Skydiving national championships set to land in Eloy

By Catherine Crook

The Arizona Republic

More than 500 skydivers will descend on Eloy this week for the world’s largest annual skydiving competition, described as “interpretive acrobatics in the sky.”

The U.S. Parachute Association’s National Skydiving Championships are an opportunity for top competitors to earn a position on the U.S. team for the World Parachuting Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Nov. 28-Dec. 9.

Arizona Airspeed and Arizona Arsenal, both local four-way formation teams, and the Army Golden Knights are among those competing this year. Cheryl Stearns, who has made a record 19,000 jumps, will be out to defend her national championship.

There are five disciplines at this competition: formation diving, free-fall style and accuracy landing, vertical formation, canopy formation and artistic events.

Each discipline includes at least two events. In artistic events, for example, there are free-flying and freestyle events. In free flying, three-person teams free-fall in orchestrated formations, usually upright or upside down. Freestyle competitors perform individual aerial ballets as they plummet to Earth.


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