A record 79 canopy pilots—57 from the United States and 22 guest competitors from around the world—took part in the 2013 USPA National Canopy Piloting Championships at Skydive City, Zephyrhills, Florida, May 8 -10. Canopy pilots divided up into two classes: 55 in Open Class and 24 in Advanced Class, competing for gold and glory while having a great time with their friends—more like a family reunion for the close-knit international CP community. Blessed with fair Florida weather and the “go-the- extra- mile” support of host Skydive City, the competition was fierce and performances spectacular, filled with zigs, zags, high drama and a climactic finish in Zone Accuracy between reigning world champion, Curt Bartholomew and his close friend and rival, Nick Batsch. Both men scored perfect 100 point landings in their final jump, with Batsch besting Bartholomew, 849.248 to 847.478 points—a scant 1.7 point spread to take the gold overall medal.
For U.S. competitors, the meet was a fiercely-contested trial to determine which 12 competitors would win the prestigious opportunity to represent the United States at the World Cup of Canopy Piloting at Kolomna, Russia, 25 Aug-1 Sep., as well earn one of the coveted slots to compete later this year at the much-anticipated (and not yet officially announced) 4th Dubai International Parachuting Cup. In addition, canopy pilots of every nationality vied to break continental, national and world records, and some elite canopy pilots did exactly that. Top marks of the meet:
CP Competition Distance
(Standing U.S. & World FAI Records: Nicholas Batsch–154.09 meters; Jessica Edgeington, 120.18 meters):
CP Competition Speed
(Standing U.S. & World FAI Records: Greg Windmiller—2.404 seconds; Jessica Edgeington—2.605 seconds)
The twelve U.S. competitors chosen to the U.S. Team, in order of overall standings:
For complete on-line coverage and results, go to uspanationals.com
On April 10 President Obama unveiled his 2014 budget. Within that budget, the administration proposed a new aviation user fee of $100 per flight in controlled airspace, which is airspace in which air traffic control can provide services, e.g. Class A, B, C, D and E airspace. The administration proposed exemptions for piston aircraft and a variety of public and military aircraft, but presumably, turbine jump planes would be charged $100 for each takeoff. Given that some turbines fly 25 loads per day, some operators would pay $2,500 per day for each airplane flown.
On April 11, USPA wrote to the president explaining how such a fee would devastate businesses that operate skydiving airplanes. USPA described a new user fee as, “inequitable, duplicative and (requiring) a new, costly bureaucratic process to assess and collect the fee,” and requested that the president withdraw his aviation user fee proposal. Like virtually every other aviation association, USPA supports the current system where aviation users pay a federal tax on aviation fuels, the revenues of which are invested into the aviation system. Once an aviation user fee is implemented, chances are high that the fee will increase and it will be applied to more types of aircraft.
Since then, USPA has asked all drop zone operators to contact their members of Congress to advise them of the potential impact on their businesses. (Even piston aircraft DZs occasionally use turbines, and most aspire to grow into a turbine business.) Now we are asking skydivers to weigh in as well by asking your members of Congress to oppose an aviation user fee and support the current federal tax on aviation fuels. A $100-per-flight fee will increase the cost of skydiving from turbine airplanes by 20 to 40 percent; jump tickets would rise from $25 to $30 or more. Many members of Congress already oppose aviation user fees, so the proposal must pass a high hurdle in Congress. However, all skydivers should ensure their members of Congress know the impact on skydiving.
Use the link below and enter your zip code to go to the websites of your two senators and your representative. Each congressperson’s website has a “contact” page that will let you paste your letter into a portal directly to your member of Congress. Be sure to type your name and include your return address. Customize the model letter found below any way you want. This is so important. We all must fight the very concept of an aviation user fee.
Proposed Budget Sample
Executive Director Ed Scott's Letter to President Obama
Skydive Radio Interview with Ed Scott
Sample letter you can send to your representative
USA.gov – Find your elected officials
On April 11, one day after President Obama unveiled his 2014 budget containing a new $100 per flight user fee, USPA wrote to the president explaining how such a fee would devastate businesses that operate skydiving airplanes. The new fee would apply to each flight by a turbine aircraft in controlled airspace. “It is clear that no one within the administration understands that turbine jump planes routinely make up to 25 flights per day. An operator with one turbine airplane could pay $2,500 each day in user fees; an operator with two aircraft could pay $5,000 each day,” said Ed Scott, USPA’s Executive Director. USPA pointed out that those same operators already pay between $158 and $263 per aircraft per day in federal fuel taxes on jet fuel. USPA described a new user fee as “inequitable, duplicative and (requiring) a new, costly bureaucratic process to assess and collect the fee.” USPA requested that the president withdraw his aviation user fee proposal. Many Members of Congress already oppose aviation user fees, so the administration has a high hurdle to clear to get a bill through Congress. However, USPA and skydiving businesses need to take action now, rather than counting on Congress to defeat the proposed tax.
The newly elected USPA Board of Directors met March 22-24 in Daytona Beach, Florida, for the first meeting of its term. On Friday, the first day of meetings, the board elected the following Executive Committee:
Vice President—Randy Allison
Member at Large—Tom Noonan
Chairman of the Board— Jay Stokes
In addition, the board elected Kirk Verner to serve as USPA's delegate to the International Parachuting Commission.
The President selected the following committee chairs:
Constitution & By-Laws—Mike Mullins
Finance & Budget—Albert Berchtold
Group Membership—Randy Allison
Membership Services—Tony Thacker
Nominations & Elections—Jan Meyer
Regional Directors—Todd Spillers
Safety & Training—Rich Winstock
Additional highlights of the meeting include—
USPA staff has been talking this week with senior Federal Aviation Administration officials about the possible effects of the automatic federal government spending cuts known as sequestration, set to take effect on March 1. Even if full sequestration goes into effect on March 1, the impact will not be immediate. The FAA is required to provide employees with 30-days’ notice, so furloughs would begin no sooner than early April, followed by a steady throttling down of programs and processes.
The FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) will start by cutting out and cutting back low-activity air traffic control towers located at some 300 airports around the U.S. For the handful of DZs at towered airports, a tower closure should mean that the airport reverts back to a non-towered airport with Class E airspace, and jump operations should be able to continue. For the majority of DZs, enroute and approach controllers should be able to continue providing the radio communication services described by Federal Aviation Regulation Part 105.13, which requires that a jump pilot establish radio communication with ATC at least five minutes prior to each drop. Again, there should be no immediate change for jump operations.
USPA has provided more detailed information to DZ operators. USPA staff will stay in close contact with FAA officials and advise DZs and USPA members of new developments.
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale has ratified the three world records claimed by Austrian parachutist Felix Baumgartner for Maximum Vertical Speed, Exit Altitude and Vertical Distance of Freefall. On October 14, 2012, Baumgartner, supported by a team of experts from the Red Bull Stratos Project, took off from Roswell, New Mexico aboard a pressurized capsule attached to a helium balloon. Wearing a specially designed suit, Baumgartner was carried high into the sky up to the altitude of 38969.4 m (127,852 ft.), where he exited from the capsule and launched himself toward Earth. Baumgartner achieved a freefall distance of 36402.6 m (119,431 ft.) and reached a speed of 1357.6 km/h (843.6 mph) before opening his parachute and landing safely on the ground. By breaking these world records, Baumgartner adds his name to the list of FAI world record holders which includes prestigious aviators such as Charles Lindbergh, YuriGagarin and, more recently, Bertrand Piccard and Steve Fossett. For these achievements, USPA nominated Felix and the Red Bull Stratos Project team for the prestigious Collier Trophy. NAA will select the Collier Trophy winner on March 11.
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General Group: Speed Records
Type of record: Maximum Vertical Speed (without drogue)
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 1357,6 km/h
Parachutist: Felix Baumgartner (Austria)
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General Group: Altitude Records
Type of record: Exit Altitude
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 38969,4 meters
Parachutist: Felix Baumgartner (Austria)
Sub-class: G-2 (Performance Records)
Category: General Group: Altitude Records
Type of record: Vertical Distance of Freefall (without drogue)
Course/location: Roswell, NM (USA)
Performance: 36402.6 meters
Parachutist: Felix Baumgartner (Austria)
Sun Path Issues Service Bulletin
Sun Path Products, maker of the Javelin and Odyssey harness and container systems, has released Service Bulletin SPSB008 regarding a mandatory inspection of all containers manufactured between January 2009 and February 2013. Some containers may be equipped with cutaway cables that have not been trimmed to the correct lengths. The bulletin states: “Sun Path Products, Inc., has determined that we have had a quality escape, which has led us to believe that there may be a number of release handles that have been shipped to customers which were trimmed incorrectly. These incorrect cable lengths could result in an out of sequence main release and reserve deployment causing an entanglement.”
The bulletin provides instructions on how to measure the cutaway cable lengths to determine whether the cables are the correct length. Inspection of affected systems is mandatory before the next jump.
United Parachute Technologies Issues Service Bulletin
United Parachute Technologies, maker of the Micron, Vector 3 and Sigma Tandem parachute systems, has released Service Bulletin PSB-2012116 regarding removal of the staging loop washer on container systems equipped with an elastic staging loop for the reserve canopy. The bulletin states: “During recent inspections prior to repacking the reserve, extra normal wear was found on the reserve closing loop. Further investigation indicates that Vector systems fitted with a (bungee) “Reserve Staging Loop” with support washer may experience this problem. Some washers have sharp edges which had caused minor damage to the closing loop. Thus far, loop damage seen in the field following a 365-day repack cycle has not been considered serious, but is a concern. This Product Service Notification provides a safe solution without altering the function of the staging loop.”
The bulletin provides instructions for riggers to use on the next repack on how to inspect the reserve closing loop and remove the washer from the bungee elastic loop.
Competitors: Interested in attending 2013 FAI World Cup Events?
Events are open to individual competitors and teams, sanctioned by USPA, who competed in Open Class events at the 2012 Nationals (2013 Nationals applies to CP). This is a wonderful opportunity to get international competition experience!
Details of each event can be found on the FAI website. The organizers require a timely commitment from nations sending competitors, so if you are qualified/interested in attending, contact USPA as soon as possible.
UPDATE (02/04/13): Airtec and SSK Industries have created a webpage of frequently asked questions regarding the recently released Service Bulletin regarding a software and hardware update to address a recently discovered problem with what Airtec reports is a small number of CYPRES automatic activation devices. The new updates to all CYPRES units also include a user-selectable activation altitude.
ORIGINAL: Airtec GmbH & Co., maker of the CYPRES 2 automatic activation device, released a service bulletin dated January 31, 2013, that pertains to all CYPRES AADs manufactured from February 2009 through December 2012. Service Bulletin 31012013 instructs all CYPRES 2 users, after the unit is switched on, to check the unit before each jump by pressing the control unit push button one time and watching for the red LED light to flash to ensure the unit is functioning properly. If the LED light does not flash, the user should not jump with the unit, since, as Airtec states, “It is not in a safe working condition, and the unit will not function as intended on a jump.” Airtec reports that it "has become aware of a small number of CYPRES 2 units becoming 'non-responsive.' Although the subject units indicated a '0' (or the selected DZ setting) on the display, they were no longer operating." Additional details can be found in the service bulletin.
The election for the 2013-2015 USPA Board of Directors has concluded. All candidates on the ballot are listed below along with the number of votes each received. The winning candidates are designated by bold type. Two write-in candidates were also voted in. The new board will be seated at their March 22-24 meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida.
USPA’s 2012 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships wrapped up early on Monday, December 31, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Eighty-seven competitors from 14 colleges and universities took part. Here’s a summary of the winners and eight new records:
On Saturday, December 29, Air Force Legacy won the 4-way open event and set a new collegiate record by scoring 36 points in round six, surpassing the 2009 record of 34 points. GT Special Needs from Georgia Tech won gold in 4-way advanced, and B’ween Team from the University of South Carolina took gold in 2-way and tied the existing record with a 16-point round. Air Force Hysteria ran away with the top spot in 2-way vertical formation skydiving, with an astounding 91 points over four rounds.
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point dominated classic accuracy competition, setting three new records. Kurt Yeager took gold in masters accuracy and set a new competition record with a cumulative 0.10 meters over four rounds. Silver-medalist Ben Garlick, also from West Point, set a performance record for consecutive dead centers with one dead center followed by a two-centimeter score. USMA’s Samuel Strader took the gold in intermediate accuracy. The Guardian Owls from West Point won the team accuracy event and set a new competition record with a three-round total of 0.43 meters, crushing the old record of 0.65 meters.
In sport accuracy, Dustin Weeks from the Air Force Academy won the masters class and set a new competition record with a four-round total of 1.97 meters. He also set a performance record with four consecutive dead centers followed by a miss of 1.54m. Joseph Gerner, a freshman at the Air Force Academy, took gold in intermediate sport accuracy, and Justin Jetmar from University of Connecticut won the novice sport accuracy event.
Competitors celebrated the last day of 2012 with the 6-way speed event to wrap up the meet. Competition was fierce between two USAFA teams for the top two spots. In the end, AF Wild Bill Wenger’s won the event and set a new record with a blistering 7.52-second jump. On New Year’s Day, taking advantage of the availability of national judges, jumpers from UConn and Georgia Tech combined to set a new collegiate 8-way sequential record of three points. The meet finished up Tuesday evening with a well-attended banquet and awards ceremony. Complete results are available on OmniSkore.com.
USPA’s 2012 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships kicked off Saturday, December 29, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, with 87 competitors from 14 colleges and universities across the country.
With great weather on Saturday, 2-way and 4-way formation skydiving and 2-way vertical formation skydiving completed in one day. Air Force Legacy won the 4-way open event and set a new collegiate record by scoring 36 points in round six, surpassing the 2009 record of 34 points. GT Special Needs from Georgia Tech won gold in 4-way advanced, and B’ween Team from the University of South Carolina took gold in 2-way and tied the existing record with a 16-point round. Air Force Hysteria ran away with the top spot in 2-way VFS, with an astounding 91 points over four rounds.
Classic accuracy events completed on Sunday morning, with competitors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point dominating the competition and setting three new records. Kurt Yeager took gold in masters accuracy and set a new competition record with a cumulative 0.10 meters over four rounds. Silver-medalist Ben Garlick, also from West Point, set a performance record for consecutive dead centers with one dead center followed by a two-centimeter score. USMA’s Samuel Strader took the gold in intermediate accuracy. The Guardian Owls from West Point won the team accuracy event and set a new competition record with a three-round total of 0.43 meters.
In sport accuracy, the gold went to Dustin Weeks from the Air Force Academy. He also set a new competition record with a four-round total of 1.97 meters and a performance record with four consecutive dead centers. Joseph Gerner, a freshman at the Air Force Academy, took gold in intermediate sport accuracy, and Justin Jetmar from University of Connecticut won the novice sport accuracy event.
Competitors are spending December 31 on the 6-way speed event to wrap up the meet. New Year’s Day will include a collegiate sequential large-formation record attempt, followed by the banquet and awards ceremony. Complete results are available on OmniSkore.com.
Collegiate skydivers from around the country have been arriving at Skydive Arizona in Eloy to register and get in last-minute practice for the 2012 USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. About 80 competitors are expected. Competition begins Saturday morning, December 29, at 8:00. With a forecast of good weather for the weekend and then possible clouds early next week, competition will likely begin with freefall events: 2-way and 4-way formation skydiving and 2-way vertical formation skydiving. If you want to follow the action jump-by-jump over the weekend, go to OmniSkore!HD, USPA’s scoring partner for the Collegiate Championships.
December 7 marks the end of the 2012 World Parachuting Championships Mondial in Dubai. With well over 10,000 competition skydives made, the US Team has made an impressive showing, taking home a total of 14 medals – six gold, six silver, and two bronze – the most of any nation.
Curt Bartholomew led the way with a total of four medals (3 gold, 1 bronze), the most of any individual on the US Team.
Better than the individual medals and trophies, two teams were also able to bring home two special prizes – the Ottley Swords. Crafted in 1982, two Excalibur-type swords were mounted on polished mahogany and awarded to the world championship teams – one for FS 4-way and one for FS 8-way. This year, Arizona Airspeed (4-way) and Golden Knights GK8 (8-way) were presented both swords by the previous French championship teams. The swords will have the team names inscribed on the frames and will be transported home with the teams where they will reside until the next world championships in formation skydiving.
Tomorrow evening’s closing ceremony represents the conclusion of this world-class event and is expected to be nothing less than spectacular, featuring a concert with artists Katy Perry and Usher, as well as fireworks and other stunts that haven’t been fully disclosed.
Keep an eye out for the full report in the February issue of Parachutist magazine.
Finally, congratulations to the entire US Team! The following shows the medal count by team and event:
Visit the FAI’s website for official results.
The 2012 World Parachuting Championships begins Thursday, November 29, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and runs through December 9. The U.S. Parachute Team is trained and ready, considered by many insiders to be the strongest in modern history, with contenders for gold in every discipline and event. The organizers have registered nearly 1,500 competitors from an unprecedented 58 nations who will compete in six disciplines: formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving, canopy formation, style & accuracy, canopy piloting and artistic events (freestyle and freeflying). There are even demonstration events for speed skydiving (vertical freefall speed) and para-ski (indoor, of course)—all for the first time in the Middle East. The championships coincide with the United Arab Emirates' celebrations of the 41st National Day on December 2, which attract many visitors and tourists every year.
The U.S. Parachute Team website, launched this year, will provide visitors with meet news and the latest scores, with photos and links to the host website and official FAI meet website. Friends of the U.S. Team and their fans from around the world will be able to follow the activities, competitions and results of the championships.
About Skydive Dubai: The new and already legendary drop zone sits on a peninsula near the famous Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree.Next to the DZ are the Palm Jumeirah Marina and a two-mile sweep of beach fronted by resort hotels. Behind this is a phalanx of modern skyscrapers (including several luxury five-star towers where competitors are lodged). It’s an understatement to say this is the most dramatic backdrop for a drop zone in the world. Add the sparkling turquoise Persian Gulf waters, and the views are breathtaking. Competitors will be landing at four separate sites in the area, with busses and even boats shuttling competitors from the landing areas and the main DZ.
Skydiving competition begins the afternoon of the 29th, followed by opening ceremonies that promise to be Olympian in scope and grandeur, with international performing artists, lightshows and fireworks. Since Dubai is nine hours ahead of the Eastern Time zone and 12 hours ahead of the West Coast, check the U.S. Parachute Team website Thursday morning for news and photos of the first day of the biggest skydiving event in history.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, USPA understands that some of our members in the affected areas may be struggling to return to normalcy. While those impacted certainly have other priorities right now, USPA is standing by to assist with any delays in membership credentials or services that result from the storm’s aftereffects. Those in the Eastern and Northeast Region who may have inadvertently let a membership or rating lapse or who are missing a membership card or issue of Parachutist due to Sandy can simply contact USPA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 604-9740. We’re here to help.
The USPA Board of Directors is considering the adoption of a new wingsuit instructor rating program. After much discussion, the board decided to seek the opinions of the membership at large by adding a non-binding poll question to the board election ballot that will be disseminated in early November. The new rating system documentation, available here, outlines the details of the instructional rating hierarchy. If the proposal iseventually adopted by the board, the Basic Safety Requirements would require any USPA member making a first wingsuit flight to be trained by a USPA Wingsuit Instructor. Currently, the BSRs require wingsuit jumpers to have at least 200 skydives and a USPA license, but there is no training requirement. The results of the poll will be provided to the board at its March 2013 meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Also included is a point/counterpoint provided by two board members who have differing positions on the issue. Rich Winstock is a National Director and serves as the chairman of the Safety & Training Committee’s subcommittee reviewing the wingsuit instructor rating issue. Scott Smith is the Western Regional Director and serves as the chairman of the Competition Committee. These are their opinions.
A USPA-sanctioned wingsuit sequential formation skydiving test event is underway! The online event takes place October 6-14, which spans two weekends. Competitors may perform the dives as many times as they wish and submit footage of their best performances by October 15. Submitted videos will be graded online by a team of judges. USPA will use the results and competitor input to refine rules for a test event scheduled at the conclusion of the 2012 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. USPA will announce the winners of the event October 17. Review the documents here for more information, including the dive pool and draw. The event is open to everyone, not just USPA members.
In comments filed today, August 27, with the Federal Aviation Administration, USPA urged the agency to withdraw its proposed standard for parachute landing areas (PLAs) for airports that have received federal grants. With 20 pages of comments supported by 32 pages of attachments, USPA showed that the FAA proposal is not supported by any history of incidents or accidents; that the proposal will not allow new PLAs to be established safely and efficiently, as the agency claims; and that the retroactive application of the PLA standard to current skydiving businesses will be economically harmful and may even decrease the current level of safety at some airports.
“There is no safety justification for the FAA’s proposed standard,” said Ed Scott, USPA’s Executive Director, “and it’s clear that the FAA has not fully considered the economic harm that will occur to skydiving businesses. Nor have they considered the unintended safety consequences of their proposal.” USPA is urging the FAA to start over and pledges to work with agency officials on a PLA standard that both skydiving businesses and airport managers can live with. “If the FAA believes it needs a standard, then it needs to take the time to do it correctly and not harm one of the few segments of aviation that is currently flourishing,” said Scott. USPA’s comments can be found here.
Skydiving icon Gene Paul Thacker passed away this morning, Monday, August 20, after a lifetime of dedication to his family and to the sport of skydiving. Thacker was the recipient of the 2004 USPA Lifetime Achievement Award, “for over 40 years of contributions to USPA and the sport of skydiving, particularly in the style and accuracy community as an athlete, coach, leader, inspiration, volunteer, conscience and catalyst,” according to the award citation.
Thacker joined the U.S. Army Parachute Team at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 1962, the year the team adopted the nickname the Golden Knights. In 1970, he bought the airport near Fort Bragg and opened the Raeford Parachute Center. Since then, Thacker has coached and trained more world champions than any other skydiver at what was for decades the most popular drop zone in the world for style & accuracy competitors.
In 1971, Thacker joined the USPA Board as a regional director and continued his service as a board member for 32 years, the longest tenure in the organization’s history. He served as chairman of the board for 20 years.
The Thacker Cup, the most prestigious award for the U.S. style and accuracy community, given each year to the winning accuracy team at the USPA National Championships, is named after Gene Paul. It’s an iconic trophy not only because it carries the Thacker name, but because it represents the pinnacle of individual excellence married to teamwork—Gene Paul Thacker epitomized both. He was a coach, mentor and second father to a generation of style and accuracy competitors in the U.S. and abroad.
Gene Paul’s contribution to the sport, both to the competition community and to USPA as an organization, cannot be overstated. USPA President Jay Stokes remarked, “I met Gene Paul in 1978, and he was a direct influence on me to become a USPA Instructor Examiner. Gene Paul was a father figure to me. I really did consider him to be my ‘skydiving dad.’ I’ll miss him greatly.”
At USPA’s request, the Federal Aviation Administration extended the deadline for comments to the agency’s proposed Parachute Landing Area (PLA) criteria to August 27. Skydivers and DZ operators are encouraged to read the USPA presentation and then submit comments directly to the FAA using the e-mail address provided. More comments are needed on this important issue that could change existing on-airport drop zone areas. Please, do it now!
DZOs can use the DZ Memo and Survey, first sent by USPA on July 3 and found here, to establish whether their operations would be affected by the FAA proposal. Please send completed DZ surveys to email@example.com and DZO comments directly to the FAA, with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 1 was the deadline for USPA members to submit a letter of intent to run in the upcoming election for the USPA Board of Directors. The respondents were also required to declare whether they would run as a national director or a regional director candidate. By the deadline, 31 members had submitted their intent to run—13 for National Director and 18 for Regional Director. National and Regional Director incumbents are identified by an asterisk "*".
The USPA Board of Directors concluded its summer meeting Sunday, August 5, in Minneapolis. The weekend’s meeting highlights include the following:
Look for a complete report on the meeting in an upcoming issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting is scheduled during the 2013 PIA Symposium March 22-24 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Wednesday morning, July 25, at 8:12 Mountain time, Red Bull Stratos jumper Felix Baumgartner exited a stratospheric balloon from approximately 97,000 feet for a freefall of 3 minutes 55 seconds. He reached an unofficial speed of 536 mph before deploying his parachute at approximately 13,000 feet above sea level, 8,000 feet above the desert southwest of Roswell, New Mexico.
USPA Director of Competition Jim Hayhurst and the National Aeronautic Association’s Brian Utley served as official observers. Pending analysis of GPS data, the Stratos team may potentially claim three new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale world records. Two are almost 50 years old, both held by Major Yevgeny N. Andreyev of the Soviet Union, who in 1962 jumped from a balloon gondola 83,529 feet above sea level, freefalling 80,380 feet before deploying his parachute. Baumgartner’s jump has potentially eclipsed both Andreyev’s records, as well as his own vertical speed record of 365 mph, which he achieved on the first Stratos jump in March. Unfortunately, the Stratos capsule sustained damage on landing, potentially delaying the third and final Stratos jump, planned for 120,000 feet to break Joe Kittinger’s historic mark of 102,800 feet, set in 1960.
USPA will hold its annual General Membership Meeting Friday, August 3, at 7 p.m. at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott. The meeting will take place in conjunction with the summer meeting of the USPA Board of Directors, held Friday to Sunday at the same location.
During the meeting, USPA will present the prestigious Gold Medal for Meritorious Achievement to Jeff Steinkamp. The board voted to award the 2011 Gold Medal to Steinkamp for nearly four decades of service to the competition community as a nationally rated judge and to the accuracy community in particular as an innovator of accuracy events and scoring systems.
All USPA members in good standing are invited to attend the General Membership meeting and show their support for Steinkamp. The meeting will also include information on the current state of USPA, as well as an opportunity for members to bring up discussion items with the board. The Marriott is located at 2020 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN 55425; (952) 854-7441; marriott.com/mspmn.
USPA is currently addressing an important issue with the Federal Aviation Administration that could have critical impacts on many drop zones across the country, and we need skydivers’ help.
The FAA has issued a new proposal to establish standards for on-airport parachute landing areas (PLAs) at federally funded airports. The proposal appears in the July 3 issue of the Federal Register, with the draft appendix here. The FAA has provided a 45-day comment period before finalizing the proposal.
The FAA is proposing that the PLA standard be adopted as a new appendix to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-13, which sets standards for airport facilities. Any airport that has received federal funds or that intends to apply for federal funds and that also accommodates skydiving must ensure that the PLA complies with the new standard. Moreover, the FAA must review and approve the PLA to ensure compliance, and the PLA must be reflected on the airport layout plan (an FAA-required engineering drawing of all existing and proposed facilities on the airport). The standard would apply to all existing and future DZs on federally funded airports, though other airports are likely to voluntarily adopt the standard. This proposal is part of an overall effort by the FAA to assist skydiving operators with airport access. While USPA fully supports that goal, we are concerned that this PLA standard is overbearing and may bring new costs and unnecessary burdens to new and existing drop zones.
USPA urges members to thoroughly review the FAA proposal along with USPA’s concerns and submit comments to the FAA before the August 17 deadline. Click here to read more about the proposal, USPA’s concerns and how it can affect skydivers across the country. The July 16 issue of the “USPA Update” e-newsletter will contain an analysis of the FAA proposal, along with specific talking points that may be helpful in preparing comments to submit to the FAA.
Skydive The Farm, 16 June 2012
At the end of two days of breathtaking canopy piloting competition, who would take one of the eight spots on the US Team was uncertain for all but two competitors--Tommy Dellibac and Nick Batsch, who had already secured spots on the team by virtue of their gold medal performances in speed and distance. For everyone else, it was an absolute nail-biter, and overall placement was the name of the game. So on a hot Georgia afternoon in a bucolic setting reminiscent to the final round of the Masters, it all came down to who would score the most water gates and land as close as possible to the center zone. When the dust cleared, Curt Bartholomew had not only won zone accuracy, but he also cinched his first national overall canopy piloting gold medal—joining the elite ranks of only five competitors who have claimed that title over the history of the event. As the final results were tabulated, it became clear that the top-eight overall finalists had qualified for spots on the 2012 US Canopy Piloting Team. After confirmation by the USPA Competition Committee, the next evening at a jam-packed awards ceremony, the 2012 US Canopy Piloting Team was announced. Congratulations to: 1) Curt Bartholomew, 2) Nick Batsch, 3) Thomas Dellibac, 4) Jonathan Tagle, 5) Ian Bobo, 6) Jessica Edgeington, 7) Brian McNenney and 8) Bryan Buechler. All will compete at the 2012 Mondial (world championships) at Dubai, UAE, 29 November – 9 December 2012. Become a sponsor of the US Team!
Photo by Ori Kuper.
The 2012 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting came to an exciting and early finish Friday, June 15, at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia. With tight races in all events going into the final round and the prized slots on the U.S. Team at stake, competitors were feeling the pressure. The day included two new (not yet official) world competition records. In the speed event, Greg Windmiller set a new competition record of 2.404 seconds, and Nicholas Batsch surpassed his own pending world record from yesterday to set a new distance competition record of 151.95 meters.
The day started with the final round of the speed event, with Thomas Dellibac taking the gold, followed by Windmiller a mere 0.016 seconds behind in second and Batsch in third. Next up was the final round of distance, with Batsch taking the gold, Dellibac the silver and Curt Bartholomew the bronze.
With a close race in zone accuracy and the final opportunity to claim a slot on the U.S. Team, the competitors went up for the last round of the event. Bartholomew held onto his lead and won gold, followed by Scott Harper in second and Ian Bobo in third.
At the end of competition jumps, Bartholomew claimed the overall gold, Batsch the silver and Dellibac the bronze. In the advanced-class overall standings, William Mitchell won gold, Alex Hart silver and Nick Quigley bronze. Complete scores are listed below.
Tonight, USPA’s Competition Committee will review the results of the meet to determine who will earn the covered slots on the 2012 U.S. Team that will compete at the World Championships in Dubai, U.A.E., later this year. Saturday evening, everyone will gather for the awards ceremony and the announcement of the U.S. Team.
2012 CP Nationals Open Overall
2012 CP Nationals Open Speed
2012 CP Nationals Open Distance
2012 CP Nationals Open Zone Accuracy
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Overall
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Speed
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Distance
2012 CP Nationals Advanced Zone Accuracy
The new number to beat is 143.27 meters—Nicholas Batsch’s score in round one of the distance event at the 2012 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting, a new (not yet official) world competition distance record, the first under the new International Parachuting Commission (and USPA) rules. Two rounds of each event, a total of six rounds, were completed Thursday over 13 hours of intense competition at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia.
In open-class distance, Batsch leads, followed by Thomas Dellibac (who flew 136.45 meters in round two) and Curt Bartholomew in third. In open zone accuracy, Stuart Schoenfeld holds the lead, with Bart Rogowski in second and Bryan Buechler in third. After two rounds of open speed, the standings are tight, with Batsch (runs of 2.429 and 2.543 seconds) in first, Bartholomew (2.520 and 2.59 seconds) in second and Dellibac (2.557 and 2.560) in third. In the open overall standings, Batsch sits on top of the leader board, followed by Bartholomew in second and Dellibac in third.
The dogfight for the eight spots on the U.S. Team couldn’t be more exciting. Using new team selection rules adopted this year, the first three slots on the team go to the open-class event champions of speed, distance and zone accuracy, with the remaining five slots going in order of overall standings.
Of course, with one round of each event remaining and overall standings tight, anything can happen—which promises to make for an exciting finish. Day two begins Friday, June 15, at 8 a.m. with the final round of the speed event. Look for complete scores, including advanced-class standings, early tomorrow morning before the start of jumping. With a great forecast, the meet is likely to complete by mid-afternoon. Results will be posted as they happen throughout the day.
Load one of the 2012 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting is set to take off at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, Thursday, June 14, at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia. At the Wednesday evening briefing, 57 competitors—41 in open and 16 in advanced—gathered in the hangar after a full day of practice jumps. This year’s event promises to be an exciting one with lots at stake, including slots on the U.S. Team that will compete at the World Championships later this year, as well as almost-certain new world records in the recently revised distance event. Zone accuracy is first on the agenda Thursday morning, and with a great weather forecast, it’s likely to be a full and exciting day of swooping. Check back for scores and updates!
Each year, nearly a half million people across the U.S. successfully jump out of an airplane for the first time on tandem skydives.
For more than three decades, tandem jumping has given millions of people the opportunity to easily experience the thrill of a lifetime while strapped to a certified tandem instructor. The U.S. Parachute Association and tandem equipment manufacturers have certification programs in place to ensure that only qualified, experienced skydivers can become tandem instructors and that anyone who earns a tandem instructor rating receives proper training and understands the procedures for correctly fitting and securing tandem student harnesses. Incidents can happen, as they do in any sport. However, the sport of skydiving maintains an impressive safety record, with roughly seven fatal accidents per 1 million skydives in the U.S. each year. The record of tandem skydiving is even better, with only 2.6 student fatalities per 1 million skydives over the past ten years.
The U.S Parachute Association has affiliated skydiving centers across the country that have agreed to follow USPA’s safety rules and recommendations and use only USPA-rated instructors. These centers conduct tandem skydiving in a professional manner and make the safety of the tandem student their top priority. For anyone interested in making a first skydive, USPA strongly recommends visiting a USPA-affiliated skydiving center. A complete list of these drop zones appears on the USPA website.
For additional information, contact Nancy Koreen, USPA Director of Sport Promotion, at email@example.com or 540.604.9742.
*Compliance: Before Next Jump*
Parachute Systems of South Africa has released a Product Service Bulletin for two different products: The Decelerator reserve parachute, and the Vortex 2 harness and container. After a jumper found it difficult to release one brake of the reserve canopy following a reserve deployment, it was discovered that the brake loop size was too small on oneside of the reserve canopy. The small loop, combined with a soft toggle nozzle, prevented the jumper from being able to immediately release the brake on one side, causing the canopy to spin until he could release the trapped steering line. The service bulletin provides instructions for modifying the reserve toggles and, if necessary, the reserve brake loops. An FAA Master Rigger, or foreign country equivalent, must perform the modifications.
Dates for the 2012 USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals at Skydive The Farm in Rockmart, GA have been finalized. As has been true for the last several years, the meet will be a four-day event, held June 13 – 16th, coming on the heels of the final FLCPA meet of the year, which will also be held at Skydive The Farm the weekend before. Registration and official practice are Wednesday, June 13. Competition begins Thursday morning, June 14 and runs through Saturday, June 16, allowing competitors to travel home on Sunday, June 17 (Father’s Day).
The Red Bull Stratos project scored a major milestone today on its first of three manned flights to the edge of space, sending Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner up for the highest skydive in 50 years. Director of Competition James Hayhurst has been at Roswell, New Mexico, serving as USPA's (and the skydiving world's) official observer for the Red Bull Stratos high-altitude jump project. Red Bull assembled an elite team of aerospace engineers and physiologists and brought Joe Kittinger on board as a key project consultant and voice of CAPCOM (capsule communication). This morning after a flawless eight-hour countdown, at 8:10 a.m. Mountain time, the launch team released a 1.2-million-cubic-foot Raven balloon that lifted a pressurized capsule with Baumgartner inside, climbing up to 71,581 feet. At 9:44 a.m., Baumgartner stepped off the front of the capsule and fell with perfect stability for three minutes, 33 seconds, manually opening his parachute at 2,405 meters (about 4,000 feet above the local terrain). He is the third person to successfully skydive above 70,000 feet, joining Kittinger (102,800 feet) and Soviet jumper Eugene Andreev, who in 1962 jumped from 83,523 feet and holds the official FAI world record.Baumgartner set a new world freefall speed record, 364.4 mph, and he stood up his landing. To learn more about the Stratos project and summer plans to go after Kittinger's 102,800-foot mark, visit the official website here.
USPA’s Executive Committee took action yesterday, March 6, to delay implementation of a new Basic Safety Requirement that would have required all skydivers to comply with any minimum age requirements set by a parachute equipment or component manufacturer for any users of its equipment. Many, if not most, manufacturers want to require that any users of their parachute equipment be at least the age of legal majority for liability reasons. By interim action, the Executive Committee set the implementation date for this new BSR as October 1, 2012, unless further modified by the full board of directors at its August 3-5 meeting in Minneapolis. This delay will provide another opportunity for the board to discuss all the ramifications of the new rule at the summer meeting, as well to gather and consider member input. Please feel free to contact USPA Headquarters or any member of the board of directors with your input to this BSR.
The USPA Board of Directors concluded its winter meeting Sunday, February 19, in San Diego. The weekend’s meeting highlights include the following:
Look for a complete report on the meeting in an upcoming issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting is scheduled for August 3-5 in Minneapolis.
Collegiate parachutists from around the nation started the New Year with a bang, setting an astonishing 23 U.S. national and Arizona state collegiate records at the 2011 USPA National Collegiate Parachute Championships. The annual competition enjoyed glorious weather, a string of five perfect skydiving days with light winds, sunny skies and mid-70s temperatures, allowing the meet to finish on New Year’s Day, one day ahead of schedule.
Perhaps inspired by the weather, competitors from 16 universities broke or tied every record on the collegiate books. In team accuracy, Air Force Academy’s Lawn Darts set a new collegiate record of 0.65m, breaking the old standard by four centimeters—despite landing on the newly adopted, smaller 2cm dead-center target. In individual accuracy, Kurt Yeager of West Point and Shawn Johnson from the Air Force Academy scored a 0.17m four-round total to set new Arizona and U.S. National collegiate competition records. In sport accuracy, Sam Prescott from Annapolis smashed the previous best mark of 7.89m with a perfect score of 0.00 for four rounds—another collegiate record.
In 4-way formation skydiving, Air Force Legacy twice came tantalizingly close to breaking the collegiate record of 34 points (set by Virginia Tech at the 2009 Collegiates in Texas) but never could quite get that 35th point in time, settling for the new Arizona state collegiate 4-way record. Meanwhile in the 2-way FS event, two teams—Brandon Devereaux and Robin Marshall from Georgia Tech, and brothers Andre and Joseph Gerner from UCLA and Embry-Riddle—scored 16 points on a single round to set new collegiate and Arizona state 2-way FS records. In 2-way vertical formation skydiving, Air Force Inception, fresh off a gold-medal performance at the open national championships, blasted the existing 18-point mark with a fabulous 27-point single-round performance to set state and national records in 2-way VFS.
Competition concluded on Sunday, New Year’s Day, with the always-popular (nine teams entered) FS 6-way speed event, and once again the standing mark of 11.8 seconds went down, this time to Air Force Be With You, who put together a 6-way formation in 9.62 seconds—another Arizona state and national collegiate record. Not to be outdone on the record front, Sandusky’s Future Leaders of Tomorrow asked the judges if they could forgo the speed star on their final round and attempt to break the current 3-way VFS largest formation collegiate record. The judges assented, and the team—Kevin Drivas, Nathaniel Olson, Matthew Leonard, Daniel Schiermeyer, Cameron Haley and Thomas Eucker—built a solid 6-way head-down formation to set the new collegiate VFS large-formation record.
And so concluded what will go down in history as one of the most successful championships in over a half century of NCPC competition. But it wasn’t quite over yet: with a free day and another perfect forecast, on Monday a group of 40 collegiate skydivers went after the collegiate large-formation sequential record, and eventually put together a 3-point 32-way to set one final state and national collegiate record—a fitting capstone to the greatest record bonanza in NCPC history.
For complete final 2011 NCPC, scores go to OmniSkore! or check out the files below:
4-way FS Advanced
4-way FS Open
6-way FS Speed
Classic Accuracy Intermediate
Classic Accuracy Masters
Classic Accuracy Team
Sport Accuracy Novice
Sport Accuracy Intermediate
Sport Accuracy Masters
Eighty-eight collegians from 16 universities converged on Skydive Arizona to launch an assault on the collegiate record book while enjoying a respite from the grind of studies and the icy grip of winter. The collegiate competitors were rewarded on all counts: enjoying sunny skies and afternoon temperatures in the low-70s while they steamrollered the record book, setting five new state and national accuracy records—and that was only in the first event of the meet, classic accuracy.
In classic team accuracy, Air Force Lawn Darts (jumping on the new 2 cm dead-center electronic score pad) bested the old record, 0.69 m for three rounds (set on a 3 cm pad) with a 0.65 m total, setting new Arizona state and national collegiate records while winning the event over a field of five teams. Two competitors—Kurt Yeager in intermediate and Shawn Johnson in masters class—had identical 0.17 m for four-round totals to share new Arizona and national collegiate competition (best score for four rounds) records while winning their respective classes. In addition, Yeager briefly held a new performance record with a (now rare) dead-center followed by a 7 cm mark, only to see intermediate competitor Andrew Lopez score a dead-center in his fourth round, and follow it with a 5 cm strike to capture the collegiate performance record, state and national.
In sport accuracy, with three out of four rounds complete, three competitors—Sam Prescott in the intermediate class, Brett Jack and Ryan Schorer in the masters class—have scored an amazing three consecutive dead-centers, breaking the previous performance record of two consecutive dead-centers and threatening to smash the current sport accuracy competition mark of 7.89 m for four jumps.
Today’s competition begins with the final round of sport accuracy (plus possible jump-offs), followed by the start of 2- and 4-way sequential formation skydiving (FS). Six teams are registered in the 2-way event, and 10 teams will compete in the 4-way advanced and open events. Meet Director Bryan Burke expects to finish the sport accuracy and all six rounds of FS today, and tomorrow begin the 2-way VFS and 6-way speed competition. A superb weather forecast that extends into the New Year promises an early finish to the meet, scheduled to run through Monday.
Update: Sam Prescott, a prior service enlisted Marine now enrolled a third-year cadet at the US Naval Academy, scored his fourth consecutive dead center this morning to set two national collegiate records, one a national collegiate performance record of four consecutive dead-centers, the second a national collegiate competition record, a perfect 0.00m total for four rounds of sport accuracy.
For complete final scores and round-by-round results of today’s action, go to OmniSkore!
The 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championships and Gulf Cup, arguably now the most glamorous international skydiving competition in the world and without question boasting the most lucrative cash prizes in skydiving history, is officially a wrap. The last morning of competition provided excitement in men’s individual accuracy with a five-way tie for first place with 0.07m after 10 rounds. In the jump-off, the local favorite, UAE’s Rashed Ahmed Al Gaith suffered a heartbreaking 0.16m landing, leaving him in fifth place. Just out of the money in fourth place was Jie Feng of China. Taking the bronze and $4,000 was Jindrick Vedmock of the Czech Republic. Also of the Czech Republic, Tabor Hynek took the silver and $6,000. Winning the jump-off and taking home the gold and $10,000 was Dmitry Maximov of Russia.
In women’s action, with the same prize money, Yan Cao finished 10 rounds of accuracy with 0.10m to win the gold. Just behind her and tied with 0.11m were Ning Wei of China and Olga Lepezina of Russia. Lepezina won the jump-off to take the silver, and Wei took home the bronze. In a hard charge in the last rounds was Cheryl Stearns, who ended up just out of the money in fifth place with a fine 0.13m total.
In open (mixed male/female teams allowed) team accuracy competition, it was a nail-biting close finish, with the Czech Republic team taking home the gold medal and $40,000 with a 0.24m total after eight rounds of team competition, just one tiny centimeter better than China and Italy, who tied with 0.25m. China won the silver by tie-break rules to take home $30,000, Italy the bronze and $20,000. Forty teams competed in open accuracy. In women’s team accuracy, eight teams vied for the same cash prizes. China took home the gold and $40,000 with a 0.29m finish, ahead of China’s second team with 0.35m and Belarus with 0.44m.
In canopy piloting, high winds foiled any hopes of completing the final rounds of speed and distance, leaving the standings where they had been for several days. In distance, Canada’s Jason Moledzki won the gold medal and $10,000. USA’s Jonathan Tagle took the silver and $6,000, and jumping for UAE, Marat Leiras took the bronze medal and $4,000. With similar prize money, the USA’s Thomas Dellibac won the gold in speed, ahead of teammate Greg Windmiller who took the silver medal. Moledzki won the bronze. The only CP event with all three rounds completed was zone accuracy. As reported earlier, the USA had a clean sweep in the event, with Curt Bartholomew in first, Nick Batsch in second, and Ian Bobo in third. There was no prize money awarded in CP overall, but most competitors consider those rankings the true measure of excellence. Placing first overall was Bartholomew, ahead of Batsch in second, Moledzki third, Bobo fourth and the UAE’s Billy Sharman fifth.
Medals and prizes for the formation skydiving and canopy formation events, previously reported, were also handed out at the awards ceremony Friday evening, capped by the now-traditional gala banquet that is a feast for both the eyes and stomach. With the meet over, already skydivers around the world are thinking about next year, when Dubai will host the all-events “Mondial” World Championships, which promises to be the grandest skydiving competition in history.
Check out skydivedubai.ae for full scores.
Video below courtesy of The PD Blog
The canopy piloting zone accuracy event finished Thursday afternoon at the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championship, with members of the U.S. Team sweeping the medals. Curt Bartholomew (who led from start to finish) took the gold, while Nick Batsch and Ian Bobo moved up in the final round to take the silver and bronze.
In addition, the last rounds of the canopy formation events completed Thursday, as well. Russian teams took first in 2-way sequential and 4-way rotation, while France took first in 4-way sequential. The U.S. teams tied for fifth in 2-way sequential and won the bronze in 4-way rotation.
In classic accuracy action, American Jimmy Drummond advanced into the semi-final rounds of open accuracy but dropped 5 centimeters, ending any chance of making it into the finals.
Click here for complete results. Two rounds of canopy piloting (one each of speed and distance) and the final rounds of team and individual accuracy remain for Friday. An awards ceremony for completed events will be held Thursday evening (Dubai time), around noon Eastern Standard Time. Check back later for pictures from the awards ceremony.*
*The awards ceremony scheduled for today has been cancelled in favor of a combined ceremony tomorrow.
Formation Skydiving wrapped up yesterday with the USA’s teams placing third and fourth:
In CP action, with 6 of 9 rounds complete, the US held top spots in most events. Curtis Bartholomew, Nick Batsch, Jonathan Tagle and Greg Windmiller hold first, third, fourth and fifth overall, with Canada’s Jason Moledzki in second. Bartholomew is standing first in zone accuracy, Jonathan Tagle second in CP distance, and Thomas Delibac holds the lead in speed. New results after today’s action should be posted soon.
In classic accuracy, the US Team is hanging in there against a very strong field, 15th out of 40 teams after 7 of 8 rounds. Jimmy Drummond leads US competitors individually with a fine 0.08m total after seven rounds, putting him 19th out of 195 competitors. Rick Kuhns is the next best US competitor, with a 0.13m total, putting him 54th. Mounting a charge with dead-centers in round six and seventh, Cheryl Stearns has 0.11m, moving her up to 11th among the ladies.
For detailed results, click here.
As the sun set late Monday afternoon on another day at the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup in the United Arab Emirates, the competition had passed the halfway mark, despite minimal jumping Monday due to high winds. Following are the current standings:
The 4-way formation skydiving competition has completed seven of its eight rounds. France leads with a 26.4-point average, followed by Belgium in second. The two U.S. teams follow, with SDC Rhythm XP in third and Perris Fury in fourth.
The canopy piloting event includes 105 competitors. After one round of speed, Greg Windmiller of the U.S. is in the lead, followed by Thomas Dellibac of the U.S. and Marat Leiras of Brazil. Canadian Jay Moledzki leads the distance event after two rounds, with American Jonathan Tagle in second and Leiras in third. After one round of zone accuracy, American Curt Bartholomew holds the top spot with a perfect score. Italian Ulisse Idra is in second, and Austrian Wuzi Wagner is in third. Overall, with four of the nine rounds complete, Tagle is in first, Bartholomew in second and Moledzki in third.
The classic accuracy event includes 255 competitors—195 male and 60 female. Forty teams have entered the team accuracy event. With five of eight rounds complete, China and Slovenia are tied for first, with Germany in third. After five rounds of individual male accuracy, Ahmed Al Gaith of the U.A.E. is in first. Jie Feng of China and Tabor Hynek and Petr Smesny of the Czech Republic are in a three-way tie for second. After four rounds of individual female accuracy, Ning Wei of China is in the lead, with China’s Yan Cao in second and Russia’s Olga Lepezina in third.
In canopy formation, with 43 total competitors, nine teams have completed six of eight rounds in 2-way sequential, with Russia in the lead, followed by Australia and France. France leads the three teams entered in the 4-way sequential event with one round remaining, followed by Russia and the U.S. After seven of eight rounds in 4-way rotation, Russia leads the field of five teams, followed by France and Kazakhstan.
Tuesday’s forecast calls for sunny skies, light winds and temperatures in the low-80s, with all events except for individual accuracy likely to finish. For complete scores, including all the Americans’ standings, go to http://skydivedubai.ae/dipc/#scores. Skydive Dubai’s video of the day is available below.
Forty members of the U.S. Parachute Team have begun competition at the 3rd Dubai International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup in the United Arab Emirates, which runs November 29 through December 10. The FAI Category II event includes competition in 4-way formation skydiving, canopy formation, classic accuracy and canopy piloting. The U.S. contingent joined competitors from 47 nations, for a total of 28 FS teams, 18 CF teams, 41 accuracy teams, and 108 CP competitors—well over 500 total competitors.
The first two days included practice jumps and a spectacular opening ceremony. Thursday, December 1, was the first day of official competition. Scores and updates will be posted on Skydive Dubai’s website. You can follow the official meet blog and watch daily videos here. You’ll also find great coverage of the event at the PD Blog.
Latest from Dubai:
*First round accuracy incomplete, interrupted by winds.
The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy wrapped up Saturday night, November 5, after 10 days of exciting action in multiple disciplines. Competitors completed all jumps in all events, with near-perfect weather and an incredible Skydive Arizona operation.
The final jumps Saturday included the remainder of the 10-way formation skydiving competition, which the Golden Knights won, along with a canopy formation ProAm test event. Saturday night, everyone gathered for the final banquet, featuring the medal presentations for the artistic events, canopy formation, and formation skydiving 10-way and overall winners.
Skydive Arizona meet management and staff did an incredible job organizing and running the meet, and the DZ will again host next year’s USPA Nationals.
Be sure not to miss any of the Nationals broadcasts at Skydive-TV.com, and check the complete scores at OmniSkore.com. Look for a complete report on the 2011 Nationals in the January issue of Parachutist.
On Thursday, November 3, competitors in multiple disciplines shared the sky, airplanes and excitement of the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona. With Friday’s forecast calling for high winds, meet management kept competitors busy completing their events during another beautiful day in Eloy.
All the artistic teams, both freefly and freestyle, completed all seven of their rounds in a single day. The judges will finish scoring all the jumps in the morning, so check back for final standings.
The 16-way formation skydiving event also started and finished today, with GKXP taking gold, Arizona Airspeed silver and Deguello 17 bronze.
Eleven canopy formation teams participated in the 2-way event, with Clean Air taking first, Stuck in Lodi second and 2 Live CRW third.
Nearly all events in all disciplines have now finished. The only remaining events are 10-way formation skydiving, along with canopy formation 8-way speed and a DZ event, a CF 2-way ProAm. Nationals will continue through Saturday, November 5.
Check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts of all the action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy are continuing as the place to be for all the hot skydiving action. Wednesday, November 2, the planes again flew from sunrise to sunset. The day included seven rounds of 8-way formation skydiving and eight rounds of canopy formation 4-way sequential.
At the close of round eight of the CF sequential event, Clean Air walked away with its second gold medal in the past two days. Redline took the silver and Next Best Team the bronze.
With one round of 8-way formation skydiving remaining, the Golden Knights hold a commanding lead in the open class. Thursday will begin with the conclusion of that event, followed by the 16-way FS event. The artistic events also begin tomorrow, with nine freefly teams—three in open and six in intermediate—and six freestyle teams registered. The canopy formation competitors will also take to the sky with the 2-way test event.
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts of all the action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
Tuesday, November 1, has been another full, fun day of competition at the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. The day began with the final three rounds of 4-way formation skydiving, as well as the start of the canopy formation 4-way rotations event.
The 4-way FS event had some nail-biting finishes. In the open class, Arizona Airspeed held onto its solid lead to claim the gold, but the remaining medals were up for grabs between Golden Knights Gold, Perris Fury and SDC Rhythm. After an exciting final round, the Knights took silver and Perris Fury bronze. In the advanced class, Spaceland Lite took the gold by one point over Fallout and Start 4, who were tied after ten rounds. Start 4 won the jumpoff round by two points to take the silver. In intermediate, T-Minus:01 and Dallas Khaos XP were tied after round ten, one point ahead of bronze medalist Dallas Pulse. T-Minus:01 won the jumpoff by one point for the gold, and Dallas Khaos XP took the silver.
In CF 4-way rotations, Clean Air took the gold with a strong performance, 103 points. The silver medal went to Too Wrapped Up with 98 points, while Redline scored 92 points to take the bronze.
The 8-way formation skydiving event also got started, completing two rounds. Wednesday morning, 8-way will continue, and CF 4-way sequential will get underway. Wednesday is also the final day to register for the artistic events, which begin on Thursday.
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts of all the action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
It’s been a full day of non-stop 4-way formation skydiving at the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Competition load one took off at 7 a.m., Monday, October 31, and by the end of the day, 114 competition loads and 16 fun jumper loads had flown. All 65 4-way teams—16 in the open class, 19 in advanced and 30 in intermediate—completed seven of their 10 rounds. Skydive Arizona’s operation ran flawlessly, with five Twin Otters flying simultaneously all day.
At the end of the day, Arizona Airspeed holds a solid lead in the open class. Both the advanced and intermediate divisions have tight races for the medals. Spaceland Lite and Fallout are battling for gold in the advanced class, while Dallas Pulse is holding onto the lead in intermediate. Check OmniSkore.com for complete scores.
On Tuesday’s agenda are the final three rounds of 4-way, followed by the start of the 8-way formation skydiving competition. The canopy formation event also starts tomorrow with 4-way rotations.
Check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page. Daily broadcasts featuring interviews and all the latest action are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
Skydive Arizona is in full swing today, Saturday, October 29, for the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships! The vertical formation skydiving and style & accuracy competitors finished up their final rounds this morning. Formation skydiving 4-way and 8-way teams are piling in, registering and getting practice jumps. And fun jumpers are making the most of the beautiful weather and the weekend’s Halloween Boogie. The drop zone is swamped, and canopies are filling the air non-stop!
The accuracy competition had an exciting finish with this morning’s final two rounds. The men were in a nail-biting race, with Jim Hayhurst and Jimmy Drummond tied with 11 centimeters each after eight rounds. In round nine, Hayhurst scored a dead center to Drummond’s three cents. With Hayhurst finishing the meet with one centimeter in the final round, Drummond’s round-ten dead center wasn’t enough to take the gold. Hayhurst finished two centimeters ahead, for the gold in men’s accuracy, men’s style and team accuracy. Drummond took the silver in men’s accuracy, with Mark Jones taking the bronze. Cheryl Stearns took the top spot in both women’s accuracy and style, with Elisa Tennyson in second and Mery Rose in third.
The vertical formation skydiving event wrapped up with yesterday’s leaders holding onto their top spots. SDC Standard won the gold in open, with an impressive 27-point lead over silver-medalist Arizona Arsenal. Arizona Drive took the bronze. In the advanced division, STF Friends of Warren took the gold. A tight race for second resulted in a jump-off round—with the two teams tying again! Friendship ended up taking the silver, since the team had the highest single-round score of 16 points. Elsinore Honey Badgers won the bronze.
This afternoon, everyone gathered for the style & accuracy awards, and tonight the DZ is hosting its big Halloween costume party. Sunday, 4-way teams will complete registration and have their draw, followed by the VFS and style & accuracy banquet in the evening. Competition will resume Monday morning with the 4-way event.
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com for complete scores and standings. Daily broadcasts are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
It’s been a full day of competition here at the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. The vertical formation skydiving and classic accuracy events both got off to an early start Friday, October 28, with another perfect-weather day.
Fourteen VFS teams—six in open and eight in advanced—completed five of eight rounds by mid-afternoon with some heated competition in both divisions. In the open class, SDC Standard is holding a commanding lead after five rounds, leading Arizona Arsenal by 16 points. Arizona Drive is holding onto third. In the advanced class, STF Friends of Warren is heading the pack with a solid lead. Battling for second, Elsinore Honey Badgers have a one-point lead over Friendship. The event will pick up Saturday morning with three rounds to go.
The classic accuracy competitors also had a busy day, completing rounds three through eight, which wraps up the team accuracy event. The final two rounds are scheduled for Saturday morning and will count toward individual standings only. In team accuracy, Skydive Rick’s has claimed the top spot, with US Won in second and Pacemakers in third. In the individual event, James Hayhurst and Jimmy Drummond are currently tied for first, with Cheryl Stearns in the lead for the women. The event promises an exciting finish tomorrow morning!
Be sure to check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com. Daily broadcasts are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships got off to a great start Thursday, October 27, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, with perfect skydiving weather—temperatures in the upper 70s, light winds and not a cloud in the sky.
The style and accuracy event was first on tap today, with 32 competitors completing all five rounds of the style event and two rounds of accuracy. In men’s style, Jim Hayhurst took the top spot, followed by Marty Jones in second and Jimmy Drummond in third. Cheryl Stearns took the win for the women, with Elisa Tennyson second and Mery Rose third. After two rounds of team accuracy, Skydive Rick’s holds the lead with an impressive 0.02 cm total team score.
The vertical formation skydiving teams were also pouring in today for registration and practice. At total of 14 VFS teams—six in the open class and eight in advanced—have registered for the event, which starts bright and early Friday morning.
Check back here for updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and OmniSkore.com. Daily broadcasts are also available at Skydive-TV.com.
The big event is finally here! The 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships kick off at Skydive Arizona in Eloy Thursday morning, October 27, with the classics—style and accuracy. Thirty-two competitors attended the Wednesday evening briefing for style and accuracy, eager for the 7 a.m. Thursday start.
Thursday will also include the practice and registration day for vertical formation skydiving, with the VFS competition scheduled to start Friday morning.
Nationals will run through Saturday, November 5, with the formation skydiving events starting Monday. Scores will be posted as they become available at OmniSkore.com. In addition, check back here for daily updates, as well as on USPA’s Facebook page and at Skydive-TV.com for daily broadcasts. Make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting action!
As posted in a previous news update, Eric E. Florio resigned from his position as Southeast Regional Director—in accordance with the USPA Constitution—to accept the position of Director of Communications. With this, a vacancy was created on the board for the southeast region. The USPA Board of Directors has been working diligently to find a solution that is within its guidelines and to provide the members with a representative in a timely manner. We are pleased to announce that Kirk Verner—current USPA National Director—has temporarily accepted these duties and responsibilities, as appointed by President Jay Stokes. This interim appointment will last until the February board meeting in San Diego where the board will elect Florio’s successor to complete the remainder of the term. Nominations may only be made by board members, so any interested members should contact a board member for his or her support.
Verner, a resident of Raeford, North Carolina, is a renowned formation skydiving competitor and coach. He will undoubtedly apply the same passion he has for skydiving and USPA to assisting the members of the southeast region. Please direct any PRO-rating applications, wings and badge awards or other inquiries to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 910-246-6038.
Advanced Aerospace Designs, maker of the Vigil and Vigil 2 automatic activation device (AAD), released an updated Product Service Bulletin (PSB), found here, regarding a recent discovery of a misassembled cutter on a Vigil 2. The error was discovered during an investigation of a September 14, 2011, fatal skydiving accident in Canada. The updated PSB provides additional guidance for testing cutters in the field, and an updated list of serial numbers for units that must be checked before the next jump.
Unrelated to this PSB, recently in the U.S., two different parachute containers—both equipped with early-model Vigil AADs—were involved in activations of the reserve system while the rigs were on the ground. In each case, the Vigil AAD activated and fired its cutter, allowing the reserve pilot chute to launch out of the reserve container. Advanced Aerospace Designs stated that there have been a few cases of similar ground activations involving Vigils—serial number 6799 and below—that were manufactured before August 2006. The activations have only occurred on the ground. The company is expected to provide additional information and guidance soon.
The U.S. Parachute Association mourns the tragic loss of Ted Strong, one of the sport’s great pioneers. Ted started jumping in 1958; he was a competitor, coach and rigger-turned-innovator who formed Strong Enterprises in 1961 so that his friends might jump safely. Through the '60s and '70s, Ted helped lead the way in the transition from military surplus to modern sport equipment. In the '80s, he helped pioneer what is arguably the single-most influential technological advancement in skydiving in 50 years--tandem jumping--which opened our sport to the general public and made it the thriving recreational industry it is today. Ted’s innovations carried over to the sport aviation community with comfortable, reliable emergency bailout rigs, as well as into the military market with numerous technological advancements. An innovator and visionary, Ted was awarded USPA's Gold Medal for Meritorious Service in 2002, and in 2010, he was inducted into the first class of the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame. Those who knew him remember with affection his humility, a kind and generous spirit, and the infectious smile that lifted spirits wherever he went. Remarked USPA President Jay Stokes, "Skydiving has lost one of its greats, an influential pioneer who has made a lasting impact on the sport. We will all miss him greatly, but his legacy will not be forgotten."
USPA Southeast Regional Director Eric Florio has agreed to join USPA as its next Director of Communications effective October 18. He succeeds Shonda Smith who, after nine years at USPA, has moved to Arizona to seek new opportunities. Florio has submitted his resignation from the board of directors, on which he had been serving as Southeast Regional Director since his election in late 2010. USPA’s by-laws provide for the board to elect a new regional director to carry out the resigning member’s term (in this case, up to the winter 2013 board meeting) from among candidates nominated by members of the board. Any current member in good standing who resides in the Southeast Region who wants to be considered for nomination should contact a board member prior to October 21. Contact information for each board member is listed in the front of every Parachutist magazine, and online here.
Advanced Aerospace Designs, maker of the Vigil and Vigil 2 Automatic Activation Devices (AAD), has released Public Service Bulletin #7, which asks that all Vigil owners check their AAD serial numbers to see if replacement of the cutter unit is necessary. An investigation following a recent fatal accident in Canada revealed that the Vigil 2 installed in the container had not been assembled correctly and was missing the knife blade that should have been installed in the cutter housing. The Public Service Bulletin includes the serial numbers of 299 units manufactured in October 2007 that may be missing the cutter blade. If your Vigil 2 serial number is included in the bulletin, the unit must be removed for inspection and cutter replacement before the next jump.
As an added precaution, the Public Service Bulletin also states that all other Vigil cutters outside of the range of serial numbers listed should be tested at the next reserve repack. The bulletin includes guidelines for testing the cutter with a magnet to determine if the blade is installed. Additional details, including contact information and replacement procedures, are included in the bulletin.
Administration Proposes a New User Fee
On September 19, the Obama Administration released its plan to reduce the deficit and grow the economy. Among many proposals to raise revenues is one to implement a $100-per-flight fee on “operators who fly in controlled airspace.” Simply put, because controlled airspace is simply airspace in which air traffic control services can be provided, the new fee could be applied to just about anyone who flies. Realistically though, since the plan describes how general aviation operators don’t pay their “fair share” when using ATC services, the administration is targeting operators who actually do use air traffic control services. The full plan is here; the aviation user fee is addressed on pages 22 and 23.
The Effect on Skydiving
Part 105 of the Federal Aviation Regulations requires a jump pilot to establish and maintain radio communication with ATC prior to every jump. So would jump operators be required to pay the government $100 for every takeoff? But wait, the plan does exempt certain operators, including “recreational piston aircraft.” While that describes the majority of light single- and multi-engine general aviation aircraft (including single-engine Cessnas) found in the national airspace system, it presumably wouldn’t exempt the hundreds of Cessna 182-type jump planes currently flying, since most skydiving flights are for hire, i.e., commercial in nature and not recreational. So, assuming an operator passes the cost of the $100-per-flight fee to his customers, an operator of a Twin Otter carrying 20 jumpers would need to increase jump tickets by $5 per jump. A Cessna 182 operator would also pay the $100 fee and would need to increase jump tickets for a 4-way by $25 per jump.
It’s Not the Cost; It’s the Concept
In reality, though, our concern is as much about the concept of user fees as it is about the cost of user fees. General aviation operators already pay for use of the system via a federal fuel tax—19.4 cents per gallon for avgas and 21.9 cents per gallon for jet fuel. It’s easy, it works and it’s equitable; the more you fly or the more horsepower you use, the more you pay. In contrast, a new pay-per-flight fee would require the FAA to set up a new bureaucracy to track and enforce fee payments. And even if the concept is first aimed at only jet or turbine operators who file instrument flight plans, once established, the concept of pay-per-flight is easily modified to start reaching down to other users.
Aviation Associations Opposed
USPA joins all other general aviation users in opposing a new user fee, in favor of keeping the current fuel tax system. USPA has offered its support to the other associations that are gearing up to oppose this effort. As a result, the National Business Aviation Association, which represents companies that use aircraft in the furtherance of business, asked to interview USPA Executive Director Ed Scott for one of its recent podcasts on the subject. You can hear the podcast here.
Sign a Petition
USPA is currently coordinating with the other associations on member initiatives. Meanwhile, there is something you can do on your own, right now. A petition has been started on a site recently inaugurated by the White House that allows anyone to petition on a specific issue. If within 30 days 5,000 people sign a petition, the White House staff will issue an official response and direct it to the appropriate agency. The petition is Take User Fees off the Table. You have to create an account to sign the petition. Even though this petition has already reached the 5,000-person threshold, additional signatures still send an important message to the White House, so every signature counts.
According to Karel Goorts, Managing Director for Aviacom SA, production of the Argus automatic activation device (AAD) for the sport parachuting market has been discontinued. The current group of service centers will continue to provide service for units currently in use. A limited number of cutters and spare parts will be available. Many container manufacturers rescinded the approval of the Argus to be installed in their containers earlier this year, following questions about the effectiveness of the cutter. Argus owners should check with their container manufacturer to determine whether the Argus may be installed.
Nick Batsch is the overall national champion in the open class of the 2011 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting, and Joe Abeln is the advanced class champion in his first national CP competition. The meet wrapped up Saturday, September 17 at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, after three exciting days of swooping action. In the open class, Jonathan Tagle took the overall silver, with Ian Bobo taking the bronze. The top eight open-class finishers, who also include Sergey Fedotov, Justin Thornton, Curt Bartholomew, Ryan Brownlow and Greg Windmiller, are now eligible to represent the U.S. at the Dubai Cup later this year. Paul Rodriguez and Brandon Coates took the overall silver and bronze, respectively, in the advanced class. Check out the complete results below.
2011 CP Nationals Open Scores Summary
2011 CP Nationals Open Scores
2011 CP Nationals Advanced Scores Summary
2011 CP Nationals Advanced Scores
The 2011 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, completed all rounds by Saturday afternoon, September 17. At 7:30 this morning, load one took off with the first group to jump on the final two rounds of zone accuracy. Both rounds completed within a couple hours, and all that remained were a handful of re-jumps in the distance and accuracy events. After a bit of a weather hold for clouds and rain, the final jumps of the meet completed. Competitors are now getting ready for tonight’s awards ceremony and banquet. Official scores will be posted once they are finalized.
On September 14, the National Aeronautic Association selected Leon “Lenny” Potts to receive the 2011 Wesley L. McDonald Elder Statesman of Aviation Award. The NAA established the prestigious Elder Statesman Award in 1954 to honor outstanding Americans over age 60 who, by their efforts over a period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.
From his first parachute jump in 1952 to his 10 years of service on USPA’s board to his current service on the board of trustees of the National Skydiving Museum, Potts has dedicated himself to the skydiving and aviation communities for more than 50 years and continues to make a lasting impact to this day.
USPA nominated Potts for the Elder Statesman Award earlier this year with the following citation: “For over a half century of dedicated support, innovation, leadership and inspiration to the aviation community, especially to the United States Parachute Association and the National Aeronautic Association.”
The NAA will present the award to Potts at its Fall Awards Banquet November 7 near Washington, D.C.
Additionally, on Friday, September 23, the National Skydiving Museum will induct Potts into its Skydiving Hall of Fame as part of its 2011 class, recognizing him for his lifetime of contributions to parachuting and the museum.
The distance event was first on the schedule for day two of the 2011 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, Friday, September 16. Even at the 7:30 a.m. start time, a steady crosswind on the course made for challenging distance runs, becoming even more so as the crosswind turned to an even stiffer headwind as the morning progressed. By noon, competitors had finished all three rounds of distance, minus a few re-jumps due to winds above the competition limits. Meet Director Al Berchtold then released competitors until 5 p.m. in hopes of lighter evening winds. Check back later for additional scores and updates.
(Scores posted below are unofficial.)
2011 CP Nationals Open Scores Summary
2011 CP Nationals Open Scores
2011 CP Nationals Advanced Scores Summary
2011 CP Nationals Advanced Scores
The 2011 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting kicked off Thursday morning, September 15, at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas. The meet began this morning with the speed event and will run through Saturday. A total of 50 canopy piloting competitors—33 in the open class and 17 in advanced—arrived early this morning with wheels up for load one scheduled for 7:30.
The competition determines USPA’s 2011 champions and medalists in canopy piloting speed, distance, zone accuracy and overall. In addition, the top eight overall competitors in the open class will qualify for the U.S. Parachute Team and will be eligible to compete at the Dubai Cup later this year.
Led by DZ manager Eric Boyd, Skydive Spaceland’s staff has been a well-oiled machine as it prepared three immaculate canopy piloting courses on the largest swoop pond in North America and made final preparations for its third consecutive USPA Canopy Piloting Championships. Meet Director Al Berchtold and Chief Judge Eric Florio have brought in a highly experienced team of judges from the Florida Canopy Piloting Association—Alison Bawden, Laticia Freedman and Emily Windmiller—joined by Southwest Regional Director and national CP judge Lee Schlichtemeier. With a good forecast, the world’s top canopy piloting competitors (several of whom recently returned from their triumphant performances at the World Cup in the Czech Republic), a great staff and good vibes all around, expectations are sky high for a smoothly run, friendly but fiercely contested meet.
View Ori Kuper’s video of competitors practicing for the meet here.
Check back for updates and results as they become available.
2011 CP Nationals Open Scores
2011 CP Nationals Advanced Scores
The first day of the 2011 USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, got off to a great start Thursday, September 15. Fifty competitors—33 in the open class and 17 in advanced—completed four rounds before the winds picked up in the afternoon, ending competition jumps for the day. The meet completed all three rounds of speed and one round of zone accuracy under a hot, cloudless sky. Jumping will resume at 7:30 tomorrow morning with the first round of distance. Check back for scores and updates.
Members of the U.S. Canopy Piloting Team swept the gold medals at the just-completed 6th FAI World Cup of Canopy Piloting, held at the Skydive Pink DZ in Klatovy, Czech Republic, from August 22-26. A summary of the results:
Accuracy: Gold, Jonathan Tagle (USA); Silver, Jason Moledzki (Canada); Bronze, Pablo Hernandez (Spain)
Speed: Gold, Nicholas Batsch (USA); Silver, Jonathan Tagle (USA); Bronze, Curt Bartholomew (USA)
Distance: Gold, Nicholas Batsch (USA); Silver, Patrick Boulongne (France); Bronze, Jason Moledzki (Canada)
Overall: Gold, Nicholas Batsch (USA); Silver, Jonathan Tagle (USA); Bronze, Jason Moledzki (Canada)
U.S. Team Manager Steve Hudoba reported, "It was an outstanding meet with first-class management, judging and speed of execution. Getting all those swoops completed with 101 competitors plus re-jumps was quite impressive. I really miss ice cubes, air conditioners and English-speaking television though..." For full results, click here. Look for a full report in the November issue of Parachutist.
Overall Champion Nicholas Batsch swoops the pond. Photo by Steve Hudoba.
Aviacom, maker of the Argus Automatic Activation Device (AAD), has released a Service Bulletin (SB) that mandates the immediate replacement of any cutter manufactured before September 2007. This bulletin replaces a previous SB (SB AMMO050910/3), which allowed the older cutters to remain in the rig until the next repack. Replacement cutters can be ordered through the company website here.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights won four medals at the 5th CISM (Military Sports) World Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July. The Knights’ women’s team won gold in the women’s overall country competition for the first time in CISM history. Laura Dickmeyer, Angela Nichols, Jennifer Schaben, Elisa Tennyson and Danielle Woolsey won the women’s 4-way formation skydiving (FS) event and placed second in team accuracy, giving them the overall title. The Knights’ men’s 4-way FS team—Matt Davidson, Kurt Isenbarger, Brian Krause and Sean Sweeney—took the bronze medal in men’s formation skydiving. Belgium won the gold, and Germany took the silver.
Among the discussions currently taking place in Washington, D.C., about reducing the deficit and finding new revenue streams is talk about imposing new user fees on general aviation. There has been similar talk in the past, but Congress squashed the idea. There’s not yet any formal proposal, but there are enough rumors from official sources that many of the general aviation associations representing pilots and businesses that operate aircraft have asked their members to contact their Senators and Member of Congress to oppose the idea. General aviation users already contribute to the aviation trust fund by paying a federal tax on every gallon of fuel purchased, and general aviation users want to stay with that method.
The basic idea of a user fee is to charge aircraft operators a set fee per flight. The charge could be anywhere from $25 to $100, and it could be assessed per takeoff or per radio contact with air traffic control (ATC). Skydiving operators—with multiple takeoffs each day and a requirement to contact ATC on each flight—would pay more than most operators; the cost of jump tickets would go up. A new fee could be aimed at jets only, or it could be aimed at all turbine aircraft, or all aircraft in commercial operation, or simply all aircraft. Regardless, if enacted, it is a sure bet that the fee would eventually increase and also be expanded to other users in the future. Adding insult to injury is that the FAA would have to create a sub-agency to track billing and enforce payment.
USPA joins our general aviation brethren in fighting the user fee concept. Please take action now to ensure that Congress rejects the user fee idea.
On the Senate website, select your state from a dropdown menu in the upper right corner to be directed to your two Senators’ contact information. On the House of Representatives website, enter your zip code to be directed to your one Representative’s contact information. A phone call is best, followed by an email, and even a fax; mailed letters take too long to arrive. In your contact, identify yourself as an aviation user, and explain how increased costs would affect your participation in skydiving—an FAA aeronautical activity. Ask them to reject the idea of new user fees for general aviation and to continue the collection of federal taxes on aviation fuels.
The USPA Board of Directors met July 8-10 in Broomfield, Colorado. Highlights of the meeting include—
• Following the successful proxy effort and vote by USPA’s general membership, the USPA by-laws have been changed to extend the term of the board of directors to three years and to remove the requirement for regional director candidates to submit a petition signed by 10 percent of the members in their region to get on the ballot. The changes will take effect beginning with the next election, scheduled for 2012.
• The board is developing a canopy proficiency card that will be part of the B-license requirements beginning January 1, 2012.
• The minimum radial distance to the nearest hazard has been changed to 12 meters for D-license holders and 50 meters for tandem jumps.
• Beginning in 2012, the USPA Group Member pledge will include the requirement for drop zones to prominently display and disseminate the DZ’s plan for separating high-performance and standard landings.
• Bids for the 2013 USPA Nationals are due January 15, 2012, and will be evaluated at the 2012 winter board meeting.
• The 2012 USPA Canopy Piloting Nationals will be held June 13-17 at Skydive The Farm in Rockmart, Georgia.
• The state and national records program will now include a category for most total jumps.
• The annual currency requirements for judges have been eliminated. Lapsed judges interested in renewing should contact USPA.
• Paul Sitter was selected to receive the 2011 USPA Lifetime Achievement Award, USPA’s highest honor.
• Jeff Steinkamp and Bill Wood were selected to receive 2011 USPA Gold Medals for Meritorious Service.
A full report will appear in the September issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting will be held February 17-19 in San Diego.
Mirage Systems has released two new Product Service Bulletins (PSBs) regarding the use of Automatic Activation Devices (AADs) in any Mirage G3, G4.1 or RTS harness-and-container system. PSB 6-11 rescinds the service bulletin released on March 24 that suspended the approval of the use of an Aviacom Argus AAD in any Mirage container. Mirage Systems now approves the use of an Argus AAD. PSB 6-11-2 provides general guidelines and information regarding the use and limitations of an AAD.
United Parachute Technologies (UPT) has issued a reminder for all tandem instructors to review tandem harness adjustment procedures and ensure that all tandem students are fitted properly into the tandem harness. The reminder has been issued following a close call in which a woman nearly came out of a poorly adjusted harness that was left very loose in an effort to make her more comfortable. This notice is actually a terrific reminder to every tandem instructor, regardless of the type of tandem equipment used for the jump. The reminder notice is available on UPT’s website.
United Parachute Technologies has released a Service Bulletin advising inspection and maintenance of the top diagonal attachment point on all Vector 3 Sport and Student SE harness and containers. Hard openings can cause the stitching to fail, allowing the harness to separate from its normal position on the container and stretch the reserve static line, which pulls the reserve pin and causes the reserve pilot chute to deploy. This can also stretch the Collins lanyard to the point that it disconnects the left riser. A jumper can inspect the stitching without opening the main or reserve container. The bulletin, which contains a detailed explanation and photos, can be found here.
Aviacom, makers of the Argus automatic activation device (AAD), recently published the findings of its investigation regarding a cutter that allegedly failed to completely cut a closing loop after the AAD had activated. Sky Supplies Europe performed the disassembly and inspection of the cutter in question and reported its findings in the following press release. Aviacom has since issued a new service bulletin for the Argus that rescinded its earlier service bulletin that required replacement of all cutters manufactured prior to August 2007, although the new bulletin still requires the replacement of some cutters.
Altico, maker of the Dolphin container, rescinded its bulletin revoking approval of the use of the Argus. However, most of the manufacturers that released service bulletins revoking approval of the use of the Argus in their containers have left their bulletins in place. As this stand-off continues between Aviacom, container manufacturers and several skydiving associations around the globe, Argus owners are caught in the middle. They must either continue to wait for a resolution, or consider removing their Argus if the container manufacturer does not approve of the installation of an Argus. A comprehensive list of documents regarding the matter can be found on the Parachute Industry Association website.
Updated to exclude Altico.
Aerodyne Research, Mirage Systems, Parachutes Australia, Rigging Innovations, Strong Enterprises, Sun Path Products and United Parachute Technologies have recently released service bulletins that withdraw approval of the installation of an Aviacom Argus automatic activation device (AAD) in their containers. Each bulletin states a concern over a possible issue with the cutter not completely severing the reserve closing loop during activation of the AAD. The bulletins are in response to three different cases of an alleged failure of the cutter to completely sever the reserve closing loop. Argus owners must check with their container manufacturer before the next jump to determine if the container is legal to jump with the AAD installed. Aviacom posted the following statement earlier this week: http://www.argus-aad.com/. Since the statement was released, they received the unit and are investigating further. USPA will continue to follow the issue and provide additional information as it becomes available.
Sun Path Products
United Parachute Technologies
The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) recently honored the 41-way women’s head-down world record, set last November in Eloy, Arizona, as one of the most memorable aviation records of 2010. The NAA presented the award during its Spring Awards Ceremony and Luncheon March 15 in Crystal City, Virginia. Nancy Koreen, USPA’s Director of Sport Promotion and a participant on the record, accepted the award on behalf of record organizers Amy Chmelecki, Melanie Curtis, Sara Curtis, Melissa Nelson and Kimberly Winslow.
“We hope this record can be an inspiration to women everywhere, not just skydivers, and show that women can accomplish whatever they choose in this world and be amazing at it,” said Sara Curtis. “We are so proud of all the participants of the record event!”
Jim Hayhurst has been selected as USPA’s next Director of Competition. He succeeds Larry Bagley, who is retiring at the end of March after a 16-year stint on the USPA staff. Hayhurst became a USPA member in 1971, accumulating more than 10,000 jumps since, many of them in training or as a top competitor, principally in style and accuracy. He’s earned the title of Overall U.S. Style and Accuracy Champion a total of eight times since 1977. He has been selected to be on the U.S. Parachute Team more than 20 times, earning multiple international medals. In 1996, Hayhurst was elected to USPA’s Board of Directors, where he served two terms on the Competition Committee.
Hayhurst graduated with honors from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served as a fighter pilot and executive officer until leaving the U.S. Air Force in 1983. He then became an airline pilot, logging more than 16,000 hours before retiring in 2005.
"We are looking forward to putting Jim’s long experience in, and deep passion for, skydiving competition to work," noted USPA Executive Director Ed Scott. "With his help, USPA will enhance communication between all those skydivers interested in competing or setting records."
A bill that would have required state regulation of skydiving in Indiana went nowhere by the February close of the state’s legislative session. The bill would have required the state’s Office of Aviation to inspect and certify DZs, funded by new fees placed on those DZs. Within days of the bill’s introduction by a state senator, USPA Executive Director Ed Scott convened a meeting in Indianapolis among the four Indiana DZs, their USPA Safety & Training Advisors, and Amy Romig and Brett Nelson, two USPA members who are Indianapolis attorneys and experienced lobbyists. After an unfruitful meeting with the bill’s sponsor, USPA supplied the chairman of the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee with an explanation of existing USPA requirements and Federal Aviation Administration regulations, arguing that additional state regulation was unnecessary. The chairman agreed, and did not allow the bill to move through his committee.
At USPA’s request, Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, changed the dates of when it will host the 2011 USPA National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting to September 14-17. The event was originally scheduled to start in the first week of September, over Labor Day weekend. This date too closely followed the planned August 22-27 dates for the 2011 World Cup of Canopy Piloting in the Czech Republic, which the International Parachuting Commission recently sanctioned. For more information, contact email@example.com.
The newly elected USPA Board of Directors met February 11-13 in Reno, Nevada, for the first meeting of its term. On Friday, the first day of meetings, the board elected the following Executive Committee:
Vice President—Randy Allison
Member at Large—Larry Hill
Chairman of the Board—B.J. Worth
In addition, the board elected Kirk Verner to serve as USPA's delegate to the International Parachuting Commission.
The President selected the following committee chairs:
Constitution & By-Laws—Mike Mullins
Finance & Budget—Lee Schlichtemeier
Group Membership—Randy Allison
Membership Services—Victor Johnson
Nominations & Elections—B.J. Worth
Regional Directors—Jessie Farrington
Safety & Training—Todd Spillers
Additional highlights of the meeting include—
• The Basic Safety Requirements were changed to require all student tandem skydives to be conducted in accordance with the specific manufacturer’s age requirements for the tandem system used for that jump.
• The 2011 U.S. Teams will be chosen in accordance with the Skydiver’s Competition Manual, including the World Cup of Formation Skydiving and Artistic Events in Germany, the World Cup of Canopy Piloting in the Czech Republic and the Dubai International Cup.
• The canopy formation (CF) 8-way event at the USPA Nationals will continue for at least one more year.
• CF 2-way Pro/Am will be a test event again at this year’s Nationals.
A full report will appear in the April issue of Parachutist. The next board meeting will be held July 8-10 in the Denver area. The general membership meeting will also be held during that time.
Delegates from 35 countries met in Bar, Montenegro, a village on the Adriatic coast, January 25-30 for the 62nd annual Fédération Aéronautique Internationale International Parachuting Commission (FAI IPC) meeting to discuss skydiving issues. Highlights of the meeting included:
Argentina will host the 2012 IPC meeting in Buenos Aires, February 7-12. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The winter 2011 USPA Board of Directors’ meeting will be held February 11-13 at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada. USPA’s newly elected board will convene for the first time, and USPA members are invited to attend. E-mail email@example.com or call USPA Headquarters at (540) 604-9740 for more information. Following the board meeting, drop zone owners and operators from around the country will gather for the Drop Zone Operators’ Conference to network, learn all the latest successful marketing techniques and share ideas on improving drop zone safety. The Parachute Industry Association’s Symposium will be held February 14-18, and it includes a trade show featuring skydiving equipment manufacturers from around the world, as well as several days of seminars for riggers and others interested in learning all the latest news about the skydiving industry.
Schedule: BOD Meeting Schedule
Competitors enjoyed a spectacular closing ceremony January 17 at the conclusion of the Dubai International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup in the United Arab Emirates. It was a great ending to a wonderful competition, and despite some rain during the two-week event, Dubai pulled out all stops to give the competitors what they’ve come to expect at this second annual competition. Arizona Airspeed finished third in the 4-way open FS event, one point behind France in second and five points behind first-place Belgium. The female 4-way open FS event ended with France in first with 169 points, then the USA at 160 points and third-place Russia with 134 points.
The canopy piloting event medalists, listed first through third, are:
Overall: Jay Moledzki-Canada, Jonathan Tagle-USA, Marat Leiras-Brazil
Speed: Marat Leiras-Brazil, Jay Moledzki-Canada, Nick Batsch-USA
Distance: Greg Windmiller-USA, Jonathan Tagle-USA, Christian Wagner-Austria
Accuracy: Jay Moledzki-Canada, Warren Cleary-USA, Bo Wienberg-Denmark
The two U.S. accuracy-landing teams came in 12th and 18th out of 33 teams entered. Of the 49 females in the running, USA’s Elisa Tennyson finished tied for fourth in female accuracy landing; Cheryl Stearns tied for sixth, and Mery Rose was 39th. With 142 men in the accuracy landing event, the best the USA could do was James Hayhurst's tie for 44th place.
For a complete list of final official scores, go to http://www.ipc-wcresults.org.uk/Dubai_results.html, and watch for a complete report in the March issue of Parachutist.
(As of January 10, 3 p.m. Dubai time)
U.S. canopy pilot Greg Windmiller reports, “Skydive Dubai, which from all accounts is still in its infant stages as becoming a drop zone, has, at first glance, surpassed 90 percent of the skydiving facilities in the world. As with everything else in Dubai, ‘bigger is better and spare no expense’ are obviously the themes for this amazing drop zone.”
The canopy piloting event still has a round of accuracy and a round of speed to go before they finish, but the area was engulfed in rain and low clouds throughout the day. At the end of the distance event, USA’s Windmiller, Jonathan Tagle and Nick Batsch held the top three spots. The rest of the U.S. canopy pilots (Curt Bartholomew, Ian Bobo, Warren Cleary, Raymond Daniel, Jessica Edgeington, Kevin Love, Matt Schull, Shane Shaffer and Mikeal Stevens) are giving it their best for a good standing in the overall. Each of the three events (accuracy, distance and speed) has three jumps and the results are used to determine overall.
The USA men’s accuracy landing team (Edin Alisa, Jimmy Drummond, James Hayhurst, Marius Ivascu and Marty Jones) are slightly better than middle-of-the-pack with 33 teams entered in the eight-round event. And the mixed team from the USA (John Eiff, Shawn Meyer, Mery Rose, Walter Samojilik and Elisa Tennyson) is down a bit further but still having a good time.
After seven of the eight rounds in formation skydiving open, USA’s Airspeed (Andy Delk, John Eagle, Craig Girard, Steve Nowak and Eliana Rodriguez) is two points behind tied first place teams Belgium and France. Six teams entered the female 4-way FS team event, and the USA (Hannah Betts, Rebecca Brocato, Christy Frikken, Karen Lewis and Annaliese Peterson) holds second place behind France and way ahead of the Russian team.
The meet runs through January 17, so check back for more updates and watch for a full report in an upcoming issue of Parachutist.
The United States has a huge delegation participating at the International Parachuting Championships & Gulf Cup, which starts today and continues through January 17, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Among the 419 competitors from 41 nations who are competing in accuracy landing, canopy piloting and formation skydiving (FS), the U.S. has 11 competing in accuracy landing, an FS 4-way open team, a female FS 4-way team and 12 canopy pilots. Unfortunately, the U.S. team manager and head of delegation, Larry Hill, had emergency back surgery last week and will not be on site for the competition. Instead, the U.S.’s FS 4-way open team captain, Craig Girard, has agreed to pick up the strings and keep the group together for the meet.
For more information including news, reports and results, check the competition website: http://www.emiratesaviation.org/.
The election for the 2011-2012 USPA Board of Directors concluded on December 31, 2010. The candidates are listed below along with the number of votes each received. The winning candidates are designated by bold type. The new National and Regional Directors will be seated at the February USPA Board of Directors Meeting in Reno, Nevada.
National Director Candidates (eight winners in bold)
Day two turned out to be a wash—no pun intended—but day three dawned to below-freezing temperatures and low winds. In spite of the hard freeze warning over the entire southwest, the college students pressed hard to get in a full day of skydiving. With a low ceiling most of the day, the classic and sport accuracy events—both four rounds—finished by early afternoon. As the sky cleared, formation skydiving (FS) immediately got underway, and before sunset, most of the FS events were finished, including a round each of vertical formation skydiving and 6-way speed.
Saturday, the last day of the championships, needed perfect weather to finish every jump and that’s exactly what meet director Bryan Burke and chief judge Kirk Knight got. At the awards banquet, event judges hung gold medals on the follow winners:
4-way FS Open
Air Force Impulse (Joshua LeMair, Alexander Meyer, Eric Wallace, Kyle Yohe)
4-way FS Advanced
West Point Indifference (Brett Jack, Christopher Liggett, Griffin Strader, Daniel Sullivan)
West Point Dumbrow (Christian Beckler, Kurt Yeager)
Air Force Instinct (Robert Hemker, John Nygard)
West Point Marianne and AJ (Brett Jack, Christopher Liggett, Anibal Lopez, Griffin Strader, Daniel Sullivan, Michael White)
Novice: William Harris, UConn
Intermediate: Jonathan Primeaux, USAFA
Masters: John Nygard, USAFA
Novice: Kurt Yeager, West Point
Intermediate: Ben Barringer, USAFA
Masters: Alexander Meyer, USAFA
Classic Team Accuracy
Air Force Lawn Darts (Joshua LeMair, Alexander Meyer, Eric Wallace, Kyle Yohe)
The Most Competitive Collegiate Competitor medal, and winner of the Istel Scholarship, went to West Point Cadet Kurt Yeager.
Watch for complete coverage, including photos, in an upcoming issue of Parachutist.
After the first day of competition, despite a weather forecast of high winds and low clouds, the college competitors had completed one full round of the four scheduled in sport accuracy and, except for three re-jumps, two of the four scheduled rounds in classic accuracy. Unfortunately, Mother Nature delivered on her promise during the night, and the drop zone was dramatically pelted with torrential rain, turning Skydive Arizona into a lake. With gusty high winds, thunderstorms and more rain on the menu, day two’s competition has been put on hold. More to follow, check back for updates.
Ninety-two college skydivers from more than a dozen universities around the country are at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, south of Phoenix, for the 2010 USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships, hoping to take home the gold in any of the seven competition events.
Beginning today and going through January 1, they’ll compete in 2-, 4- and 6-way formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving, classic individual and team accuracy, and sport accuracy. The Collegiates Nationals are the longest running skydiving competition in USPA’s 65-year history.
Unfortunately, a frigid arctic air mass is trudging down the California coast, threatening the sunny, desert weather today and tomorrow. Temperatures, normally in the mid-60s this time of year, could drop to below freezing. But the students are excited to spend their holiday break in Arizona, hoping for the chance to earn the title of Most Competitive Collegiate Competitor.
Check back often for updates, and for more information visit http://www.omniskore.com/comp/2010/coll/index.asp.
The Australian Parachute Federation (APF) released a Technical Directive on December 17 as a follow-up to an earlier APF Technical Directive dated November 15, which had originally banned the use of the Aviacom Argus Automatic Activation Device by APF members. The latest Technical Directive now allows APF members to use the Argus AAD, provided the following requirements are met:
The British Parachute Association recently issued a similar notice that allows its members to use the AAD provided it is equipped with a cutter manufactured after August 2007. There has never been any restriction in the U.S. regarding the Argus, but USPA reported on Aviacom’s September 2010 public service bulletin that required replacement of the cutters before the end of the year.
International judge and USPA Board member Scott Smith reports he and Anouschka Gasson and Jami Pillasch, also international judges, are certifying a new world record claimed by 41 women from 11 countries who flew in a head-down formation over Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Friday, November 26, 2010. And what a resounding accomplishment they are claiming, more than doubling the current record of a 20-way set in Arizona two years ago. Organizers Arizona Arsenal, the vertical formation skydiving team from Skydive Arizona, are very excited about the spectacular feat and are proud of their friends and fellow skydivers. Watch for a full report in an upcoming issue of Parachutist.
The Australian Parachute Federation (APF) has recently issued a Technical Directive prohibiting all APF members from using the Argus automatic activation device (AAD) effective immediately. The grounding stems from two recent reports of alleged problems with the device’s cutters. Aviacom, maker of the Argus AAD, released a Product Service Bulletin in September that provides instructions for obtaining a replacement cutter. According to the Technical Directive, the APF will keep the Argus grounded until Aviacom provides a new cutter testing procedure that demonstrates that the new cutters are more reliable and superior to the original cutters.
USPA has received a Rigging Safety Notice from Airtec, manufacturer of the CYPRES automatic activation device (AAD). The notification is directed to all skydivers, parachute riggers and rig manufacturers. Questions about the notice should be addressed directly to Airtec or SSK Industries, the western hemisphere service center for the CYPRES. The notice is available here.
USPA board member and DZO Larry Hill has been named team manager for the delegation that will participate at the 2nd Dubai International Parachuting Championship & Gulf Cup January 5-17, 2011. According to the bulletin posted on the event's website, Dubai will host the following events: accuracy landing, 4-way formation skydiving—both open and female—and canopy piloting. Hill will use the results of the most recently completed USPA Nationals to extend his invitations to join the team. For more information or to express your interest in joining the team, please contact Larry Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After two spectacular weeks of competition, the 2010 USPA National Skydiving Championships ended Friday, September 24, at Skydive Chicago. With beautiful weather for most of the first week, all of the formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving and artistic events completed by Friday, September 17.
On the schedule for week two was canopy formation and style & accuracy. Despite multiple delays for low clouds and high winds, both events got in enough rounds to award medals. After a nail-biting finish in the accuracy event earlier in the week, the style event closed on the last day of the Nationals. Unfortunately, weather kept competitors from completing more than two rounds. But when the event wrapped up, James Hayhurst and Elisa Tennyson won the gold medals for both the individual style and individual accuracy events, making them the overall style & accuracy champions.
Skydive Chicago proved itself as an excellent host, providing superb air and ground support for all the competitors’ needs. Look for a complete report on the Nationals in the November issue of Parachutist.
The accuracy competition came down to a nail-biting finish on Wednesday, September 22, at the 2010 Nationals at Skydive Chicago. With ties for first place in both the men’s and women’s events after nine rounds, and a three-way tie for third for the men, round ten took off for an exciting conclusion. In the final round, Elisa Tennyson landed a dead center under pressure to take the top spot for the women, while Cheryl Stearns scored two centimeters to win the silver, and Laura Dickmeyer claimed the bronze. For the men, James Hayhurst also scored a tie-breaking dead center in round ten over Rick Kuhns’ one centimeter to earn the gold. Kuhns claimed silver, and Drew Riffle took home the bronze after a jump-off round against Jimmy Drummond.
Struggling with either high winds or low clouds throughout the week, the canopy formation (CF) and freefall style competitors managed to squeeze in a few rounds after the clouds lifted Wednesday afternoon. The CF events end Thursday with an awards ceremony, and the National Championships will continue through Friday with the remainder of the style competition. For complete scores, team photos and updates, go here.
The canopy formation (CF) portion of the 2010 Nationals completed Thursday, September 23, at Skydive Chicago. Despite a week of intermittent clouds and wind, CF competitors completed at least four rounds of all four events—2-way sequential, 4-way sequential, 4-way rotation and 8-way speed.
This year’s Nationals also included a ProAm test event, with two-person teams that paired novice CF jumpers with more experienced competitors, with the goal of increasing participation at CF competitions. At Nationals, teams completed two rounds of the ProAm.
Winning CF teams received their medals at an awards ceremony Thursday night. The first-place teams are Maytown Short Stack in 2-way, The Next Best Team in 4-way sequential, Motley CReW in 4-way rotation and Octogone in 8-way speed. For full scores, team photos and updates, go here.
On Friday, competition will wrap up with the remaining rounds of the style event, bringing to a close an exciting and fun-filled two weeks at the 2010 USPA Nationals at Skydive Chicago.
Week two of the 2010 USPA Nationals kicked off Sunday, September 19, at Skydive Chicago with the start of the canopy formation (CF) competition. The CF events began with 4-way sequential, and the four teams got through two rounds before the clouds moved in Sunday afternoon.
On Monday morning, the freefall style & accuracy landing competition began, with 33 accuracy competitors jumping hard all day. At the same time, the 2-way CF event started, with six teams completing six rounds on Monday before meet officials switched back to 4-way sequential for the remainder of the afternoon.
By the end of the day Monday, competitors had jumped eight rounds of accuracy, which completed the team portion of the event. (The first eight rounds count toward team scores, with the final two rounds counting only toward individual rankings.) Skydive Rick’s earned the gold in team accuracy, with USWON taking silver and Full Stack the bronze.
On Tuesday, the winds started blowing early, grounding both the style and accuracy events. The CF 4-way rotation teams got in three rounds before wind grounded them for the rest of the day, as well.
Both canopy formation and style & accuracy will continue throughout the week. For complete scores, team photos and updates, go here.
On Friday, September 17, at the 2010 USPA Nationals, the 10-way competition—the last of the formation skydiving events—and all the artistic events completed at Skydive Chicago. Arizona Airspeed took the gold in 10-way, followed by the Golden Knights and How’d I Get This Black Eye.
The artistic events had a strong turnout, with 16 freefly teams—10 in open and six in intermediate—and four freestyle teams. In the open freefly event, the two teams that represented the U.S. at the world championships in Russia took the top spots. SoCal Converge, the new world champions, won the gold medal for the third year in a row. Paraclete XP 3D, the world meet bronze medalists, took the silver, and team Scarecrow from the Ranch in New York took the bronze.
After a tight competition in the intermediate event, CK2 from Skydive Cross Keys in New Jersey took the gold in their first competition. Skydive Houston Outlaws won the silver, with WCFP and Air Force Instinct tying for the bronze. Because the artistic events are scheduled through Monday, a jump-off round will take place to break the tie once the weather clears.
In the freestyle event, the gold went to Dragons, the team from Skydive Arizona that won the bronze medal at last month’s world championships. Animare DeLand edged out the Melstarr Project to take home the silver.
Since all the formation skydiving and artistic events have finished, Saturday is a day off from competition. The 2010 Nationals picks back up on Sunday with the start of the canopy formation events, and style & accuracy begins on Monday. For complete scores, team photos and updates, go here.
The Golden Knights and Arizona Airspeed both set national records in the 16-way formation skydiving event Wednesday, September 15, during the USPA Nationals at Skydive Chicago. The teams both scored a blazing 21 points in round four of 16-way and will share the new record. Arizona Airspeed is also filing their jump as an Illinois state record.
All six rounds of 16-way completed Wednesday, with Airspeed winning gold, the Knights silver and Texas team Deguello the bronze.
Six open and six intermediate teams competed in the vertical formation skydiving event on Tuesday. After a dramatic finish in the open category, local team SDC Standard XP edged out last year’s champs, Arizona Arsenal, by one point. Arizona Drive finished in third. In the intermediate class, Rockwell Airtime from Utah placed first, SDC Substandard second and Pickup Stix third.
The VFS and 16-way winners received their medals during an awards ceremony Wednesday evening.
Thursday’s schedule includes 10-way, the final formation skydiving event, followed by a banquet that night.
For complete scores, team photos and updates, click here.
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