt invited to skydive no matter if you had 50 or 1000+ jumps. We were all there to learn and to share and spread our skills no matter what your level was.
2013 was the last Flying Chicks event. I don’t mean to place blame here (I know they did what they could with what they had), but it became clear that the persons who took over the organising role after the founding chicks, lacked the experience and resources to run such a big event. Sadly, the event was cancelled after that.
So what was your inspiration to get Flying Chicks back on the women’s skydive event calendar?
“The vast majority of skydivers are male. Even though there is much to learn from the boys, a female skydiver’s approach and mentality differs in vital ways. We have so much to learn from each other.”
I was never cool with the fact that Fly Chicks didn’t exist any more. I wasn’t alone, as a lot of the girls in the sport weren’t either. Ever since it was cancelled, I’ve wondered if it would be possible to revive the event. If we were to do that, I knew we had to go BIG.
At the start of January 2015 I decided it was time. I called up the Oslo drop zone manager, got the dates and planes set, messaged all the amazing and talented chicks I wanted to come, load-organised skydives and sent out emails to all the sponsors I wanted for the event. The response has been mind-blowing, I am super stoked with all the positive reactions I’ve received from every single person involved. I am, from the bottom of my heart, ever grateful for the support and love. It would not be possible to pull off an event of this size without everyone’s amazing support.
“I want to achieve an annual, solid, high quality skydiving event for women.”
I believe it is extremely important to have all-girl events in skydiving and wind-tunnel flying. That’s because the vast majority of skydivers are male. Even though there is much to learn from the boys, a female skydiver’s approach and mentality differs in vital ways. We have so much to learn from each other. Women in skydiving need to get together frequently and share their knowledge, skill and joy of the skies as well as fun on the ground. If we can do that, we will have a much stronger and united standing in the sport and we will only lift each other and progress. We need to make ourselves visible because of our skills and achievements, not just because we’re women in the sport.
What is the format of Flying Chicks, what can the girls expect on the weekend?
“We are aiming for a two-plane formation, to do a Nordic Vertical Women’s World Record! “
The event is over the weekend of Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th of July. As soon as the chicks start arriving Friday, they sign in, get their goodie bags and sign themselves up for skydives. All jumps are suited to what of type of skydiving they want to do. We will have all options available: tracking, dynamic, free-fly, vfs, formation skydiving and wingsuit flying. We’ve got ten experienced and talented female load organisers that will design the jumps to each groups wishes and levels. The girls will be able to continue jumping all day Saturday and Sunday!
On Friday evening we have an official opening ceremony with champagne served to us by handsome men wearing nothing but aprons! The famous Chicken Race will also be arranged. This game needs to be played out as bold and badass as possible. Divided into groups, the girls will have several hilarious tasks and challenges to solve together. On Saturday we are aiming for a two-plane formation, to do a Nordic Vertical Women’s World Record! To even attempt a world record at the event, really strengthens the purpose and message of the event, that women will kick ass together in the skies.
Prizes will be awarded during the three course dinner on Saturday, which according to tradition, will be served by men in army uniforms. We also award a prize for the most precise landing (you have to land in a chair from the sky!). Did I mention, we have HEAPS of stuff to give away…! There will be a show on Saturday night but I cannot reveal all yet. Let’s just say it involves a male burlesque performance. Could not be more stoked about this!!
So what do you want Flying Chicks to achieve this year?
I want to achieve an annual, solid, high quality skydiving event for women. We want this event to be the leading event for women in the sport. I hope Flying Chicks can be an inspiration to all women in skydiving to get together and learn from each other.
How women skydivers find out more and sign up for Flying Chicks?
Check out the Facebook event page for all the event info.
To register email Hedda at email@example.com – Please include in the e-mail your full name and phone number.
If you want to be a part of the Women’s Nordic Vertical Record, please put in your jump count/ tunnel time, preferred slot (base/ pod/ stinger/ float or dive and so on) and your experience with previous head- down formations. Slots are limited and will be filled accordingly.
So Hedda, why do you love skydiving and why you think girls should learn to skydive and take to the skies?
I love skydiving because the sense of freedom and personal development it gives me. It challenges me mentally and physically. There are so many amazing people I’ve met through my years in the sport. Some of the most important people in my life, I’ve met through skydiving, and I really cannot imagine how my life would look without.
I think anyone, who has the slightest feeling that they’d like to try skydiving, should go try it. If you find you love the feeling of freefall and want to learn more, you’ll get so much more then “just” skydiving.
Thank Hedda. Make sure you go to the Facebook event page to check out Flying Chicks and sign up to the event to share your knowledge, learn new skills, make new friends and support women in skydiving. Make sure you email Hedda at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to jump in the women’s Nordic vertical record attempt at Flying Chicks.
It’s great to see so many more female focused action sports events like Flying Chicks all around the world. There really is a global movement, inspired by women like Hedda wanting to share the amazing sports that brought so much happiness, friendship and rich experiences into our lives.