Monday 4 October

It's still dark outside, but the DZ is crawling (and creeping) with competitors. First call is at 0645 if the fog isn't an issue. Off to get coffee and breakfast...

...note to self...ignore conscience and die dye hair next time...must not show up at nationals looking older than Al Gramando...

We are officially under way here, 4-way round one in progress. Please note that it may be some time before we have any team photos posted...

...note to T1: uninstalling Delphi from Sony laptop broke Netpost...had to hack a DLL out of Google and got it working...OmniDad just handed me a bunch of team photos...

...half way through round 1 and it looks like this big nationals machine is firing on all cylinders...the judges are judging off of DVDs instead of VHS this year -- progress! Maybe next year it will all go straight to hard drives, no DVDs or tapes...

...last night at the FS opening ceremony I was wondering if there would be anyone to seriously challenge the USA gold medal winners from last month's world meet in Croatia...any one have thoughts? UPDATE: of course, there is no feminine event here, so maybe the ladies will beat up on majik now...

I will be processing all of the hi-res team photo requests at the end of the day, I am gathering them in a folder until beer-thirty.

It's 15 before 1000 and we are starting round 2...Airspeed Red just posted a 17 on round 1, the judges had the wrong team queued, so if you see a 9 on the board, that's going to be a 15, with a bust...deland majik (what's up with the non-caps guys?) is solid out of the blocks with a clean, the Golden Knights looked real solid too and put a 20 up, right on the freeze frame...I think the goal today is to finish six rounds of 4-way...

A reader opines:

If I remember correctly, last year I was able to watch streaming video of the 4-way competition from your website. Were there plans for a similar feature this year? Thanks again for all of the effort on your great coverage—those of us halfway across the country really do appreciate it.

You are very welcome! As far as the steaming videos, I do have the stuff to do it again, if enough people are interested, I'll give it a whack...round 1 is in the can, and we're almost done jumping round 2...holy smokes I don't believe it...not yet noon and we have posted *ALL* the team photos and pages...damn we're gettin' good at this ;-) no small reason because I have some most excellent assistance in the form of Mary Beth helping me run DZTV so I can blather on the, she didn't break her leg skydiving...something about sitting in a tunnel...sit flying, something like that...

OKAY OKAY OKAY I'll try to get some steaming videos posted, but it's going to take some time (bribery wouldn't hurt either). That old inbox really sprang to life when the topic of video came up. Also, if you have feedback regarding these pages, please send them to me (Tim, T2, etc), not Ted, who is not on site (although he'd love to hear how much you all love the Omniskore scoring system, which you know he built, and programmed, from scratch).

We're in to round 3 now, and there seems to be the overall impression among everybody that things are going quite smoothly. Only problem is the jumpers are jumping faster than the judges are judging, which is usually the case when you have a lot of airplanes and blue skies.

Did you know that Dan is one of the best manifest pilots in the business and that today is his birthday? Everyone (and I do mean everyone or no video for you!) send an email to and wish Dan a happy birthday!

I'm liking the battle that's taking shape in advanced. Current leader-board: 27 to 26 to 26, and as far back as 6th place only 4 points behind. On round 2 open majik looked lethargic, and the leaders all posted 17s -- check that, GK hasn't been scored they have, 17 it is, and we have a tight one going early there too.

Block 12 Feedback
I'm getting a lot of email along this line of thought: "Yes, block 12 is broken and needs to be fixed, but it is just TOO MUCH FUN to pull out of the dive pool." Well, we can't have our cake and judge it too, y'know? A lot of teams like the double-3D aspect of the move, yes. None of the judges like trying to divine the exact center points of two pieces that are trying to shave nanoseconds off their move.

UPDATE - A reader says

Ok this may sound very simplistic BUT:

The problem with the block is the center point bust potential.... so why don't you simply take the center point restriction away for the block! So FOR THIS BLOCK ONLY you would not have to strictly respect the center point violation. You could even create a subclass of blocks in 4-way for verticals whereby center point violations would not have to be adhered to. 8-way had a subclass of 3 point blocks to help with engineering problems so why can't 4-way do the same to fix the center point judging problems. This way, teams can still have their fun AND judges have the pressure taken off them to define the center points of the pieces. The judges interpretation of the block is pretty subjective anyway and is all but impossible to consistently and accurately judge! So why try to judge it?

I suggested this exact thing to another judge the other night and the consensus was that there can't be any special circumstances for particular blocks or you open up a whole new can of worms...not that we shouldn't consider it though, I like the idea too...

UPDATE - another reader says

I have only one thing to say about block 12. If it gets removed I will hunt down everybody who voted to replace it. Is everyone crazy? Have you never done block 12 on the front piece? It is [the greatest] thing since sliced bread. If the judges can't score it, well, deal with it. That's usually the answer the competitors get back.

So if you get busted every time you do block 12, you don't have a problem with that? ;-)

Round 4 is finishing up and some teams are jumping round 5, but judges are still chewing on round's majik's round 3 up now, and while they look damn good by any reasonable measure, they don't appear to have quite the snap that I've seen them display before...probably a bit of jet lag...they post a 19...

...BTW, if anyone comes across a link that opens the web page inside my frames page, please let me know, I try to keep all the external links opening new windows but sometimes I miss one...Intermediate class is becoming a runaway with KAIZEN (there goes those caps again) up by 8 after 3 rounds, and a big log jam in their wake...OUCH, the Knights had a really nice jump on round 3 except for a bad build that cost them a double bust, a 19 down to a 15. This wasn't the issue for them, but it seems to me that a whole lot of teams are having trouble building the zigzag late in the jump...Team Fastrax is putting some really good numbers on the board, and they are in a medal slot after 3 rounds, just in front of Airspeed Red...

...note to camera flyers: if you leave the plane before your team, it makes it very difficult for the judges to get a good start time. One team has about 20 false starts now and still trying...ooh, the Knights just posted a slick 24 on round 4, and it looks like Airspeed Red is about to take over third place in the medal standings...another ouch, deland majik did a 23 but it was busted down to a 21, and their lead is down to 2 now...

Someone has dropped in to say hello! For those of you newer FS followers, here is big brother Chris checking in from and undisclosed location just outside of Casa Grande, AZ. Chris was the meet director at the (very soggy) 1999 Nationals at Sebastion, FL. Hi Chris! Sorry you're not here too! Don't worry, I'm taking good care of Mom & Dad & Ottley too.

I'm getting a lot of email from people who say that the results pages aren't working, but everything else is fine. Occasionally, when our laptop posts the latest results pages, they for whatever reason get corrupted, and the file isn't fixed until the laptop gets and posts the next update. So when you see this, best thing is to just wait a few and try again.

Somebody TEST THIS VIDEO (Airspeed Red Rd3) and let me know how it works. Warning -- don't click on it if you're on dialup unless you have lots of time. About 5MB.

GK round 5 is up -- our favorite block 12 is out the door on this round, and it looks like a lot of work. After a slowish start they have a good jump, what say ye judges...a 19, followed closely by majik also with a 19. Both teams conservative on 12's verticals...Checking email...the FS minions are banging their spoons on their high chairs screaming for more videos...someone please email me & Mary Beth a couple of beers...or a nice glass of wine...

A note on the steaming videos. Some of them may be in black and white, and that is because the DZTV output from one of the scoring processors needs to have the video card changed out. We're waiting for a break in judging to fix it, but in the meantime we can only record the b/w output...round 5 is about to wrap, last team being judged...and it's done, after 5 rounds majik has a 2 point lead over the Golden Knights. Round 6 will be judged tonight, so stay up you sleepy heads on the east coast!

*burp* pork BBQ sandwich washed down by my friend Bud Lightyear. Round six is half judged, just starting 4-way Open. Capturing footage for steaming videos...Airspeed Red was a little rough, a 15...Arizona Blade wailed on that one, a 16...Golden Knights up next, they look sharp and get a 18 clean...majik's turn...they are starting to look more like they did in Croatia, that was a nice looking 19, and after six rounds they have a three point lead. The judges are really mowing down this round. We're almost done here!

Round six is in the can and my can is headed for the sack. What a long great day of competition. C'ya tomorrow. Good night!

p.s. more steaming videos in the morning.


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