Archive for the ‘canopy piloting’ Category

Records Broken at the Big Boy Pants CP Comp

August 1, 2011

A remarkable 10 national and world records (and 17 personal bests) were set by the world’s best canopy pilots at Mile-Hi Skydiving Center in Longmont, Colorado, this weekend. Highlights included the U.S. and world speed and distance records set in the female category by the PD Factory Team’s Jessica Edgeington (2.301 seconds and 168.32 meters, respectively) and the astounding world distance record set on the first day by Nick Batsch, who lives and trains at Longmont. Jumping only moments after PD Factory Team pilot Jonathan Tagle smashed the standing 181-meter record with a gorgeous 195.65-meter flight, the now-former record-holder Batch flew his NZAerosports “Petra” prototype a mind-boggling 222.45 meters to take his record back. Serving as a judge on the far end of the distance course along with Canadian judge Buzz Bennett, I was privileged to assist Bennett in marking the landing, which was then verified by Chief Judge Marylou Laughlin. It was a transcendent moment of sport for me (this after 40 years in skydiving), like watching Bob Beamon’s historic 29-foot broad jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Like Beamon’s world record jump, Batsch’s flight was aided by thin, high-altitude air and a tail wind of 6.7 m/s,  just under the limit of 7 m/s.

National records were also set by Jason Moledzki of Canada, Thomas Morris of Germany, Pablo Hernandez of Spain, and Edson Pacheco of Brazil. Only the world speed record of 2.093 seconds held by Golden Knight Greg Windmiller remained intact after the three days of blazing action, but not for trying, with two competitors, Tagle and Batsch, challenging the record with runs of 2.096 and 2.095 seconds, respectively. Meet sponsor Performance Designs awarded $2,000 to Batsch for his new world record, and an additional $4,000 in prize money was also given to the top five overall competitors: 1) Batsch, 2) Curt Bartholomew, 3) Moledzki, 4) Windmiller and 5) Hernandez.

The only serious injury of the competition was suffered by Warren Cleary of Georgia, who remains hospitalized in stable condition. Many of the prize winners and most competitors and spectators donated money to help Cleary, and the donations were generously matched by Mile-Hi Skydiving.

The FLCPA or PD Factory Team websites will soon be posting complete results.

– Jim Hayhurst, USPA Director of Competition


USPA Competition Blog – Big Boy Pants Comp

July 29, 2011

Who: 26 of the world’s best canopy pilots (by invitation only)

What: Big Boy Pants Canopy Piloting Record Attempts

When: Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31

Where: Mile-Hi Skydiving Center, Longmont, Colorado

Why: Set canopy piloting state, national and world records

Practice day is done, the competitor’s brief is complete, the course and judges are ready, and this morning begins the assault on the world’s canopy piloting records. General consensus, based on the practice runs yesterday, is that it’s not a question of if, but of how many times the world records for speed and distance will be surpassed. With the density altitude hovering at 8,000 from mid-morning to late afternoon, we saw some amazing speeds and distances on practice runs yesterday. Today we’ll begin with four rounds of speed, a right-hand carve with a slight following wind from the east. Everyone’s stoked about the format, which allows competitors to bail on bad or even mediocre runs, and then go right back up, make the adjustments, and go all-out on the next run. At the end of the competition, only the best three rounds of speed and accuracy are taken for each competitor, and the ranking from those two events will be combined with the best score out of two rounds of zone accuracy. Performance Designs has put up $6,000 of prize money—$2,000 for a speed world record, $2,000 for a distance world record, and $2,000 to the best overall competitor. My prediction is as follows: three new world speed records will be set, the best run will be sub-2.0 seconds; and six distance world records will be set, the best run will exceed 200 meters. Why fewer speed records? Because you still have to make it around the turn—the speed event is measured over a carving 70-meter arc, so it’s just like a Formula One racer going around a tight turn … you can only go so fast. Hence, the speed advantage of the thin air is limited by the radius of the turn. It’s going to be an exciting three days! Check back soon for updates and another post. I hope to have news of a new world speed record to report.

— James Hayhurst, USPA Director of Competition

Canopy Safety Discussion

October 13, 2010

One of USPA’s responsibilities is to track and analyze safety data, and disseminate it so that others can be aware of accident trends. My “Gearing Up” commentary in the October Parachutist was intended to elaborate on the recent advisory we sent out about the rising trend in canopy-related fatalities. [See advisory here.] The piece went on to describe the many steps taken to educate skydivers and mitigate the problem.

Already, the USPA staff and the board’s Safety & Training Committee are developing ideas on possible solutions to present to the full board. We’re doing so with an open mind and are trying to investigate all possibilities. Here are some of the questions we’re asking:

Does USPA need to …

  • alter the Integrated Student Program to include more canopy-skills training?
  • alter any licensing requirements to include more canopy-flight training?
  • certify canopy flight coaches and/or instructors?
  • require jumpers to attend dedicated canopy courses for licenses or ratings?
  • restrict wing loading by license level?
  • require DZs to post landing areas and patterns?

We’d like your thoughts, too. We’ve created a web page for you to post and share your comments. You’ll see a more in-depth explanation of our thoughts and you’re welcome to respond to those, or share your own ideas. We’re all in this together, and we’re all going to need to work together to reduce canopy-related accidents.

Just kidding about ABC World News Tonight …

September 17, 2008

We’ve just been told that breaking news is forcing the skydiving segment to tomorrow’s newscast. That’s if, of course, more news doesn’t push it back again. But it is in the queue.

Skydiving on ABC World News Tonight

September 17, 2008

Skydiving should be the closing segment of tonight’s ABC World News broadcast, unless it gets bumped by breaking news.

A couple of weeks ago Mile-Hi Skydiving in Colorado hosted USPA’s Canopy Piloting National Championships and two other swoop meets in a weeklong event billed as “Swoop Week.” Just before the start, USPA’s PR firm JWalcher Communications convinced ABC World News to send a crew to capture this exciting segment of our sport.

My job most of that Saturday was to assist the crew’s producer, correspondent, camera person and sound person in figuring out what to film, who to interview, etc. They interviewed Jessica Edgeington, Shannon Pilcher and me, and they filmed from many vantage points including from the airplane. We were sure to say that these were highly experienced athletes but who all started with their first jump. We’ll see tonight how they edited all of it, but we can be pretty sure it will make skydiving look edgy and exciting.

CP Nationals

August 21, 2008

For those of you sick of mind-boggling political scene, there’s something more exciting going on in Denver next week besides the Democratic National Convention. It’s the 2008 USPA National Canopy Piloting Championships, hosted by the Mile-Hi Skydiving Center in nearby Longmont. So far, over 40 skydivers have registered for the chance to become national champions in either the advanced or open class. And the top eight in the open class will be invited to join the US Canopy Piloting Team that will compete at the World Canopy Piloting Championships in South Africa this November.

It’s hard to disagree with someone when they say canopy piloting is the single most exciting spectator sport we have. And the dynamic duo of organizer Frank Casares and meet director Jim Slaton have proven they know how to put on a show. It’s not just a skydiving competition but an extravaganza like no other, with bleachers, narrators, food concessions and the thrill of professional (and not-so-professional) skydivers screaming across the huge pond through colored gates on their way to glory.

If you can’t make it to Longmont next week for the fun and excitement, check our news site for daily updates and pictures of the action. It should be worth your time.