SFC Joe Abeln of the Golden Knights Canopy Piloting Team was in New Jersey this past weekend competing in a brand new league. The North Eastern Canopy Pilot League (NECPL) held its first ever meet at Free Fall Adventures in Williamstown, NJ. This new league will give competitors training events all summer long in preparation for this years World Championships in November.
NECPL consists of two classes, a Rookie/Amateur class, and a Pro/Open Class. All pilots are considered Amateur unless they are issued pro qualification. The competitors must have a Pro Card issued from FLCPA, compete in a Pro class and qualify for competition and prove they have the experience to compete as a Pto class Pilot.
A high head wind prevailed for the entire day Saturday making for challenging conditions. Distance was the first event of the day followed by Zone Accuracy and after a six hour long weather hold the speed event finished off the meet just before sunset. SFC Abeln took 1st place in Distance and Zone Accuracy and 2nd place overall for the meet. The next meet will be the 2nd weekend of July at the Cross Keys airport in Williamstown, NJ.
Early Thursday morning Gold team took off for Omaha, NB home of the College World Series. Immediately after landing we headed to the field and surveyed the landing area. After all ground preparations were complete we headed to the plane and suited up for the afternoon’s practice jump. The winds barely held off but stayed just below our limits and allowed all jumpers to safely land in the stadium.
As the team headed to the plane Friday afternoon there was not a cloud in the sky and nothing to stop the evenings jump. The team greeted the press riders and active duty Air Force members that were joining the team for the evenings flight. Once the safety brief was complete and the team leader, SFC Dustin Peregrin reviewed the evenings jump plan, the team headed inside the aircraft to once again put on the black double zipper jump suit. However, this evening we would all wear one of the eight team jerseys representing all the schools that made it to the World Series.
The C31 Friendship Fokker took off and headed straight for the stadium for the streamer drop. The plane continued to circled over head until we received the call from the Drop Zone Ground Controller, SSG George Perez with the 2 minute warning. The plane turned in bound and the hot target was echoed throughout the plane. SGT Trey Martin Gold Team Videographer stepped out solo and landed the American flag. The remaining 8 team members stood in the plane awaiting their turn. Only a few minutes passed until we all left the plane and found ourselves all landing safely in the outfield just minutes prior to the evenings firework show. Special thanks to the city of Omaha and the staff at the College World Series. Best of luck to all the teams that made it! SSG Jon Clevenger
SPC Daniel Osario jumping in the American Flag
The Gold Demonstration Team had a short flight this weekend to Latrobe, PA. We left early Friday morning and after arriving set up for our practice jump. The practice mass formation went well to set things rolling for the weekend.
Saturday morning started with out a cloud in the sky. SPC Daniel Osorio started the air show off by flying in the national colors while being circled by Matt Chapman. SFC Brian Karst and SGT Blake Gaynor closed out the morning show by performing a breath taking down plane. After landing we headed over to the Army recruiting booth to pack our parachutes with the help of the Latrobe community. Once everything was reset the team headed back up to perform our full show. All maneuvers were performed and we closed out the show just prior to the Blue Angels starting their performance.
The forecast for Sunday was not as promising. The team took the short drive to the airport and watched as the clouds started to form. The plane took off as scheduled and we prepared for the morning jump. However, once we were at our exit altitude the rain started and forced us to land. After landing we prepared for the afternoon show in hopes that the rain would clear.
Take off went as scheduled and we were prepared with multiple options in case we had to adjust our exit altitudes due to clouds. The Gold team leader, SFC Dustin Peregren, made the call and the narrator stepped out right on schedule. Minutes after the narrator landed heavy rain started, so the remaining team members circled the target awaiting a break. The rain lifted and the team leader gave us a thumbs up. Instead of the full show, we adjusted to the weather and launched a mass formation. Once the team was safely on the ground SSG Brandon Parra closed out the weekend.
We would like to thank the Latrobe community for allowing the team to perform. Next year we hope for blue skies through out the entire weekend.
SSG Jon Clevenger—
Photos By Theriom Rasputin
SSG George Perez catches the American Flag as SPC Daniel Osario comes in for a soft stand up landing
SFC Karst and SGT Gaynor
Beautiful Bomburst in the sky