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Did You Know...

... that Airspeed with Thomas Hughes and Eric Gin have seven months to get ready?

   
    Beginning of the 4-year period: World Cup 2009 in Prostejov
posted Jan 3rd, 2006 - The International Parachuting Commission (IPC) has recently introduced a new feature, which is sanctioned by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). It is the "Formation Skydiving World Rankings" and covers only 4way competition so far, in both categories, Open and Women.

The IPC calculates the rankings following the FAI sanctioned guidelines, which are based on the attendance at FAI events. Each country's position in 1st Category Events will count towards the ranking. Different 1st Category Events have different importance. Events over the last four years count towards the rankings. The value of points earned degrades yearly, and additional criteria consider other minor details for the rankings.

Three components combine for the current position in the rankings:A) "Points for Result"B) "Importance of the Event"C) "Date of the Event"


   
Marylou Laughlin at the World Cup 2005    
The NSL News story on December 16, 2005, introduced the newest NSL Profile of Thomas Hughes. The same article mentioned that Thomas Hughes has joined Arizona Airspeed for the 2006 season. Even though Airspeed and Hughes have already tied the knot, his eligibility as a team member of the US team at the World Meet in Germany 2006 still depends on USPA's ruling.

FAI/IPC have already revised the rules for eligibility at international events, which would allow Thomas Hughes to compete for the USA this year. Nothing seems to be in the way for him to be eligible for the US team, as USPA's Chair of the Competition Committee, Marylou Laughlin, confirmed for the NSL News at the World Cup 2005 in Eloy (see NSL News on November 8, 2005).


   
    Marylou Laughlin at the World Cup 2005
The NSL News story on December 16, 2005, introduced the newest NSL Profile of Thomas Hughes. The same article mentioned that Thomas Hughes has joined Arizona Airspeed for the 2006 season. Even though Airspeed and Hughes have already tied the knot, his eligibility as a team member of the US team at the World Meet in Germany 2006 still depends on USPA's ruling.

FAI/IPC have already revised the rules for eligibility at international events, which would allow Thomas Hughes to compete for the USA this year. Nothing seems to be in the way for him to be eligible for the US team, as USPA's Chair of the Competition Committee, Marylou Laughlin, confirmed for the NSL News at the World Cup 2005 in Eloy (see NSL News on November 8, 2005).


   
FAI World Rankings - 4way Open Class    


   
    Airspeed 8 at the USPA Nationals 2005
image by: Omniskore
USPA's winter meeting is coming up on February 17 - 19, and the Board of USPA Directors will most likely adopt the FAI/IPC rule change, as Marylou Laughlin mentioned at the World Cup in October 2005. Thomas Hughes will already have completed his first training sessions with Arizona Airspeed by then.

The NSL News will now take a closer look at the new Airspeed line-up. The 8-way team is qualified as the US national team and will represent the country at the World Meet this summer. The competition in Germany will be similar compared to the situation at the World Cup 2005 where France and Airspeed fought it out over ten rounds.


   
Airspeed 8 at the USPA Nationals 2005
image by: Omniskore
   
USPA's winter meeting is coming up on February 17 - 19, and the Board of USPA Directors will most likely adopt the FAI/IPC rule change, as Marylou Laughlin mentioned at the World Cup in October 2005. Thomas Hughes will already have completed his first training sessions with Arizona Airspeed by then.

The NSL News will now take a closer look at the new Airspeed line-up. The 8-way team is qualified as the US national team and will represent the country at the World Meet this summer. The competition in Germany will be similar compared to the situation at the World Cup 2005 where France and Airspeed fought it out over ten rounds.


   
    17th place: US team Arizona Airspeed
The fact that the rankings are only based on FAI events produces some bizarre results. The most outstanding flaw is the US American position in the 4way Open Class. The USA are currently in 17th place, even though Arizona Airspeed is arguably the best 4way team in the world, or at least one of the three best teams.

The current Airspeed lineup has not lost an outdoor competition since they started competing at the beginning of the 2011 season. Airspeed attended five outdoor meets in 2011 and two in 2012, plus two indoor meets last year and two more this year. However, the FAI has listed only Airspeed's 2nd place at the World Meet 2010, which results in the 17th place. Turkey is in 6th place...

Even if the lack of US attendance at FAI sanctioned events in 2009, 2011 and 2012 is supposed to give the US powerhouse a handicap in the rankings, the low value of the silver medals at the last World Meet in Menzelinsk does not seem to make a lot of sense. There are other major flaws (Canada, Australia, Denmark, South Africa), however, other parts of the rankings are not too far off the reality in the Open Class.


   
Eric Gin with Team Fastrax 2005    
Airspeed ended up three points ahead of France (20.5 - 20.2) on home turf in Eloy. The French 8-way team continued with the same line-up after the World Cup, while Dennis Rook and Neal Houston left Airspeed at the end of the 2005 season. Thomas Hughes and Eric Gin have been selected to fill the open Airspeed slots.

There is no doubt that both new players have the skills and the experiences to become valuable Airspeed players. Thomas Hughes' career has already been laid out in detail by the NSL News, and Eric Gin has been training and competing with Team Fastrax in 2004 and 2005.


   
    Eric Gin with Team Fastrax 2005
Airspeed ended up three points ahead of France (20.5 - 20.2) on home turf in Eloy. The French 8-way team continued with the same line-up after the World Cup, while Dennis Rook and Neal Houston left Airspeed at the end of the 2005 season. Thomas Hughes and Eric Gin have been selected to fill the open Airspeed slots.

There is no doubt that both new players have the skills and the experiences to become valuable Airspeed players. Thomas Hughes' career has already been laid out in detail by the NSL News, and Eric Gin has been training and competing with Team Fastrax in 2004 and 2005.


   
FAI World Rankings - 4way Women    


   
    Airspeed 8 at the World Cup 2005
However, 4-way and 8-way are technically still very different. Especially the world's top level competition in each event requires a lot of training to get to the 20+ average and further. Airspeed surely needs the best talent in the new slots to maintain or get back to the highest level of 8-way competition in the world.

Dennis Rook and Neal Houston were not only very experienced 8-way competitors, they were also two of the Airspeed veterans in key positions. Dennis Rook looks back at three complete years with Airspeed, including a silver medal and a gold medal at world championships, plus several 8-way battles with Russia and France at other international meets.


   
Airspeed 8 at the World Cup 2005    
However, 4-way and 8-way are technically still very different. Especially the world's top level competition in each event requires a lot of training to get to the 20+ average and further. Airspeed surely needs the best talent in the new slots to maintain or get back to the highest level of 8-way competition in the world.

Dennis Rook and Neal Houston were not only very experienced 8-way competitors, they were also two of the Airspeed veterans in key positions. Dennis Rook looks back at three complete years with Airspeed, including a silver medal and a gold medal at world championships, plus several 8-way battles with Russia and France at other international meets.


   
    Winner in 2009, 2010 and 2011 - 2nd place in the current rankings: Aerodyne Deep Blue Defenders at the World Cup 2011
The rankings in the female 4way category are more realistic than in the Open Class, even though it is a fact that Norway (Polaris) is not in 2nd place and ahead of France (Aerodyne Deep Blue Defenders). The smaller field reduces the possibility of major flaws, such as the USA's 17th place in the Open Class.

It is still a major flaw that France is not in 2nd or even in 1st place after winning the World Cup 2011, the World Meet 2010 and the World Cup 2011. The 2nd place at the World Cup 2012 cannot degrade the French top position in the last three years so quickly and so dramatically.

The reason for this bizarre situation is the fact that France decided to have Aerodyne Deep Blue Defenders compete in the Open Class in Prostejov. This move secured France's top spot in the Open Class rankings by 0.5 points (544.00 - 543.50) and left the Defenders empty-handed for the female rankings. The 2nd place behind the Golden Knights on the NSL leaderboard would have given France 99 extra points and the 1st place in the FAI World Rankings.

No matter what - Airspeed is still in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the unofficial NSL world rankings and the Defenders 1st or 2nd in the female category...

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French 8-way team at the World Cup 2005    
Neal Houston is one of the most experienced competitors in the whole history of Formation Skydiving. He joined Airspeed Vertical in 2000 and has won several national and international gold medals with Airspeed in 4-way and 8-way.

Airspeed with 8-way captain Craig Girard has always been extremely successful in bringing up the new team members to the top level of 8-way competition very quickly. There is not too much time left this year. The World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Germany is scheduled for August 5 - 11. The pressure is on, and the Airspeed training with the new line-up will begin this month.


   
    French 8-way team at the World Cup 2005
Neal Houston is one of the most experienced competitors in the whole history of Formation Skydiving. He joined Airspeed Vertical in 2000 and has won several national and international gold medals with Airspeed in 4-way and 8-way.

Airspeed with 8-way captain Craig Girard has always been extremely successful in bringing up the new team members to the top level of 8-way competition very quickly. There is not too much time left this year. The World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Germany is scheduled for August 5 - 11. The pressure is on, and the Airspeed training with the new line-up will begin this month.

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