Saturday, September 25

Meet Director Chris Wagner hard at work checking the weather conditionsAnd the final day of competition has dawned at the 1999 US National Championships of Formation Skydiving. The Knights have withdrawn from 10-way in an effort to finish the other events; at any rate they will have to make 6 jumps today just to finish 4- and 8-way. Meet Director/Big Brother Chris Wagner will have his hands full trying to close out all the events in the scheduled number of rounds. I have just heard also that the Knights have waived the 6-jump rule to complete as much as they can.

The mail box was flooded again this morning, thank you all. Lots of thanks from folks who appreciate the video clip of Airspeed's 39-point jump (thanks Paul Q.). To answer the question how did I do it...indulge me here...

After the jump, I tried to think of a way to get it digitized and on the web. I had shipped my PII desktop here just for this kind of thing, but the capture card went tango uniform in transit, forcing me to use my laptop as a webcam machine with its Nogatech PC video capture card. I fired up the software and tried to capture a clip. 80% frame loss. Very bad. I tried it again at 100 X 75 pixels. Same result. A final try using "capture to memory" allowed me to get 37 seconds before memory ran out. How convenient! I networked the file over to my desktop and fired up Premiere. Ten minutes later I had the clip saved as a QuickTime movie. Then the hard took about 8 tries to upload that puppy to the server before it took. Success.

So to answer another e-mail, the answer is no, I can't do that for every jump, not even all the good ones. I will however see if I can get the Knights' 29-point 8-way up here, that one was really sweet.

S.D. & R.&R. - The Webmaster is the alternateHOLY GREEN CARD BATMAN! Guess what...unless the Knights have a really good day in 8-way, they are going to go home from this nationals without one single gold medal. Knights FX made Derek Thomas an alternate for 16-way, and he jumped in a slot on round 4. Derek is ineligible on at least two counts, so Knights FX is now a guest team. Wow...Deguello didn't even train 16-way this year, and they're going to go home with gold medals in the event! Now THERE'S one for the books!

Okay, moving on with 4-way Advanced. The 50% cut has been made and we're down to 8 teams. This one is a good race...Z-Spot round 9 is going's a 12, a VERY nice score for that round! That should tighten this one up even more...

Z-Spot dirt dives round 10Now the Knights' round 6 of 8-way is up...boy these guys look so smooth, did I say that already? And the score is...they need a 19 to keep their lead...and they have...a...ooh that last point is right on the time line, did they get it? The judges are doing a third viewing...oops there's a bust...and they're not going to get that last point, OUCH they busted three times and get a 18 busted to a 12. That smarts! The Knights are not having a fun day.

Back to 4-way Advanced, Euphoric put up a very nice 13, that's the best score of the round so far, and good enough to take the lead by one. Z-Spot needs a 13 to keep up and...they get a 12, and Euphoric takes a 1 point lead into the final round. What a race!

Lilac is all business for round 10...Regarding the world record performances by FX and Airspeed: The judges will be submitting paperwork for both jumps, in chronological order, so if everything checks out then FX will have held a world record if for a day. Credit to be given where credit is due.

10:30 a.m.
They are judging 4-way Open right now, trying to get through round 7 and 8. Last night, drinking brewskies at the tiki bar, I heard more than one team saying their goal was to not bust any more jumps. Okay, 4-way Open is now complete through round 7, and Space Center FX has jumped into second place by one point, with a little help from AZ Purple's bust.

With the exception of their busted round 4, Airspeed has posted the best score in each round of 4-way Open. Where is Maubeuge when you need just one more guest team to keep things interesting?

Mr. Van Wideman4-Way Advanced round 10 is now being judged, who will win this great battle? Z-Spot? Euphoric? Frost? Any crowd favorites out there? Well, let's see here...the winner is...nope, now they're judging Open Open is complete through round 8, and it's Airspeed out in front of Purple and FX. Back to Advanced...the envelope, please...what do you think Ed? Here we go...OUCH, Z-Spot just took it on the chin from the judges with two busts...and the winner is...FROST takes the gold! Euphoric in second and Z-Spot in third. Congratulations Frost!

12:00 noon
The Knights FX "guest" situation is making for a lot of tongue wagging around the DZ. Apparently Derek competed in the British Nationals -as a British citizen - and that makes him ineligible under the rules. When the Knights FX made him an alternate they either didn't know or Derek didn't tell them. 

Parachutist editor Nancy Koreen2:00 p.m.
The skies have cleared and we have started 10- and 4-way again...

Some lessons learned by competitors here this year:

  • The judges don't care whether or not you did the skydive correctly. They can only evaluate the footage you provide them. Period.
  • It is the competitors' responsibility to read the SCM from cover to cover and understand it completely before the competition begins.  (Example: the competition can require you to get on an airplane (make a manifest call).  They can*not* require you to get out at altitude if you think the conditions are unsafe.)
  • It doesn't matter what the competition schedule posted by the host says; once your event begins, you may be obligated to stay until the end of the meet to qualify as a winner.
  • Know each team members' eligibility before you register.

Knights FX / Derek Thomas Update: The Knights FX filed a protest regarding Derek's eligibility. The jury ruled that under 1-1.4 paragraph D of the SCM he is ineligible to win a medal at the competition. The paragraph says "Guest competitors and any competitor who has competed in any other country's national championships or represented any other country at an FAI-sanctioned world cup or championships in any competitive category in the three year period immediately prior to entering the US National Championships are not eligible to receive a US Nationals medal or to serve as US team members." The controversial part of this rule now is the part that says "and any competitor who has competed in any other country's national championships." Some may interpret this to mean that Airspeed is ineligible also because they competed (albeit as guests) at the Japanese Nationals this year. I see a rewrite coming on that paragraph next year! 

Meanwhile, 4-way Open is done through round nine. Airspeed has an 11 point lead despite busting the round, and FX picked up another point on Purple. Coming up, the last three jump in 10-way speed...

...and Roger Nelson's "Skydive Chicago STL" has won the gold in front of XTZ and Lebanon 10-way.

3:30 p.m.
...and the Knights FX / Derek Thomas controversy continues. Knights FX is now arguing that Derek never registered for the competition, and thus the team should just get a zero for the round and still remain medal eligible based on the previous jumps without Derek (Derek only jumped on round 4). Based on the way the meet has been run to this point that is a valid argument, and their round 4 is now becoming a zero and the team remains medal eligible. I can't wait to see how this mess plays out.

Now the judges are going through all the paperwork and finding all the teams that Derek has competed on...all those teams get zeroes for all their jumps...Derek is going to owe a lot of beer when this is all over!

It's amazing how much the e-mail dies when the weekend hits. Same thing happened last year. Everybody out playing and not surfing at work!

The banquet facility for tonight4-way round 10 is up next. Hey Col. Stahl - one of your soldiers is doing 4-way in pink panties! Can't tell which one, though. Purple just did a 19...FX, judges working, OUCH two busts for a 14, these judges are TOUGH this week...Airspeed up next...and they nail down another gold medal with a 19, and they finish with a 21.9 average. In both 4-way Advanced and 4-way Open, the second place team after nine rounds lost the silver medal on busts.

Thank you DD for pointing out my mistake on the front page, I had Z-Spot as the Advanced winner when it is Frost with the top stop.

BTW, since Knights FX lost their protest, that's $240 into the US Team Fund...

On to 8-way now, the Knights are doing round 9, and boy is it nice...a 26! Sweet! And now, but they've got at least one bust in there, they were moving right along...they got a 26 busted to a 22, now their lead is down to 2 points with one jump left. VERY interesting! The Knights look determined not to go home empty handed. Passion 8, here comes there final competition jump together in round 10. These girls should be very proud of themselves. Their score, an 11, they finish with an 11.7 average, a lock on the bronze medal. They sure are in good company with Airspeed and the Knights.

The Knights and AZ8 round 10 coming right up here to finish this meet up...GK up first...looks very nice, and it is a 22! AZ8 needs a 21 to win...the jump looks fast it?...OH NO, they busted just inside of working time! Holy smokes, they post an 18 and the Knights upset the defending champs 213 to 211! Wow what an ending! And the meet director just announced that 16-way has been called at 4 rounds, so THIS MEET IS DONE!

I'll have a final wrap on all this tomorrow, including a special little treat that I think you all will like. It's banquet time now! THANK YOU FOR VISITING OMNISKORE!