Florida canopy piloting couple competing in 2022 Air Sports World Games

A Florida couple is in Birmingham, Alabama, preparing to compete in a unique sporting event this weekend.   

 Curt and Jeannie Bartholomew, of DeLand, are the only couple to compete in the canopy piloting at the 2022 Air Sports World Games.

"It’s the most incredible feeling you can have, diving your parachute to the ground," Curt Bartholomew said, describing this particular form of skydiving. "We fly really fast, high-performance canopies. We dive our parachutes to the ground, do a couple of rotations, build a lot of speed."

He explained how this is different from regular skydiving, where you exit at 13,500 feet and free fall. With canopy piloting, you exit at 5,000 feet and skip the free fall.  "We come out of the dive right at the ground, and we use that speed to go across the ground."

"The most challenging part about canopy piloting is the weather conditions and the conditions are ever-changing," said Jeannie Bartholomew.

These lovebirds have been doing this together for 12 years. 

"It’s a lot of fun to swoop with each other, next to each other as well when we’re not competing," Curt said. "The ultimate goal is to try to get our sport on the mainstream side of things." 

He said the World Games are like the "baby brother" to the Olympic Games. 

"It’s that high up there. It’s a huge honor just to be here." 

This couple has tattoos on their wrists, one with a heart lock and the other with a key. 

"Before we exit, we do a handshake, give each other a high-five, then put our key and heart together, and then a little kiss," Jeannie explained.

The competition starts on Saturday, July 9.