Prince Albert’s Lee Bibby returned to Canada this week after falling just short of topping Canada’s record for the two-man canopy event at the World Parachuting Championships in the United Arab Emirates from Nov. 28-Dec. 9.
© Submitted photo
Prince Albert’s Lee Bibby descends during the World Parachuting Championships in the United Arab Emirates.
Bibby and his teammates Eric Dinn and videographer Kevin O’Donnell placed 10th out of 23 for the canopy formation two-way sequential open event in Dubai. Team Pararescue scored a 13 in round three, with the Canadian record sitting at 14 for one jump.
“We would have broken the record and probably surpassed it by two, had we not had an entanglement,” Bibby said. “Basically, my chute collapsed and I fell about 200 feet. By the time the other guy could get down and we could restart, the time was over.”
Team Pararescue qualified for the world championships after winning nationals last year.
“We’ve been working at this for almost 10 years,” Bibby said. “Our team’s goal was to be on the competitive stage at worlds and break the Canadian record.”
Now stationed in Trenton, Ont., Bibby, 41, grew up on a farm south of Prince Albert.
“Growing up, we had more responsibilities than most kids, so you’re used to trying to get everything done and operating machinery that you can barely climb into,” he said.
All three of Team Pararescue’s members are search-and-rescue technicians. Often times what they do every day on the job is a lot more dangerous than what they encountered at the world championships.
“One of our primary jobs in the Canadian Forces is to parachute into plane crashes across Canada,” Bibby said. “So we’re parachuting into bush, the middle of nowhere at night or jumping into the water -- into the oceans. It’s all a matter of perspective on risk.”
While the military covered part of the costs for the team to compete at the world championships, training can be quite costly.
“We’ll spend probably $2,000 on a training camp just on jumps alone,” Bibby said. “We have the best equipment money can buy. We’re sponsored by Performance Designs (Inc.) and are definitely supported by the best parachute manufacturing companies in the world … But it’s still pretty expensive to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.”
With team members being stationed in different parts of the country, it’s difficult for them to get more than a couple of training opportunities in a year.
However, when they do train, Team Pararescue heads down to Eloy, Ariz., home to the largest skydive drop zone in the world.
“It’s more or less a saturation training for about a week and a half to two weeks and then prior to going to a competition, we’ll get together at the competition site to knock the old rust off,” Bibby said.