Thrilling 'Swooping' Skydiving Outshines Your Tandem Jump Experience


Thrilling ‘Swooping’ Skydiving Outshines Your Tandem Jump Experience

Extreme Sports, Extreme Sports News

In canopy piloting, the objective is not just a safe descent to the ground; it’s about reaching the ground as swiftly as feasible.

When observing Jeannie Bartholomew gracefully exiting an aircraft, your initial reaction might lead you to believe her jump has taken an unexpected turn for the worse. Surprisingly, her first move in skydiving is deploying her parachute, followed by a breathtaking 450-degree spin head over heels.

However, this unconventional maneuver is not only intentional but also indispensable. Jeannie Bartholomew is a prominent contender in the specialized realm of canopy piloting, a discipline that makes the tandem jump you experienced last summer seem rather unimpressive (perhaps it’s time to reconsider your Tinder profile photo).

The primary objective of canopy jumping, also known as swooping, is not merely a safe descent but rather a rapid descent to the ground, followed by flying at maximum speed or distance, mere inches above the earth’s surface. Elite competitors like Bartholomew and her husband, Curt, take the plunge from a mere 5,500 feet altitude and deploy a petite 64-square-foot parachute. This may appear audacious when you realize that most skydivers leap from 13,000 feet with a parachute almost four times larger. Nevertheless, executing the topsy-turvy spin is the most effective technique for mitigating the parachute’s deceleration. These top-tier swoopers can achieve speeds ranging from 80 to 100 mph as they gracefully skim the ground.

The overarching goal, depending on the specific event, is to attain maximum speed (similar to downhill skiing), cover the greatest distance (akin to a long jump), or precisely land in a designated spot (think Skee-Ball). In all cases, canopy piloting is an exceedingly technical sport that demands impeccable control, lightning-quick reflexes, and a considerable amount of courage. Even the slightest mistake can lead to severe injury or worse, as Jeannie Bartholomew points out. Both she and her husband have endured broken feet, toes, hands, fingers, ribs, damaged ACLs and MCLs, and countless bumps and bruises.

Nevertheless, these sacrifices are a small price to pay for the exquisite blend of elegance and adrenaline that canopy piloting offers. As Jeannie puts it, “There’s nothing that compares to diving your parachute toward the ground at 100 miles per hour and precisely placing your canopy exactly where you desire.


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