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Canopy Piloting

Rules for competing in Canopy Piloting:


Suggested equipment:
Hard helmet, digital altimeter, closed shoes, body protection and audible with swoop alarms recommended. Sufficient medical cover highly recommended. Swoop area should be clear of traffic, preferable swoop pond.

CPSP (canopy piloting skills programme)

10 Jump programme (pre-declared)

All jumps to be debriefed by evaluator and signed off in log book. Must have hard helmet, digital altimeter, and closed shoes. Landing must be observed.

Task 1 x 2
Open above 8000ft. Student to explore canopy range on toggles and rear risers i.e.: determine stall point. 3 x stall on back risers, 3 x stall on toggles. Student must alternate riser and toggle stall. No more work under 2500ft.

Student to be briefed on the recovery of a stall by letting out brakes or rear risers after stall just enough to regain flight. Must fly student landing pattern.

Task 2 x 2
Open above 8000ft. Student to explore front riser pressure and altitude loss when pulling down dual front risers. No more work under 2500ft.

Student to be briefed on altitude loss when pulling front risers. Student to determine how much altitude loss for 3 second and 5 second riser dive on both front risers pulled simultaneously. Always flare after each manoeuvre. Student must give altitude loss for 3 second and 5 second dive on debrief. Must fly student landing pattern.

Task 3 x 2
Open above 8000ft.Student to explore harness turns, altitude loss for period of turn. No more work under 2500ft.

Student to be briefed on harness turns. Students must be told that the turn will take some time to start on light wing load. Must perform at least 2 separate 180’ turns with harness. Always flare after each manoeuvre. Student must give altitude loss on 180’ and time taken to complete turn in seconds in debrief. Must fly student landing pattern.

Task 4 x 4
Open above 8000ft. Student to explore turns combining riser and harness input. No more work 2500ft.

Student to be briefed on turn rate with harness and riser input. Student must give altitude loss for 180’ turn with harness and riser turn combined. Must perform at least 2 180’ turns with riser and harness combined input. Always flare after each manoeuvre. Must report minimum recovery altitude for 180’ turn. Must fly student landing pattern.

Intermediate class

Pre-qualifiers for intermediate class:

  1. Cleared by evaluator
  2. Minimum 500 ram-air canopy jumps
  3. Turns limited to 270 degree’s
  4. Pro rating
  5. Completed canopy piloting skills course and briefing
  6. Wing load limit may not exceed jump number progression chart


1.         Must be cleared by CI and 2 evaluators
2.       Complete 30m course 3 times (pre declared) 15ft high gates 15 meters apart, must have safe approach, no low turns.

Open class


  1. Taken part at Intermediate / open at previous Nationals or SSA sanctioned competition
  2. 1000 jumps minimum
  3. Cleared by evaluator for Open class
  4. Complete 50m course 3 times with 5ft gates over water (same as world qualifier) Attempts must be pre declared. A missed attempt will start the count again.
  5. Weight restrictions as per FAI
  6. Competition rules as per FAI


All qualification jumps should be performed before competitions may be entered.

Down size:

Downsize on canopy of same type should include the CPSP or 25 jumps on downsized canopy, changing from a 9 cell to a cross-brace canopy, CPSP should be adhered to or 100 jumps on canopy should be completed before any competition may be entered.

All skydivers should be aware that if weights are used the wing load on the reserve should be kept in mind and not exceed manufacturers specifications.

All skydivers should realize that they should stay current in swooping as the risk escalates and the margin of error is small.


Any warnings will include qualifiers and competition jumps.

1.       Only 2 yellow cards allowed. 2 yellow cards = red card. (low turn = red card, missed course = yellow card, etc.) Yellow and red cards for unsafe landings can be given by the CI, judges or an evaluator.
2.       No attempts may be made at course if red card has been given. Full briefing must be given before next attempt.
3.       A red card will suspend participation in competition. In the event of a red card in the qualifiers a re-brief of tasks must be given.


Minimum currency requirement
Intermediate: Must complete intermediate qualifiers in last 3 months.
Open: Complete 50m course 3 times with 5ft gates over water (same as world qualifier) in last 3 months.

Candidate must be cleared by 2 evaluators and comply with currency requirements.

Evaluator qualification:

An evaluator will be a current PASA member that is cleared by current evaluators, to perform in his capacity the ability assessment for candidates interested to participate in canopy piloting pre qualifiers, and will asses such candidates and will qualify them to be able to participate in a canopy piloting event.

JM rating, Pro rating, participate at Nationals in canopy piloting open class, 1000 descents, comply with pre qualifications.

Pre qualification for evaluator:
Minima intermediate qualification, complete 70m course 3 times pre declared, be recommended by at least 1 current evaluator, recommended by CI, cleared by vote with 75% of current evaluators.

Suggested course theory outline intermediate:

  • Introduction: What is canopy piloting? Explain distance, accuracy, carve, freestyle. Explain dangers. Slow progression is normal. Skills are important to acquire. Dedicated hop & pops. Explain CPSP. Ultimate goal to be safe and have fun.
  • Equipment: hard helmet, digital altimeter, type of canopy, wing load, flight plan, weights, reserve limitations, audible functions, medical cover 
  • Air work: separation and pull altitude in competition, wind direction and how this will affect setup, awareness of altitude and importance, check for traffic, landing order.
  • Setup and approach: why the student approach, initiation point for turn and the importance of being at the correct altitude, altitude loss of turn and turn rate.
  • Landing: flair technique with rear risers and possible collapse of canopy when flaring with rear risers, recovery when turning low, rear riser flare should only be attempted when absolute confidence in flare technique has been acquired and should only be attempted near the ground when proficient.