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Did You Know...

... that the FSL January Tunnel Kicker at iFLY Orlando had new record participation?

USPA Intermediate Class gold in 2003: Windline Lightning
posted Jan 14th, 2012 - The first FSL Tunnel Kicker of the 2012 season brought together once again Florida's Formation Skydiving community at iFLY Orlando last week on Tuesday evening. The NSL News story on 11 January 2012 gave the event the first attention with the coverage of a special reunion.

SDC Rhythm XP's front piece, JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz, visited iFLY Orlando to help with flying slots and coaching. The NSL News mentioned that they also found time to fly with former player coach Robert Chromy and tryout candidate of 2008, Gilles Dutrisac. By the way, another reunion also included Gilles Dutrisac. His former FSC Wind Damaged team mate Joel Kmetz showed up for his first FSL Tunnel Kicker last Tuesday.

Joel Kmetz reported that the skydiving center in Lake Wales, former host of several FSL meets and the USPA Nationals in 2003, is back in action. New owner Billy Bradshaw soon wants to become involved in the Florida Skydiving League as in the good old days. He used to train and compete with Windline Lightning, USPA Intermediate Class winner in 2003.

Steve Lefkowitz coaches at he FSL Tunnel Kicker
JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz were not the only new attendants of the monthly FSL Tunnel Kicker. The participation outnumbered the previous events once again, as several new flyers used the FSL Tunnel Kicker to learn more about windtunnel flying and 4way Formation Skydiving competition and meet other like-minded skydivers and potential future team mates.

As at the previous events, the experience level ranged between individual flyers who were completely new to the windtunnel environment and freeflyers who wanted to learn more about bellyflying. One of the new visitors was freeflying expert Melissa Nelson from Skydive Chicago who spends a large portion of the winter at Skydive City in Zephyrhills. She came together with Skydive Chicago's Student Program Director, Ben Lowe, who is also spending the winter in Z-Hills.

Participants of the FSL January Tunnel Kicker at iFLY Orlando
Missy Nelson with Robbie Spencer and Ben Lowe
Melissa "Missy" Nelson said that she is now working a lot with new skydivers and wants to learn as much as she can to promote and engineer belly dives. She and Ben Lowe are not only expert freeflyers, they also looked very well skilled on their bellies when they shared the 4way sessions with other participants.

One of the other new participants in a player coach slot was Robbie Spencer. He was the Point for South Africa's national 4way team Equanimity and won a bronze medal at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 1997 in Turkey. His team mates were Gary Smith, Solly Williams and Fred Whitsitt.

The group was much too large to fit into the flying chamber at the same time. The participants were split up into two groups with separate flying sessions at previous events when the event became more and more popular. This time, it took three groups and three flying sessions to accommodate all flyers adequately.

Social aftermath of Tunnel Kickers around the corner
Each flying session had three 4way groups and a few individuals in the flying chamber. The participants are encouraged to be ready for flying in 4way groups, as this provides the most efficient use of the tunnel time and is the most fun. All 4way groups had experienced player coaches in the lineups and were flying sequences according to the group's skills level, between very basic 4way drills and challenging block techniques.

The FSL 4way network is growing consistently, and the monthly Tunnel Kicker at iFLY Orlando is doing its share to help. The outdoor season in Florida begins with the Shamrock Showdown 2012, which is exclusively a AAA Class event this year, as the Shamrock is also growing every year and has become a high-profile competition for the best teams in the world. The first FSL meet for all the new lineups of Tunnel Kickers is scheduled for April.

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