On 02 October 2021, at Paderborn/Lippstadt airport, around 1,000 spectators gazed spellbound into the grey and cloudy skies. As wild cheers broke out just after 4 p.m., one thing was clear: the CYPRES Demo Team, consisting of seven international-level professionals, had actually pulled off their spectacular world record attempt – flying a 6,418.12-square-metre German flag during a skydive. This phenomenal performance sealed their return to the Guinness Book of Records. Sinn Spezialuhren was there at the start – as all skydivers sported their own personal SINN timepiece on their wrists for this incredible event.
By completing the successful dive, the daring skydivers reclaimed the world record they set in 2017 with a 2,607.21-square-metre flag. The record was since broken in 2018 by a 4,886-square-metre flag. Now, however, the CYPRES Demo Team has pretty much smashed the previous record – with an XXL flag almost as big as a football pitch (7,140 square metres according to Fifa regulations) and officially measured by engineer Kathrin Hamfler in late September. Ralf Grabowsky was tasked with flying and unfurling the German national flag during the record-breaking attempt, while Horst Salmen, Heiko Ahrens, Jörg Kruckenberg, Sven Schillmüller, Stefan Rommel and Stefan Scheper took charge of coordination and safety. The latter showcased the SINN logo on his parachute during the thrilling manoeuvre. He was also assigned the special task of determining the exact diving point – since his aircraft is perfectly designed for targeted landings – by performing an initial wind check around midday. On his wrist, he wore the U1 DE, the perfect timepiece for this type of task. Sinn Spezialuhren designed the watch in the national colours of Germany to mark the 30th anniversary of German reunification.
“Made in Germany” was the motto of the whole event – a perfect match for a company that produces its watches exclusively in Germany. It was only natural to support this unusual event and, above all, the idea behind it. A key concern for the skydivers: SINN watches are renowned for precision, reliability and suitability for use and designed specifically for extreme situations such as this. Working with equipment isn't something divers can take lightly, either. It has to be flawless – including watches, another bit of safety kit up their sleeve. That’s why all team members relied on the tried-and-tested high performance of their very own SINN watch during the dive. Accordingly, Stefan Scheper and Ralf Grabowsky also wore the perfect timepiece for the event: model U1 DE.
The team’s performance is all the more impressive given that they had to contend with adverse weather conditions before and during the event. Almost two years of painstaking preparation, and months of training – only to come face-to-face with low-hanging clouds and a howling wind over the Paderborn area. The event became a waiting game. Then, in the late afternoon, the skies calmed and six daring divers – Heiko Ahrens staying on terra firma and in touch with the others for safety – leapt out of the plane at around 3,000 metres above ground. The bundle containing the record-breaking flag, pushed out of the plane along with Ralf Grabowsky by his colleagues, weighed just under 300 kilos. To tie it up beforehand, the team needed plenty of space and assistance from Düsseldorf’s 9th police force readiness unit. The location: Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle.
No sooner was it out of the plane than the bundle with the neatly folded German flag opened immediately, simply as it weighed too much for free flight. A dive carrying this volume of material also requires enormous amounts of effort and constitutes an incredibly heavy load. And yet – it worked. And for a good thirty seconds, the flag flew in the grey skies, soundtracked from below by the strains of the German national anthem. While Grabowsky and the other skydivers made it back down to earth unscathed, the flag landed in a forest, of all places. A brief, breath-taking moment of fear, and then came the all-clear: “the flag has been fully unfurled – and the world record attempt is a success!” said an announcer. The Cyrus Demo Team members now have this in black and white, too. The Guinness Book of Records has officially confirmed the world record and added the entry. Regardless of the outcome, the skydivers won hearts with this incredible event and gave everyone who attended the gift of an unforgettable, almost historic afternoon.