Monday 9 September

The first call for 8-way is in fifteen minutes, and the webmaster is busy making all the team pages...looks like a good turnout for 8-way...

...two hours later, most of the 8-way team pages & photos are posted and we're almost done with round one...

Team USA?
This is the most interesting 8-way nationals event in many years (dare I say ever?). There are basically four premium teams here in legitimate contention for a gold medal: Arizona Airspeed 8, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, DeLand Majik, and Arizona Vengeance. I have brought the question up to a member of each team: If you win 8-way, will you represent the USA at the World Meet next year? Their answers were, in the order mentioned above, that's the plan, absolutely, very probably, and hell yes. And in round one here this morning, their scores were 16, 14, 14, and 14. This is indeed going to be very interesting. If Airspeed 8 wins, it will flip the traditional model of a military 8-way team and a civilian 4-way team representing the USA at a world meet. Wouldn't that be a hoot!

Thank you all for the wonderful emails, we appreciate it. To the two of you out there still using an earlier version of Netscape, I apologize for the ugliness of these pages. To the other two who yanked my chain for using frames pages, I have two things to say: 1) this nationals coverage already consists of over 400 files and 2) PLPLPLPLPLPLPLPLEWY ON YOUY for not being here to help ;-)

Round two of 8-way under way, my old Deguello buddies from Texas look really good as usual, but they're not going to touch Airspeed's 20 on the second jump...ooh, I think Airspeed got away with one on that second set of pods, but they get a clean 20 posted...the most important score from yesterday: Houston Texans 19, Dallas Cowboys, 10, teeheehee...

Vern Corrects and Clarifies Yesterday's Bit of 8-way History:
"1998 Airspeed beat the Knights in 8-way but had no intention of giving up 8-way at the World meet in 99. Knights beat Airspeed at 99 nationals( can't remember if it was before or after the World Meet). Airspeed then won the 2000 US team selection in both events but offered to let the Knights take 8-way. It was then that the commander declined and not in 98 as mentioned in tidbits."
- CW2 Vern Miller

(Vern was a member of the Golden Knights 8-way teams in question - T2)

Thanks Vern! Great to hear from you! I also heard from another former teammate, Carey Mills, currently flying combat missions in secret places.
Editorial: Golden Knights are True Champions
Most of the emails circulating through my mail boxes about the 4-way Open results were overwhelmingly positive, but there were several that made my head spin. There are apparently quite a few skydivers out there who are not particularly fond of the Army Parachute Team, for reasons that range along the lines of "They're spending my tax money to beat civilian teams" and "We can't compete with the resources of the military" and "they're not from normal drop zones and they don't represent normal skydivers" and so on.


Yes, your tax dollars support the Army Parachute Team (funny it is that when the government spends money on good things it's just some federal dollars, but if it's bad it's suddenly "our" tax dollars being wasted). Well, where do you think Airspeed or Majik get their money from? You! When you pay for a new XXX brand canopy and YYY brand container, don't you know a chunk of that money is going to sponsor teams? Aren't you aware that when you pay to jump at Skydive Arizona or DeLand, you're also paying for Airspeed and Majik? The military has a long history of supporting athletic teams. Why not skydiving? We should welcome this investment of our money with open arms.

It would be one thing if the Army team were a group of perennial losers; then even I -- especially I -- would be complaining about the waste of tax money. But the APT has a long history of excellence and giving back to the sport that goes well beyond the tax dollars spent. They have won numerous world meets for the USA that would in all likelihood have been lost to foreign (government sponsored!) teams. And they are not just military, they are us. They go around to different drop zones, they coach many teams, and they freely share their knowledge and videos. Team captain John Hoover is a long time contributor to Skydiving Magazine. Teammate Eric Heinsheimer was a long time Perris competitor before joining the team. These are skydivers like you and me, and I think I speak for the vast majority of skydivers when I say I am proud to have them represent our sport and country at the next world championships.

Of course, most of you already know all that, but I wanted to say it anyway. (Full disclosure: I was a member of the team from 1991 to 1996 and I fully enjoyed spending your tax dollars, at least those few I could get my grubby paws on.) - Tim Wagner

Sorry, I got distracted for a while there, after two rounds of 8-way it looks like Airspeed 8 wants to nail this one down early. They look really sharp in the early going...

...round 3 Open is a trip to watch: for four straight formations, not a single team member makes so much as a 45 degree turn (zipper flake > open facing diamond > arrowhead > long diamond)...Airspeed just tore it up for a 23...

Photo by Brian Darnell1430
Sorry for the delay, but now I can officially report that those delightful looking chicken quesadillas that I've seen coming out of the kitchen are indeed as yummy as they look. We are into round 4 now, and Airspeed just busted a star near the end of working time. Or are they just trying to keep it interesting? We'll see what the Knights they are, trailing by 7 after 3 rounds...this is a tough skydive to go fast on...looking good though, it's a 17, and that cuts Airspeed's lead down to, Dan BC and his Arizona Vengeance team have been doing some really nice skydiving, they just matched Airspeed's raw score of 16 for the round...

Need a video fix?

Upper left: Majik 9 and Airspeed 8 in the boarding area. Top right: Amelia the hangar mascot.
Right: Dick Barber is backing up and saying "Not me, take a picture of these old guys!"

One of the replies to my GK editorial includes this comment: "The main difference is that we do not choose to pay tax, but we do choose where to spend our dollars...If I decide that I want to give Skydive DeLand some of my dollars in return for the use of their excellent facilities, that is my choice.  I understand that the price I pay to jump is loaded to include a cost of Majik sponsorship etc.  But I realize this when I pay it.  In a sense, I am consenting to this sponsorship by accepting the product offered by Skydive DeLand at their price." Yes, this is very true, and it is an excellent point. But part of my point is that once our money is in the hands of the government, there's no telling where it's going to be wasted, and I for one am glad it's wasted on a *terrible* thing like an excellent skydiving team on not a *wonderful* thing like the farm subsidies that makes it so much more costly to feed my family. ;-)

We are finishing up the judging on round 6, and 8-way will be complete through round 7 by the end of the day.

I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but it sure is nice having a full time fast internet connection here, and it's not just in here -- Roger has the whole DZ wired up with a T1 line and wireless access. It is really cool.

More feedback on my GK editorial:
"It is up to everybody as a individual to judge if one's good enough to join  the force. And everybody can join the force. Nobody is forced NOT to join it. So we - for example in Switzerland, like in the USA - we did join the military and ended up to jump for the military using their recources in the way we were supposed to. It is the same in the US. Everybody is invited if he or her is tough enough to walk the path in the Army and join the Golden Knights. Comments like "they use our money" is not quite right because the person writing this has the similar right.

Also if you like, join the Army or Navy and try to get on the GK, everybody is invited at this time."

- Team Switzerland Endeavour

Yeah, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Well, it is looking more and more like it will be Airspeed 8 taking the gold, they have an 8 point lead after 6 rounds and their skydiving looks simply superb. The close race is between Majik and Vengeance for the bronze.

OUCH y'know, the worst possible time to get busted is on the last scoring formation in working time, and the Knights did just that on round 7, their 15 gets popped down to a 13. the last world meet, only three teams had averages higher than 15...we have four of them here right now...okay, that's a wrap for the day, see you here tomorrow!

2002 Chief Engineer "T1" Ted Wagner | Webmaster "T2" Tim Wagner