Skydiving – Lesson 2: Competition

Hi all,

With the US National Skydiving Competition coming up in two weeks I thought I would explain to my Wuffo friends what my 8-way team has been practicing for.

The United States Parachuting Association states on their web site ( that parachuting competition dates back to at least 1930 in Russia, where jumpers demonstrated who could land closest to a target.

“Group freefall skydiving, then called “relative work” and now called “formation skydiving” (FS) grew increasingly popular through the 1960s and emerged as a competitive discipline in the early 1970s. The first 4-way formation skydiving event was introduced at the 1970 U.S. National Skydiving Championships in Plattsburgh, New York. 10-way speed star formation skydiving debuted at the 1972 National Skydiving Championships in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.”

Perfect Exit. Photo by Henrik Csűri

Perfect Exit. Photo by Henrik Csűri

My team, Adrenal8, is a formation skydiving team competing in 8-way Intermediate. The “dive pool” is made of two components – Randoms, These are single formations and Blocks, these are formations with an interim to a second formation. There are 16 randoms and 22 blocks. A blind draw of the formations consists of either 4 or 5 points. 10 different combinations are drawn for the competition. As a practiced team we had to learn every formation and construct as many combinations of the formations to practice as we can. Each different combination of jumps will take a different engineering to make the sequence flow properly. We will exit the airplane at 13,000 feet at 90 knots (approximately 104 mph); 8-way has a working time of 50 seconds to complete as many points as possible. The accumulations of these points through 10 rounds comprise the winners


This will not be my first Nationals. I competed in the 10-way FS Speed competition from 1998–2002, bringing home 2 gold and 3 silver medals. Adrenal8 competed last year in 8-way FS and tied for 5th place, only 5 points out of first. We were proud to note that we had 10 good exits (a must to win) and no busts (a formation that was not complete and controlled).

Random-E - Rubick Photo by Henrik Csűri

Random-E – Rubick Photo by Henrik Csűri

Blk-13-Double-Satelite Photo by Henrik Csűri

Blk-13-Double-Satelite Photo by Henrik Csűri










U.S. Nationals is scheduled from September 12 through September 21 this year. During this time, there will be various skydiving disciplines, including 4-way FS, 16-way FS, 4-way VFS (Vertical Formation Skydiving), along with Freeflying, Canopy Piloting, and Style and Accuracy. For the complete list, go to

My competition starts September 15 depending on the weather and that the 4-way FS competition is over. We usually finish the competition in a day to a day and a half. I will try and Tweet (@HinePhoto) our results as our competition is unfolding.

Any questions or comments let me know

T. J.

This entry was posted in Skydiving.


  1. Tish August 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    How is it determined that your group is “intermediate”? What are the other levels?

    • T. J. Hine August 28, 2014 at 9:58 am #

      Tish, there are 3 levels this year, Intermediate, Advanced an Open. Open is for the “pros”, sponsored teams that skydive for a living, including our U. S. Army Golden Nights. For the past 20-years Arizona Airspeed has dominated this category.

      Intermediate was for everyone else. The problem being when a team won Intermediate they would have to move up to Open and really did not have a chance to compete at that level, so USPA added the Advanced class.

      The team can choose what class they belong in.

      Thanks for the question!
      T. J.

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