About 10-Way Speed
|10-way speed is actually the original competition formation skydiving
event, tracing its roots back to the early seventies (hey you
old-timers, send me some history and I'll elaborate here) before 4- and
8-way became mainstream events. 10-way was incredibly popular, often
attracting dozens of teams to the annual Z-Hills Turkey Meet and US
In the early days of formation skydiving, just getting everyone together into the formation was considered an accomplishment, and for a long time it wasn't a question of how fast can you build a 10-way, but how many could you get in before breakoff. As skills developed and 10-way formations became more of a gimme, the event evolved from "how many can we get in each time" to "how fast can we get in" each time. The rules evolved along with the event, and after teams figured out it wasn't too difficult just to take grips in the door and launch the 10-way, the "no-show" exit rule was created.
Then in the mid-80s teams captained by legendary competitor Carl Daugherty mastered the art of launching the entire 10-way formation as a single "chunk" from inside the airplane, often posting times in the range of 3 to 4 seconds. For the next ten or so years Daugherty's teams would dominate the event, winning the vast majority of gold medals through 1997.
The rules changed again for 1998, and the event went from a "speed star" to a "speed formation" using a pool of 12 formations and requiring the teams to line up single-file behind a diagonal line drawn on the floor of the airplane. This was an effort by USPA to return 10-way to a skydiving event rather than an exit contest, and the verdict is still out on the future of the event.