Dive Dr, I Want to SWOOP!

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Dear Dive Doctor,

I have 100 jumps and all I want to do is to swoop like Mario Fattoruso! Where do I start, how do I learn and how long will it take?

Thank you


Mario Fattoruso does a ‘blind man’
Photo by Gary Wieland

Answered by Mario Fattoruso

Italian canopy piloting champion, member of the PD Factory team and Flight-1 instructor

Mario Fattoruso

Dear Mark,

So, you have a hundred jumps and you want to be swooping like Mario??!!

You can, if you really want to, are prepared to make big sacrifices, have a lot of passion and have the dedication to learn with the best coaches. 

In the last few years you have an easy way to understand and learn because there are canopy schools around like Flight-1, that explain and show you step by step to how you can fly better under your canopy. Once you have basic skills and knowledge then they can introduce you in the Canopy Piloting world like Mario.

Don’t be in a rush! It’s very important to take every step of progression, don’t skip any, and don’t move to the next until you are ready. I arrived here after 20 years in this sport and 34 years of pure passion (I’m 35 years old! 😁 )

And remember this: if you want to start swooping you must love yourself very much, do not die.

Let’s say my story isn’t much of an example because I used sails and downsized very quickly.  But the thing that I would like you to understand is that I have 35 years of life including 20 of skydiving and swooping.. but it began even earlier. When I was a child I liked to see my father land with a Stiletto 107 at full speed.  You need time and passion for everything … 

So if you only have 100 jumps and a wing loading of around 1.0, don’t expect maximum landing performance from your canopy –  but you have to use this time of yours to work on a good flight plan and an effective flare. Do not be in a hurry to increase the wing loading to land faster.  Like someone who has just got a driving license for a car, he must gain experience to be able to ride a fast car circuit.

Be patient my friend! Apply yourself, listen to your coaches and you will get there in the end!

Mario by Alessandra Cirillikus

Answered by Dive Doctor Mario Fattoruso

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Meet: Mario Fattoruso

Professional Skydiver and Athlete
Ø First jump in 2002 (16 years old – Skydiver family)
Ø +8.5k jumps
Ø PD Factory Team member and Flight-1 Instructor from 2018
Ø World, European & National medalist in Canopy Piloting and FS 4way
Ø Speed Canopy piloting World Record Holder (93 mph/150 kmh)
Ø I am honored to be part of the PD Factory Team and the Flight-1 school because I was born and raised with the ambition to be part of it and they continue to dedicate time and believe in the improvement of this sport in every part of the world.

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