The Golden Knight Style and Accuracy Team competed in the United States Parachute Association National Championships for 2010, this past week at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois. The Team consisted on SFC Elisa Tennyson, SSG Dannielle Woosley, SSG Christopher Acevedo and SSG Laura Dickmeyer. The events were Classic Accuracy and Style. Classic Accuracy is a team and individual event in which jumpers exit the aircraft at approximately 3300 feet above the ground and fly their parachutes to a 2cm yellow dot on an inflated air tuffet on the ground. Just so you have a frame of reference, a dime is also 2 centimeters across. The scoring works on the number of centimeters from the dead center; the lower the score, the better, kind of like golf. A dead center is of course a zero. While the highest score you can receive in one round is a sixteen centimeter. Style is a series of loops and turns against the clock. The specifics of each jump is determined by the meet director before the competition begins but each set includes two 360 degree turns, a back loop followed by two 360 degree turns and a back loop. Style is judged using ground to air video. A very powerful lens on a very expensive camera is setup in the landing area and serves as the heading for the jumpers. Penalties are given for not completing turns or not stopping on heading. Typically, a good style set can be completed anywhere between 5 to 7 seconds.
The team arrived a few days early to get in some practice jumps in accuracy. The forecast was daunting but the meet pushed on. The first day of competition brought good winds and blue skies. Because the weathermen were calling for wind the next few days, the decision was made to knock out 8 of the 10 accuracy jumps. After a long day, the team settled in for some good thunderstorms. Over the course of the next week, the jumps were sporadic, at best. The final two rounds of accuracy were finally finished during a low cloud period. Style, on the other hand, requires blue skies. Blue skies did eventually turn out, but so did 40 mph winds. All said and done, only two rounds of style were completed. But, only one round is needed to constitute a meet. With the time up, only one thing was left; The award ceremony. The categories are team accuracy, individual accuracy – Men’s and Women’s, individual style – Men’s and Women’s, and Overall Placing – Men’s and Women’s. SFC Elisa Tennyson swept the Women’s category, winning Gold in Individual Style, Individual Accuracy and Individual Overall. SSG Laura Dickmeyer won Bronze in Individual Accuracy and Individual Overall. SSG Dannielle Woosley won Bronze in Individual Style. SSG Christopher Acevedo placed in the top 10 of Individual Accuracy, 5th in Individual Style and ended up a respectable 6th Overall. The Golden Knight Style and Accuracy team took home 6 medals in all. The Style and Accuracy team would like to thank all of the Skydive Chicago staff and USPA judges and staff for the excellent facilities and service they provided this Nationals. Also, a special thank you to former Golden Knight and Golden Knight of the year 1976, Bill Wenger, who served as Meet Director for the USPA Nationals 2010.