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.