The FIA World Parachuting Championships Mondial got underway in Dubai, with the opening jumps on November 29, 2012. The event makes skydiving news as the largest parachute event ever held.

There will be 13 competitions featuring more than 1,600 competitors from 58 countries, including the US. The US Parachute Team has trained hard for this event and hopes to score gold in several competitions. Various events will feature formation skydiving, accuracy landing, canopy piloting and formations as well as some freestyle and free-fall style events.

Fan turnout for the event is high, but wind may play a factor in the canopy pilot competition as it is forecast to be 60kph, a good 20kph stronger than the 40kph that is the maximum for the event.

The teams are given only two hours to practice the required formations for the events, which are given to them by the judges on the same day as the competition. The formation moves are practiced on the ground, so communication between team members and accuracy in the air is key.

According to Dalton Samuelson, a ten-year skydiving veteran and member of the US team, “France is the team to beat, but the UAE have made huge strides in a matter of just one year.”

The judges are based at Skydive Dubai, and will see videos of the events on which they will base their decisions. Skydive Dubai is one of the landing zones for canopy piloting and accuracy landing events. Meydan is the zone for canopy formation and freestyle. The Kempinksi Hotel will be the site for formation and artistic skydivers and a fourth landing zone is on the beach at Al Sofouh Road.

There will also be a demonstration of para-skiing at Ski Dubai. Para-skiing combines accuracy landing with snow skiing.

The event continues through December 9, 2012.