Hitting the Mark at Leapfest

Fifty teams will jump out of planes for the parachute competition.

Fifty teams will go airborne on August 6 for Leapfest, the National Guard Bureau-sponsored international static line parachute competition. The drop zone is located off Ministerial Road behind West Kingston Middle School in South Kingstown, and the event is free and open to the public for viewing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Military service members from the United States and Canada, as well as Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom amongst other countries, will jump out of CH-47 Chinook helicopters. They will be timed as soon as they hit the ground until they reach one of three targets marked with by fluorescent Xs. “Some paratroopers are very proficient underneath our canopies, and are skilled enough to land right on the X, which means they would get a zero for a time,” says Leapfest host Colonel Ellis F. Hopkins III from the Rhode Island Army National Guard.

Here are four details about the day:

1. Leapfest dates back to 1982 in Rhode Island. The only year it was canceled was in 2013, due to Sequestration.
2. Each Leapfest team includes four jumpers and one alternate, and each paratrooper jumps two times. Individual and team total times are calculated to determine first, second and third places, as well as for international teams.
3. There are four helicopters, and twenty-four paratroopers can board one helicopter, so that’s six teams in the air at one time.
4. There is a designated area for spectators on the edge of the drop zone so they can see the entire competition. leapfest.com