Published: Tuesday, July 25th 2017, 4:37 pm MST By Lydia Camarillo, Anchor
“The sky is the limit for this crew! Skydiving team Arizona X-Force is gearing up for the Skydiving World Cup next month in Germany as part of the U.S. Parachute Team, the nation’s most elite aerial athletes. The team trains at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Arizona X-Force won the bronze in vertical formation skydiving at the U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships. During vertical formation skydiving, four-person teams exit the plane more than two miles above the ground and perform acrobatic maneuvers.” Copyright 2017Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
4-way FS: Competing under the name “X-Defy”, which is a combination of two team names: X-Force and Defiance, Nik and Brianne competed with local Arizona skydivers Cris and Joe Howard.
With only 3 hours of tunnel training over the past few weeks, the team finishing the meet with a 18.3 average over 10 rounds, placing 3rd.
iFLY VB 2017 4-way FS open podium
4-way FS open scores:
4-way VFS: Arizona X-FORCE managed to increase its competition average considerably since the XP Championships, just two month earlier – jumping from 21.3 to 23.7.
Unfortunately the team took a severe blow in round 3, loosing its 2nd place standing and dropping to 4th, which it could not recover from. In the end, Arizona X-FORCE lost the podium by 1 point to team Arsenal.
4-way VFS open scores:
VFS Rounds 1 and 2
FS rounds 5 -10, VFS round 3 starts at 1:14:55
Congratulations to all the teams that took part in this awesome event, and thanks to all of our sponsors for their continued support! Our next two major competitions will be the Skydiving World Cup (7-13 Aug) in Saarlouis Germany, followed by the USPA Nationals (20-23 Sep) at Skydive Perris California.
Strategically located between the north and south landing areas, AXIS Flight School has installed a weather station to better serve its local jumping community at Skydive Arizona. The station transmits the weather conditions including: wind speed, direction, and gusts – which is of interest to most skydivers who want to stay in the know.
On February 25-26, Arizona X-FORCE attended the 2017 Paraclete XP Indoor Championships in Raeford, North Carolina. This was the first competition in VFS history where the discipline was expanded to 10 rounds with the addition of new blocks and randoms (18-22 & O-Q).
4-way VFS Open podium: 1st SDC Core, 2nd Arizona X-FORCE, 3rd Golden Knights VFS.
PICTURE PERFECT: Man takes pictures, 15,000 feet up in the air
“Skydiving, as one can imagine, is dangerous enough, but try to imagine the added element of trying to capture the perfect picture, 12,000 feet up in the air. One photographer does exactly that, as a career.
“As a kid, I’ve always been pretty active, always enjoyed extreme sports, whether it was doing the skateboarding thing or riding bicycles,” said Niklas Daniel. “In this case, this was just another thing I wanted to experiment with.”
One can call Daniel a skydiving expert. To date, Daniel has made more than 10,000 jumps, and counting, and he is now known as one of the best behind the camera, at 12,000 feet.
Daniel’s love for photography began at an early age, and after falling in love with skydiving, he blended his two passions.
“The moment is very fleeting,” said Daniel. “So, if you have a shot in your head that you would like to create, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of training, also a little engineering to try and put that together.”
Daniel also described the difference between photography works that take place on terra firma, and those that take place up in the air.
“If you’re taking a photograph on the ground, depending on the subject, you maybe have the ability to take a test shot, take a look at the settings, and then be able to adjust until you get that right shot,” said Daniel. “Skydiving is more of sport photography, where they’re trying to get that perfect shot and it’s not something that you can recreate necessarily.”
Daniel said in order to be a good aerial photographer, you’d have to be a great skydiver.
“Not is it enough that I have to fly my own body or my parachute for example, but I have to be able to do that without having to think about it that much that I can now focus on the shot,” said Daniel. “In addition to that, I have to be very aware of my closing speeds with other people, the distance I’m away from them and I also have to remain altitude aware. I can’t look at my altimeter constantly, because that would ruin the shot.”
Equipment is also important. Daniel’s helmet works as his rig, and his tripod is his own body.
Over the years, Daniel has documented other people’s jumps, along with the formation of skydiving teams. He has also produced training video. Daniel said some of his favorite pictures to take are during competition with his team.
“I really enjoy the pressure of having to get a specific shot, and then being able to present that to the judges,” said Daniel. “That’s been my expertise, but I also really enjoy the off-the-wall projects, so whether someone wants to light a parachute on fire or something kind of more in that direction. Something you don’t see everyday.”
Besides doing what he loves everyday, Daniel also gets to share his passion with others who might not get the chance to. He and his wife, Brianne, support “Operation Enduring Warrior” by donating their time to help wounded veterans enter the sport of skydiving.