Tuesday, 08 December 2015 19:23
Sunday, 06 December 2015 19:24
"The Star-spangled Banner" played five times at the FAI World Air Games medal ceremony earlier tonight (December 6), as Team USA pilots Curtis Bartholomew and Nick Batsch dominated the event.
Bartholomew was the victor in the accuracy and combined titles, and also collected the gold team medal for the USA. Batsch won the speed and freestyle events.
Saturday, 05 December 2015 09:33
One of the most spectacular events in the FAI World Air Games finished on Friday December 4. Classical canopy Piloting, or Swooping, is a fast-paced, beautiful discipline that combines nerves of steel with the finesse and grace of a gymnast.
The day saw a 1,2 win for the USA when Curt Bartholemew battled it out with teammate Nick Batsch for the lead. Bartholomew seized the day and seized the win, while Nick Batsch took silver and the UAE’s Cornelia Mihai took bronze.
Saturday, 05 December 2015 08:28
Saturday, 5th December 2015
Good morning, and welcome to another day at The Pond, on the Palm DZ, in the sunshine! It was almost a lie-in for most competitors and officials this morning, as wheels off was at 9.00 a.m.
We started with the first round of the Canopy Piloting Freestyle - the fun event, for both competitors and spectators - at least the water is warm! In the first round each competitor performed a move from the list of named and known moves with interesting names like "Lazy Boy" and "Boomerang" and these moves require both physical body control and canopy control with marks awarded for both technical execution and performance style. We completed the first round at the end of the allotted 45 minutes. This afternoon our slot has been changed slightly to 14.30 (from 15.00) and finishing earlier to make way for the Air Show this afternoon from the UAE air force demonstration team.
The judges for all the other disciplines had their first meeting this morning before leaving to visit either The Racecourse DZ or the Beach DZ to view where they are going to be working from tomorrow onwards.
At the end of Round 1 Freestyle we have Nick Batsch, USA in 1st place with his team-mate Gage Galle in 2nd and one of our Norwegian competitors, Barton Hardie in 3rd. For the next round they can mix moves, do their own invention and are not restricted to the designated moves given in the Rules for the discipline. Should be exciting.
The Overall Canopy Piloting competition which completed yesterday had a new dimension, introduced for the World Air Games, there is now a team event for countries with 3 competitiors. This was also decided at the end of the competition yesterday so in the Team Event USA are the Gold Medal winners, France Silver and the UAE Bronze. Congratulations to all the medal winners.
In the afternoon we managed the second round of Canopy Piloting Freestyle which was enjoyed by a large enthusiastic audience, as the crowd was able to come onto the grass area behind the pond side to support the athletes. The competitors gave a great show - to combine two moves is much more challenging. Nick Batsch maintained his lead closely by Gage Galle with Abdulbani Qubaisi in 3rd place.
At 15.15 there was the Technical Meeting for Team Leaders for the other parachuting disciplines which was a very complex meeting due to the use of the different Drop Zones being utilised this year and the complex schedule. So tomorrow morning we have, in the early morning the last round of Freestyle Canopy Piloting, a little later the WIDi load will take off for the start of the Accuracy Landing competition with the practice jump whilst at the same time the training jumps will commence for the Formation Skydiving, Canopy Formations, Artistic Events and Speed Skydiving.
Once the training jumps are done, each Formation Skydiving discipline will receive the Dive Sheets for the competition, these will be drawn and handed out immediately the training jumps for that event have completed, so by the time 4-Way Open and 4-Way Female come to jump their first competition jumps the two hours will have elapsed with the combined time of the other disciplines (VFS and 8-Way practice and the bus ride from the Horse DZ to the Farm Airstrip (it will take about 30-40 minutes from the Horse DZ).
Because we have 4-Way team competitors who are also competing in VFS or 8-Way as well, it is intended to run a half day programme for each event i.e. 4-Way Open and 4-Way Female in the morning - VFS and 8-Way in the afternoon, so at least teams will not spend all day out at the Horse Race DZ (unless they are one of the teams in both events of course). The same is happening in the Artistic Events with team members in both Freestyle and Freefly and so they will be split in the same way as well. Again it is happening in Canopy Formations between 2-Way Sequential and 4-Way Rotation. Canopy Formation will be run out of the helicopters, and so they will enplane at the Palm DZ and jump at the Horse DZ (as they have at DIPC's in previous years).
So the programme tomorrow is 7.30 wheels off for the final round of Freestyle Canopy Piloting, shortly after the accuracy competitors will go (by boat) to the Beach DZ to watch the first Widi load using helicopters and enplaning from the Palm DZ. Meanwhile buses will take competitors and officials out to the Horse DZ for the start of their training jumps, and the use of the new Farm strip, with the logistics that involves.
Tonight was the opening banquet for the World Air Games, held in the grounds of the hotel next door to the Hotel Burj Al Arab - a fantastic setting, where we were served with more amazing food, and two medal ceremonies took place for the Glider Aerobatics and Powered Aerobatics.
Friday, 04 December 2015 14:11
There is no doubt that the level of comfort and the fantastic infrastructures here come at a price. The high level of fossil energy needed to start the process and run the day-to-day operations cannot be viewed lightly.
Friday, 04 December 2015 08:42
Friday, 4th December 2015
A final early morning here at the Palm DZ for the Canopy Piloting competitors. 7.30 wheels off and by 11.00 the competition was over!
We started the morning with three rounds of Speed on the LH calving course and almost no wind conditions. At the end of an exciting three rounds we had a result - with Nick Bastch, USA first - Curtis Bartholomew, USA 2nd and Cornelia Mahi, UAE 3rd. Nick was excited on his landing as he had a minor control problem - so 'I just went for it' he said, and it obviously worked.
We then switched to the completion of the final round of Distance which was interrupted yesterday as we ran out of time on our slot. The top competitors made their flights and the excitement was high because the result of this round's distance would determine the overall position, they were so close. Would it be Nick Batsch or his team-mate and friend, Curtis Bartholomew. Nick made it to 128.11 m whereas Curtis, who follwed him into the course, made 133.27 placing him in 4th above Nick in 5th place for Distance and therefore in the Gold Medal position Overall.
Meanwhile Cornelia had sailed past all of them with a final flight of 144.72 m - placing her First for Distance, and in 3rd place Overall. Guillhume Bernier, France was in 2nd place and Pablo Hernandez Moll, Spain in 3rd.
All these results are 'unofficial' until signed off by the Chief Judge - and can be accessed by the button at the top of the page to Live Results. The World Air Games is huge and there is a heavy media pressence and team working here, including live-streaming TV each day - go to the menu button at the top or follow this link WAG to see some of the amazing footage being put together - often thanks to the Camera Flyers from Skydive Dubai who are working to provide parachuting images for them. (as caught above)
At 12.00 we had a Canopy Piloting Competitors and Judges meeting to discuss the rules for Freestyle. CP Event Judge, Bjorn asked those who did not want to compete in the Freestyle event, to let him know, so that the aircraft loading lists could be finalised. He clarified that this event did not count in the Overall placings - that competition was now over, and this one would stand alone. He then discussed and handed out, the Drama Sheets, for each competitor to detail their moves for each of the three rounds. He further explained that they would be using 5 judges; 1 to judge the Technical aspect of the move and points would be awarded for the degree of difficulty and technical precision of completion. Three judges would judge the presentation and creativity and the 3rd the landing. Each judge could award a maximum of 20 points.
Touching the water counted as the "entry gate" so by touching the water you ensured the default score of 3 points. However, landing in the water ensured a 0 score from the landing judge. The judges and spectators would be sat centrally on one of the long sides of the pond (position not finally decided). meaning it would be possible to exit the pond on either side - to be stated on the drama sheet.
There were a couple of questions relating to the weight rules which Bjorn read and clarified to the meeting. However, he did say that there would be the opportunity to hold a further Competitors Meeting later to discuss the competition and rules generally.
He then took a roll call of competitors to establish who would not be jumping in the Freestyle Event. Tomorrow we have two slots, 9.00 to 10.00 and 15.00 - 17.30, so it was planned to hold one round in the morning and the remaining 2 rounds in the afternoon. That was it for the day, and tomorrow we start at 9.00 am.
Friday, 04 December 2015 07:00
The FAI World Air Games officially kicked off with a bang last night, as the 3,000-strong audience at the Opening Ceremony were wowed with an extravaganza of dancing, zip-line performances and fireworks.
Dropping in on the open-air stage, performers dressed as skydivers and paramotor pilots flew over the crowd suspended on wires, taking the astounded audience on a theatrical flight over glorious Dubai.