It was apparently pure luck that the Antonov was able to make the two lifts yesterday evening. The expectations are very low in Merseburg for any jumps today. However, the skydivers and visitors who made it to the DZ this morning took it easy and enjoyed the home made breakfast before the indoor entertainment for the day began.
Fortunately, the good news is coming from the area much further west in Germany. The weather forecast for Saarlouis and the region where the World Cup 2011 begins with Round 1 on Tuesday morning looks completely different and much better.
DeLand Fire won the 4way Open Class after five rounds, Perris Airkix won gold for the United Kingdom in the female 4way category after the same number of rounds. The 8way teams completed one more round, and France won the country's first 8way gold medal in Gera.
Spa Hayabusa even missed one of the five rounds when team member Sven Ibens had to make a quick emergency trip back home. The Belgians got a rejump but had to accept a 20% point deduction, even though all fellow competitors had signed a petition supporting the Hayabusa case. Sven Ibens is now training and competing with Thunder. His new team, a Dutch/Belgian combination, was not accepted to attend the World Cup 2011. NMP-PCH Hayabusa turned pro at the end of the 2006 season and is now the top contender for gold medals in Saarlouis.
The two 4way events combine for a total of 145 competitors and passengers, the total number of competitors in the other events adds up to 161 (90 in 8way, 30 in Freefly, 25 in VFS, 16 in Freestyle). The DO 28 carries 15 jumpers, as well as the Cessna 208. The second C 208 is a Grand Caravan and carries up to 21 jumpers.
It looks like a perfect setup. The traditional 4way teams jump from 10,500 feet while all other events exit from higher altutudes and will probably share the Cessna 208s somehow with each other. All planes have left hand doors. The Do 28 with its two engines is very similar to the popular Twin Otter, while the 8-way teams have to get used to exits with the air stream from a single engine. The first meet day on Tuesday will probably see full action in all events to get as much done as possible.