World Wingsuit League - Results

    After countless days of rain, several postponements and even a cancellation in one of the events, earlier this week finally saw the World Wingsuit League's Tianmen Mountain Grand Prix Wingsuit Race take place.
    The Tianmen Mountain Grand Prix Wingsuit Race has been described by the WWL as "the F1 of the sky", where wingsuit pilots from around the world went up against each other and the clock as they fought for first place. The competition was held near the town of Zhangjiajie in the Hunan province, an area with some amazing scenery. The course was just over a kilometer long and had a vertical drop of around 880 meters. Each wingsuit pilot performed a solo jump, where they would leave the exit point, then look to fly around a ground-placed marker, proceed down the mountain and ultimately end up flying under a tramway cable, which was the designated finish line. There were 2 rounds per jumper in the qualifiers, followed by another 2 in the finals. You can also view a full list of the competition rules and procedures on the WWL website.
    This is not the first time that The Tianmen Mountains have seen a wingsuit event though, some may remember Jeb Corliss performing a fly-through of one of the caves in the area last year, an event which was widely publicized.
    The participants of the competition were 16 of the leading wingsuit pilots from around the world, with names like Jeb Corliss, Chris Mcdougall, Roberta Mancino and Jokke Sommer all taking part. The competition was originally scheduled to span over two days from the 13th to the 14th of October, but due to weather conditions, had to be postponed. The first round of the competition kicked off on Wednesday 17 October with the final round taking place on Thursday 18th.While no official statement on the matter could be found, word was that Roberta Mancino was unable to take part in the finals due to a conflict in schedule caused by the weather delays, which saw only 15 wingsuit pilots taking part.
    The event was streamed live online through Chinese television stations, which brought the event live to over 100 million viewers
    World Wingsuit League - Qualifiers
    The first round qualifies were a shock for many as majority of the 'big names' in the competition ended up without placing in the top 8, while the lesser known wingsuit flyers dominated. This was an elinimation round, where only the top 8 would progress through to the finals on Thursday.
    The results of the qualifying round were as follows:
    1. Julian Boulle
    2. Espen Fadnes
    3. James Boole
    4. Jeff Nebelkopf
    5. Tony Uragallo
    6. Jon Devore

    7. Jhonathan Florez
    8. Mike Swanson
    9. Ludovic Woerth
    10. Jokke Sommer
    11. J.T. Holmes
    12. Chris "Douggs" McDougall
    13. Jeb Corliss
    14. Joby Ogwyn
    15. Livia Dickie
    This result meant that Livia Dickie, Jeb Corliss, Chris McDougall, Jokke Sommer, Ludovic Woerth, J.T Holmes and Joby Ogwyn were all out of the competition. Which left a lot of people thankful that this isn't a betting sport.
    World Wingsuit League - Finals
    Weather conditions obliged with the jumpers again on Thursday allowing for the finals to take place. The prizes up for grabs in the finals included Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, as well as $20 000 USD for 1st place, $10 000 USD for 2nd place and a more than useful $5000 US for the third place finisher. A trophy would also be awarded to the wingsuit pilot who managed to perform the fastest single run.
    The results of the final round were as follows:
    1. Julian Boulle (South Africa) - 23.410
    2. Espen Fadnes (Norway) - 23.550
    3. James Boole (United Kingdom) - 23.844
    4. Jhonathan Florez (Columbia) - 24.154
    5. Jeff Nebelkopf (United States) - 24.251
    6. Tony Uragallo (United Kingdom) - 24.892
    7. Jon Devore (United States) - 24.945
    8. Mike Swanson (United States) - 25.137
    Congratulations to Julian, Espen and James on their results and for their fantastic racing. While the event had its hiccups in regards to weather delays, the event overall was a success with great viewership and an even greater display of human flight. We trust that the World Wingsuit League can grow from strength to strength in their organization of wingsuit events, and for an inaugural event - one has to be impressed.
    About World Wingsuit League
    The World Wingsuit League (WWL) was formed to meet the demand of “proxy flyers” for competitions that tested their skills not just against the mountains but against each other. It administers invitational wingsuit flying competition events worldwide in collaboration with event sponsors, venue owners and associated government agencies.
    The WWL was founded in 2012 by Iiro Seppanen and Frank Yang, co-owners of Pan Pacific Entertainment, a Hollywood-Based film investment, production and event services company with offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Beijing.
    Iiro is an award-winning producer with business and professional relationships around the world. He has produced and financed several film, television and event projects in the U.S. and China. He lives in Los Angeles and travels frequently to China and Europe. He is a retired professional parachutist whose career was cut short by injuries, and he now uses his contact network and resources to “give current athletes opportunities to compete for real prizes, get more visibility through our events for their sponsors, and help them to earn a living doing what they love.”
    Frank’s passion for the arts led him to finance and produce several entertainment ventures while living and working in Europe. Born in Beijing, China, he has lived and worked in Europe and North America for decades and travelled extensively throughout the world. Frank currently lives in Beijing, but visits the U.S. regularly to pursue his new-found passion of parachuting. He has more than 20 jumps as of this writing and looks forward “to the day when I too can realize the dream of human flight and fly a wingsuit down Tianmen Mountain.”

    By admin, in Events,

    World Team Fails to Break Record

    Photograph by Andrey Veselov/AP Attempts are currently under way in Eloy, AZ to break the two point big way world record. The World Team has 222 skydivers from 28 countries are working hard at carving their names into the record books. The goal is an ambitious one with the previous world record standing at only 110 jumpers, so should the World Team successfully accomplish their goal, they will have more than doubled the number of jumpers on the record that currently stands. The event is being held as the 20th anniversary event for the World Team.
    Training jumps began already on Friday, March 28 when warm weather and a light breeze offered the jumpers near perfect conditions for the first day of training. The first training jumps consisted of 4 groups of jumpers, a base group of 42, along with three other groups of 66. Initial jumps were quite successful with the base group managing to complete four successful jumps, while the groups of 66 managed to perform three jumps with two complete sectors on each jump. The record attempt schedule set three days aside for practice, with record attempts beginning on March 31st.
    On the second day of training the bar was raised with only two groups being created, as opposed to the four groups that jumped on the first day. The formation practice was now done via the formation of a 90-way and a 132-way. Each group managed to make four jumps on the day and again progress was clearly evident, as the jumpers gave it their all. Safety is always of the highest standard during big way events, and despite the extremely skilled nature of the team, the demands that a large scale record attempt puts on the competitors make it easy for concentration to lapse. The practice days of the event seek to slowly build up the quality of the jumps and move the team closer and closer towards the final goal.
    The final day of dedicated training began with some reshuffling of the formation sectors. The 132-way group which was operating on a full base got some practice in on the mini base by downsizing to a 90-way group, while the 90-way group from the day before would spend some time getting practice on the full base as a 132-way group. Practice on this day was cut short by 30-knot winds at 1600'. Time that was lost in the sky was spent by the team practising their jump with some dirt dives on the grass. Earlier in the day the 90-way team was able to make a first point completion, but the 132-way team was still struggling due to difficulties with the base.
    Record Attempts Begin
    The World Team began early on Monday, with a forecast for some less than ideal wind conditions later in the day. The plan was for a couple of final practice jumps in the morning before the record attempts would start, at around noon. The base managed to make two practice jumps, with only the Alpha team docking as one sector. The second jump provided a well established base and it was then decided for the record attempts to begin. The first jump would not seek for completion but rather aim to establish the build in stages. The base would complete and then allow the jumpers from the sectors to get into their quadrants and feel become comfortable with their position in the formation, there was no pressure for them to dock during this exercise. Unfortunately, as predicted, the wind did come up in the afternoon and cut the attempts short. The down time once again being used for dirt diving practice.

    Photograph by Gustavo Cabana/AP Improvements were made on Tuesday, 1st April when the team began practising achieving the full 222-way formation. The first jump of the day saw the teams beginning some of the docking on the base, while the second jump saw a further improvements in the attempt. The third and final jump of the day was the most successful with the formation then nearing completion. The team would look to then, on Wednesday further the progress and attempt to make their first point. Once the first point is made, the sights could focus on completing the two point formation.
    It was an early start on Wednesday when the team began through first dirt dives just after 06:30 in the morning, but before being able to get into the air at the scheduled time of 07:00, low cloud came in and caused a delay to the progression of the record attempt. The teams decided that they would spend the morning period while unable to get in the sky, to practice with smaller groups, which would then take to the sky once the clouds had passed. There were some changes to the base in order to give the group confidence that they would have a solid base to build on. The first jump after the weather cleared would consist of the 42-way base which would be docked on by a further 66-way group. This jump was extremely successful with the base building quickly and the remaining 66 jumpers slotting into position with good form; a 108-way formation was done to perfection and eyes then turned to the ultimate goal of completing the 222-way.

    Photograph by Andrey Veselov/AP The second jump of the day saw all 222 jumpers and come very close to completion. One of the sectors were complete while another fell just short. Overall things were very close, and hopes turned to being able to complete the formation and break the record later that day. Unfortunately however, the weather once again hampered proceedings and high winds meant that it would be the last jump for the day and attempts would resume on Thursday.
    Tragedy Strikes
    On Thursday, 3 April 2014 the atmosphere in the camp changed dramatically. Early in the morning one of the Diana Paris of Berlin, who was participating in the event suffered a malfunction. Paris, aged 46 was declared dead on the scene after her parachute was released too low, and unable to open fully prior to impact. Diana Paris was an experienced skydiver with over 1500 jumps. The team honored Paris later in the day by performing a "man missing" formation. The team have also decided that out of respect, they will not be replacing Paris for the record attempt, and instead will be aiming for a 221-way record instead of a 222-way.
    Despite suffering the loss of Paris, the team are still motivated to accomplish their record on Friday, the final day of the attempts.

    The Final Day
    The World Team returned to the record attempts on Friday morning, but were unfortunatly unable to complete the FAI sanctioned world record. Things were looking solid at the end and the team came extremely close, falling only two skydivers short of the record, with them being unable to link. As such an unofficial record of a 2-way 219-way skydive was achieved.
    Information sourced from The World Team Blog

    By admin, in Events,

    World Team Attempts 2-Point 222-Way

    Efforts are currently under way at Skydive Arizona to set a new world record for the largest sequential skydive. The World Team, comprising of hundreds of skilled skydivers from around the world is seeking to set a new world record by performing a 2-point 222 way. The attempts are currently under way, with jumping scheduled from the 6th until the 12th of April.
    The record jump is being organized by BJ Worth, who also organized the 400-Way world record largest freefall formation jump.
    An update on Tuesday from the World Team announced that no jumps able to take place for the day, but that they were looking forward to starting the 222-Way jumps on Wedneday.

    On Wednesday the 10th of April, the World Team posted a blog update with some videos, also stating that the second jump of the day looked very close to a complete formation. Weather conditions look promising for the remaining few days with light winds and sunny skies forecast, according to the aforementioned blog. With only two days left, time is running out - but given the positive post from yesterday, it seems that the record may well be set today, Thursday.
    The event also sees skilled aerial photographers such as Brian Festi, Bruno Brokken, Henny Wiggers, Luciano Basque and Igor Konstantinov behind their cameras.

    About The World Team
    The World Team is renowned for their impressive big-way events and after having been established in 1994, have performed a countless number of noteworthy big way events. In 2012 alone, the World Team performed a 104-Way sequential at Skydive DeLand in Florida, 125-Way 'Picture Dive' at Eloy, 100-Way sequential at Skydive Chicago, 50-60-Way sequential at DZ Tanay in Siberia as well as two other events which included a 222-Way at Skydive Deland.
    No doubt the most impressive accomplishment to date by the World Team was the 400-Way, setting the world record for the largest freefall formation; the event took place in Udon Thani, Thailand.
    The World Team claims to be about far more than just records. The diverse nature of the group, which transcends cultural lines - has brought together skydivers from around the world who have formed partnerships and bonds with team mates from other nations, with understanding and respect shown towards the various cultures that are included in the team.
    Editor's note: Since publication, the World Team successfully set the record for the largest sequential skydive. Congratulations to them!

    By admin, in Events,

    World Record for Largest Wing Suit formation Set

    Sebastian Florida: Skydive Sebastian and Skydiving.com teamed up this Saturday, March 3rd to help 19 skydivers set a new world record utilizing a newly innovated wing suit.
    Large webbing under the arms and between the legs of the specialized suit creates a wing like surface area that slows a skydiver's fall rate from 120 MPH to approximately 50-70 MPH. At the same time the suit increases the jumper's forward speed to over 80 MPH. The dynamics of the suit change the skydive to allow the experience of a 'flight' rather than just a descent.
    Jumpers used a tailgate airplane called a CASA, and exited from 14,500 feet. The team of 19 attempted the record three times before getting enough jumpers in a close enough formation to beat the previous record, organized in Vichy, France by Jean Loic.
    Jumpers exclusively used the "Birdman Suit" for the formation flight. The suit, manufactured by record organizer Jari Kuosma and Birdman International, is one of only two wing suit manufacturers in the world. The late Patrick De Gayardon invented the original Design. Globally renowned cinematographer, Norman Kent photographed the flight. Norman is known for his contribution to films such as "Drop Zone" and "Cutaway".
    Later this month in South Africa 10 jumpers, organized by Jari Kuosma of Birdman International, will take part in a historic and symbolic flight attempting to fly between two islands. The "Challenge of Freedom" flight will take place over four shark infested miles between Robben Island, the site of Nelson Mandela's captivity, and the western coastline. The "Challenge of Freedom" is set to coincide with Human Rights Day, March 21st, and dominate recent wing suit events.
    Vladi Pesa, based in Deland, Florida, is another pioneer of the wing suit phenomenon and was also involved in organizing the jump. His venture, "Wings and Things," concentrates on instructing wing suit jumping and cutting edge canopy swooping for both new and experienced skydivers.
    The world record took place at the Sebastian Skydiving.com boogie, a gathering of hundreds of international skydivers that launched the website's promotional and instructional summer tour of the USA.

    By admin, in Events,

    World Parachuting Championships 2016 - Wrap Up

    As the 2016 Mondial draws to a close it has got me thinking about what competitive skydiving means to our community as a whole. Most of the world has little or no idea that the act of falling from aeroplanes can qualify in form and function as a sport - let alone into the myriad ways of counting up points to assess who is the best at all its different disciplines. Many of us begin our careers in this same way - learning to skydive because it is exciting and cool before knowing anything about the existence of a competitive element. During the height of a serious competition it can sometimes seem a long road from those initial intentions of hoofing about in the sky with your friends - serious faces glued to monitors, disappointment in a missed move or a weak round, tension amongst a team, arguments about the rules and controversy over judging. With the pressure on it can be easy to cast an envious glance at the easy body language of the fun-jumper loads sprinkled here and there amongst the motivated and meaningful march of team after team after team.
    Yet competition is a big part is how we evolve. Gathering the most accomplished of our peers into a single place for the purpose of deciding who is best is a huge undertaking - the collected years of refined skill on display at a world level skydiving competition is amazing to witness and the sheer amount of training put into the last week or so here at Skydive Chicago often represents the accumulated knowledge of entire careers in the sky - years and decades - to which the end result of all this is more than simply deciding who is the best. Friendships are made and plans for the future created. Lines of communication are drawn across borders in the skydiving world where perhaps there were none. Skills in every discipline that have been honed to a fine edge over recent weeks and months scatter across the globe as this great swarm disperses - to filter back into the progress of skydiving’s nations, communities and individuals.

    Putting on the Mondial represents a three-year project for Skydive Chicago, and their attention to detail came together with few hiccups. The main issue they have had to wrestle is that the sheer amount of accuracy teams represented meant that despite recognising the task it and going hard from the start they were still trying to get finished after all the other disciplines had long since wrapped up their business. Medal ceremonies were held as the separate competitions ended - starting with the artistic categories, VFS and the eight-way awards first then moving through the others each evening that they finished. There are lot of disciplines at the Mondial which involves much applause, hugs, standing respectfully and proudly for national anthems, and positioning for endless photos. It was an entirely sensible choice to break the awards up over empty evenings as to do it all at once would take a long time indeed - yet this perhaps resulted in a slight sense of fragmentation after the grand communion of the opening ceremony and the weeks proceedings as teams began to scatter once their affairs grew complete. It might have been missing a trick to not keep everyone together until the end - giving the finale a touch more scale and bombast. Yet these are small things in an otherwise impressive undertaking.

    With the end in sight the SDC staff even put in the extra work to bring the banquet and party forward a day to breathe a little room into those tight travel schedules or perhaps allow time to pursue an adventure in the city - for which many are grateful. Many are now in debt to SDC for a free day through which to nurse a hangover brought on by the multiple encouragements of a table-service banquet, a local funk band, the famous SDC fireworks display and Jay Moledzki playing records late into the night.
    So what is next for us? New champions have been created and numerous wold records broken (some obliterated). What we could really use though is some more exposure for our sport. The people of Ottawa and the surrounding communities of Illinois have been as welcoming and hospitable as that for which the people of the United States are celebrated by anyone who has ever actually been here. However despite it being on their very doorstep, when you say “skydiving” and “world championships” together in a sentence there is that familiar battle behind people’s eyes between admiration and incomprehension as they try to commute one idea to the next with no frame of reference. With advances in training methods and equipment skydiving only grows more accessible so the way ahead is bright and clear. That there are places like Skydive Chicago in the world - with the space, support structure and lift capacity to make the demands of a forty-nation get together seem relaxed and efficient means we can plan healthily for the future competitive skydiving - building on our successes and see the sport as a whole continue to grow, educate and amaze people around the world.
    View full list of results here

    By admin, in Events,

    World Parachuting Championships 2016 - Introduction

    Photo by Joel Strickland There is much to love about spending time in America. For every little chuckle outsiders have about the way they do things here there is a cultural counterpoint that raises the place above its oddities. For every ludicrous psychedelic foodstuff lining the shelves of Walmart there is a dining experience that you will talk about forever, and for each curious use of language or baffling advertisement there is an example of doing things with such brio and flair it will makes you wish wherever it is you are from was a little more like it is over here.
    It has been a long while since the World Championships was held in the United States. Eloy presented the World Cup in 2005 but not since 1993 has skydiving biggest shown been to town. When discovering a place like Skydive Chicago it seems curious that it has been so long. Rook Nelson’s SDC is a great example of American bigness in the way the space and resources available here are presented. Manicured grass spills out and rolls off in every direction, looking for all the world like it is someone’s job to perpetually ride a mower in the manner of Sisyphus pushing that rock up that mountain. Uniform aircraft proceed in a unbroken cycle around a bespoke creation in a land-load-takeoff cycle eating up the ever increasing demand for lift capacity as one nation after another arrives to shake off the jet lag and get used to the place.
    By Friday the floorspace in the huge hanger is at a premium as there are more than 800 competitors from 37 nations scheduled to arrive from all over the world in time for the opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon. We are a well connected bunch so there is lots of catching up to do - perhaps just days have past between friends and rivals - or there are those have not seen since the last world meet in the Czech Republic two years ago. Teams weigh each other up. Progress is mostly hidden in the sky so much of the judgement is expressed about who has the nicest delegation gear to wear about while on the ground. This is parachuting’s biggest affair so everyone acts like it - style points, swagger, matching colours, matching luggage. The colourful menagerie of the length and breadth of skydiving is present - everything from nations where parachuting is largely a military concern representing proudly in canopy formation work and accuracy jumping, through the storied history and wide appeal of flat flying to the fresh faced kids turing up to throw down the new new way in the artistic categories.

    Photos by Joel Strickland

    Photo by Craig Poxon By the time Sunday morning arrives the place is packed out. A day of heavy rain broke the oppressive humidity of earlier in the week but also flooded out the ancillary dropzone at Cushing Field (‘Swamp’) - so every category is here trying to get in their final practice efforts. Jumping only goes until noon to allow for the briefings and draws and to allow time for everyone to get to town for the opening ceremony. The usually perfectly adequate manifesting software was been set aside in favour of good old paper and pencils for which the result is a gigantic snake of humans at the window putting names in for thirty loads down the line. Pressure builds as we get closer to the start of the competition and everyone is deep in their own affairs - but getting this done should be recognised as no small achievement by the SDC staff as half a dozen aircraft do multiple passes and multiple heights - juggling every single category and jumping everyone safely.
    Some nations present huge delegations for the FAI Worlds using their full allotment of qualifiable teams. France, Great Britain and the USA itself each bring a small crowd to Ottawa Township High School brandishing flags to be introduced and applauded in turn. It is the smaller delegations though that raise the biggest cheers - the UAE has three representatives, Israel two, but the crowd rise to their feet for Cuba and India - nations both with a single member in the competition.

    Photo by Will Penny The UK is not so far removed from the USA - we have been trading culture back and forth for a long time. Even so the images of a thousand movies echo in my imagination as we parade around the local high school football field in our delegation uniforms and it makes me wonder how representatives from more exotic nations find it here. The bleachers, the line of proud veterans with old bolt-action rifles, the national anthem perfectly timed with a formation flypast from the SDC aircraft and an enormous flag demo - Old Glory blazing in the strong afternoon sun. Americans are good at this stuff.
    The competition kicks off in the morning with an early start for some and a more relaxed call of noon for others. For now though we are thirsty and intent on embracing the invitation of hospitality from the mayor and the local community as we ooze out of the school into the town and the setting sun.
    Stay tuned for further updates out of Skydive Chicago by Joel.

    By admin, in Events,

    World Parachuting Championships 2016 - Day 4 Update

    Henrik Raimer by Daniel Hagström
    There is so much going on across the Mondial proceedings that keeping abreast of everything that is happening is probably impossible.
    As a competitor you are acutely aware of how well you are doing, your personal battles and what is going on directly above and below in your table. You are also probably loosely aware of what is playing out throughout the rest of your category but likely not the specifics. You might have a general picture of how the other members of your nation are doing, discussed in the downtime in your delegation tent. By the time you are reaching across the disciplines to those with which you have few connections the myriad complexities, technical acumen and gatherings of points can quickly retreat into mystery.
    Early call times and some long waits for the right conditions give people a chance to mooch around and learn a bit more about the strange animals on display. An important thing that one can and should take away from this event is that no matter how askance you look at the disciplines somewhat removed from what you do personally, and no matter how much more exciting and important you think your jam is - everyone here is under the same pressure and dealing in equal measures of precision to get the job done.

    Solaris Freestyle by Nicolas Campistron
    At this mid-point through the scheduled days the logistics and weather considerations mean that some disciplines are nearly complete, while some still have the lion’s share to go. The Accuracy area has proven a bit of a draw throughout some long hours when prohibitively low cloud puts paid to any freefall activities - there are something like two hundred representatives doing ten rounds each so they descend carefully from the sky in a seemingly endless precession as human after human plops down onto the pad with a projected sharpened heel presenting a score, most often just a mere couple or few centimetres from the dead centre - which when hit is celebrated with a ripple of applause and a happy squeak from the machinery.
    Formation Updates
    Formation Skydiving is serious business - with a level of skill and technical mastery that takes years to perfect as you evolve through the platforms. Belgium’s Hyabusa have been running away with the open category while a tight battle is playing out in the women’s category between the U.S. Golden Knights and the French ladies with at times just a single point a separating them. Talk of the town here is how much the Qatar team have improved and now throw down proudly in the middle of their peers despite only having become licensed skydivers in 2012.
    French Domination
    The French delegation get good support from their government throughout skydiving and as such their depth of skill is on display across the whole championships. Canopy Relative Work has Frenchies in strong medal positions across the three categories but at this point the exciting part is that both the French 4-way Rotation team and the Qatar 4-way Sequential team have broken world records early on then both proceeded to repeat the feat through subsequent rounds - Qatar doing so a half-dozen times.
    What's happening in freefly
    On the Freefly side of things, local team SDC Core have cleaned up in the business of turning points in VFS - yet despite being far enough out in front for it not to matter were forced to express some concern over a series of busts throughout one round for the same thing over and over which was explained away as them ‘doing it too fast’ even when reviewed on 70% speed.
    In the Artistic categories there is always the thorny issue of exactly what the judges like and don’t like, and the discrepancies between that and the points awarded and the opinions of the flyers taking part. This world meet is turning out to be the same story over again as the consensus of opinion from many of the teams is at odds somewhat with the positions on the scoreboard. However - few would argue that the Russians have been leading the way in Freefly for a few years now with amazing creativity and precision. The truest sign of being on top of the pile in freefly is that a lot of other performances start to look a bit like yours - and the Tunnel Rats influence can be traced down through the scoreboard. Freestyle is another category largely ruled over by the French, with their two teams battling it out for gold and silver by a clear margin. Freestyle is evolving and with a strong showing this year, interest from many other countries and a new generation of born and raised flyers on the way things look to be very exciting from here on.

    German Accuracy by Matthias Walde
    Team dynamics are interesting and complex - there is always a fair amount of conflict and cat-herding even amongst smaller teams, so it is no surprise that the very best 8-way FS teams are military concerns with the discipline and organisation to make it work. On the back of previous victories the Golden Knights are way out in front and show no signs of slipping. For me, the 8-way competition is the most interesting outside of my own as you can kind of make it out from the ground while laying back on an inflatable crocodile in the SDC pond.
    Big numbers in the speed skydiving category
    The biggest surprise of the event so far has come in the Speed category - Sweden’s Henrik Raimer not only broke 500km/h for the first time in an official competition but recorded a new world record with a difficult to comprehend 601km/h. For context - the speediest of the other forms of competitive skydiving operate at around half of that. This is like turning up at the Olympics and running the hundred meters a couple of seconds faster than everyone else. Zoom!

    By admin, in Events,

    World Games 2013 - Results

    After three days of lead changes, wild weather and nine intense jumps, Team Alter Ego member Curt Bartholomew added Canopy Piloting Gold to the USA medal count at the 2013 World Games, continuing his reign as the #1 Canopy Pilot in the world.
    “This was a super tight competition in the hardest conditions I’ve ever flown in,” Bartholomew said after the competition.
    Chosen as one of only six US Canopy Pilots to compete at the World Games (held every four years and organized by the International Olympic Committee), Bartholomew was the seeded #1 Canopy Pilot going into the competition, which began last Thursday.
    Only the very best Canopy Pilots in the world received an invitation to the World Games, and 36 champions had their eye on taking the top spot in the highly-coveted and highly exposed World Games.
    Having dominated the competition scene for the past year and a half, winning the last two world competitions (2012 World Canopy Piloting Champion and 2011 Dubai International Parachuting Champion), Bartholomew was in the crosshairs and an intense showdown was imminent going into the World Games.

    Bartholomew was bested by teammate Nick Batsch at the 2013 US Nationals Championships and has been healing after an injury that occurred late in his regional Florida Canopy Piloting Association Championship run. In addition to Batsch, seven-time World Champion Jay Moledzki was fresh off a Canadian National Championship win and had his sights set on earning Gold at the World Games.
    Throughout the competition, Bartholomew, PD Factory Team members Pablo Hernandez and Moledzki moved around the top 3 spots, with lead changes as close as 0.4 points separating first and second. Going into the 3rd and final day of competition, the scores pointed to a showdown between Bartholomew and Moledzki, with Hernandez taking 3rd. Batsch would earn three 100 scores during the competition and set a World Games Distance Record at XXX meters, but stumbles in the first two rounds of Zone Accuracy left him short of the podium in 4th place, missing 3rd by 1.5 points.
    An upset was plausible with any given event, though, as the top 10 were within striking distance if one of the top three had even one bad round.
    Moledzki would end the competition in 9th, with fellow PD Factory Team member Thomas Dellibac taking over 2nd place on the podium. Dellibac posted consistent scores throughout the competition, which allowed him to capitalize when Moledzki posted a 67.032 to Dellibac’s 92.307 in the first event of the day, Zone Accuracy. Dellibac also outscored Hernandez, closing the gap to 2nd and 3rd. Dellibac bested Moledzki by 9 points and Hernandez by 18 points in Speed for the second round of the day and had the podium in sight. When Moledzki scored only 3 points in the final Distance round he dropped unexpectedly to 9th and Dellibac sealed the silver by outscoring Hernandez by 11 points in the round. Positions 2nd, 3rd and 4th were only separated by 1.5 points between each rank.

    “I’m last out. I watched all the key players throw down, with Curt landing right before me,” Moledzki wrote to his Facebook fans after the competition. “I saw the mark, I knew what was necessary to beat it by enough to pass and regain the lead. I put the hammer firmly down and brought mega heat to the gate, but couldn’t keep it below the marker. I didn’t come here to get a silver medal”.
    Hernandez fought throughout the competition with only Speed showing as an achilles heel. In a dead heat for Gold with Bartholomew and Moledzki, some would say his time to be on top of the podium is due.
    Bartholomew never fell below 3rd place, and his consistency in producing solid scores in each event allowed him to finish a full 45 points ahead of the silver earning score. He was also awarded “Athlete of the Day”, chosen out of 4500 athletes also competing on August 4 and joining only 29 other competitors who were chosen among a pre-selected jury.
    “2013 World Games Champion. I’m still wrapping my mind around that,” Bartholomew said. “I will remember this one for the rest of my life”.
    World Games 2013 Canopy Piloting Top 10:

    1. Curt Bartholomew (USA)

    2. Thomas Dellibac (USA)

    3. Pablo Hernandez (ESP)

    4. Nick Batsch (USA)

    5. Andrew Woolf (AUS)

    6. Brian McEnney (USA)

    7. William Sherman (UAE)

    8. Timothy McMaster (UAE)

    9. Jason Moledzki (CAN)

    10. Roman Dubsky (SVK)
    The global canopy piloting competition season is just beginning, with Bartholomew, Batsch, Hernandez, Dellibac and fellow US Canopy Piloting team members, Gage Galle, Scott Harper, Ian Drennan, Jason Sanders, Ian Bobo, Jessica Edgeington, Mikael Stevens, Greg Windmiller and Robert Wallace head to Kolomna for the 7th FAI World Cup of Canopy Piloting August 24-30.
    Remainder 2013 Canopy Piloting Season:
    August 15 - 18: Pink Open (Klatvoy)
    August 24-30: 7th FAI World Cup of Canopy Piloting (Kolomna)
    October 9 - 13: SunPath Products Canopy Piloting Open (Raeford)
    October 16-20: PD Project Orange (Zephyrhills)
    November 27 - December 10: 4th Dubai International Parachuting Competition (Dubai)

    World Games Competition Recap

    Day One:
    Only 2 rounds of competition were able to be completed on the first day of competition, and Moledzki quickly established a double digit point lead after a 1st place Zone Accuracy and 3rd place Distance finish. Bartholomew was comfortably in third while Batsch struggled in Zone Accuracy and ended the day in 17th. The final day’s Speed event was not able to be completed due to high winds.
    Day Two:
    By far the most tumultuous day of the competition, four rounds were completed and resulted in several lead changes.
    Beginning with Zone Accuracy, Bartholomew set the pace for the day by scoring 100 points in the round. Moledzki’s score of 88 put Bartholomew win 2 points of the overall lead. Batsch, however, struggled with a low Zone Acc score and was in danger of falling out of contention.
    The Distance event followed and Batsch laid down a 134 meter run, comfortably taking 1st and gaining position. Bartholomew, meanwhile, gained another 9 points on Moledzki with a 2nd place 128 meter run. 3rd place was taken with a 117 meter finish by Pablo Hernandez, who had been in the top 3 with Bartholomew and Moledzki throughout the competition.
    Many competitors were able to make gains in the point tallies following the completion of two speed rounds where the top 3, Bartholomew, Moledzki and Hernandez performed in the middle of the pack, allowing Batsch’s 2nd 100 score of the competition to put him in the top 10 and within striking distance of a podium finish.
    Day two ended with only 0.4 points separating 1st place Moledzki and 2nd place Bartholomew. Hernandez stood in 3rd, 18 points behind the leaders.
    Day Three:
    Beginning, again, with Zone Accuracy, Bartholomew tied for 1st in his strongest event while Moledzki fell 30+ points with a 67.032 score.
    Only the top 18 competitors moved on to the final Speed round, where Batsch further closed the gap on the leaders with a 95.996 score. Bartholomew, Hernandez and Moledzki all scored less than 84, allowing the field to make huge leaps in points on the leaders. Going into the final round of the competition, Bartholomew held a 23 point lead over second place Moledzki and Billy Sherman, who had taken over third from Hernandez.
    In the final Distance event, Batsch scored his third 100 of the competition and set a World Games Distance Record with a 144.77 meter run. Bartholomew ended right behind with a 142.85 meter distance jump and solidified his Gold win. Meanwhile, Thomas Dellibac from the USA, had been landing consistently solid scores and had been sitting within striking distance of the leaders throughout the competition. After besting Moledzki and Hernandez in the the last two rounds of the competition, he earned Silver overall, with Hernandez earning Bronze.
    Photo credit: World Games 2013
    Flickr Stream of the Canopy Piloting event:

    By admin, in Events,

    World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2016 - Part 2

    With the conclusion of the FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2016 we have proved a few things, re-affirmed some others and learned a couple more. The standard of flying on display and the speed at which teams of humans fling themselves around the tube has been of an eye-bulging, jaw-dropping standard throughout. Dynamic teams are separated by the kind of times that require lasers to accurately judge and the 4-Way scores can be upwards of forty points. Juniors in every category across the competition demonstrate that they are skilled and able to step up and battle the grown-ups whenever they choose that they are ready.
    The Dynamic 2-Way competition kicked of with everyone fighting for where they would be seeded into the knockout stage. The eight fastest teams got a buy through the early battles with the exception of the 2015 Suisse 1. Defending world champions Filip Crnjakovic and Fabian Ramseyer made a small early error which snowballed into them performing a whole speed round the wrong way - and subsequently had to work against some strong mid-table opponents to make the finals. Tie-break speed rounds separated the positions at the top - with the Polish Flyspot locals the Vipers taking the gold after sub-one second wins over the French team from Windoor. Special mention should be made for crowd favourites iFly Aspire (Kayleigh and Noah Wittenberg - formerly of Mini Maktoum) and Firefly Singapore (one of which - Kyra Poh - won gold in the Junior Freestyle) as both teams are now competition veterans despite being children - who place among the highest level and are certainly capable of victory.

    The battle raged in the 4-Way Open between Belgium’s Hyabusa and the French team representing the Weembi tunnel (counting a former Hyabusa member among their number) as the two traded rounds until the later part of the competition where the Belgian’s took it. After a slow start the French ladies began to put up scores in the 4-Way Female that would see them place highly in the open category - leaving the two British teams Volition and NFTO to weigh each other up for the remaining positions on the podium. A very healthy turnout of 8 teams for 4-Way Junior saw the Canadians win a gold, with France occupying 2nd and 3rd and proposing that the next crop of French flyers might represent as strongly in skydiving competitions as the current generation. VFS was all about the imperious performance of Mondial champions SDC Core - who intend to continue for for another few trips around the calendar and don’t show any signs of being beaten just yet. However, the young Golden Knights team are looking promising after their battle for Silver with the Russians and have vowed to go hard into next season.
    If they can bring the same pedigree to their new vertical team that the Golden Knights have to their FS interests things might get very interesting.

    The last few competitions have seen indoor Solo Freestyle settle into a legitimate position in the proceedings (and gather a huge number of views with some viral videos) and things are only getting more interesting. The standard of this gathering was high enough that a few mere tenths of points arranged the rankings. Interested competitors now seem to understand that cobbling together your best tunnel moves into a loose sequence is not enough to play at the top - that you have to present all the details properly.
    While not a competition in which music was a part of the rules, many believe it was successfully demonstrated that a well choreographed routine is only added to by a soundtrack - although it remains to be seen exactly how far this element of the format can be taken as the balance between theatre and the parameters actually written down caused some conflict between the judges scores. Leonid Volkov came from Russia with seven separate routines each accompanied by its own piece of music - yet went home with a Silver medal. There is certainly something to be said for that kind of effort and variety but the ruleset does not specify any criteria for rewarding it. He was beaten but one tenth of a point by Finland’s Inka Titto who performed an intricate, technical free round built from the kind of moves the rest of us can only dream of.
    Some scuttlebutt about the nature of the competition - that modern tunnel skills are somewhat overlooked in favour of classical freestyle - can be analysed in the battle for third place. Mad Raven Martin Dedek of the Czech Republic beat young Polish local Maja Kuczyńska to the bronze medal by the same single tenth that decided the top two with a fast, powerful dynamic routine that included enough creative elements and concessions to presentation to secure the win over Maja’s prettier, more classical set.
    This has been the first competition in which the entries in the Dynamic flying category has outnumbered those in the 4-Way open. After some dismissive thinking and comment over the elitist nature of high-end tunnel flying over recent times - that it is solely the province of tunnel instructors and professional coaches - the amount of non-pro and aspiring teams is growing all the time. This reflects the advances we have been making in teaching technique and the accessibility of our sport as a whole. Despite tweaks from one competition to the next - the rules and competition format work with some efficiency, and the rate at which tunnel facilities are sprouting up out of the earth like mushrooms with no signs of slowing down means these world gatherings look set to carry on and continue to grow.
    Full results can be found on the official IPC website at: http://ipc-wcresults.org.uk/
    A wealth of images and more information is available on the WCIS Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=2nd%20fai%20world%20cup%20of%20indoor%20skydiving

    By admin, in Events,

    World Cup of Indoor Skydiving 2016 - Part 1

    Over the last few years - as tunnel competitions have grown ever more popular - it began to look increasingly necessary that some kind of formalisation was in order. A small central element of the involved and interested had been doing a splendid job of arranging indoor skydiving competitions, yet the exponential growth of the industry was bringing with it showdowns of condensing frequency - to the point where it was creating an overall muddle in which not a handful of months would pass without a new set of winners earning a small window of opportunity to declare themselves and be declared the best in the land - right up until the next gathering rolled around.
    Alongside a strong sense of independence from the tunnel community there was a building desire for more intricate and complex measures that could and would validate victory in the form of accepted world champions with trophies and medals and such. Despite the obvious symbiotic relationship between the sky and the tube there was no small resistance to the idea of joining forces with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and although it seemed some form of cooperation was a likely outcome - voices could be heard on both sides of the line.
    Maja Kuczynska Perspectives were argued and both had validity. One view held that the FAI was nothing to do with the tunnel (A somewhat ironic switcharoo from the resistance indoor flying was subject to from skydiving traditionalists in its primary years as not being ‘proper’) and that the tunnel community had been doing a bang-up job so far, so what were they really offering other than to assume control over something that belonged to us?
    Yet with the increase in scale across all areas of tunnel business there was the question of the organisational structure that could be offered - was the flying community able to manage all of the bureaucratic considerations for operating what are now truly widespread international shenanigans? Could they create and produce all of the documents suitable and necessary to conduct professional sporting events? The office nitty gritty and the formational nuts and bolts? Who was going to do all that?
    On the other side - throwing in with the FAI meant access to a support structure that has been in place for many years across myriad airborne disciplines - including the ones out there are already related to skydiving. However the FAI might bring with it the problems that have become routine in artistic skydiving competitions - issues with judging, format and structure and an unwieldy ability to change enough and fast enough despite being continually presented and queried about the problems - thus hanging an albatross around the neck of something that is moving too quickly and altering form from one event to the next while still finding its feet and discovering the best way to find out who is the best.
    After some to-ing and fro-ing the result was more-or-less ‘Let’s give it a try and see what happens’. The proof would be in the pudding.
    After a tentative first go at iFly Austin in 2014, the Hurricane Factory in Prague hosted the first formal World Indoor Skydiving Championships a year later with broad success, and now with over 200 teams from 29 countries spread across 4-Way Open, 4-Way Female, VFS, 2-Way Dynamic and Solo Freestyle descending on Poland’s FlySpot on the outskirts of Warsaw - it would seem that the overall appeal has proved the relationship to be valid as the World Cup 2016 gets going.
    Opening Ceremony Notably absent from proceedings is a 4-Way Dynamic competition. 4-Way Dynamic is the most dazzling display of what can currently be done in the tunnel and it is a shame that not quite enough teams were ready for this one - also likely indicative of the combination of high difficulty and a still shifting dive pool that sees teams struggle to commit or even spit up into the 2-Way competition.
    There is also a strong turnout in the Junior Freestyle category, with two thirds as many members as the open version and many kids also present across the belly competition. Everyone has been saying it for years - that the next generation of flyers, raised up in a tube before having anything to do with skydiving would soon be upon us. Well, with some of even the smallest participants electing to fly with the grown-ups and earn their way on a level playing field - here they are.
    Many here keenly feel the absence of two of our best loved and most talented individuals, both of whom we lost to accidents in the mountains this year while pursuing their dreams - Ty Baird, a peerless, perma-smiling ambassador for the sport in general and FlySpot in particular, and Dave Reader - equally influential in quieter ways. The fingerprints of these two are all over the place - not just directly on how people fly by way of their students - but on the evolution of the very techniques we use and also on the composition of some of the elements of the competition itself. They are much missed.
    Each time out things are bit bigger and a little smoother. The rules are starting to settle into a reliable shape, the technological gremlins behind the scenes are becoming more manageable, the live presentation gets a bit slicker and as a result our exposure to the outside world a little wider. There is still some work to do to perfect the system, but everything is only getting better - which just leaves us wondering exactly how many people it might be possible to fit in this room to watch what unfolds over the next few days.
    More information, including the live stream, is available at http://wcis2016.com

    By admin, in Events,