All home and working our way back into the swing of things… if only the weather would cooperate. Oh, how we long for the sunny, but sometimes windy, days of Southern Florida where we could climb to all jump levels from the streamer drop to the Tandem heights with relative ease. The forecasting powers-that-be predict more cold, cloudy, and rainy days this week with a glimmer of hope and sunshine coming mid-week but only time will tell the true tale. While we wait for the clear skies and warmer Spring air no time is wasted as families and friends show their appreciation reuniting and catching up on all the events and stories missed during our time away at Winter Training. After the Easter Holiday and Spring Break roll in over the next two weeks more excitement will undoubtedly unfold.
Go faster, go farther, it might sound simple but that is the goal of the canopy piloting team this winter. Two thirds of the competition is about speed and distance. The team has been focusing on the power events this winter with the help of a Flysight GPS tracker. The data gathered has given the team a baseline for their turns. A number that previously was difficult to see with just video debriefs. The GPS has shown the team their vertical and horizontal speeds through every part of the turn as well as the shape of their turns. This information along with a video of their turns allows the team to fully understand what generates the most power for them and provides a goal to reach. That goal is 100mph vertically in the lowest part of their turn, just 250-300 ft above the ground. This speed should translate to about 90mph horizontally at the 1.5 meter high entry gate and help put up the fastest speed times and the longest distances.
How has the training been paying off? In just the second competition of the year SFC Jared Zell flying a new parachute came in 3rd in the distance event, while SFC Greg Windmiller came in 1st in distance and 3rd in speed netting him a 4th place overall finish at the Florida Canopy Piloting Association (FLCPA) Meet 2. Those are quite impressive results for just a few weeks of training.
The training will continue now that the team is back home. The last two meets of the FLCPA and the United States Parachute Association National Championships of Canopy Piloting is in Raeford, NC this June, just outside of Ft. Bragg. With this major competition so close to home the team will focus most of their days at the swoop pond in Raeford trying to go faster and farther.
home turf. The United States Military Academy parachute team the “Black
Knights” spent their spring break away from West Point to train at FT Bragg,
The Black Knights function much like the Golden Knights, conducting
demonstrations and competing; all in the name of their alma mater.
SFC Starr spent the week working with West Point’s two four way teams – one
sophomore and one junior – both at the drop zone and the vertical wind
tunnel in Raeford, NC.
SFC Starr acted as a skydiving coach, introducing
both teams to new formations and techniques – ultimately arming them to go
head to head against the US Air Force Academy team at US Collegiate
Nationals late this year. But the flow of information didn’t stop in free
fall. SFC Starr also offered advice for the soon to graduate seniors on what
to expect when they commission in May, and offered pointers about Army
operational life once the cadets became Second Lieutenant Platoon Leaders.
At the end of the week, both GK8 and the Black Knights took the opportunity
to learn from each other, and gain rare insights into both teams tight knit worlds.
The Golden Knights 8 Way Team would like to wish the Black Knights blue
skies and fair winds in their up coming demonstration and competition seasons.
Go Army! Beat Air Force!