The USPA Board of Directors has adopted a selection method for the first U.S. Wingsuit Performance Team for the 2015 World Cup at Netheravon, U.K., in May. The team may include as many as 12 competitors. The first nine slots will be offered to the highest-seeded U.S. competitors drawn from the top three finishers at past Paralog Performance World Series meets (more recent competitions have greater weight than older ones):
2014 Performance Cup at Skydive Elsinore, California: 1. Travis Mickle, 2. Greg Marcinkowski, 3. Brian Caldwell
2014 Performance Cup at Skydive City Zephyrhills, Florida: Brian Caldwell, Travis Mickle, 4. Lori Butz
2013 Performance Cup at Skydive Elsinore: Brian Caldwell, 5. Simon Repton, 6. Joe Webb
2012 Performance Cup at Skydive Elsinore: 7. Scott Callantine, 8. Lawrence De Laubadere, 9. Scotty Burns
In addition, three team members will be selected from the top U.S. competitors at the upcoming March 28-29 meet in Zephyrhills. Other wingsuit competitors interested in being on the U.S. Team should send their competition histories to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered at the upcoming March 27-29 USPA Board meeting, where the Competition Committee will fill remaining slots. The committee will also discuss how to conduct team selection in the future and whether to hold a Wingsuit Performance National Skydiving Championships.
Please note that like World Cups in all other skydiving disciplines, USPA doesn’t offer any direct financial support. Team members are responsible for their own entry fees, travel expenses, team uniforms, etc. Already-seeded competitors wishing to compete must pay the $845 entry fee (by check or credit card) to USPA by 5 p.m. Eastern time March 26 to guarantee a slot on the team.
Following last October’s world-record-breaking leap from 135,897 feet, Alan Eustace and the StratEx Team are among this year’s nominees for the National Aeronautic Association’s prestigious Collier Trophy.
For 103 years the Robert J. Collier Trophy has been the benchmark of aviation and aerospace achievement. The NAA awards the trophy annually “… for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.” Previous projects, programs, individuals and accomplishments to earn the recognition include the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 8, Howard Hughes, the B-52, the Polaris Missile, the Surveyor Moon Landing Program and the Boeing 747.
Eustace, a longtime USPA member and a senior vice president at Google, teamed with Paragon Space Development Corporation for the StratEx Project. The successful jump on October 24, 2014, over Roswell, New Mexico, broke multiple world records: exit altitude above sea level—41,422 meters (135,897 feet MSL); vertical speed with a stabilizing drogue—1,320 km/hour (821 mph, Mach 1.22); and distance of fall with a stabilizing drogue: 37,623 meters (123,434 feet).
This year’s additional nominees are the Embraer Legacy 500, the F-16 Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance Team, the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, the Gulfstream G650, the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 and the Orion UAS Team. The NAA’s selection committee, which includes nearly 30 aviation and aerospace industry leaders, will select this year’s winner on March 11, and the NAA will announce the winner that evening at its Spring Awards Dinner in Arlington, Virginia. The formal presentation will take place at the Collier Dinner at a later date. More information is available at naa.aero.
Alan Eustace (left) and USPA Director of Competition James Hayhurst, the official observer for the record attempt, pose for a photo with the StratEx pressure suit and life-support system.
The USPA Board of Directors is seeking a USPA member from the Gulf Region to fill a vacancy on the board. Due to new job responsibilities, Gulf Regional Director Todd Spillers is resigning from the USPA Board as of the start of the March 27-29 board meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida. The board plans to fill the vacancy at that meeting.
USPA members in good standing who reside in the Gulf Region (Arkansas, Louisiana and eastern portions of Texas) are eligible for the position and must secure a nomination from a current board member to be considered. Between now and the board meeting, members interested in being nominated can email a resume or background information to USPA President Sherry Butcher or to the nominating board member. A list of board members and their contact information is available in the front of each Parachutist magazine and on the USPA website.
At the start of the meeting in Daytona Beach, the board will take the nominations and select the new board member. Nominated members in attendance will have the opportunity to address the board, and the successful nominee will immediately take a seat on the board for the meeting.
USPA would like to thank Spillers, who previously served as Safety and Training Committee Chair, for his service to the board and the membership. “Todd has contributed so much to Safety and Training and other committees since joining the board in 2007. He will be missed," commented Butcher.
In the annals of canopy piloting competition, the 5th Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Canopy Piloting Championships will surely go down as a championship of epic proportions—a world-class competition filled with chills, thrills, spills and mind-boggling performances. This was the first-ever Canopy Piloting World Championships on U.S. soil. The meet enjoyed outstanding aircraft, facilities and manifesting by the host, Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. The event was blessed with great weather and led by meet director and canopy piloting maestro Albert Berchtold. This all resulted in an amazingly efficient competition that finished a full two days ahead of schedule—even with 28 nations and 104 competitors taking part.
The rising tide of canopy piloting skill worldwide resulted in a slew of personal bests and new national, continental and world records. With a favorable five-meter-per-second tailwind in round one of distance, Nicholas Batsch smashed his own 2013 world record mark of 158.76 meters with a 167.88-meter landing, only to see Spain’s Pablo Hernandez land a mere two centimeters farther down the course to claim a new world distance record of 167.90 meters. In the same round, Cornelia Mihai of the UAE landed 161.50 meters down the course to outdistance all but a handful of men on the way to setting a new female world record. Not content to see his world distance record taken away without a fight, Batsch rose to Olympic heights in his last jump of the competition and flew the most amazing clutch performance of his life to go 169.19 meters to set a new world record. (Batsch also holds the distance world performance record of 222.45 meters that was set in 2011 under rules different from competition records.)
Reigning CP Overall World Champion Curtis Bartholomew of the USA retained his title that he first earned at the 2012 Mondial in Dubai. He was also the world cup winner at the 2013 World Cup of CP in Russia. Bartholomew flew consistently, scoring two of the fastest runs in speed to win the event, placing third in zone accuracy and fifth in distance to handily outdistance an extremely strong field. France’s Julien Guiho put in a strong silver-medal performance, while for the first time ever, a woman, Cornelia Mihai, claimed the bronze overall medal at an FAI CP World Championships, nipping the USA’s national champion Thomas Dellibac by less than a point. Overall, the U.S. Team did extremely well, taking medals in every event, with Jason Sanders winning distance—his first-ever gold medal at an FAI World Championships event.
Summary of the results:
Meet best: Sergey Romanyuk, RUS: 2.240 seconds, new general world record
Meet best: Cornelia Mihai, UAE: 2.339 seconds, new female world record
Meet best: Nicholas Batsch, USA: 169.19 meters, new general world record
Meet best: Cornelia Mihai, UAE: 161.50 meters, new female world record
Look for a full report in the January Parachutist. For complete results, go to the FAI Results Portal.
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