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Did You Know...

... that the 8-way situation in Germany is still in motion?

8-way awards at the German Outdoor Nationals 2023
posted Dec 6th, 2023 - The NSL News covered this year's German national outdoor championship comprehensively and live from the competition site at the Fallschirmsportzentrum Saar. The 4-way event did not offer much of battling on the top of the leaderboard for the status as Germany's national teams in 4-way Open and 4-way Women. Airbus Illertissen Oceanside and Meltemi Oceanside both qualified without any serious opposition. Only the 3rd place was contested somehow, even though Dark NeVa, with DFV President Henning Stumpp in the lineup, eventually won by ten points over SüdWest. Teiwaz Circus could not win German medals as a guest team.

The situation was totally different in 8-way, where the stakes were as high as can be. The two teams who competed for the German 8-way championship title were just as different as the 8-way situation was compared to 4-way. The NSL News preview on the evening before Round 1 in 8-way provided a brief overview of the situation.

German 4-way and 8-way veteran Thomas "Spieli" Spielvogel arrived in Saarlouis with a well trained lineup of a few experienced Formation Skydiving competitors mixed up with a new German generation of national top talent. The new Airbus 8-way lineup was introduced by the NSL News on January 23rd.

However. there was a group of the most experienced German 4-way and 8-way competitors, most of them former Airbus members themselves, who did not think that the 8-way title should be given to the new lineup on a silver platter. The NSL News reported on July 7th that Operation Adler would challenge the new Airbus lineup for the 8-way top spot. Three members of the Airbus 4-way team (Thomas Mack, Felix Pfeiffer, Alexander Prendinger) and Meltemi member Linda Köb joined the lineup of Operation Adler.

German Outdoor Nationals 2023
12345678TotalAvg
RankAAA/4-way OpenH,11,1B,G,D,J,5P,8,Q,A15,3,1716,12,209,22,N13,19,714,L,K,OTotalAvg
1Airbus Illertissen Oceanside192622151517192115419.3
2Meltemi Oceanside152015-2121214151611914.9
3Dark NeVa14191691111-1131210513.1
GTeiwaz Circus12-117151111-112-1121310312.9
4SüdWest10-216161081310-1129511.9
5Phoenix1210-2125-28-198-18-1729.0

Dark NeVa - SüdWest at the German Outdoor Nationals 2023
First FAI world championship medals for Germany: Airbus in Eloy
It turned out that the new Airbus lineup did not really have a chance against Operation Adler. They were only able to win one single round and tie three more. Operation Adler eventually finished eleven points ahead (132 - 121) and would be Germany's new 8-way national team.

However, the Operation Adler project, with more or less a pickup lineup of German top competitors for the national championship, was expected to enjoy the 8-way competition in Saarlouis and then retire and allow Airbus to represent Germany at the next outdoor world championship.

The stakes at the world championship would be even higher, as Germany is the reigning 8-way bronze medalist after the 3rd place at the 25th FAI World Formation Skydiving Championships in Eloy 2022. The NSL News reported on 9 November 2022 that Germany won the first medals at any FAI World Championship of Formation Skydiving since 1985. The winner of the national championship this year would try to defend the 3rd place in 2024.

It became even more interesting for the German 8-way teams when it seemed like the whole Qatar delegation would not travel to Israel for the outdoor world championship in 2024. Without the two 8-way and Formation Skydiving powerhouses from Russia and Qatar there was only the U.S. 8-way team ahead of Germany in this event.

German Outdoor Nationals 2023
12345678910TotalAvg
Rank8-way Open7,9,212,8,J11,K,65,H,C,22B,Q,O,114,15,3A,4,1016,13,DF,20,19N,E,17,GTotalAvg
1Qatar Falcons QA 15 13-119 18 21 19 20 21 16 12-417417.4
2Operation Adler DE 12 11 12-213 14 13 16 14 13 14-113213.2
3Airbus Illertissen Oceanside DE 11 10 12-113 15 13 15 9-112 11-112112.1
4Saar 8 SWDN DE 7 4 9 7-16 9 7-17-17-18 717.1
5LQ macht KO's DE 4 2 2 4-14 2-15 4 3 2-1323.2
6M8-Nix DE 1-22 2 3 2 3 4 4 3 3 272.7

Operation Adler - Airbus Illertissen Oceanside at the German Outdoor Nationals 2023
German national 8-way champion 2023: Operation Adler
The situation changed when FAI/ISC canceled the event in Israel, as the NSL News reported on October 13th. The Qatar Falcons will most likely compete in North Carolina, where the substitute host runs the event in October 2024, as the NSL News reported on December 2nd. The Qatar Falcons are out of reach for any German 8-way team, while the next set of bronze medals would still be in sight.

The question is still open though who will represent Germany at Crystal Coast Skydiving, where Skydive Paraclete XP and Skydive Chicago join forces for hosting the 26th FAI World Formation Skydiving Championships 2024. Operation Adler have not indicated yet that they would forward the status as the 8-way national team to Airbus.

However, Airbus continue with the same lineup and have started their training for the 2024 season. They are aiming at winning the national championship title in September next year convincingly, after roughly 12 hours of indoor training and 200 - 250 jumps. The indoor training has already begun. They are also hoping that there is still a way to compete for Germany in North Carolina and defend the FAI bronze medals. However, this would require an agreement with Operation Adler and the German skydiving federation (DFV). Airbus 4-way members Thomas Mack, Felix Pfeiffer, Alexander Prendinger and Meltemi member Linda Köb would be facing double duties in 4-way and 8-way if Operation Adler decide to continue one way or another.

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