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World Freefall Convention July 21, 2006

Posted by j-dub in Entertainment.

This is a good time to be in East Central Illinois, as we have the Champaign County Fair and the World Freefall Convention going on at the same time.

The World Freefall Convention starts today and runs through July 30th in Rantoul. You can get all sorts of info on the convention from their website:


The World Freefall Convention is held in Rantoul at the Rantoul National Aviation Center on the grounds of the former Chanute Air Base. It is a pretty cool experience to see the great numbers of skydivers plummeting from the sky.

The Navy Leap Frops will be participating from July 26th to 30th and there will also be a webcam shown on the World Freefall website. You can even pay ($199 according to the website) to participate in a tandem skydive with a professional skydiver.

It is an interesting event (I’ve been years past) and this year they moved the event up a few weeks in order to help increase attendance numbers which have been dropping over the past few years. However, they might have shot themselves in the foot considering the County Fair is happening at the exact same time.

If you stop by the Freefall Convention, post your thoughts here. I’d like to know what they have out there this year.



1. j-dub - July 26, 2006

This taken from the WCIA Channel 3 website:

“Skydiver Dies at Freefall Convention

A Minnesota man fell to his death today during the Rantoul Freefall Convention.

57-year-old Mark Foster died this morning on a jump.

He tried a new landing called the hook maneuver.

That`s where a diver tries to do a hundred eighty degree turn while landing, but Foster picked up speed, went off course, and crashed into a truck.

That`s what the coroner says caused his death.

The event goes until Sunday. This is the first death this year. There were two last year.”

2. Allison Foster - July 30, 2006

Mark Foster was my dad, and if anyone reads this who was in the diving community and knew him, it would help me a lot right now if you would contact me. The people that he met through skydiving were like his family and I would really love to hear some good stories from people that he loved.

3. j-dub - July 30, 2006

Allison, thanks for posting. I was truly sorry to hear the news of your father’s passing. I did not know him, but I’m from the area and I have been to almost every World Freefall Convention since it’s been in Rantoul.

You can tell the love the skydivers have for their sport/hobby (whatever the case may be), and it’s truly infectious when you are in their presence. I have no doubt your father was the same way.

I would also like to point out to others that this one incident is in light of the THOUSANDS of jumps that are completed successfully each year at the Convention.

Hopefully we’ll get some comments from fellow skydivers who can pass on some good thoughts/memories.

Allison, I wish you and your family all the best.

4. Paula Johnson - July 31, 2006

Allison–I knew your dad well and he was an AMAZING man, you are lucky to be able to say he was your father. Mark had an infectious smile and was so very very generous. He was always happy and taught me a lot about postive thinking and always finding the beauty in all. I am not a jumper, however, my husband is and so therefore I’ve been involved in the skydiving community for 6 years. We are truly a very close family. This weekend was hard, seeing Mark’s photos and that smile. We loved him and will continue to think of him daily as we do with the others we’ve lost from our family. Please feel free to email me if you would like to talk further.
My thoughts are with you and your family right now.

5. Jesse Veil - August 1, 2006

I didn’t know your father through skydiving but first knew your father professionally four years ago as his orthodontist. As I grew to know your father more and more through his treatment and see him at the club we’d both work out at, I’m happy to say I got to know him more as a friend. I see thousands of patients every year and none were more interesting than your father. He’d come into my office, skydiving or flying book in hand, put on his reading glasses and look through his book or magazine until I could get to him. After his appointment we’d always sit around an extra few minutes and exchange stories. My staff absolutely loved him because he was always so kind to everyone in the office and treated everyone well. We will greatly miss him. My deepest condolensces go out to you and your family from myself and my staff!

6. Paula Welbig (little sister to Julie Eubanks and girlfriend to Steve Blake) - August 1, 2006

I am also truly sorry for your father. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings. I knew your father more as an aquaintance and a familiar smiling face at the Skydive Twincities dropzone. I am not a skydiver, yet, but I visit the dropzone frequently with my boyfriend and always remember seeing Mark in the hanger either packing his rig or laughing and talking with all the other guys. My big sister told me that “he was one of the sweetest guys she had ever known and he was always there and bought pizza for everyone. He was a very generous person!” I was honored to attend the memorial service last night for the ash-dive. It was truly a beautiful moment for everyone and we all will never forget. I also posted a small message about it on my myspace website (www.myspace.com/paulapeanut) All my prayers go out to your family.

7. Skyboyzzzz - August 2, 2006

I was at your Dad’s memorial last monday…if you wanted to know more about him, why weren’t you there? His other daughter was there, and I felt really sorry for her. She looked like she could have her baby any minute, but she made it and said some really nice things to all of us who loved your dad a lot.

8. C Smith - August 4, 2006

If you like you can e-mail me at the dropzone through the web site, I am reluctant to post the e-mail address. He was loved and will be missed by everyone here.

skydivetwincities dot com


9. Janice Rose - August 4, 2006

Your dad had the most wonderful smile. I knew your dad well and what an amazing human being he was.You are so lucky he was your dad. He always had a positive outlook on every thing.He was so generous. He gave of himself. The weekend was hard on us all. I could go on and on. He will be missed by all of us and never forgotten. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more

10. Allison Foster - January 21, 2007

Wow, thank you all so much for your responses. I was so emotional when I posted that comment that I hadn’t even remembered until now that I wrote on here. Thank you for your support and kind words, and it’s so good to know that there seemed to be so many people in Minnesota and the skydiving community who knew and loved him.

To “Skyboyzzzz”- Do not insinuate that I did not attend the memorial for selfish reasons. You have no idea why I wasn’t there, so keep your thoughts on that matter to yourself.

11. Jessica - July 24, 2007

Allison, I am not sure if you will read this, as it’s been a long time since your last post. However I just found it today, remembering your father. I worked with your father at Supervalu for almost 3 years. He talked about you all the time. I could tell from the way that he talked that he loved you very much.

Your father was the most generous and kindest person I have ever met. I owe him a lot. He made me conquer my fear of heights and planes by going skydiving. He believed in my abilities in the professional world and saw what I could and that I could be more than I was. I am where I am today in my career because of him. I know that he is with you always.

If you would like to contact me for any reason you can reach me at ladybug0600@mail2world.com

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