Abeln Stormes North East Canopy Pilot Leagues 2nd Meet

Swoop   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.

 

FLCPA Meet

  

The US Parachute Team for Canopy Piloting photo by SFC Jared Zell

The US Parachute Team for Canopy Piloting photo by SFC Jared Zell

What a week!  The Golden Knights canopy piloting team spent the last 12 days in Zephyrhills, FL competing in the final Florida Canopy Piloting Association (FLCPA) meet of the season and the USPA National Championships of Canopy Piloting. 

   The final FLCPA meet of the year was also the largest.  Just days before Nationals, Canopy Pilots from across the globe came out to fine tune their flying skills.  Over 60 competitors took to the skies making the competition a very tight race for the top spots.  A strong tail wind was the story of the day helping the competitors go faster and further than most have gone before.  By the end of the FLCPA meet SFC Greg Windmiller, SFC Joe Abeln and SFC Jared Zell all finished in the top 10 of the final five meet league standings. 

   Two days after the FLCPA wrapped up, USPA Nationals of Canopy Piloting began. Nearly 80 Competitors showed up to Skydive City for the competition.  Three rounds of each Speed, Distance and Zone Accuracy are the events for nationals.  This year was also a selection year for making the 8 person US Team for the up coming World Championships later this year also at Skydive City.  The jumpers completed five rounds of competition by the end of the first day, all three rounds of speed and two rounds of distance. The second day finished out the last four rounds.  A stiff head wind picked up for the afternoon making the final round of Zone Accuracy very challenging. 

    

SFC Joe Abeln salutes the camera on exit. Photo by Randy Swallows

SFC Joe Abeln salutes the camera on exit. Photo by Randy Swallows

When the scores were posted the Golden Knights had a lot to celebrate.  SFC Joe Abeln took a Bronze medal in Zone Accuracy and an 8th place overall finish making the US Team as an alternate.  SFC Greg Windmiller despite a shoulder injury finished a Bronze medal overall and making the US Team in 3rd place.

SFC Joe  Abeln

SFC Joe Abeln going for distance photo by Jim Harris

SFC Joe Abeln going for distance photo by Jim Harris

SFC Joe Abeln wins the Bronze Medal in Zone Accuracy photo by Jared Zell

SFC Joe Abeln wins the Bronze Medal in Zone Accuracy photo by Jared Zell

Knights Swoop 4th Meet

The US Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights Canopy Piloting Team competed at Skydive the Farm in Rockmart, Georgia Saturday April 26th. This was the fourth Meet sponsored by the Florida Canopy Piloting Association.

 SFC Greg Windmiller a pioneer of swooping for the US Army Parachute Team competed against twenty-three contenders to bring home a silver medal for speed, the gold medal for distance and the overall gold medal for the competition. In round one he traveled a distance of 115.69 meters scoring 89.218 points and ran with a perfect round two score of 130.93 meter run with a perfect 100 point score resulting in the overall 189.218 points.

 Not only did Windmiller literally swoop the competition for the meet, he set a new George State, US National and World record in speed with one of his two course run times of 2.364 seconds.

 Windmiller is definitely not a stranger to this sport or his competitors. He competed in South Africa in the 2008 Canopy Piloting World Championships, setting a new World record in canopy piloting speed as well as placed 3rd overall in the world, winning a bronze medal. At the 2010 US National Championships in Rosharon TX, he claimed the US National Championship in speed and brought home silver and bronze medals and once again breaking the State and US National record for canopy piloting speed. In January 2011 he challenged 104 of the world’s best canopy pilots from 41 countries in Dubai UAE, Winning two Gold medals at the Dubai International Parachuting Championships and Gulf Cup.

 Windmiller recently returned from Kolomna Russia, competing in the 2013 Canopy Piloting World Cup, where he broke his own World Record in speed. This last record in Georgia marks Windmiller’s 5th world record in speed.

 I asked SFC Windmiller what did it feel like to be a five time World Champion of Canopy Piloting and he said, “I just appreciate the opportunity every day of my life to be privileged enough to represent the greatest Army in the world, doing what I love.”

 SFC Joe Abeln also competed in the Meet # 4 taking twelfth place with a score of 129.289 for the two rounds.

 An individual is allotted 100 points per round. Distance runs from a beginning point set by poles which the pilot goes through to an end point set of poles in a recorded amount of distance and time.

 Stay tuned for the next Canopy Piloting competition, which will be Meet #5 the (Nationals) held at Skydive City Z-Hills, Zephyrhills, Florida May 17th-18th.

 

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