Mitchell was one of nearly 60 of the country’s finest, fastest, most fearless skydivers who flocked to the Peach State to push their aerial skills to the limit and compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in canopy piloting.
In canopy piloting, often called “swooping,” skydivers fly high-performance parachutes that can generate high vertical and horizontal speeds. By performing speed-inducing maneuvers, these very experienced skydivers can glide inches above the ground for hundreds of yards at speeds approaching 90 mph.
The canopy piloting championships include competitions in speed, in which pilots try to fly as quickly as possible through a course; distance, which involves flying as far as possible across the ground; and accuracy, in which canopy pilots must stop on an exact spot for maximum points.
In addition to the overall gold medal, Mitchell also won silver medals in the speed, distance and accuracy events—an impressive performance in his first national competition.
Twenty-five-year-old Mitchell perfected his breathtaking swooping skills at Skydive the Farm, where he trains. He has completed an astounding 1,400 skydives and works as a parachute rigger at Chuting Star Enterprises.