Home page

supported by:
Vigil Logo


226 Pecan Street
Deland FL 32724
tel: (386) 801-0804

© 2003 - 2023
All Rights Reserved

supported by:
In Time Scoring

Valid HTML Valid CSS!

Did You Know...

... that the latest PD Factory Team newsletter offers insights of the World Meet 2006?

posted Oct 4th, 2006 - The September newsletter of the PD Factory Team included a review of the World Meet 2006 in Germany, where three PD Factory Team members won the gold medals in the 4-way event. Shannon Pilcher, Ian Bobo and Jonathan Taggle competed with DeLand Fire and added the 4-way medals to their many swooping successes.

The article in the newsletter mentions that DeLand Fire "will disband", and the team members have already decided by now how they will move on for the remainder of the 2006 season. The NSL News will follow up very soon with an update. Here is the PD Factory Team's summary of the World Meet 2006:

DeLand Fire at the World Meet 2006
After 15 years of personal sacrifice and dedication, the dream of winning the coveted 4-way world championship title has become a reality for Ian Bobo and Shannon Pilcher.

The bi-annual competition, held last August in Gera, Germany, drew one of the most competitive fields to date. A record 24 nations fielded teams, with more than 6 nations surpassing the 20.0 point-average, and five of them legitimately vying for the renowned Excalibur (aka Ottley Sword). Despite considerable preparations by the organizers, the meet was plagued with miserable weather, eventually limiting the meet to only five rounds. When the skies finally cleared, Team USA ("DeLand Fire") had a commanding six-point lead over the rest of the pack, led by France, then Italy, Russia, Norway and Belgium.

DeLand Fire profile in Germany
image by: Jojo Priedemann
Joining Bobo and Pilcher for their 2006 quest was PD Factory Teammate Jonathan Tagle, at video, whose skills and enthusiasm made him a natural fit to the FIRE lineup. The three would like to thank Outside Center and Team Captain, Gary Smith, for his steadfast technical guidance and his patience with our demanding schedules and commitment conflicts. Thank you also goes to the Queen, Natasha Montgomery, whose vision and determination were the catalysts to this team's repeated successes. Finally, a special thanks to Thomas Hughes, Fire's roving alternate (nicknamed "water-bug"), capable of flying any position-including video-better than we are able to fly the positions ourselves!

With this accomplishment, DeLand Fire will disband on a good note, having not only returned Excalibur to American soil (DeLand), but also having achieved the highest world championship scoring average to date: 23.4 points per round.

Shannon Pilcher, Ian Bobo, Jonathan Taggle
The newsletter also includes an article by Shannon Pilcher where he talks about one of his special canopy piloting trips this year. The NSL News story on May 14 featured an interview with DeLand Fire's three PD Factory Team members. They had visited the Italian Alpes and brought some spectacular photos of their flight through and along the mountains.

The story in the PD Factory Team's September newsletter covers Shannon Pilcher's personal experiences during a similar trip to Norway this year. Shannon Pilcher, Ian Bobo and Jonathan Taggle had to switch gear between 4-way Formation Skydiving, Canopy Piloting and PD Factory Team trips on a regular basis this year. The victory at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving is one of the impressive achievements of the three PD Factory Team members. Here is the complete travel story, written by Shannon Pilcher:

PD Factory Team in the Norwegian mountains
On this trip to Norway, I felt acutely aware of the risks involved, more so than usual. And yet it wasn't enough to make me fearful or unwilling to execute the mission.

When we fly over the valley scoping out the terrain, the most powerful feelings emerge. It's indescribable. It's magnificent. These giant rock walls reach straight up at us, their faces nearly straight down. The valley between, although nearly ½-mile wide, appears narrow, tiny, in scale to the size of the walls. The tops of the granite islands are still capped with glacial ice and small frigid pools. Someone in the valley might never know they exist if not for the rushing waterfalls spewing randomly throughout the valley. It's June, by the way, and the valley is lush and green. So from above, it's white, steely grey, and deep green. What a picture!

Now peer closer and we begin to discern depth in the walls. What appeared to be a small vertical fissure from the valley floor now causes a double take. Is that canyon I'm staring down at the same crack I saw from the ground? Incredible! I follow it from the ice above to its roots 4000-feet below and confirm by landmarks that it is. We've struck gold! No fear in the world could stop me from getting out of this plane.

The door is open, the air is cold and I'm nervous. But I feel like a caged bird. For this brief moment and the next few minutes, I am completely lost in this flight.

It's not about ego-doing what's never been done, or claiming new expedition sites, or even leading the most aggressive run. It's truly about freedom, and about feeling just a glimpse of whom God is and being one with His creation. The only thoughts that steal my mind away during the entire flight are those of gratefulness. Who am I that I should have this privilege? What scale, what beauty...it's limitless, endless...

I'm flat blown away. I don't even see the trees and rocks that jut out trying to grab my wingtips. No, I just fly, my eyes set ahead, my mind lost in the wonder, wishing it wouldn't end. No, that's not true. In the moment, I mean, when we're genuinely "in the now," we never think of the future; we never consciously or unconsciously ponder the next minute. Only when we burst forth from the mouth of the crack and glide toward the valley floor do we suddenly yearn to be back inside.

I think that's the part of the draw. It's not just chemical-adrenaline. It's spiritual; it's being connected to the one-ness, to the NOW. It's the purest form of "not worrying about tomorrow..." And in life-no matter what we claim-we often think on tomorrow. So it's in these snapshots, these capsules, that we get to feel God's plan for us, and it draws us back again and again, at all costs!

comments / feedback
Previous Article | Next Article