Parachutist Curt Bartholomew triumphed in the classical canopy-piloting competition at the FAI World Air Games in Dubai yesterday. The US skydiver was among the favorites from the start. “It means everything,” he said. “This is my fifth world title. I was pushing to get this one before I turned 30 because this is the last recognized FAI world title I haven’t won yet.” (Photo – Freestyle Swooping. Photos courtesy of Marcus King / FAI Media Team.)
Classical canopy piloting is a graceful, fast-paced discipline that is judged on accuracy, distance and speed.
Bartholomew’s impressive performance gave him the edge over his US teammate Nick Batsch (shown below at left), who takes the silver medal. Cornelia Mihai, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) team and the only woman in the competition, came in third.
“It was one of the tightest in a while, it came down to the last jump,” Bartholomew (shown at right with Jeanie Bartholemew), added.
Earlier in the day, hot air airship pilots and balloonists put on a fabulous, ethereal display, and the UAE Airforce Aerobatics Team wowed the crowd with their jaw-dropping antics at the Palm Dropzone.
The International Symposium on Air Sport Medicine also got underway. More than 100 health and aviation experts met up to discuss medical advances, including technology that can help top-level pilots make even more demanding flights.
Dr Melchor Antunano of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute gave the inaugural lecture at the Dubai conference, which continues today.
“The weak link is the human body, but medical science is moving forward at an accelerating pace,” he said. Medal positions due to be decided today include those for the freestyle canopy piloting, paragliding accuracy landing and glider aerobatics.