This Is How A 8-Way Dive Pool Is Selected For Competitions

8Way spring    Everyone knows the Golden Knights 8-Way Team conducts hundreds of training jumps per year to stay proficient as competitors. But why does it take so much training to remain competitive at the top levels of formation skydiving?

A standard competition jump consists of five to six formations repeated as fast as possible for time. The 8-Way formation pool consists of 16 one-point formations and 22 two-point formations. Mix them together in a hat and pull out ten rounds of five to six formations per jump and you have what is called a competition draw. Sounds simple right? Not so fast…

Each formation has multiple ways the jumpers can build it in the air. This effectively doubles the size of the formation dive pool. An 8-Way team is split into teams of two called piece partners. Piece partners generally perform each prescribed maneuver together in concert with the other three sets of piece partners.

Still sound pretty simple? The International Parachuting Commission – the governing body of competition skydiving – thought so as well. To make competition harder they introduced formations called “slot switchers”. Slot switchers are designed to make piece partners change positions with each other mid skydive. This means that a pair of piece partners are not only responsible for knowing their own job, but the job of their partner in every formation as well.

Now take into account that the dive pool has effectively doubled in size to 76 formations because of the different ways they can be built. If you add slot switchers in the mix, the size of the dive pool doubles again as each jumper must know both slots their piece is responsible for in the formation. The size of the dive pool has now grown to 152 possible formations that each jumper must know and master.

But wait, there’s more! Each competition jump is drawn at random. That means that any possible combination of those 152 formations can be seen on any given competition jump. To add just one more degree of difficulty to the competition; teams aren’t given the specific sequence of competition jumps until the night prior to the start of the meet. This gives each team just a few hours to figure out the best possible way to engineer each jump before round one takes off the next morning.

A team will train all year long to see as many possible combinations of formations to ensure the best chance of success at a meet. Hundreds of jumps per year go into preparing for just 500 seconds of total competition.

4wayplaneside

GKF4 Preparing For 1st Competition

image3 The Golden Knights Female 4-Way Team is almost two weeks into winter training. It

was a bit slow to get started, but since they got going, they haven’t looked

back.

Training at Avon Park, FL is ideal, due to the weather, the relative

isolation to training distractions, and the proximity to their coach, Solly

Williams, who has been instrumental in bringing the technical aspect of 4-way

up to par.

The team had to deal with some bad weather so far, both rain and

high winds, but they were still able to get in some great training by making

use of the Orlando wind tunnel. The tunnel is smaller than the team’s home

tunnel, Paraclete XP, and this smaller size forces them to leave out many of

the formations, but it still allows for good training.

The team was also able to pick up a few extra jumps by training on Saturday morning to make up

for the jumps missed due to the weather. So far this week, the weather has

been great and the Team is on schedule, doing up to 14 jumps per day, and

making leaps and bounds in their progress.

The first outdoor competition is looming less than a month away and the Team feels confident that their

performance will exhibit the training that they’ve completed, and set a great tone for the rest of the year.

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Night Pyrotechnics: Black Team Week Five

Black Team members of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, train on putting together formations together with pyrothechnics above Homestead Air Reserve Base, FL.

Black Team members of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, train on putting together formations together with pyrothechnics above Homestead Air Reserve Base, FL.

Black Team began week five with our night training at 4:00 am this past week with focus on stack discipline (vertical separation between jumpers under canopy), mass formations, and canopy relative work into the baseball diamond located on Homestead ARB. Each of our maneuvers were succesfully completed using our night pyrotechnics that are worn on our left ankle with wires running to a small ignition box that is worn on the chest strap of our individual parachute system.

We like to compare our night pyro to that of sparklers on our ankle to assist each jumper with illumination in free fall as well as under canopy. The night pyro is also helpful for our spectators to see us and for our ground safety officers to observe our maneuvers and keep an accurate count of each jumper due to limited visibility.

Upon completion of our night jumps this week, we continued our training into the daylight on Homestead ARB with focus on diamond formations, which the team will be completing and fine tuning as we head into week six.

Blue Skies

Black Team

Army Staff Sgt. David Echeverry, member of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, performs post jump checks after training with pyro during night operations on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl.

Army Staff Sgt. David Echeverry, member of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, performs post jump checks after training with pyro during night operations on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl.

A member of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, trains with pyro during night operations on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl.

A member of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, trains with pyro during night operations on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl.

Army Sgt. First Class Justin Little, member of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, flies in the Army Flag after training with pyro during night operations on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl.

Army Sgt. First Class Justin Little, member of the United States Army Parachute Team, Golden Knights, flies in the Army Flag after training with pyro during night operations on Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl.

 

 

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