Canopy piloting

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Canopy Piloting (also known as swooping) encompasses several disciplines, all involving the flight of a skydiving parachute.

"Swooping," a form of canopy piloting, is a growing activity in the skydiving world. Many observers are of the opinion that swooping is one of the few skydiving-related events that is spectator friendly.


The current world records[1] are:

G-1-f1 : Distance - General - Canopy Piloting Records : 151.95m
Date of : 15/06/2012
Parachutist(s): Nick Batsch (USA)
Canopy type: Daedalus JPX Petra
Course/place: Rockmart, GA (USA)
G-1-f2 : Speed over a 70m course - General - Canopy Piloting Records : 2.404 sec
Date of : 15/06/2012
Parachutist(s): Greg Windmiller (USA)
Canopy type: PD Velocity
Course/place: Rockmart, GA (USA)


Pro Swooping Tour Professional competition courses mark the entry gates with wind blades stretching five feet tall, where some part of the pilot's body must break the imaginary line across the top of the entry gate pair, often only 30 feet apart. These types of landings are inherently more dangerous than normal landings. For competitors' safety, this is usually done over a "swoop pond", a shallow, artificial pond around three feet deep, that can be narrow and long. More recently larger square or rectangular ponds are common.

The goal of the canopy piloting competition is to negotiate courses that challenge different performance characteristics of both canopy flight and pilot skill. Speed, distance and accuracy are just three of the basic courses used at most competitions. On a freestyle course, competitors drag through a large body of water, or touch the surface with different body parts and in different positions while maintaining nearly constant contact with the water. Gaining popularity both with competitors and spectators, freestyle puts the canopy pilot in contact with water at high speeds, increasing the risk of a violent impact, or a spectacular display of skill over the pond, ultimately grounding on the other side.

To become a high-performance canopy pilot, a competent skydiver must typically have at least 1000 jumps and start a 1-2 year training process to compete at the 'standard' level. Professional levels take 2–4 years of dedicated training and some competitors reach over 10,000 jumps.

Ground-launching and speed-flying are other forms of canopy piloting. These disciplines differ from swooping in that the canopy pilot flies his canopy in close proximity to the ground, descending a mountainside or other gradient or, in certain conditions, hovering several meters above the ground, much like a paragliding pilot. These types of flights are appealing to pilots who want long canopy flights at relatively low cost and to those who want to try something new.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Parachuting". Retrieved 2013-05-17.