Skydivers will soon have a new way to improve their canopy flying skills. Members of the Performance Designs Factory Swoop Team and Skydive DeLand's Freedom of Flight Canopy School have joined together to create a new coaching project called Flight-1. The group will hold a series of canopy flight camps at Skydive DeLand beginning in February of 2004.
The project is being lead by Shannon Pilcher, Ian Bobo, and Scott Miller. Pilcher and Bobo are members of the PD Factory Swoop Team, and Miller is the Freedom of Flight Canopy School's Course Director. PD Factory Team members Heath Richardson, Jay Moledzky, and Francisco Neri will also participate, along with Freedom of Flight coach Jimmy Tranter.
Jumpers who attend Flight-1 Canopy Camps will make approximately fifteen jumps over three days, with classroom training and video debriefing sessions. Novice, intermediate, and advanced canopy pilots are all welcome to attend. The participants will be divided into groups based on their current skills, their experience levels, and the specific canopy skills they wish to develop. A separate coach will be assigned to each group. At the beginning of each camp the coaches will focus on developing "core" skills that form the foundation for the more advanced skills practiced later in the camp.
The members of Flight-1 bring an impressive combination of skill and experience to the project. Heath Richardson won 1st place at six different PST and Red Bull swoop meets this year, and finished in the top five at four other competitions. Jay Moledzky finished in 2nd place at five different meets, and together with Richardson earned 1st place finishes at three team events.
Ian Bobo won 3rd place in the Speed and Distance events at this year's IPC World Cup of Canopy Piloting in Perris Valley, and also finished 3rd overall at the meet. He finished in 1st place at the Red Bull Wings Qualifier at Skydive New England in July. Bobo also has extensive CRW experience, and was a participant in the 1994 World Record 47-Way Canopy Formation.
Shannon Pilcher finished 2nd at the Red Bull swooping finals in Cleveland this past August, and won 3rd overall at this year's SkyQuest Fantasy Swoop in Florida. He still holds the official swooping distance record of 418 feet, set during a Pro Blade Tour competition at Perris Valley in 2002. Bobo and Pilcher are both accomplished Formation Skydiving coaches and competitors in addition to their achievements under canopy, and are experienced canopy coaches as well.
Scott Miller opened the Canopy School at Skydive DeLand in 1999, and later joined with Jimmy Tranter and a group of DeLand's freefly coaches to form the Freedom of Flight School. The school has an impressive record of helping jumpers overcome problems with their canopy flying skills. In addition to running the school in DeLand, Miller has held over 25 canopy skills camps at other drop zones in the US and Europe during the last two years. He also spent five years working as PD's chief test jumper.
The Flight-1 team is initially focusing on the first series of camps, and will continue their individual coaching and skydiving activities outside of Flight-1. However, they believe Flight-1 has tremendous potential to expand in the future.
Flight-1 hopes to create an unparalleled coaching program that can meet the needs of canopy pilots across the entire range of skill and experience levels. They believe these camps will appeal to novice jumpers who are looking to develop good basic flying techniques, advanced jumpers who want to practice competition-level high performance landings, and anyone in between.
For more information visit www.flight-1.com or phone Skydive DeLand at (386) 738-3539.