Chasing the Worlds Fastest Man

The 2021 United States Parachute Association National Championships were held October 18-30 at Skydive Arizona. The aim of the event is to:

1) recognize and honor U.S. National Champions in the following disciplines:​ Artistic Events, Canopy Formation, Formation Skydiving, Accuracy Landing, Canopy Piloting, Mixed Formation Skydiving, Vertical Formation Skydiving, Wingsuit Flying, Speed Skydiving, and

2) to select the best competitors in the United States to form representative U.S. Teams from the appropriate disciplines for participation in selected international competitions.

Speed competitor Niklas Daniel at the 2021 USPA Nationals at Skydive AZ.

“Speed Skydiving is a new skydiving discipline with as simple a definition as it gets.  Achieve the fastest speed possible over a given distance. It has developed over the last few years and represents the fastest non-motorized sport on Earth. In essence, speed skydiving is the discipline where only one aspect of skydiving counts – freefall speed. The speed achieved by a human body in free fall is conditioned of two factors, body weight and body orientation. In a stable, belly to earth position, terminal velocity of the human body is about 200 km/h (about 120 mph). A stable, freefly, head down position has a terminal speed of around 240-290 km/h (around 150-180 mph). Further minimizing body drag and streamlining the body position allows the skydiver to reach higher speeds in the vicinity of 480 km/h (300 mph).” – FAI ISC website

Competitors are not allowed to wear weight and can only use standard skydiving equipment. Performance is recorded using a speed measuring device (SMD), a GPS tracker that is attached to each individuals helmet. For more information and rules of the event, please click here.

A new world record was set in round 1 by the current World Champion Kyle Lobpries (USA) with a speed of 512.97km/h (318.74mph)! Kyle broke his own record he had just set a couple of months earlier at the 3rd FAI World Speed Skydiving Championships in Tanay, Russia.

2021 USPA Nationals Speed Skydiving Results posted on SKYDERBY.

AXIS Flight School coach Niklas Daniel claimed second place with an average speed of 486.86 kmh / 302.52mph. Nik’s single highest scoring round was 495.36 kmh / 307.80mph, which occurred in round 4.

Nik reached a top speed of 502km/h (311.92mph), but unfortunately this peak in performance happened after the end of the scoring window. Joining the 500 club will have to wait 😉
Exit weight 100.8kg / 222.22lbs. Photo by Karl Mayer.

Nik’s gear of choice for the competition was a Cookie G3 helmet, Vertical Suits Speed Suit, L&B Optima II, Freefall Data Systems Color Alti, Cypres 2, UPT Micron (V316), PIG gloves, adidas lite racer adapt 4.0 shoes, and some strategically placed gaffers tape 🙂

Nik’s performance earned him a spot on the USA Team to compete and represent the United States at the upcoming World Championships in Eloy Arizona next year.

Silver Medal and USPA Team Patch.
2021 Speed Skydiving Podium. From left to right: Niklas Daniel, Kyle Lobpries, Anthony “TJ” Landgren. Photo by Kay Robinson.

Nik would like to thank his sponsors for their continued support. In no particular order: Skydive Arizona, Skyventure AZ, Cookie Composites, Cypres, L&B Altimeters, Performance Designs, UPT, and Vertical Suits.

AXIS Decennial at Skydive AZ!

November 2020 marks AXIS Flight School‘s 10 year anniversary at Skydive Arizona!

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In celebration of our ‘tin anniversary‘, we reflect on some of our favorite highlights and exploits over the past decade and give thanks to our Students, Sponsors, Team Mates, and Skydive Arizona. Without you, we would not be living the dream.

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AXIS Flight School® Sponsors

We also want to give a special shout out to the various skydiving magazines who have spent many hours editing and publishing our work with the community.

Here is to the next 10 years of Awesomeness!

November 2010AXIS Flight School® sets up shop at Skydive Arizona.

April 2011 – AXIS published its first Foundations of Flight article in Parachutist Magazine.

July 2011 – Nik performs his first canopy burn for the music video 4 years by Kid Savant.

September 2011 – AXIS organizes at MOAB.

October 2011 – Nik makes an appearance in the ESPN Body issue with his team mates on Arizona Arsenal.

March 2012 – Nik wins the 10th Annual Freefly Money Meet.

April 2012 – AXIS coaches and organizes at the Skydive Expo in Deland Florida.

May 2012 – AXIS offers canopy flocking courses at Skydive Arizona.

August 2012 – AXIS coaches and organizes in Europe during the summer. Several more trips follow in the future.

June 2013 – AXIS trains the first Operation Enduring Warrior AFF student Todd Love. Many more wounded veterans join the program to receive their USPA A-License and go beyond.

July 2013 – AXIS releases its first version of a free online DrawGenerator for formation skydiving disciplines. More performance tools are added over the years.

September 2013 – AXIS Flight School’s swoop and slide footage airs on VH1’s 40 greatest viral videos.

September 2013 – Nik wins his first US National title in 4-way VFS while on Arizona Arsenal.

December 2013 – Nik is the primary videographer for the Women’s Vertical World Record 63-way over Skydive Arizona.

December 2013 – Nik performs “The Huckleberry”.

February 2014 – AXIS jumps with Cory Remsburg during the Tee it up for the Troops golf outing in Scottsdale, Arizona.

June 2014 – AXIS skydiving video is featured on the TV show Jeopardy.

September 2014 – Nik wins silver at the 21st FAI World Formation Skydiving Championships in 4-way VFS while on Arizona Arsenal.

September 2014 – Nik wins his second US National title in 4-way VFS while on Arizona Arsenal.

September 2014 Arizona X-FORCE competes at its first USPA Nationals at Skydive Chicago. The team went on to compete and medal (2 silver, 3 bronze) at five consecutive USPA Nationals, in addition to medaling at several indoor skydiving competitions (bronze at USIS). AZ X-FORCE participated in two FAI World Cups, earning bronze in 2019. Peak performances for outdoor included: 17.8 average, 24points single highest scoring round. Peak performances for indoor included: 26.1 average, 46points single highest scoring round.

March 2015 Brianne receives the Chesley H. Judy USPA Safety Award.

March 2015 – AXIS Swoop ‘N Slide video footage is featured on GoPro, and is featured on 60minutes.

March 2015 – AXIS releases YouTube video “A Case of the Mondays”.

July 2015 – Nik captures epic video footage with a RED camera for Rockhouse Motion.

September 2015 – Ben Lowe joins AXIS Flight School under the label X-Ratings to offer rating courses.

October 2015 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the USPA Nationals.

November 2015 Brianne’s burning parachute jump video goes viral, reaching more than 1M views.

April 2016 PD’s the Dream of Flight campaign.

April 2016 First 3-way XRW night jump over Skydive Arizona.

May 2016 Performance Designs releases the one-year anniversary Valkyrie ad featuring Brianne swooping her canopy through a wall of fire.

August 2016 – Brianne receives the USPA Regional Achievement Award for her involvement in Operation Enduring Warrior.

October 2016 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the USPA Nationals.

December 2016 – Skydive Mag publishes Nik’s Body-flight Theory paper in four installments.

February 2017 – Nik’s aerial photography is featured on FOX 10 News.

March 2017 – Nik receives the Chesley H. Judy USPA Safety Award.

April 2017 – AXIS installs a personal weather station as Skydive Arizona and broadcast info online for locals.

April 2017 – AXIS coaches placed 3rd with their player coach team X-Defy at the iFly Virginia Beach Indoor Nationals in 4-way Formation Skydiving.

August 2017 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 4th at the 21st FAI World Cup in Germany.

September 2017 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 2nd at the USPA Nationals.

September 2017 – Brianne sets World Female Performance Record, as well as North American Female Competition and Performance Records in Speed Skydiving.

February 2018 – Brianne and Nik receive their pilots license (ASEL).

March 2018 – AXIS collaborates with the IBA to produce video tutorials.

March 2018 – Nik receives his IBA Trainer Level 4 sign off.

September 2018 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 2nd at the USPA Nationals.

January 2019 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the USIS Nationals.

July 2019 – AXIS published its 100th Foundations of Flight in Parachutist Magazine.

August 2019 – AXIS introduces its Merit System.

September 2019 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 2nd at the USPA Nationals.

October 2019 – Brianne is the first American to medal in FS and VFS at the same World level competition.

October 2019 – Arizona X-FORCE takes 3rd at the 22nd FAI World Cup in Eloy.

December 2019 – AXIS collaborates with Good Goblin Games to produce the AXIS Skydiving App.

September 2020 – AXIS hosts its first Crucible Indoor Tournament.

October 2020 – AXIS builds a home studio to produce high quality educational videos.

November 2020 – AXIS continues to support the OEW Skydiving project.

The Crucible Indoor Tournament

The Crucible is just over a week away!

This fun event, created and organized by AXIS Flight School®, exposes participants to the challenges of competition, while meeting new likeminded flyers. The Crucible is a great learning opportunity for those who wish to take their flying abilities to the next level.

Bring only yourself — everyone flies with everybody.

September 12, 2020 — 5:00 PM at Skyventure Arizona

Click here to register (Limited to 12 slots)

Competition Format

The competition format is an all-play-all tournament, in which each competitor meets all other competitors in turn. Each participant flies with every other participant once. Athletes try to accumulate wins into a final statistic by collecting as many points as possible in a 35 second working time. The Crucible round-configuring-system is a fair way to determine a winner from amongst all participants. One or two bad performances do not jeopardize a competitor’s chance of ultimate victory. Therefore the Crucible tournament fosters a fun and inclusive environment.

All participants are guaranteed to showcase their skills for the entire duration of the event. Final scores of the competitors represent the results over a longer period against the same opposition.

On average a Crucible Tournament takes four hours to complete from arrival to departure. This includes the competitors brief, prep time, short breaks, flight time, and awards ceremony.

Speed Maze

Each flyer showcases their individual flying skills during two rounds called the Speed Maze. The solo flyer races against the clock in order to collect as many points scattered around the tunnel walls as possible. There will be pads on the tunnel walls, numerically sequenced from 1-10, and the competitors have to tag them with their hands or feet in numerical order. Once a competitor tags number 10, s/he repeats the sequence from number 1 until the end of the 35 seconds working time. The points collected during the speed maze rounds are added up and are part of every athlete’s total score.

Helpful Links:

Register (link to Square online store)

Competition Rules

AXIS 2-way FS Dive Pool

Random Draw Generator (select FS, AXIS, and Open)

Skydive Radio Interview on Visualizing

AXIS Flight School would like to thank Garnett and Dave at Skydive Radio for hosting us on their show (#249). Brianne and Nik discuss the value of incorporating visualization parctices to enhace performance.

Visualizing interview 1:37:20 – 1:55:00

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AXIS introduces new HFS dive pools

AXIS Flight School has introduced a new discipline – HFS (Horizontal Formation Skydiving), which is intended for indoor skydiving and utilizes both the belly and back-flying orientations simultaneously. It is therefore related to the horizontal rounds drawn during an MFS advanced event, but with an expanded dive pool in order to facilitate more rounds. These disciplines are a great stepping stone for those with formation skydiving experience and are wanting to explore free-flying. There are two versions to choose from: 2-way and 4-way. Both have been added to the AXIS DrawGenerator.

The 2-way HFS dive pool incorporates some elements from the USPA MFS and Collegiate dive pools, as well as the USIS 2-way VFS event. In addition there are some new formations created by AXIS to further expand the pool.

The 4-way HFS dive pool is an adaptation and was inspired by the 4-way VFS discipline.

XF Dive Pool and Rules Updated

On January 4th, 2015 AXIS Flight School created an experimental dive pool for what was then referred to as XRW (Extreme Relative Work). This is a still developing discipline where canopy and wing-suit pilots build formations. In essence, an XRW skydive is a dissimilar formation flight.

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Photo courtesy of Dan Dupuis.

The first dive pool developed by AXIS was called XF. The name change from XRW was proposed similar to how RW (Relative Work) was changed to FS (Formation Skydiving); and since CF (Canopy Formation) is already taken, the XF abbreviation was introduced for “Cross” Formation. The first draft only had 3 Randoms and 6 blocks.

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Dive pool images from 2015

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Since wing-suit technology has dramatically increased flight performance over the past few years, new formations have become possible. The updated 2020 version now features 8 randoms and 10 blocks dispersed over three classes: intermediate, advanced, and open. In addition, the XF rules have been updated to evolve with the times and practitioners can even make use of the AXIS DrawGenerator. There are now two orientations for the wing suit pilot to fly in:

  • Normal (belly to earth) – indicated in gray, and
  • Inverted (back to earth) – indicated in red.

Back in the day 🙂

AXIS coach Niklas Daniel started experimenting with XF back in April 2010, and has posted videos and written articles about the subject.

2010 – Nik’s first few attempts at Skydive Elsinore.

2011 – Training Camp at Skydive Arizona

2011 – MOAB Boogie.

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Photo by Taya Weiss.

2014 – Getting a bit braver. Post by Blue Skies Magazine.

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2015 – XF gets some exposure on Discovery Canada with first 3-way Night Formation.

Continued fun, experimentation, and introducing the discipline to others.

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Wing-suit pilot and photo by Alex Swindle.

Double Bronze for Brianne Thompson

In addition to competing in 4-way VFS with Arizona X-Force during the 22nd FAI World Cup of Formation Skydiving, Brianne Thompson also participated in 4-way FS female with team Phoenix XP. Having medaled in both events, Brianne is the first American and third person in skydiving history to medal in FS and VFS at the same World level competition. This feat was first accomplished by the Lemay brothers of the Canadian National Team Evolution in 2014.

Congratulations Brianne on this amazing accomplishment!

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Brianne Thompson with two bronze medals at the 22nd FAI World Cup of Formation Skydiving. Photo Niklas Daniel

To view scores and videos, please choose from the following links:

4-way Female (605 USA 1)

4-way VFS (501 USA 2)

2019 World Cup Recap

Bronze Medal for Arizona X-Force in 4-Way VFS!

Team Photo.JPGThe 22nd FAI World Cup of Formation Skydiving was held at Skydive Arizona in Eloy from October 7th to the 12th. Arizona X-Force attended after having just completed the USPA Nationals in mid September.

The competition started out strong, with the top three teams being neck and neck. As time went on, the field started to widen. The Russian team, Vertical FlyStation, and SDC Core (USA) took the top two spots.

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Image created using the AXIS DrawGenerator Training Camp Tool.

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To watch all competition videos, please visit the Omniskore website.

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USA 4-way VFS Team Arizona X-Force on the podium. Photo Meghan Stewart.

Arizona X-Force steals the FUN flag!

National Skydiving League (NSL) reported that X-Force had located and stolen the FUN Flag from the Norwegian VFS team, Blue Pelicans.

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X-Force showing off possession of the FUN Flag at Square2. Photo Ryan Vivion.

Keeping with the tradition, the team immediately found a new hiding spot for it, even though it was in plane sight.

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The current location of the flag is unknown as it was last seen claimed by the Swedish VFS team, Kwansta Kwattro, on Picacho Peak.

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Read more about the FUN Flag tradition here.