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.


HOT In Homestead

   The United States Army Parachute Team began Winter Training at Homestead, ARB today in a sweltering 80-degree weather.

    The Black and Gold Demonstration Teams jumped right through the day with picturesque gray, blue and huge white puffy clouds and even a slight bit of rain.

    World Record Swoop Champion, Sergeant 1st Class Greg Windmiller gave a very intricate class to about twelve team members in canopy proficiency.

    The newest team members that graduated from the Assessment and Selection Program in October seemed a little tense but very eager to get started, while the senior members where just happy to get back to training.

    Each new guy is assigned an old guy to mentor and advise through out the show season, beginning with the intense two months of winter training.

    Today both demonstration teams completed eight jumps before the liquid sunshine came in to nourish our beautiful bright green-sodded drop zone.

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