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Did You Know...

... that centerpoint crossing is not in Block 5's way?

    First Shamrock poll results: Airspeed on the top as always
posted Feb 4th, 2005 - Arizona Airspeed is still the top favorite for the Shamrock Showdown 2012, despite the impressive scoring by Aerodyne Aerokart and NMP-PCH Hayabusa at the 3rd Dubai Championship 2011.

According to the first results of the Shamrock poll Airspeed is almost exactly as far ahead of the two other teams as the same poll showed last year before the same event. Airspeed then also won as clearly as the poll results predicted. Only the positions for France and Belgium are switched this time. The audience expects the French team in 2nd place, just as it was after ten tounds last year. However, the pressure is on for Airspeed...

Current Block 5 (Opal - Opal)    
The NSL News reported yesterday that another change of the dive pool removed arrows and required degrees of turn in Block 5 (Opal - Opal). This change left some questions open concerning the centerpoint crossing of the vertical technique. The NSL News assumed that the pieces would still have to avoid the centerpoint crossing, even though the language indicates an open field for any technique.

The rules mention the centerpoint issue only related to a block where degrees of a turn are shown:

    Starting the first sweep in 2000: Airspeed 4way lineup
Arizona Airspeed has actually never been expected at a different position than on the vey top of the leaderboard in the history of NSL Polls prior to any major events. Airspeed has surely built the best reputation for a winning team in the history of the sport, not only in 4way Formation Skydiving competition.

That's enough reason for the NSL News to go back to an earlier topic. The story on 8 November 2011 took a closer look at the times when Airspeed was sweeping all four Formation Skydiving events at the USPA Nationals.

Airspeed is still the only team that has ever accomplished victories in 4way, 8way, 10way and 16way at the same event, and Airspeed did that four times (2000, 2001, 2007, 2008).

3.3. Performance Requirements

3.3.5. Where degrees are shown, (180°, 270°, 360°, 540°), this indicates the approximate degrees and direction of turn required to complete the inter as intended. The degrees shown are approximately that amount of the circumference of the subgroup’s centerpoint to be presented to the centerpoint(s) of the other subgroup(s).

Player coach in 2011: Craig Girard with Dubai Asaar Red    
This success was no coincidence. It was based on great planning, which began after Airspeed extended its competition program to 8way in the late 90s and built a large group of world class skydivers in Arizona. The first sweep happened a year after the first Airspeed 8way gold medals in Australia and a year before Airspeed would win the World Championship 4way title in Spain and the silver medals in 8way.

It was similar in 2007/2008 when Airspeed swept the USPA Nationals once again and won 4way gold medals in Maubeuge in 2008. In fact, all USPA sweeps happened after the 8way extension and in the 2-year periods when Airspeed would win 4way gold medals at the World Championships.

There is more to this sweeping story. There are only two Airspeed members who were on all winning lineups in all categories at those four USPA Nationals, and both of them also won the 4way gold medals for Airspeed in 2001 and 2008: Craig Girard and Mark Kirkby. Only one of them is even still competing for Airspeed, Mark Kirkby. Both will meet each other again at the Shamrock Showdown 2012, Craig Girard as the coach for Dubai's Asaar Red team, Mark Kirkby as the Tail for Airspeed.

    Block 17 (Danish T - Murphy)
The NSL News still had doubts that the direct centerpoint crossing would be accepted by the judges - with or without required rotation. Past experiences with Block 17 (Danish T - Murphy) led to this wrong conclusion. The Block 17 situation had caused similar discussions in the past, and still sometimes is. The centerpoint crossing was the issue, even though the maneuver does not require a rotation.

Another small addition to the rules led to the assumption of the author that the judges are still eying the individual in Block 17. The committee added the definition of an individual's centerpoint to the rule book:

First sweep in 2000: Airspeed 16way lineup
image by: Omniskore
John Eagle, Mark Kirkby, Craig Girard, Neal Houston and Marc Steinbaugh on camera won the USPA Nationals 2000 and started the first Airspeed sweep. Neal Houston did not compete in 8way and was replaced by 8way veteran Gary Beyer. Kirk Verner, Jack Jafferies, Alan Metni and Dan BC completed the 8way lineup, with Steve Nowak on camera, and won the second set of USPA gold medals in 2000.

Neal Houston was back in the 10way lineup where 8way videographer Steve Nowak had his own slot, while Marc Steinbaugh was filming. Gary Beyer was back on the bench as the alternate, Christopher Irwin and Chad Smith completed the 10way lineup and won the 3rd set of gold medals.

Steve Nowak continued in 16way, and all 12 Airpeed members were joined by the complete PD Blue lineup: Shannon Pilcher, Kyle Collins, Ian Bobo, David VanGreuningen. Marc Steinbaugh was once again on camera, and Airspeed completed the first sweep in history with the gold medals in 16way.

2.6. A subgroup’s centerpoint is one of the following:

1) The defined grip, or the geometric centre of the defined grips within a subgroup within linked jumpers.
2) The geometric centre of an individual’s torso.

    Last sweep in 2008: Airspeed 16way lineup
image by: Omniskore
Craig Girard and Mark Kirkby were still with Airspeed at the last USPA sweep in 2008. Andy Delk and Eliana Rodriquez were now in the 4way lineup and had won the gold medals at the World Meet 2008 in Maubeuge. Steve Nowak was filming the first part of the Airspeed sweep in 2008.

Dan BC, Jack Jefferies, Dennis Rook and Brian Johnson joined the Airspeed 4way lineup to win the USPA 8way gold medals in 2008, with Steve Nowak again on camera. Jack Jefferies and Dan BC were now a part of the Airspeed sweep for the 4th time, together with Craig Girard and Mark Kirkby.

Eliana Rodriguez did not compete in 10way that year. Todd Hawkins, Christopher Irwin, John Eagle, Gary Beyer, John Hamilton, Will Pesek and Michael Inabinet won the gold medals in 10way, with three 4way members and Steve Nowak on camera. Dennis Rook came back in for 16way, together with the complete Perris Fury lineup of 2008 (Joshua Hall, Ulrich Steuwe, Christy Frikken, Chris Farina). Scott Latinis, John Eagle, Dan BC and Mike Inabinet completed the 16way lineup and the Airspeed sweep. Steve Nowak filmed the complete sweep and won four USPA gold medals in 2008, together with Andy Delk, Craig Girard and Mark Kirkby.

Fiona McEachern, Chair of the IPC Formation Skydiving Committee    
This addition could also be related to Blocks 2, 3, 4, 20 and 22. However, these blocks have never caused any discussion of centerpoint issues, except John Eagle's Block 2 out the door. Thus, the NSL News assumed that the addition was related to Block 17. Then the centerpoint crossing would still be an issue for Block 17, and logically also for Block 5.

The NSL News was looking for clarification when a visitor at the NSL Discussion Forum brought up this topic after the story was posted. Another regular visitor of the NSL website was faster than the NSL News and had this clarification already on hand before the NSL News could even send the question.

    Charging since 2010: Golden Knights 16way lineup in 2011
Those were four very impressive years for Arizona Airspeed. It was probably much easier to win the complete set of USPA Formation Skydiving gold medals in 2000 and 2001 when Airspeed had well trained lineups in both 4way and 8way. It was different in 2007 and 2008 when Airspeed focused only on 4way, which was rewarded with the world meet gold medals in Maubeuge.

Then the Golden Knights launched their 8way project in 2009, which made it even more difficult to win all USPA events from then on. Craig Girard and Mark Kirkby won a total of 16 USPA gold medals in those four years and added several others at the USPA Nationals where Airspeed did not sweep the FS events.

Times have changed now, as the Golden Knights began charging at the USPA Nationals 2010. Airspeed won three events, but the US Army team won in 8way and took all 2nd places behind Airspeed. Mark Kirkby's 4way gold medal with the new Airspeed lineup in 2011 just avoided the first sweep of the Golden Knights who won the three other events...

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Fyodor Mozgovoy with the Ladybirds in Croatia    
Fyodor Mozgovoy is one of the organizers of the Malevsky Memorial Cup in Russia, and he also films the female national 4-way team of Russia, the Ladybirds, who won the bronze medal at the last World Meet in Croatia 2004. Mozgovoy contacted Fiona McEachern, the Chair of the IPC's Formation Skydiving Committee, when the question of Block 5 came up. McEachern made it very clear to Mozgovoy and the rest of the 4-way community that there are no limits for any technique when she was pointing to 3.3.5 of the IPC rule section:

Hello Fyodor,

This is exactly what we wanted. Cross vertical, forward, backward, cogginwise, without any regard to the centerpoint. Centrepoints only apply to degrees of turn:

3.3.5 Where degrees are shown, (180°, 270°, 360°, 540°), this indicates the approximate degrees and direction of turn required to complete the inter as intended. The degrees shown are approximately that amount of the circumference of the subgroup's centerpoint to be presented to the centerpoint(s) of the other subgroup(s).


The NSL News sends thanks to Russia and to Australia for this clarification. Teams and competitors can begin training the shortest and quickest way to move from the first Opal to the second one. More details of the rule changes will follow.

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