Wings of Blue wins gold

  • Published
  • By Don Branum
  • Air Force Academy Public Affairs
Nov. 3 was a good day to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, as the Air Force Wings of Blue parachute competition team can attest.

The squad's four-person "Air Force Inception" team won first place in the four-person intermediate free-flying competition at the U.S. Parachute Association's National Skydiving Championships in Eloy, Ariz., highlighting a string of good finishes by both Air Force Academy cadets and U.S. Army skydivers.

The judges for the free-fly event unanimously agreed that the cadets' performance was "far and beyond" that of their competitors, said James Hayhurst, USPA's director of competition.

"I was the master of ceremony for the awards (presentation), and I got to talk to some of the judges beforehand," said Hayhurst, a 1974 Academy graduate who jumped with the Wings of Blue while he was a cadet. "They said 'Inception' was clearly superior from first round to last."

The seven-judge panel gave Air Force Inception a score of 55.2 out of a possible 70. Scores are given based on both performers' and videographers' technical and presentation expertise.

A second Wings of Blue team, "Air Force Intrepid," competed in the four-way intermediate formation skydive, tying for ninth place out of 25 teams with a score of 99.0 points, with nine formations per jump. The Army's Golden Knights placed first of six teams in the 10-way formation skydiving event, and three Golden Knights teams placed among the top 10 in the open formation skydiving four-way event.

The Wings of Blue are scheduled to compete next in the USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships in Eloy on Dec. 28, 2011, to Jan. 2, 2012. USPA is a non-profit organization based in Fredericksburg, Va., that seeks to encourage partnership among those interested in skydiving, promote safety in skydiving activities and cooperate with government agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration that are connected with skydiving.