Martinez resident and registered nurse Katie Hansen, 29, became the first woman to win the overall gold medal in the advanced class at last week's 2014 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting at Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida.
Hansen was one of nearly 80 of the country's finest, fastest, most fearless skydivers who flocked to the Sunshine 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.
Hansen also won silver medals in the distance and accuracy events. She trains at SkyDance Skydiving in Davis and has completed more than 4,300 skydives.
Later this year, nearly 500 of the country's top skydivers will head to the 2014 United States Parachute Association(USPA) National Skydiving Championships, the biggest and most thrilling skydiving competition in the country.
The event will take place September 10-23 at Skydive Chicago, an expansive skydiving resort in Ottawa, about an hour west of Chicago. These championships are also free and open to the public.
For more information on skydiving and to find a USPA Group Member skydiving center near you, visit www.uspa.org.
Info provided by the United States Parachute Association is a non-profit association founded in 1946 and dedicated to the promotion of safe skydiving nationwide, establishing strict safety standards, training policies and programs at more than 240 USPA-affiliated skydiving schools and centers throughout the United States.