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Did You Know...

... that Airbus could become the top contender for the 5th place in 2024?

Airbus lineup at the FAI Outdoor World Meet 2022
image by: OmniSkore!HD
posted Nov 21st, 2022 - Germany has been one of the most consistent nations in 4-way and 8-way at FAI World Championships of Formation Skydiving since 1985, in 4-way even more so than in 8-way. The German national teams in 4-way Open missed only the FAI Tanay Mondial, where the participation was still compromised due to the corona virus crisis.

Germany was finally rewarded for the consistency and continuity with the country's first FAI medals at a world championship, as the NSL News reported on November 9th. The competition in 4-way Open at world championships is naturally much stronger, with many more national teams attending the events in this category.

The 5th places of the German national 4-way Open Class teams in Lucenec 1991 and Rijeka 2004 have been the best placements at world championships since 1985. Competing with the other best recreational 4-way teams in the world for a Top 10 position at the events has become a more realistic goal ever since.

However, once in a while German 4-way teams finish even higher on the leaderboards, even though they cannot get close to the full-time teams who are in contention for the FAI medals. Germany's current national 4-way team, Airbus Oceanside Illertissen, had the potential to copy the 5th places of the teams in 1991 and 2004, as the NSL Power Rankings were showing in the previews of this year's world championship in Eloy.

FAI Outdoor World Meet 2022
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total Avg
Rank NSL Power Rankings 4-way Open TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed US - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 Qatar Tigers QA - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2 France 4-way Open FR - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5 Chimera UK - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 Echochamber Oceanside SE - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 Papea Masculino ES - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 Airbus Oceanside Illertissen DE - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 Ripper AU - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 HF Flying Circus CZ - - - - - - - - - - - - -

9 Out of the Blue NL - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 INIT-Y BR - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 Agera FS 2022 NO - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 4Astrophe CA - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 Sky4Four PL - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 Sequenz DK - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 HSV Red Bull Aerodynamix AT - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 Adventure Flyers PY - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 Equinox LT - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 Tina & The Dinosaurs NZ - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 La Playa GT - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Participation of German 4-way Open Class teams at FAO World Championships since 1985
Airbus lineup at the FAI Outdoor World Meet 2018
Airbus actually ended up exactly in the 8th place that the NSL Power Rankings were predicting, even though the German team could not keep up with the three teams ahead in the rankings, Chimera (Great Britain), Papea (Spain) and Echochamber (Sweden).

Airbus were in fact more involved with maintaining a Top 10 position than they would have liked to. They felt more pressure from behind than they could put on the three teams ahead of them. However, Airbus were eventually able to fend off the challengers and finish in the 8th place.

The pressure from behind came from other teams who were not expected in this area of the leaderboard (Agera, 4Astrophe), while other contenders ended up outside of the Top 10 (Ripper, HF Flying Circus, Out Of The Blue, INIT-Y). Airbus were the only team in the Top 10 behind the Top 5 contenders who confirmed the placing expectations.

The Germans finished below their previous scoring numbers. The slower competition draw did not allow many teams to post higher meet averages than at their previous events this year. However, the 18.7 average of the German Outdoor Nationals 2022 would have lifted Airbus into serious contention for the 5th place.

FAI Outdoor World Meet 2022
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open 20,16,B P,D,21,13 17,K,11 E,A,19,22 2,9,M C,14,F,12 3,6,18 4,10,1 8,Q,O,H 5,7,J Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed US 21 -1 28 27 27 31 23 21 20 32 31 261 26.1
2 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 20 -1 25 -2 21 23 28 20 -2 19 17 29 26 228 22.8
3 Qatar Tigers QA 19 -2 23 -1 22 -1 21 -1 26 18 17 -1 17 28 28 219 21.9
4 France 4-way Open FR 19 23 -1 22 23 27 20 -1 18 15 -1 20 -5 27 -1 214 21.4

5 Chimera UK 16 21 -2 19 19 -1 18 -5 18 -1 16 14 -1 23 -1 24 188 18.8
6 Papea Masculino ES 17 -1 20 -1 18 -1 21 21 -2 18 15 15 21 -1 20 -3 186 18.6
7 Echochamber Oceanside SE 14 -1 21 19 19 20 -1 17 16 15 24 -1 20 -1 185 18.5
8 Airbus Oceanside Illertissen DE 16 18 -2 19 16 -1 20 -1 13 -3 15 14 19 -2 22 -1 172 17.2
9 Agera FS 2022 NO 16 16 -2 17 -1 17 18 -1 15 15 13 -1 18 -3 21 166 16.6
9 4Astrophe CA 15 -1 20 19 15 -2 21 15 15 -2 14 16 -3 16 -2 166 16.6

11 Out of the Blue NL 16 16 -3 17 17 14 -2 17 12 -1 13 -1 21 -1 18 161 16.1
12 Ripper AU 14 -1 16 -1 18 16 -1 21 15 12 10 -3 19 -1 19 -1 160 16.0
13 Sky4Four PL 13 -1 14 -3 14 16 16 -2 12 -1 12 13 21 18 -1 149 14.9
14 HF Flying Circus CZ 13 10 -7 16 15 -1 18 -2 12 -1 13 11 -3 16 -5 17 -1 141 14.1
15 Sequenz DK 10 -2 16 15 14 -1 17 -1 12 -1 12 11 -1 17 -1 11 -3 135 13.5
16 INIT-Y BR 12 -2 14 -1 14 -1 13 -4 16 11 -2 10 -3 12 17 -1 15 -3 134 13.4
17 HSV Red Bull Aerodynamix AT 10 -2 16 14 15 15 -1 8 -3 9 -2 10 -1 15 -1 13 -1 125 12.5
18 Adventure Flyers PY 9 -1 13 12 -1 11 16 11 10 9 14 14 -1 119 11.9
19 Equinox LT 10 -1 12 -2 12 12 -1 13 -1 10 10 9 -1 12 -4 14 -1 114 11.4
20 Tina & The Dinosaurs NZ 5 8 -1 4 9 9 -1 8 5 4 -2 10 8 70 7.0
21 La Playa GT 2 -1 7 -2 5 -1 3 -3 7 5 3 -1 5 - - 37 4.6

Airbus - Agera - 4Astrophe at the FAI Outdoor World Meet 2022 - Video Footage Courtesy of FAI/ISC and OmniSkore!HD
Airbus lineup at the FAI Outdoor World Meet 2016
Airbus will try again. The team has a plan until the next world championship in 2024. The FAI Tanay Mondial 2020 was supposed to be the first world championship for the current lineup. The cancellation and rescheduling for August 2021 eventually caused the withdrawal of the complete German delegation, and the Airbus 4-way team made new plans for this year's world championship and the next one in 2024.

Only Outside Center Thomas Mack and team videographer Andreas Troegele had competed in 4-way Open at a world championship before. They were first together in the Airbus lineup of Ottawa 2016 (Olaf Biedermann, Goeran Meyer, Christian Schaefer), then again two years later in Australia 2018 (Markus Bastuck, Goeran Meyer, Joern Thiele) where they finished in 10th place with a 19.2 average.

The FAI Outdoor World Meet 2022 was their third world championship together, and the lineup was a very different one this time. Thomas Mack's previous team mates were the most experienced 4-way and 8-way competitors in Germany. He decided to rebuild the Airbus lineup in a very different way after Australia 2018 and recruited his new team mates from a new generation of German 4-way and 8-way competitors, including Felix Pfeiffer, who was officially announced on 3 August 2020 and introduced on 30 August 2020. That was after he competed for the first time in the AAA Class.

The same Airbus lineup will most likely and once again be a contender for the highest placing of a recreational 4-way team at a world championship. It will still be very difficult to improve the 5th place of 1991 and 2004. However, the highest German 10-round average will surely be in jeopardy in two years...

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