United States Parachute Association News

U.S. Skydiver Wins World Championships!

U.S. Parachute Team member Nicholas Batsch has once again earned the title of World Champion of Canopy Piloting after beating out 65 other competitors from around the globe at the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Canopy Piloting World Championships held in Wroclaw, Poland, in July. Batsch repeated his world champion title, winning the overall gold medal, as well as silver in the speed event and bronze in the distance event. Other U.S. Team members also won big: Curt Bartholomew won gold in the accuracy event and the overall bronze medal, and Justin Price won bronze in the freestyle event. The U.S. also brought home the gold in the team event.

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. In the freestyle event, competitors show off their best dynamic and exciting move as they skim across a pond under their parachutes.

In September, the dynamic and visually spectacular skydiving event of freestyle swooping heads to downtown San Diego for the first time ever. The FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships comes to the Embarcadero Marina Park South September 14-15, as 18 of the world’s best canopy pilots will fly their parachutes mere inches above the water at speeds approaching 90 mph. For more information about the event, visit And to see what swoop freestyle is all about, check out this video.