Wednesday, December 7, 2022


About Competition

The USPA Constitution binds USPA "to sanction skydiving competitions, to document officially all state, national and world skydiving records set by citizens of the U.S., and to select and train the United States Parachute Team for world competition." The Skydiver's Competition Manual prescribes procedures by which national competitions are selected and conducted, how judges are rated, how records are set, and how teams are selected. Download a chapter or the entire Skydiver's Competition Manual on the right.

Annually, USPA conducts the National Parachuting and Skydiving Championships to recognize national champions in the sport’s seven competition disciplines: Canopy Formation, Canopy Piloting, Formation Skydiving (includes Vertical and Mixed Formation Skydiving), Freefall Style, Accuracy Landing, Artistic Events (Freestyle and Freeflying) and Wingsuit Flying (see descriptions of disciplines). In addition, USPA hosts the National Collegiate Parachuting Championships annually for the collegiate skydiving community.

The top placers from each Open class of the National Championships (except the Collegiates) are chosen to represent the United States at international parachuting and skydiving competitions.

In the United States, USPA oversees all competitive and record-setting parachuting activities, in consonance with its relationship with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

USPA is a member of the International Parachuting Commission (IPC), the parachuting arm of the FAI. IPC is responsible for promulgating the rules by which the world meets are conducted and world records are measured and ratified. USPA's delegate to the IPC is National Director Kirk Verner and the alternate delegate is Steve Hubbard, USPA's Director of Competition.

Early each year (late January/early February) the IPC meets to deal with issues of international scope.

Competition, Records and Judging FAQs

All USPA members are welcome to attend the National Championships. Members not eligible for medals or the U.S. Team will be entered as guests. See SCM Chapter 1 for more information.
USPA has a stock of medals perfect for framing as gifts to sponsors. For more information please send an email to
Registration methods vary depending on the host. Please contact us for more information about a particular event.
All active USPA judges are listed on our website. Just go to "Find A Judge" and search by name, or by location and discipline to find a judge.
Any state record requires two officials to certify. One of these must be a judge rated in the discipline. For more details see SCM Chapter 3.
The USPA Open National Record is for records set in U.S. airspace that contains foreign jumpers. The U.S. National record requires that all jumpers be U.S. citizens for permanent residents.
Sporting Licenses are separate from USPA licenses (A, B, C, D) and are issued by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) , on behalf of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). They are required for participation in international competition or any international record (world or continental). Please see the NAA’s website for more information. You may use the following guide during your application process.

FAI Sporting License Application/Renewal Procedure Guide

A Bit of History ...

Parachuting competition dates back to around 1930 in Russia, where jumpers demonstrated who could land closest to a target. In 1948, the Federation Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) named American Joseph Crane to chair the newly established Commission Internationale de Parachutisme (CIP), now called the International Parachuting Commission (IPC). The first FAI sanctioned World Parachuting Championships took place in Yugoslavia in 1951, with five European teams competing. The U.S. fielded its first team at the world championships in Moscow in 1956. From 1951 through 1975, FAI-sanctioned skydiving competition consisted exclusively of the “classic” disciplines of freefall style and accuracy landing.

Group freefall skydiving, then called “relative work” and now called “formation skydiving” (FS) grew increasingly popular through the 1960s and emerged as a competitive discipline in the early 1970s. The first 4-way formation skydiving event was introduced at the 1970 U.S. National Skydiving Championships in Plattsburgh, New York. 10-way speed star formation skydiving debuted at the 1972 National Skydiving Championships in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. In September 1975, the first FAI World Championships of Relative Work took place in Warendorf, Germany. Modern 4-way and 8-way FS sequential dive pools were formulated by the IPC in 1976 and introduced as official events at the 1977 USPA National Skydiving Championships. The Second World Championships of Relative Work, featuring 4-way and 8-way sequential events took place in November of 1977 in Gatton, Australia. “Mirror Image” from the United States won the first-ever 8-way sequential gold medal.

Canopy formation (CF) was added as an event in 1983. Canopy piloting (CP) became a medal event at the 2005 Nationals in Perris, California. Vertical formation skydiving (VFS) became official in 2007 when USPA included it in the National Championships at Skydive Chicago. Mixed Formation Skydiving was added in 2013. The newest discipline, Wingsuit Flying debuted in 2015 at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. Meanwhile, the original events, style and accuracy, remain an enduring part of the USPA Nationals. The biannual style and accuracy world championships remains the largest FAI parachuting championships, both by number of participating countries and the number of individual competitors.