The World Games 2017 - Parachuting Canopy Piloting


What is canopy piloting competition?

Canopy Piloting involves a series of tasks designed to test a parachutist’s ability to control the canopy and fly accurately. Each task starts with the parachutist navigating through a number of gates, which are situated on water. The parachutist has one of four goals, depending on the task; complete the course in the shortest time, therefore having the highest speed; complete the water section and then land on a target as accurately as possible; achieve the longest distance from the entry gate before touching down or perform freestyle manoeuvres while navigating the course in the most aesthetically appealing and precise manner.

What do you have to do to win?

The maximum score for SPEED goes to the parachutist flying the course in the shortest time. To maximise ACCURACY, the competitor must successfully navigate the water section before landing as close to the centre of the target as possible. The best score for DISTANCE will go to the parachutist controlling the canopy to fly the maximum distance. In FREESTYLE the best score goes to the competitor with the highest accumulated points in execution and presentation of various pre-determined moves.

In each round the competitors are ranked on a numeric scale to receive ranking points according to the placing. Rank 1 equals 1 point, rank 2 equals 2 points and so on. The lowest amount of aggregated ranking points determines the Champion. 

How is it scored?

For SPEED: pass between the course markers to start the speed run; time is started by breaking an electronic beam across the course. The competitor’s time is stopped as they break a second beam across the exit gate and their time is measured to the thousandth of a second.

For ACCURACY: pass between the course markers and stay within the course to gain points. Extra ‘gate’ points are earned when a competitor drags a part of their body (usually their foot) through an imaginary line on the surface of the water between water gates. Penalties are awarded in the landing phase if the competitor fails to make a stand-up landing or is not in the central zone with their first touch.

For DISTANCE: pass between the course markers and remain within the boundaries of the course to obtain a score. Distance is measured from the entry gate to the first point of contact with the ground.

For FREESTYLE: the competitor navigates their parachute through the course performing pre-determined moves. The competitor's objective is to navigate the parachute through the course while contacting the surface of the water in various ways, as specified in the different moves. The competitor gets scores for technical difficulty, presentation and landing.

Tell me more!

Canopy piloting is a fairly new sport, made possible by the development of smaller and faster canopies in the mid-1990s. The discipline was originally called ‘blade running’ but soon evolved into the format on display at the Games. Competitors compete over a stretch of water for safety reasons because of the high speeds involved – at the same time creating spectacular action as the parachutists swoop across the surface of the water, leaving a plume of spray behind them.

This discipline requires a high level of skill and experience. Many of the top competitors at the Games are professional parachutists or work for parachute manufacturers in the development of new canopies.

« …great skill in speed, accuracy, distance, freestyle and controlling the canopy »