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Did You Know...

... that Arizona Airspeed have not missed a world meet since 1995?

Original Arizona Airspeed lineup between 1994 and 1999
posted Jun 29th, 2020 - The NSL News pointed out on June 7th how unusual it is that the U.S. delegation for the FAT Mondial Tanay 2020 in August next year will include neither the Golden Knights nor Arizona Airspeed. There has not been a World Championship of Formation Skydiving since 1987 yet without either of the two U.S. powerhouses competing for their country.

The Golden Knights 8-way team represented the United States between 1987 and 1997, and then again between 2010 and 2018. The U.S. Army also had their 4-way Open Class lineups compete at the world meet in Brazil 1987 and in Gap 2003, and the U.S. Army's 4-way Women team won gold medals for the U.S. delegation in 2016, which brings the total number of world meets for Golden Knights to 14 since 1985.

The history of Arizona Airspeed is even more powerful, as Airspeed 4-way and 8-way lineups combined for a total of 15 attendances in the two categories. In fact, Arizona Airspeed have never missed a world meet since the project was launched in 1994, and the first FAI 4-way gold medals were brought to Eloy by Dan BC, Kirk Verner, Mark Kirkby, Jack Jefferies and John Lemming (camera) in 1995.


Arizona Airspeed 4-way and 8-way lineups (red) at World Championships of Formation Skydiving between 1995 and 2018
4-way and 8-way double-duties in 1999 and 2001
Airspeed's 4-way team did not always win the USPA Nationals since 1994. There were a few times when other teams (DeLand Majik, DeLand Fire) competed for the U.S. delegation at the world meets in 2004 and 2006. That's when the Airspeed 8-way lineup compensated for the loss in 4-way and won gold (2004) and silver (2006) in 8-way for the United States, while both DeLand teams added the 4-way gold medals.

There were also two world meets (1999, 2001) where Arizona Airspeed competed in 4-way and 8-way both for the U.S. delegation. However, neither Arizona Airspeed nor Golden Knights have represented the United States in both disciplines at the same event since 2001.

It seemed like the Golden Knights were controlling 8-way competition in the United States again since 2010, and Arizona Airspeed lineups dominated 4-way with 13 consecutive USPA 4-way titles since 2007. The Airspeed 4-way machine generated new winning lineups consistently, despite an increasing number of personnel changes.

It became hard to imagine that a serious challenger could ever take the 4-way slot in the U.S. delegation away from Airspeed, and it was a similar situation in 8-way.


Arizona Airspeed lineups between 1995 and 2018: Increasing personnel changes
2nd place at the USPA Nationals 2019
In the meantime, a new challenger had appeared and was very serious with the goal to take the U.S. top spot in 4-way. SDC Rhythm XP was no surprise for Arizona Airspeed, who had consistently recruited Rhythm members until 2015. It could have been an unusual signal when no Rhythm member moved to Arizona any longer once the 2019 lineup came together in 2016.

It was neither a secret that SDC Rhythm XP moved a little bit closer to Airspeed year by year. The pure scoring numbers were showing that it might only be a matter of time until Rhythm would be ready to challenge Airspeed for the top spot.

Then both almost unthinkable scenarios became reality when neither Golden Knights nor Arizona Airspeed made it to the top of the podiums at the USPA Nationals 2019.

It was unusual enough that Airspeed did not win the 4-way competition after the 13 consecutive USPA titles. It became even harder reality when the FAI Mondial 2020 was rescheduled, and USPA decided to send the same delegation to Tanay next year, disregarding the situation after the USPA Nationals 2020. Airspeed may win again at Skydive City in November this year, however, the FAI Mondial 2020 will take place without an Airspeed lineup - for the first time since 1995...


Getting closer year by year: Arizona Airspeed and SDC Rhythm XP
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