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Did You Know...

... that the roaring Hayabusa engine is waiting for Airspeed at the pole position?

posted Apr 9th, 2014 - The Paraclete XP Indoor and Outdoor Championship 2014 double header week and the aftermath were well covered by the Sun Path Products NSL News with several articles, interviews and views from different angles.

There are still always new aspects and thoughts that present any event from a different perspective. The TURNING POINTS column that the Sun Path Products NSL News contributes for BLUE SKIES MAG on a monthly basis offers the opportunity of additional thoughts.

This time, Arizona Airspeed's situation after the Paraclete week is the main topic, and the article explains the pressure that the reigning world champions are facing this year. The winner of the March event in DeLand has to work very hard to become the winner of the World Meet 2014, as well...

Winner at the Paraclete XP Indoor Championbship 2014: NMP-PCH Hayabusa

TURNING POINTS - Arizona Airspeed Under Pressure

First the good news: Arizona Airspeed won the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship 2014, which means — according to the event history of the last decade — that Airspeed will also win the World Championship of Formation Skydiving this year. That's the conclusion by the numbers and the stats.

It was so easy and predictable in the past, but it seems to be so much more complicated this year, for one simple reason: Roy Janssen got sick, and NMP-PCH Hayabusa could not compete in DeLand. He did not even watch the competition live Saturday and Sunday, as he was seriously down, while his teammates observed the meet action.

They were all quite relaxed — for good reason. The reigning world champions from Arizona did not seem any more threatening at an outdoor competition than they were at the indoor part of the Paraclete XP Championship week the previous weekend, when the Belgians outscored Airspeed by 22 points in Raeford.

Paraclete XP Indoor 2014Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAAA ClassK,13,2215,3,10D,B,6,9G,7,E,1811,4,LA,21,1J,Q,N,12C,F,8,OP,17,M,142,16,20TotalAvg
1NMP-PCH Hayabusa (BE)2725433330283335302530930.9
2Arizona Airspeed (US)2419453124272635342228728.7
Winner at the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championbship 2014: Arizona Airspeed
The situation after the Paraclete XP indoor and outdoor double header is more complicated than usual, and this time the winner has absolutely no security that the world meet gold medals are anywhere close. The Belgians are still in a very strong position, even without competing and winning in DeLand, and Airspeed knows that. The pressure is on.

Why is that?

The answer is quite logical. NMP-PCH Hayabusa posted a 27.8 average at the Mondial Dubai 2012, the previous World Championship of Formation Skydiving. The Belgian team has added training and competition with the same lineup for another year and a few months. Even without any progression, Hayabusa will most likely be able to deliver the same scoring level quite easily and solidly. The Belgian indoor performance indicates that the team has not slowed down. In fact, the 30.9 average is the new world record for a 10-round meet in a 16-foot chamber.

Paraclete XP Outdoor 2014Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAAA Class18,2,OD,19,22G,C,P,109,A,L,HK,16,B,Q7,4,2111,15,FM,3,E,86,1,1720,12,JTotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)2020284633242320192125425.4
2Evolution (CA)2122254030212323201924424.4
Winner at the Mondial Dubai 2012: Arizona Airspeed
Arizona Airspeed defeated Hayabusa at the Mondial Dubai 2012 by a point with a 27.9 average. However, the new lineup was far behind at Paraclete XP Indoor in Raeford (28.7) and finished with a 25.4 average at Paraclete XP Outdoor in DeLand. What now?

Airspeed lost 18 points in the judging room, and a 27.2 average in DeLand would look a lot better and much more promising. Those 18 points make the difference, and they mean much more than the pure numbers indicate.

The new Airsped lineup had to make their way up to the blistering Hayabusa pace of 2012, 2013 and 2014. There is simply no chance to beat the Belgian team without going the same pace. Hayabusa is used to this speed by now and has cleanly settled there. Even the judges have no problem any longer to see the clean Belgian performance of formations and inters.

Mondial Dubai 2012Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
Rank4way Open5,12,E6,D,B,KO, 8,7N,13,1810,21,M19,H,11C,G,1,A20,9,1516,F,P,Q2,J,4TotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)273427(-1)222323(-2)32254026279(282)27.9
2NMP-PCH Hayabusa (BE)25(-1)34(-2)27(-1)21(-1)2324(-1)32(-1)274025(-1)278(286)27.8
27.8 average at the Mondial 2012: NMP-PCH Hayabusa
Airspeed has arrived at the Hayabusa race track and drives with the same horsepower in the engine. However, the Airspeed engine stutters here and there, as the new lineup has not settled yet with this incredible top speed. The hiccups materialize too often at the moment. They showed in Raeford and DeLand when the two other top contenders (France and Canada) matched the Airspeed scores for a round, and this happened too often from the Airspeed perspective.

It's a very challenging situation for a team. The easiest way to clean up a performance is by slowing down a little bit. Most of the times, this happens naturally and subconsciously—even if the training mission is set to maintain the top speed while cleaning up. Airspeed cannot afford slowing down to clean up. The new lineup has to get used to the winning speed. Slowing down would bring even the underdogs from France and Canada dangerously close.

World Challenge 2014Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
Rank4way Open17,18,195,16,64,N,13P,F,12,MJ,D,10,KG,3,O,CH,22,1420,2,81,21,1115,7,LTotalAvg
1NMP-PCH Hayabusa (BE)2729283632362521243329129.1
3VoltR (FR)2624233328322322213126326.3
4Gavroches Maubeuge (FR)2325243331312018212825425.4
Roaring engine at the pole position: NMP-PCH Hayabusa at the World Challenge 2014
The pressure comes with the time frame. Airspeed has five months to both clean up and become familiar with the top speed. And this would bring Airspeed only to the pole position where Hayabusa will be waiting with the engine roaring. It could become even more challenging if the Belgians are not only waiting for Airspeed to catch up. An increased performance and scoring level on the Belgian end would make it almost impossible for Airspeed to outscore Hayabusa.

But then there is the Airspeed history. Every lineup has risen to the occasion. It was the challenge that has brought out the best of Airspeed, and Mark Kirkby has experienced similar situations several times. I would not feel safe yet if I were in the Hayabusa shoes. Plus, last not least, and by the books: Airspeed won the Paraclete XP Outdoor Championship...

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