When you spend your entire childhood on a dropzone it’s no wonder the skydiving bug bites you hard…
For Armando starting skydiving was easy. It was basically a family love affair and he knew from early childhood that he wanted to put a rig on his back. His father was his AFF instructor and most of his childhood memories have Skydive Salerno as background. Now, with over 11.000 jumps under his belt, he is a very talented member of PDFT since 2018 and a Flight-1 instructor. The sky is still his happy place.
Armando, tell us who you are, where you come from, where you’re at right now.
I’m 36 and currently working as a skydiving instructor at Skydive Spain. I grew up on a dropzone in Southern Italy where my father was an instructor and rigger. At the age of 16, I did my first AFF jump. A year after, I filmed my brother’s (Mario Fattoruso) AFF. Then we started competing together on a RW4 team. I jumped at as many dropzones as possible and always with different coaches. My first competitions were against my brother where we competed against those who went farther or faster. In 2006, I took part in the Italian Swoop Tour and in 2007, I won the first Italian canopy piloting championship. Now I’m a member of the PD Factory Team along with my brother who is one of my teammates.
Tell us about the lifestyle behind these sports. How has it influenced your life?
I have a quiet lifestyle but I like to alternate between relaxing moments at home with friends and family with busy periods where I travel and compete. I spend most of my free time traveling with my parachute, but as soon as I can, I go back home to Italy to see my family.
What’s your normal training schedule like?
Normally I focus on a specific training for at least one week per month or the days before the competition but I try to take advantage of each work jump at Skydive Spain to train when I can get to know my canopy more as well as work on technique and the mind process behind a swoop.
How’d you get started in swooping and competitions?
It is like a dream come true. When my brother and I were kids, we used to watch all their videos. The first time they came to Italy to take part in a swoop contest, it was memorable to see them and be able to speak with our “skygods.”
How important are your teammates and how do they make training fun?
I can’t image myself training solo, my teammates are essential for my training. We always try to change point of view and give feedback to each other, like this I feel I trained the double.
What is your favorite song to listen to prior to competing?
I made a long playlist with old and new songs. There are many different type for many different scenarios: attacking, lyric, relax, chill-house, hold the focus, disco, etc.
What do you do to calm your nerves during a competition?
Thinking to my beloved and my family
What is the one thing you always do after a good performance?
Long deep breathe out and at same time looking at the eyes of one of my teammates, their approbation is the best reward for my hard work.
What mental tool do you use when under pressure?
I repeat to myself that the path that I chose to live bring me in this scenario so, the stress that I feel is part of the moment and I love to live the moment.
Armando’s highlights – video by Air Sports Group, 2018
What is the best part about competing?
Honestly? The end! It’s means that we can party and the more, I can go back home 😀
How does being a competitive athlete make you a better person?
As athlete I have to deal with a lot of things, this approach make me comfortable to deal with the many things that happen in a normal day of my life.
Explain what it is like to compete in the same sport and discipline, and on the same team, as your brother
My brother is my oldest teammate. When we compete we might look like two different persons, in reality we are well linked and we always try to get the best from each other performance.
Tell us about being a Flight-1 instructor
It’s really like to be part of a huge family and is incredible the professionalism and the knowledge of all the Flight-1 members.
What have you found to be the most difficult aspect to teach during Flight-1 courses?
Sometimes I find hard to explain some basic point to an experienced skydiver, that has never done a canopy course and approach it with his ultimate canopy.
In three words describe how you feel when you are instructing?
Proud, at service.
Name the aspects of canopy piloting that all new skydivers should know and respect?
The altitude is your friend, the terrain will ask you to pay the bill.
Who are some of the athletes in skydiving and swooping you look up to and/or have inspired you/helped you?
Some of the athletes who I looked up to are:
- Pete Allum, who was one of the first. During my first world competition in 2008 in South Africa, I observed him a lot and was fascinated from his way of facing competition without nervousness.
- Jonathan Tagle from PD Factory Team, known in Italy, struck me for his high determination in every competition jump and how he never gave up! Anything was possible!
- Michael Vaughan who I have always admired with his ability to enjoy every competition with fun, regardless of the results, and always smiling because he was happy to do what he was doing.
Share something with us unrelated to the sports and that we wouldn’t know about you otherwise.
I really think I’m lucky to have a family and a partner that support me every single day. From the outside, it may look like an easy life, but I think without them, I could not reach 90% of my goal! So I’m glad to have those people around me.
What advice would you give to yourself in the first year of the sport?
Doesn’t matter what I do now, the next step should be: harder, better, faster, stronger than the previous one.
Hilarious video with Armando eating hot pepper while skydiving
Original article published on Skydive Spain’s blog.
The Fatturoso Bros
- Read Armando’s achievements, or book a canopy course with him on the Flight-1 website here.
- If you like Armando already, why not check out our interview with his brother Mario?!
- Cypres Blog article on the two Italian canopy pilots – The Fattoruso Bro Show