The Golden Knights Canopy Piloting Team was busy this past weekend competing at the 2nd North East Canopy Pilot League meet of the Year. SFC Joe Abeln, SFC Jared Zell and SFC Greg Windmiller arrived at Skydive Crosskeys in Williamston, NJ, on Thursday to get some training jumps in at the newest Canopy Piloting League Pond on the East coast.SFC Windmiller fresh off of a successful shoulder surgery accompanied his team mates to the competition as the Team coach, but was quickly put to work as a Chief Judge when the Original Chief Judge came down with the flu and couldn’t make the trip up from Florida to critique the event.
The safety briefing was early Saturday morning with hopes of getting the first load up by 7:30. A massive thick fog rolled in and kept the anxious competitors grounded for about an hour. Once the fog lifted the competition was on. The day began with the exhilarating Speed event immediately followed by Distance and Zone Accuracy to finish off the meet.The Speed rounds had nearly no wind and after two jumps SFC Abeln took 2nd place, just 3 points behind the Leader Sven Jseppi of the Canadian National Team. SFC Zell was just a few points behind the top 3. The competition had a small break to set up the Distance course and before long round 3 was in the air.
Again SFC Abeln and Jseppi nearly matched scores and once again SFC Abeln took 2nd in Distance while SFC Zell rounded out the top 5. Zone Accuracy finished the meet off and a fairly high Tailwind picked up for the event. A tail wind is great for Speed and Distance but makes Zone Accuracy very difficult to control and stop standing up in a scoring zone.SFC Abeln was the first competitor to go in the pro class and set the bar high with a difficult stand up landing. His score held up to be the top score of the round giving him a 7 point lead over Jseppi with one round left to go. The winds picked up even higher for the final round making it very difficult for most competitors to stop in a positive scoring zone. Once again SFC Abeln matched scores with Jseppi giving SFC Abeln a 1st place finish in Zone Accuracy and hanging on for the overall 1st place spot.
SFC Zell finished in the 6th spot overall. Skydive Crosskeys, league director Brad Moon and all the judges did an amazing job of making the competition a very safe and successful meet. The Next meet for the Golden Knights canopy piloting team will be back at Skydive Crosskeys just outside of Philadelphia on August 9th. Please stop by and check out the action if you’re in the area.
Congratulations to SFC Joe Abeln and SFC Zell for such outstanding performances representing the US Army Parachute Team Canopy Piloting Section.