The purpose of competition is to create a venue in which skills can be progressed in a fun and fair atmosphere. The Wide Open Wingsuit Series (WOWS) encourages the development of wingsuit skills through relevant task formats, team building, and sharing knowledge between competitors.
In WOWS there are no solo jumps, no overall GPS scoring, and no averages or points. There is only four-cross racing and heat advancement through competition brackets. WOWS aims to be the fairest, most fun, and most objective format possible.
There are two parts of each competition: Distance and Speed. In essence, each WOWS event is two competitions in one as there is no combined or overall score.
All tasks flown are four-cross races. A pilot can win Distance, Speed, or both, by advancing through the brackets of each round in the competition.
Heats of four competitors exit the jump plane together with one Rabbit forming the base. The Rabbit is not a competitor or a judge; he/she is solely a human start gun. The Rabbit starts the race by signaling the competitors. Pilots then race together toward the finish altitude (Distance) or the finish line (Speed).
Pilots compete in heats, advancing through brackets. There is a podium for Distance and for Speed.
Check out this video for a visual explanation.
The aircraft exit order is decided by the heat (competitors and Rabbit) with consideration to exit direction and starting slot. All pilots in each heat exit the plane together with the Rabbit. From the moment the Rabbit exits the plane, all pilots in the heat must form up on the Rabbit. When the Rabbit is lined up on the race lane, he/she gives a signal to key the start. The Rabbit keys the start of the race with a physical gesture visible to all racers, typically by kicking legs. The start location and altitude are up to the Rabbit.
All pilots must be below and behind the Rabbit in their starting slot. How far below is not controlled, but it is in the competitor’s best interest to not be far below. How far above or in front of is controlled. If a pilot is above, in front of, or more than 150ft behind the Rabbit when the start is keyed, then they are disqualified from the heat.
Starting slot position is decided by each pilot in the heat, in order of seeding. There are two starting slots to the left of the Rabbit and two on the right.
From the moment the Rabbit signals, the heat begins. Jumping/charging the start is not allowed. It will be deemed a Did Not Finish-False Start (DNF-FS) and result in a disqualification in that heat.
Squabbles over positioning and intentional burbles are governed by the spirit of the race, self-responsibility and democracy. There is no advantage to playing bumper cars, and it is dangerous. There is plenty of airspace to accommodate four pilots flying side by side. It does not matter where the heat begins, or at what altitude, because the competition is four-cross, and the finish lines are static for each task.
All heats in Distance and Speed take place within a race lane.
The race lane is determined by the start position of the Rabbit. When the Rabbit keys the race the Rabbit marks the center point of the lane. The race lane is 1000m wide for Distance and 500m wide for Speed. Pilots must stay inside the lane for the duration of the task. For pilots who leave the lane at any time within the race will be given a Did Not Finish-Lane Violation (DNF-LV).
Lane placement is chosen based on terrestrial landmarks such as roads or runways. Pilots can visually identify the lane from the air and from the trajectory of the rabbit.
Distance: The Distance competition finishes at an altitude floor. Once the race begins inside the race lane, pilots fly as efficiently as possible (max L/D) until they reach the finish floor altitude of 6,000ft AGL. Once the pilot crosses 6,000ft AGL, the race is over, and the score is how far the pilot flew inside the lane.
Speed: The finish line is a wall extending upward above a visible landmark, such as a road or runway. In the Speed competition, pilots must cross the finish line above a safe predetermined altitude known as the hard deck, typically 4,500ft AGL. A Did Not Finish (DNF) result will be given to pilots who cross the hard deck before the finish line.
Note: Finish altitudes can be changed from competition to competition and even from heat to heat. This could be dependent upon patterns, conditions, and competitor preference.
Distance: The winner is the furthest person to pass through the finish altitude floor, within the race lane. The scoring system determines the distance that each pilot flies, above the finish floor.
Speed: The winner is the first person to pass through the finish line, or wall by the pilot’s GPS clock synced to GMT.
Heats will exit the plane on their own pass, leaving at least 3 minutes between each heat. Safe race lanes will be established in a location that will not interfere with normal DZ traffic. Exit patterns will be established so that pilots are exiting the race lane after the finish in a similar direction. Deployment zones will be established so that pilots are opening parachutes in a predetermined location. Preach vigilance and awareness: each heat involves four other pilots. Each skydive may involve additional traffic.
The scoring for each heat is based on GPS readings from each pilot. The first two pilots from each heat advance to the next round. Therefore, position in the overall competition is based on heat advancement through rounds until the final.
Scorer 1: Checks with the Rabbit and the competitors to ensure that all pilots were below and behind the rabbit at the start.
Scorer 2: Ingests FlySight tracks and determines who crossed the finish line first or who flew the furthest distance along the course above the floor altitude. Scoring each jumper takes approximately 1 minute under normal circumstances.
There are no judges in WOWS. Part of the spirit of the competition is self-responsibility. If a score is called into question, the heat (including the Rabbit) votes on a decision.
WOWS is Open Class. This means that any production wingsuit available or similar to publicly available design is accepted. Most pilots opt to fly high performance suits. All competitors must use the same wingsuit for both Distance and Speed.
AADs are mandatory for all participants. They must be turned on for every jump.
Every participant must bring their own FlySight. The FlySight is the only GPS device accepted. www.FlySight.ca. Re-jumps will not be made in the event of a GPS malfunction, so having a backup is in the best interest of all competitors.
Emergency Handles and the MLW:
Each competitor must have their MLW exposed, outside of the wingsuit, from the harness rings to below the emergency handles.
Audible altimeters are required (FlySight altitude alarms do not count).
GoPros are required for all participants in the Semifinal and Final rounds. They must be mounted to the top front of the helmet. Competitors will be required to start recording before staging and leave on until after landing. Before loading the plane, please be sure your camera is charged and has a memory card with at least 8 GB of free space on it.
If the pilot has an exit weight (minus ballast of any kind) less than 200lbs they may add ballast up to a maximum exit weight of 200lbs (±2.5lbs). The maximum ballast amount allowed, regardless of exit weight, is 20lbs.
- If a pilot is 205lbs exit weight (person, clothing, parachute system, and wingsuit - with no ballast hidden in the rig), then the pilot may not carry any ballast at all.
- If a pilot is 190lbs exit weight (person, clothing, parachute system, and wingsuit - with no ballast hidden in the rig), then the pilot may carry a maximum of 10lbs ballast.
- If a pilot is 170lbs exit weight, then the pilot may carry a maximum of 20lbs ballast, for a total exit weight of 190lbs
If you want to wear weight for Speed, you MUST wear it for Distance first. There will be no exceptions for any reason.
Pilots will be randomly selected for weigh-ins. Each pilot’s exit weight, including any ballast and all equipment, must be within ±2.5lbs of morning weight for both Distance and Speed competitions.
Any pilot caught violating any rule relating to ballast and exit weight will be ejected from the event with no score, no ranking, and subject to a ban from all future WOWS events.