14th FAI World Cup of Freefall Style and Accuracy Landing
Cordoba, Argentina - 19-25 May, 2019
Day 0 - May 19th Official Practice day
Sorry no photos due to internet issues. Will try again tomorrow.
In spite of a bad forecast, the day turned out to be perfect, sunny, warm and only a little wind. The drop zone is located in a Military Aviation School just west of Cordoba. The teams, most of whom arrived on the 18th if not before, are all staying in Villa Carlos Paz, a lovely holiday town situated further west on the edge of a lake.
They all came out to the drop zone early and were able to settle into their allocated tents, making them their own with flags and other decorations. Most of the teams were able to do their training jumps and the judges were able to test all the equipment. The pilots, some of whom had never flown a jump plane before, were also able to practice, including the signals that are so necessary to ensure correct and proper spotting.
At 13h00, the Jury, Gillian Rayner, Doris Merz and Lidia Kosk met with the FAI Controller, Exi Hoenle, the Meet Director, Alejando Agoglio, the Chief Judge, Michel Jara and Gustavo Reyes to determine if everything was ready for the competition to start. Although Accuracy Landing was ready to go with all the equipment tried and tested, that was not the case for Style due to a technical hitch. Consequently, the competition will start tomorrow with a day of Accuracy Landing to give some time to find a solution for the minor problem with Style.
At 15h00 the competitors returned to the hotel to prepare for the opening ceremony that was to take place on the lake side. Buses took everyone down to the lake where we were surprised to find an enormous crowd ready to watch the ceremony and the small air show that preceded it. Excitement increased when three jumpers came down with flags from the organisation, the FAI and the national Argentinian flag. Then three military aircraft performed some manoeuvres followed by two aerobatic pilots who put on a pretty daring show. A few speeches then a walk past of all the delegations saw the competition declared open. This was followed by a demonstration of classical tango (originally danced by men only) and some folk dancing by dancers dressed in historical dress although it is worth noting that the men's costumes are still worn today by the gauchos from the middle area of Argentina. The whole event was gently chaotic and fun.
To end the evening, the organisers invited the Heads of Delegation, the military representatives and the officials to a small party lovingly prepared by people from Gustavo Reyes drop zone in San Juan. Home made empanadas, wine from the area were enjoyed by all.
Tomorrow, the first call is at 8h45 so no hanging about this evening....
May 20th Competition day 1
The first ever First Category Event to be held in Argentina got off to a slow start. Holding a competition on a military base has its challenges due to the lack of experience of all the parties. The control tower was worried at having several aircraft in the air at the same time and the pilots were not used to dropping accuracy teams in succession, so it took some time for everyone to adjust to the situation. By the end of the day almost three rounds were completed and the results can be seen on the results section of this page.
In addition to the World Cup, the south American teams are also competing for a South America Cup. All of the teams except Bolivia are competing in both the World Cup and the South America Cup. In total there are 98 competitors of which 28 are female and 16 are junior. They represent 12 countries but only 9 are competing in the team event.
The competitors village has taken shape, each country investing the space given to them with identifying makers such as flags and decorations.
In spite of being on a military base, the general public is welcome and a number of visitors came throughout the day. The highlight was a class of 10/12 year olds who were so excited to see something so different. The Argentinian team members were greeted like heroes and their performance applauded loudly.
Although the weather had been forecast as bad, jumping was possible until almost sunset when the rain appeared on the horizon and jumping was called for the day. The problems with the Style equipment is now resolved and the Jury as authorised the Style part of the competition to begin. Jumping will start with Accuracy and perhaps Style will take place later in the day. The forecast is still not great for tomorrow but from Wednesday onwards it should be sunny and warm. Fingers crossed......
May 21st Competition day 2
We all arrived at the airfield at 8h30 for a first call for the siki at 8h45. The call was made but the aircraft never took off due to the wind. It was very cold and difficult to shelter from the strong wind. To try and stay warm, the Argentinian team organised a session of aerobics whichwas great fun and definitely did the job.
Standby after standby took us to an early lunch following which everyone was released for the rest of the day. A visit to the regimental museum was organised for those that were interested and the judges organised a trip to Cordoba for the afternoon. Performance Design organised a short seminar at the hotel on "How to avoid Hard Openings". So the afternoon was not totally wasted. Tomorrow the weather forecast is similar with lower winds but also lower temperatures!!! Watch this space. Hopefully we will be able to finish round two (the rejumps), get the third round done and, with a lot of luck, manage to do the five rounds required for the competition to be valid (in Accuracy Landing). Style is reserved for Thursday when weather conditions are supposed to improve and the ceiling raised to an acceptable height.
May 22nd Competition day 3
After a day of no jumping yesterday, the day did not get off to a good start. We woke up to rain. The departure from the hotel was delayed so as to avoid having the competitors on stand-by on a wet and windy drop zone. Much more cosy in the hotel. At 9h30 however, in spite of the rain, we set off for the 30 minute drive to the airfield as the rain was supposed to stop around 10am. Alas that was not to be and the jumping only started in the early afternoon. The hills surrounding the dropzone were to our surprise, white. It had snowed during the night as low as 300m. Not surprising everyone was freezing. However, the cloud gradually cleared and the wind stayed just below the limit so that round 3 was completely finished, rejumps included. Round 4 was started but we were unable to finish for lack of time before sunset. Tomorrow promises to be a much better day and departure from the hotel has been brought forward to 7am to allow us to start as soon as we legally can. Being on a military zone has its challenges especially as the people in the control tower have no knowledge of competitive jumping and can't see why their restrictions are slowing us down. Tomorrow we will start with Female Style and continue with Male Accuracy. Hopefully, by the end of the day we will have a valid competition with all the minima completed.
May 23rd Competition day 4
"Wheels off" had a special meaning today. The bus carrying the judges and the jury to the drop zone lost two back wheels (twin wheels from the same side) and then skidded to a halt, safely, thanks to a skillful driver who did not lose his cool. We saw the wheels overtake the bus and roll away across the highway luckily causing no damage to other cars. We had to wait with cars, lorries and buses whizzing past until a replacement bus could pick us up. Who said Skydiving was dangerous?
After that nerve wracking start to the day, we got to the drop zone as the sun rose to a clear blue sky. Little wind and lots of sun even if the temperature was rather lower than was comfortable. Two rounds of female style, round 5 and 6 of male accuracy, round 5 and part of round 6 for female accuracy and almost a complete round of male style saw the day complete. The pace was slow and hindered by the fact that being on a military base, other activities are taking place. Two half hour interruptions for what can only be described as an airshow by three military aircraft, turned out to be a training session for an airshow on Sunday which happens to be the national day of Argentina.
Rows of portable toilets (about 40) seemed overkill for the number of jumpers on the drop zone. We now know they are expecting many many military personnel on Saturday and Sunday for the national day celebrations and they have planned for that, not us. Still we get to use them anyway, not quite one each!!!
Two accidents saw two female jumpers, a torn tendon for a Bulgarian jumper, Ludmilla and a twisted knee for Cheryl Stearns. Hopefully neither will have major consequences but will prevent either of them from continuing with the competition.
We are not yet half way through the competition and we only have two days left. Hopefully the pace will pick up and we will be able to complete the World Cup. Tomorrow is forecast fine and a little warmer with a risk of higher winds in the afternoon. We'll see.
May 24th Competition day 5
A very cold start to the day, we watched the sun come up over the drop zone which was covered in frost and there was even ice on the tuffet. The sky was clear so as soon as the sun came over the horizon it started to warm up and turned into a lovely day with little wind. That changed in the middle of the afternoon when the wind picked up and high level cloud appeared.
The pace of the competition was definitely better as the pilots gained more experience although we had to wait for almost an hour while a formation of aerobatic planes trained for the National day celebrations. Our own airshow literally above our heads.
As of this evening, we have finished two rounds of Style for both Male and Female jumpers, almost 7 rounds of Male Accuracy (1 rejump still to be done) and have finished both Female Team Accuracy but not Female Individual Accuracy as a jump-off for the second and third place between two Chinese jumpers could not be done before sunset. The prize giving for the Team Accuracy was held before we left the drop zone with the Gold Medal to China, the Silver medal to Bulgaria and the Bronze to Argentina. This last medal caused a lot of celebration amongst the Argentinian supporters of which there were many.
For photos please go to Facebook (International Parachuting Commission) as the limited internet access makes it impossible to download pictures here.
Tomorrow wind speeds are going to increase by mid-morning. The day will start with Male Accuracy Landing probably going straight into the final round and then both Male and Female Style will be performed until the weather makes it impossible or until 3pm when the competition must stop. The prize giving will be done on the drop zone with the exception of the Overall results which will be handed out during the banquet when the closing of the competition will be announced.
May 25th Competition ends
Today is the Argentinian National Day and we arrived at the drop zone to the sound of a band playing. A military ceremony was taking place and around 100 military personnel were assembled on the apron of the airfield. They dispersed after a short while so the planes could leave the hangars and get ready for the siki jump. The day went well although we were unable to finish Male Freefall Style. There were several rejumps and some exciting tie-break jumps. At one point, three men were fighting for the second and third place. The final results are available on this web site.
The end of jumping was at 15h00 and as we got closer to that time, the atmosphere changed. The tie-break ended up with two jumpers still having the same score so the tie was broken by the person with the highest number of dead centres.
This competition has been exceptionally successful for China. All the gold medals go to China with the exception of Male Individual Accuracy Landing which went to the Czech Republic.
The prize giving for all the Individual Style and Accuracy events together with the Male Team Accuracy event was carried out on the drop zone after the time allowed for protests. A group photo was taken of all the participants and judges. I'll try and post it on my return to better internet access.
- The prize giving for the Overall Events will be conducted during the Closing Ceremony that is to take place this evening in the hotel where most of the competitors stayed.