By Toni Williams
Skydiver Steve Gregor has 600 jumps under his belt – but he will soon have 100 more.
Next month he will attempt to beat a New Zealand individual skydive record with the help of Skydiving Kiwis, at Ashburton Airport, and raise money for the Canterbury-based Westpac rescue helicopter.
The record to beat was 100 jumps, in one day, by an individual skydiver.
An account manager by day, Mr Gregor, of Christchurch, said the first parachute was due on at 5.15am on December 3.
Then from the first flight onwards, he planned to jump every five minutes from a height of 2,000ft, which was a fifth of a normal skydiving jump.
Two planes, three pilots, one hot air balloon, six parachutes and a ground crew of over 40 people will ensure the record attempt goes smoothly – the only thing he can’t control is the weather.
“The goal is to have the 100 jumps completed inside the first 12 hours, and then we will keep going until the sun runs out. We want perfect weather from start to finish…anything over 100, are bonus jumps,” he said.
The co-ordinated effort had around 15 hours of daylight to use.
Mr Gregor, who has been skydiving for the past eight or nine years, chose the Westpac rescue helicopter to support as it “was the most far reaching” organisation.
“It could (be used to) help anybody, at any time… but only 50% of its operating cost is funded by government.”
The rest was funded through community donations, corporate sponsorship and events like this every year.
It costs around $5,000 for a single rescue mission on the helicopter.
People can give directly via the website hundredjumpproject.com or at the Ashburton Airport on the day. He encouraged people to come out during the day for a close up view and to support the rescue helicopter.