HITTING THE HEIGHTS: Paul Tozer’s photograph of the rest of the team soaring above the Grand Canyon.
HITTING THE HEIGHTS: Paul Tozer’s photograph of the rest of the team soaring above the Grand Canyon. Contributed

Aussies make history in skydive across Grand Canyon

WHILE many have marvelled at the majestic Grand Canyon with two feet firmly planted on the ground, only creatures like the eagles have soared above it, feeling the gusts of wind beneath their wings.

That is, until now.

The team prepare to launch themselves from the airplane at 30,000 feet.
The team prepare to launch themselves from the airplane at 30,000 feet.

Paul Tozer was one of five daring thrillseekers to make history last month, successfully launching out of an aeroplane at 30,000 feet and flying across the Grand Canyon using only their bat-like wing suits to keep them aloft, propelled forward by gravity.

Australian couple Heather Swan and Glen Singleman championed the attempt, with the team making headlines in January for their "practice-run", which involved testing their oxygen tanks as they soared over Brisbane's CBD.

Roger Hugelshofer, Glenn Singleman, Paul Tozer, Vincente Cajiga and Heather Swan.
Roger Hugelshofer, Glenn Singleman, Paul Tozer, Vincente Cajiga and Heather Swan.

Mr Tozer, who is general manager and co-owner of the Kawana and Caloundra Telstra stores and the Maroochydore Telstra Business Centre, came on board as the group's photographer.

He was charged with capturing the dizzying sights of the iconic landmark.

"I sit beside (the rest of the team) in freefall with a hell of a lot of cameras," he said with a laugh.

The team knew there was little room for error.

"The Grand Canyon was one of those things, where realistically we had to make it across other side otherwise we'd be landing somewhere pretty nasty," he said.

Mr Tozer, who has been skydiving for almost 20 years, said the team underwent exhaustive training before the attempt.

"We hadn't jumped out at 30,000ft before, so we had to have oxygen training."

Mr Tozer was the last to exit the plane, capturing the flight of his four comrades with four cameras mounted on his helmet.

"As soon as you exit the plane, your senses are really elevated, you see everything, you feel everything," he said.

Mr Tozer said the temperature at 30,000 feet was a literally breathtaking -50 degrees.

"Our hands were killing us," he said.

The view of the Grand Canyon from the air was awe-inspiring, he said.

"I'll die with that in my memory - it's the best thing I've ever done," he said.


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