So, you wannabe a Canopy Piloting Coach?

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The latest episode in our ‘Working in the Sport’ series, we ask Armando Fattoruso how to become a canopy coach

Armando Fattoruso by Marat Daminov.

Armando Fattoruso has been Italian National CP Champion multiple times and is the fifth-ranked canopy pilot in the world. He’s been skydiving since 2001, has over 11,000 jumps and is on the amazing PD Factory Team. Armando works at Skydive Spain, Seville, as a USPA Instructor and Flight-1 canopy coach.

We were happy he took the time to talk to us to help others follow in his path…

Armando, as a full-time skydive instructor, what do you actually do? 

Every role needed on a dropzone, in order to archive a smooth and safe operational day.

How long have you been a CP coach? 

I started young as a skydiving instructor, aged 18, but as the modern definition of Canopy Coach, with Flight-1, around the last ten years

Armando coaching

How do you balance that with competing and displays with the PD Factory Team? 

I’ve been lucky to have a family and a dropzone to help me follow my dream every day of the year and everywhere in the world. 

What qualities do you need to be a good canopy coach?

Be able to read the scenario in front of you. The modern canopy coach has to act like a guide taking a group into the wild. He should not expose his group to danger but provide them the respect and love for this specific part of our sport.

What are the main challenges?

The students are not the same; everyone is individual and comes from different experiences and different environments. The coach must feed them with the right knowledge, using different methods to achieve the same goal for everyone. 

Is it hard?

It’s challenging but I like to say, “If it was easy everyone can do it!”

Do you think it’s important to be a competitor before you become a CP coach?

I don’t think it’s necessary! Especially forming the first steps of student progression. I think what is necessary is to be curious and never think that a good class can’t be better.

Why did you choose Flight-1? Or why did they choose you?

You always pick the best in what you’re looking for, don’t you?!

Armando and his happy students at Skydive Spain

What are the best points of being a CP coach? 

Seeing the eyes of the students shine when they progress thanks to my tips! I like to start my class: “At the end of the day you guys will start to see skydiving like the Matrix!”

What do you need to bear in mind to keep your students safe? 

Think about it like driving. No one drives a car to be in danger but there are attitudes and habits that need to be controlled more, and some that need to be removed.

Who taught you the most along the way? 

I have several mentors. But the one I like to name the most is Pete Allum. Since I met him, he always teaches me something… from lifestyle to skydiving to becoming a better human being.

Videoing the canopies for debriefing

What’s the single piece of advice about canopy skills that you repeat most often? 

Once you have done it right, do it again. And then again. And again. Again!

What canopies do you jump and why?

For working I love to jump my Valkyrie 79. In competitions I have different sizes of PD Peregrine. The reason; you always pick the best in what you’re looking for! Don’t you?!

How do you choose the best ‘tools’ for your job? Do you change canopies depending on the type of coaching course?

Oh yes. Changes for lots of reasons. Different types of jump. Different mental approach. Different canopies. But mostly to get the right wing loading to fly with others.

What advice would you give someone who wants to become a cool canopy pilot? 

In canopy piloting, rushing is the worst enemy. None of the current world class canopy pilot started yesterday. The progression is long. And there are not yet simulators to progress fast. Your best run, it’s always the next one. Make sure to be in time at the boarding area. 😉

What would you say to someone who wants to downsize?

This is the never-ending story. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable and be able to make the same performance as currently with your canopy, if everything would be 20% faster. Then go to your instructor, the instructor that sees you most of the time. And ask if your opinion of yourself matches what he and others see. Then listen to the instructor’s opinion more than your own. 

What do you do if you see anyone coaching canopy piloting badly? 

As personal mindset, if I see something wrong, I have a moral duty to correct it. So I will give tips to my colleagues, with the right, positive approach. But unfortunately, I can’t see everything. 

As a sport, how could we improve safety under canopy? 

Information and knowledge. Those two tools are powerful and we should never stop adding to our knowledge base.

How long do you see yourself as a canopy coach? 

Honestly, with the proper update, training and the help of God, I can see many springs in front of me. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Whatever you guys are doing, don’t forget the style!

“Whatever you guys are doing, don’t forget the style!”
Photo: Armando Fatturoso by Mordace

You can catch up with Armando at Skydive Spain, Seville for most of the time, but you can also find him around the world training with the PD Factory Team

Armando is proudly sponsored by Performance Designs, Flight-1, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie Helmets, Alti-2, Liquidsky and UPT Mutant


Working in the Sport series

Read more detail about careers in the sport with the other articles in the series… and keep checking back, we’re adding articles all the time…

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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