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Powered Skydiving

Adding power to a skydiver makes him a powered skydiver. Makes sense!
If you've encountered the term powered skydiving, we'd like to clear up what it is.

When you add power to a wing it becomes powered (insert wing name). In the case of hang gliding, that's powered hang gliding. Just like how our sport got it's name: we added power to a paragliding wing and it became powered paragliding aka paramotoring.

Skydivers fly their bodies in free fall. That is, in fact, the goal: free fall. For the majority of skydivers, the canopy is merely a means for arresting their fall sufficiently to allow repeating the process.

Some skydivers have used wingsuits to slow their free fall even more than what spreading hands and legs can allow. Then some have added power, the most famous being "Fusion Man" Yves Rossy who, on Sept 26, 2008, flew his jet-powered body-wing accross the  English Channel and then deployed his parachute to land safely. Now that is powered skydiving!

So don't be misled by thinly veiled sales websites. Yes, it's the internet so you have to be extremely careful about what you're looking at. If you're interested in putting power to a paraglider, that's powered paragliding, if you're interested in powering your body during a skydive, it's powered skydiving.

Skydiving is obviously a completely different animal from powered paragliding. Even when under a canopy the difference is huge. Although the controls work the same way, the difference is like that between a landing space shuttle and a Cessna.

The most relevant organization for powered skydiving is the U.S. Parachute Association. The most relevant organization in the U.S. about powered paragliding is the U.S. Powered Paragliding Association. Either way, enjoy your airtime!

1. Now this is a powered skydiver! Yves Rossy gets ready for another powered skydive.

2. The ultimate powered skydiving experience. He flies an Airbus A320 airline for his day job.

Photos by National Geographic Channel, Michel Setboun