Local native is top parachutist

PHOTO SUBMITTED / RANDY SWALLOWS / Greg Windmiller, shown in recent competition, will be competing on the U.S. Parachute Team at the World Championships in November.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / RANDY SWALLOWS / Greg Windmiller, shown in recent competition, will be competing on the U.S. Parachute Team at the World Championships in November.

A Brookhaven native has landed on the U.S. Parachute Team after last week’s 2014 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships of Canopy at Skydive City Zephrhills in Florida.

Greg Windmiller, son of Robert and Donna Windmiller and the grandson of Ima Windmiller, will join the eight-person team in representing the U.S. in the World Championships. The competition will be held for the first time in the U.S. Nov. 1-7 in Zephyrhills, Florida.

Greg Windmiller

Greg Windmiller

Windmiller, a 1990 graduate of Brookhaven High School, said he began parachuting when he joined the U.S. Army after graduation.

“It’s a very prestige thing,” he said. “Its very humbling and, at the same time, gratifying.”

This competition was particularly difficult for Windmiller because four days prior to the event, he broke his arm and tore a rotator cuff.

“It was probably the most difficult thing that I’ve had to do,” he said.

During competitions, Windmiller said he focuses minutely on the details of his technique.

“I just try to focus on what I am doing and my technique. I rehearse in my head over and over,” he said. “I just try to relax as much as humanly possible so nothing distracts me.”

In canopy piloting, often called “swooping,” skydivers fly high-performance parachutes that can generate high vertical and horizontal speeds.

By performing speed-inducing maneuvers, these very experienced skydivers can glide inches above the ground for hundreds of yards at speeds approaching 90 mph.

The canopy piloting championships include competitions in speed, in which pilots try to fly as quickly as possible through a course; distance, which involves flying as far as possible across the ground; and accuracy, in which canopy pilots must stop on an exact spot for maximum points.

Windmiller is a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and has completed 13,000-plus skydives.