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High-flying wingsuiter Chris Byrnes is king of the sky after claiming three national titles

Elyse Heyn, March 17, 2019 6:30PM Quest Newspapers

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Chris Byrnes broke three national records at the Austrlian/New Zealand National Skydiving Championships. media_cameraChris Byrnes broke three national records at the Austrlian/New Zealand National Skydiving Championships.

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Reading level: green

Is it a bird, is it a plane? If you see something green in the Queensland sky, chances are it is Chris Byrnes.

Also known as The Green Flying Dude, Mr Byrnes is a wingsuiter, which means he dives out of planes using nothing but his wingsuit until he is ready to land.

Mr Byrnes broke three Australian records against the country’s best skydivers at the Australian and New Zealand National Skydiving Championships in Moruya, New South Wales last week.

The daring* athlete, who often lives with his sister in Nundah, has represented Australia for the past five years and said he was ecstatic* with his achievements in the competition.

Chris Byrnes breaks three national records at the Aus/NZ National Skydiving Championships in Moruya on 12/3/19. media_cameraChris Byrnes says wingsuit skydiving is his passion. .

“I felt elated*, this is something I’ve poured my passion and life into for many years,” he said.

“You have to be in tune with your body and focused.

“It’s a really fun atmosphere here, it’s lots of people from all over Australia who all love doing the same thing.”

The skydivers exit the plane when they are 3.8km above the ground and are judged in the space between 3km-2km, and then release their parachutes to take them safely to the ground.

A Global Positioning Service* device is attached to their helmets which the judges review to pick the winner for speed, distance and time in each round.

Mr Byrnes broke a record in each round and “smashed” his personal bests*.

VIDEO: Check out some of the competitors at the US national competition.

Championship director Jules McConnel said the championships were a great opportunity to show competitive skydiving to a wider audience.

“Tandem* skydiving is obviously at the forefront of the public’s mind but there is another aspect to our world, and it is a sport like no other,” she said.

“While many people see skydiving as a one-off activity, those who choose to compete in or follow competitive skydiving, discover incredible athletes contesting numerous disciplines* in a supercharged* atmosphere.”

Mr Byrnes said he trained hard just like any athlete would for any sport but it was his passion that drove him to succeed.

“It’s no different to any other sport. You need a minimum of 200 skydives before you can start to learn wingsuits,” he said.

“I would’ve done at least 1250 sky dives in the last five years.

“Everyone has had a dream they can fly and skydiving is literally that.”


GLOSSARY

  • daring: adventurous
  • ecstatic: extremely happy
  • elated: happy
  • Global Positioning Service: radio navigation system that allows land, sea, and airborne users to determine their exact location
  • personal bests: best time or scores achieved by a sportsperson
  • tandem: two things one in front of the other (such as two skydivers jumping together)
  • disciplines: events
  • supercharged: full of energy

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is Chris Byrnes’ nickname?
  2. How many national records did he break?
  3. How high up do wingsuiters exit the plane?
  4. Where were the national championships held in 2019?
  5. How many skydives do you have to do before you can try wingsuits?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY
to come

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Describing skydiving
For some people, skydiving might sound fun and exciting. For others, it seems like a crazy or scary thing to do!

On separate pieces of paper, write down as many adjectives as you can that people might use to describe skydiving. Remember to think of it not just from your own point of view, but include adjectives that other people who feel differently about the sport might use to describe it.

Now sort your adjectives into two groups — positive and negative adjectives about skydiving — then glue them onto a sheet of paper or into your book.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English


2. Extension
Create a poster to advertise the next Skydiving Championships. Use some of the positive adjectives you wrote down in the first activity as part of your poster to convey the thrill and excitement that spectators or competitors at the event might experience.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
With a partner see if you can identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.
Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

Curriculum Links: English, Big Write and VCOP


HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you be brave enough to skydive or wingsuit dive? How do you think it would feel?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will show until approved by editors.

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