Over the last two weeks the Golden Knights Canopy Piloting team were in the midst of an epic battle. The team started out at the final FLCPA meet of the season on June 9th. The last meet brought the top canopy pilots in the country to the competition. Everyone was trying to get in one last meet before US Nationals. The final meet also turned out to be one of the longest days of the FLCPA’s history. The competitors started out with a 0700 safety briefing followed by the mandatory practice round. A light tail wind helped the jumpers through speed course and led to some blistering fast times. After the two rounds of speed were complete the light tail wind turned into a strong and turbulent wind putting the competition on hold for over five hours. As late afternoon hit the winds started to die down slightly. At 1730 the Caravans cranked up and jumping resumed. The only question was how many of the four rounds would be able to be completed before the sun would set. The judges, competitors and staff moved as quickly as possible changing the course, packing their parachutes and flying the aircraft and with two minutes before official sunset the last jumper landed to complete the competition. The judges sorted out the results and late Saturday night, 15 1/2 hours after the safety brief the awards ceremony commenced. SFC Greg WIndmiller had an amazing meet and finished 1st in Zone Accuracy, 3rd in speed and 2nd place overall for the meet. After announcing the winners of the meet, FLCPA director Albert Berchtold announced the overall standings of the league. Again it was SFC Windmiller standing on the podium. After four meets that saw between 30-60 competitors he took home the 3rd place trophy. SFC Joe Abeln competing as a PRO for the first year finished in 9th place overall, 5th out of the Pros.
Just five days after the end of the FLCPA, US Nationals of Canopy Piloting started out just the way the last meet did. A light tail wind seemed to be the trend for the winds in North West GA. This year 41 Open competitors battled it out for a chance to make the top 8 and represent the US at the World Meet in Dubai later this year. An additional 15 advanced class competitors made up the meet. The competition started early on Thursday with a 0700 wheels up time. This year the meet director chose to run two rounds of each event on the first day of competition, then finish the last round of each on the 2nd day. The tail wind proved very challenging for the first event, Zone Accuracy. Competitors must drag their foot through four water gates then stop their parachute and stand up in a scoring zone. In the distance event the jumpers must drag through an entry gate then stay under a 1.5 meter high course for 50 meters. Once the jumper passes the exit gate they try to fly as far as the can with the first point of contact with the ground marking their score. The final event of the first day was Speed. The speed course has the competitors flying for 220 ft below a 1.5 meter course marker and carving 70 degrees. With two aircraft flying the first six rounds of the meet were finished fairly quickly and after the judges posted the days scores the competitors were released for the day. Friday morning started out yet again with a tail wind and competitors took advantage of the winds in the speed and distance rounds. SFC Windmiller set a new World, National and State record with an amazing time of 2.404 seconds. The speed event this year was the tightest competition ever with the top three being separated by less than 6/10th of a point after three rounds. SFC WIndmiller took the Silver medal in speed. The distance event also saw a new world record as Nicholas Batsch flew over 150 meters. This years competition was the closest one folks can remember with the lead changing nearly every round. No one was certain who would stand on top until all nine rounds were in the books. In the end Curt Bartholomew stood on top the podium as National Champion. Close behind Curt was his Alter Ego Teammate Nicholas Batsch. SFC Windmiller as selected to be the US Team Manager for World Meet in Dubai. Performance Designs Factory Team member Tommy Dellibac took home the bronze. USPA, the judging staff and Skydive the Farm did an amazing job running the 2012 USPA National Championship of Canopy Piloting.