Wednesday 22 October

It is *WAY* too early to be doing this...I'm working on a page of photos from last nights awards banquet, to be followed by making the 8-way pages, to be followed by the inbox adventure, to be followed by a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... T1, take it away...

0736:23 [T1]
(If it's way too early, I want the record to show it was not my idea to be here at 0645 when the first call isn't until 0800. What the frotz?!)

Anyway ... Brian from Chicago wrote with this question, of which I've received several variations here this week:

I thought this was an "off year" for this years winners - meaning that next year at Perris would decide who represents the USA. In your free time (uh huh, right) could you explain what global events are coming in the next two years and which Nationals will decide those teams? I guess I am confused by World Cup, World Games, etc etc.... (ie, is the event at Gap different than the one in Croatia?)

A very good question. Let's start by making sure everyone knows who sanctions the international competitions: the World Air Sports Federation, officially known as the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, or FAI. Parachuting is one of its 13 committees commissions (or air sports), hence the International Parachuting Commission, or IPC, which of course is the organization responsible for establishing our competition rules.

Each member country of the FAI has its own counterpart which the FAI refers to as "national aeroclub". While national aeroclub structures vary from country to country, most mirror the structure of the FAI. For example, ours is the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), a division of which is (you guessed it) the United States Parachute Association (USPA).

Member country representation at the IPC is an important thing for competitors to understand. Each country sends a primary and alternate delegate, who votes for the country in plenary sessions at the IPC's annual meeting in February. Our delegate is Marylou Laughlin. If you don't like proposed rules changes, or you want to know what they are, or if you'd like to attend an IPC meeting as an observer, she's the person to contact. Attending an IPC meeting can be a very eye-opening experience.

Anyway, where was I going with all this? Oh yeah. Competitions! Until 2002, the IPC sanctioned one international FS competition each year. In the even numbered years, it was a World Cup, a type of competition to which member countries can send multiple teams. The odd numbered years had World [Parachuting] Championships (or WPC), where the winners are officially recognized as "The" World Champions, and take home the coveted Ottley Sword. World Cup winners just get bragging rights for a year.

WPCs and World Cups are what the FAI calls category one sanctioned competitions. Category one meet organizers must pay sanctioning fees to the FAI/IPC, and an FAI/IPC controller attends the competition to make sure all FAI/IPC rules and procedures are followed. If an organizer fails to do so, the FAI can choose to not certify the results. This certification completes the sanctioning of a competition by the FAI/IPC.

In the late 1990s, two new competition types were added to the mix:

  1. The FAI, after years of trying, launched the first World Air Games in 1997. Held every four years, think of the WAG as competition where all of the air sports commissions have their official world championships all in the same place at the same time (not an easy undertaking!). So, the "world championships" or "WPC" for formation skydiving were part of the 1st WAG in Turkey in 1997, and the 2d WAG in Spain in 2001.
  2. The FAI, working with the International World Games Association (IWGA), which is the organization of all the sports that are not Olympic sports but would like to be Olympic sports and have their own Olympics-type competition every four years called simply the World Games, succeeded in having parachuting added as a demonstration sport at the 1997 World Games in Finland. It was a huge success, and now parachuting (4-Way FS, accuracy landing, and freestyle) is an official member sport of the IWGA and was the largest ticket seller at the most recent World Games in Akita, Japan, 2001. [Post-script: canopy piloting will be added to the 2005 WG.]

So, a common point of confusion: the World Air Games and the World Games are totally different types of competitions, which unfortunately have very similar names and operate on the exact same 4-year schedule. Needless to say, those are very busy years for OmniSkore!

Son of Gary - MajikWhich finally brings us to Croatia 2004. I'm not privy to all the details and motivations, but the IPC, I believe, wants to disconnect/disassociate parachuting's official world championships from the WAG process. With the next WAG scheduled for 2005, the IPC moved to have all skydiving events (not just FS) have their official championships in the same year every two years, starting with Croatia 2004. Because 2004 will be a WPC year instead of a World Cup year, countries (like the USA) whose policy is to select WPC representatives at their preceding year's nationals face two consecutive "selection" (or "on") years.

The 2005 WAG is still a question mark. To my knowledge, the FAI does not have a bidder, so there might not be a 2005 WAG. [See correction to this below.] It's still possible that 2005 will have a WPC instead of a WAG or World Cup. We'll know for sure after the IPC's next meeting in February 2004.

So, Brian, I hope that answers your question -- if there's going to be a WPC in 2005, that means that the nationals in Perris next year will be another "on" year -- the third in a row!

Note that World Cups can occur in any year. Starting in 2002, the annual Anton Malevsky Memorial Meet in Russia received category one sanctioning from the FAI. There were two World Cups (for FS) in 2002, the second one in Spain. This year we had one World Cup (the 2003 Malevsky meet) and one WPC. In 2005 we could very well have a WPC, a World Cup, a World Games, and a World Air Games. Oh, the humanity!!!

T1 ends (and pokes around for his coffee) --

[T2] 0900
Tedro, don't you know you can't post that much bits without sticking a picture in to break it up? Lemme see if I can dig something up...meanwhile, we are jumping 8-way Intermediate and Freestyle and Skysurf...

[T1] 1000
Some additions/clarifications/corrections on the above explanation about international competitions...

  • Doh! It isn't the International Parachuting Committee, it's the International Parachuting Commission. The IPC consists of discipline-specific committees, such as the Formation Skydiving Committee.
  • The reason WAG 2005 is a question mark goes like this: there are two bidders, Poland and Malaysia. The WAG Coordinating Committee, I'm told, isn't keen on Poland because they don't have the money, where they (Poland) have the ability and the desire to host all parachuting disciplines. The WAG CC isn't keen on Malaysia either, because while they have money, they don't have experience, and would not host all of the parachuting disciplines. The IPC leadership, which changed this year (BJ Worth was replaced as IPC president by France's Patrice Giardin), does not want parachuting in the WAG at all if only a subset of the sport is represented (as is the case with WG).
  • The FAI does not want its member commissions (air sports) to have their world champion designations/presentations at WAG events; rather, they want the winners to be World Air Games Champions (and nothing else). This is why the IPC is moving the WPCs (for all parachuting disciplines) into the even numbered years starting in 2004, so as not to conflict with the WAG every second championship year. If this plays out, next year will not be an "on" year for U.S. Team selection.
  • The 2005 WG will be held in Duisberg, Germany, and will include parachuting disciplines 4-Way FS, accuracy landing, freestyle, and canopy piloting (which just had a successful World Cup in California a couple weeks ago).

We're doing 8-way and AE. Pictures and scores coming soon!

Sorry for the lagging bits this morning -- at least as the competition here goes -- the webmaster has been swamped making team pages & photos. I am very pleased to announce that Missy Nelson is now contributing AE tidbits, so please be sure to check it out, she is a terrific writer. Thank you Missy!

Allrighty now, 8-way is in full swing, and the big battle in the Open class sees the ongoing rivalry between the U.S. Army Golden Knights and Arizona Airspeed. After seeing round 1 it looks like we're going to have another good one! In round two...ouch...both teams took a bust from those mean judges...I mean those nice judges...I mean those who are nice except when they are being...oh never mind, I'm just digging a hole here...the 8-way draw will be posted soon...hmm, round 3 looks like a real smoker...

1315 [T1]
Airspeed cruises to a 20 in Round 3. Those guys (& gal) looked absolutely terrific in Gap last month, it was heartbreaking to see them miss the gold medal by a gnat's whisker after performing so courageously in the last four rounds. We'll see the Knights shortly... oh, here they are ... also a 20.

BOO we're still here, are you? Missy just posted some more freefly bits over yonder...

...8-way...did I mention that I thought round 3 might be a smoker? Well maybe a little, but what's got me excited is round 10...I heard a Golden Knight say the words "possible world record" about it, and the guy I heard say it was on the current world record jump...hmm... answer some email, yes there will be 8-way and freefly video clips posted, IF I have time tonight and I get any fan mail, which is in *SERIOUSLY* short supply today... ;-)

...8-way round 4, the Knights did a 19 with that 19th point right smack dab on the freeze frame, let's see how they call it...nope, nobody gave it to them, so Airspeed has opened up a 4 point lead...and speaking of 8-way, my old (mostly) Texas buddies Deguello look really good today, and it appears that they will be locked in mortal combat with Optik USA for the bronze medal...

...I can't believe no one has asked about those Hi-res photo links on the 4-way team pages. I was going to post them for downloads so I wouldn't have to deal with all the requests, but there just isn't enough bandwidth available to get them up, so I will take requests by email. Please mention the team by number!

T1 is going...going...I'm getting a number of emails wanting to know what's up with the lack of Freefly/Skysurf/Freestyle scores. Well, if you haven't watched AE events being scored, trust me when I say it's a bit like watching grass grow. It's a very subjective process, and you could never possibly pay me enough to be an AE judge. I tip my hat to those guys, and no matter how happy or unhappy any of you AE competitors might be with your scores, I would take the extra effort to thank those judges for their very hard and very underpaid work. Okay?

Okay then, let's go to the inbox, where a reader asks

Do you have a feeling of the percentage of Js given to leading versus trailing exits? I've always thought that the leading exit was far more risky and this year I did trailing exits (well, actually 3 O'Clock GK style exits) exclusively. Coaches love them (DvG, Shannon, ,ect.), but I think they're too risky for competition. Any thoughts?

I've always been a big proponent of the trailing exit. You simply can't miss the exit that way. Practically all Js are caused by the camera flyer leaving too early. I've seen several highly experienced camera flyers here hand their team Js from missing their release point. Why don't more camera flyers use the trailing exit? Probably because if you get really good at shooting the leading exit, and your team is very consistent with launching them, it can be easier to judge (not to mention it's prettier).

I have received three emails from people who can't load the 8-way Intermediate results page. All three emails were from * addresses. Any other net gurus have a clue what's causing the problem? The page is loading fine for everyone else (at least for me).

...uh oh...T1 just saw his picture above and I'm in BIG TROUBLE...paybacks are hell around here...

...we're into round 5 of 8-way now, and it's just amazing to me how well both Airspeed and the Knights are skydiving... sooner do I speak than the Knights have a pretty rough jump on round 5, they only managed a 12 while Airspeed put up a 15. Gotta say, of course, Airspeed just got back from the World Meet where they put up a 20.1 average...

Dear loyal readers,
You are more than welcome to request two or three hi-res pictures of your favorite teams, happily delivered free of charge. However, a request for a full half dozen of them should be accompanied by a nice bottle of Port, ESPECIALLY if you're from, say, PORTUGAL ;-)... (I'm just kidding Mario...I'll settle for a nice quote to paste here!)

Remember the J & 0 judging discussion from a couple of days ago? I have now posted an open letter to the FS community from a jumper in Russia. I take no sides on his letter; I'm just posting it for discussion purposes. Although I do agree that the process of becoming and remaining an FAI judge should be more competitive.

Round six 8-way is being judged, and the AE judges are slowly making progress. Trust me, we are posting those results as they are made available. Meanwhile I am taking the webcam off line so I can go to work on those steaming videos. Deal? Good.

I got three new 8-way FS steaming videos posted on the main page, I'm afraid the AE videos will have to wait until tomorrow (I don't have the proper firewire cable, is that a good excuse?). Thank you all for the great feedback today -- my blegging sure helped -- and please don't forget to visit our sponsors. Have a good night and see you tomorrow! - t2


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