Wingsuit jumping: the wingsuit
This is a special suit which is worn by the person in order to be able to practice wingsuit jumping. It allows, due to its design, the person to fly after jumping off a high point, such as a cliff. The suit creates an airfoil shape by adding material between the arms of the person and his or her sides. Additionally, material is also added between the legs. This design creates a lift and this is the reason why the person using this suit can fly. Wingsuits are improved over time to be more efficient by creating a larger surface area of the “wing” will therefore create a better lift making it more efficient. Additionally, they designers always try to make them as aerodynamic as possible, which reduces the friction (or drag) further contributing to their efficiency. At the end of the flight the person lands with a parachute usually designed for skydiving or base jumping.
Wingsuit jumping: the risks
There is also some scary data showing how dangerous wingsuit jumping is. In an article published 3rd June 2008 by Dr A Westman it can be seen that there were 106 fatal events recorded, which were attributed to wingsuit jumping in the period between 1981 and 2006. Now you may think that this is a range of 25 years and “only” 106 fatalities, however note that there are not as many people doing wingsuit jumping as for example playing football and on top of that those fatalities are 106 too many in any case. The causes of deaths were human, equipment failures as well as environmental factors. It was recommended by this article that people who practice this should offset the risks with proper training and higher quality of technical expertise.
Wingsuit jumping: some tips
- To try wingsuit jumping you must have 500 total skydives or 200 in the last 2 years (check by country)
- Tracking dives can prepare you well for wingsuit jumping
- Freeflying can help develop air control skills
- Any additional equipment (board, camera, etc) you take on your jump makes it a lot more complicated than doing it without any equipment
- Suits are not all the same, check the manufacturer’s requirements for suits.
- You absolutely must use an experienced instructor for learning and doing your first jump – this is a deadly sport don’t joke around with it
Wingsuit jumping: top locations for starters
These locations are good to start with because they are well known high locations which gives you a good vertical drop and a decent landing zone.
- Carl’s Huge wall in Northern Norway
- Norwegian Fjord in Southern Norway
- Italian Terminal wall
- Swiss Fungus
Wingsuit jumping: manufacturers
Google these manufacturers if you want to look for a wingsuit or other relevant items:
Wingsuit jumping: becoming more daring
At first the people were jumping off and trying to get as far away as possible from the cliffs or the rocks, of course, in order to be safe and not to get hurt, however, with more experience and practice this became boring for them and they started experimenting closer and closer distances. Naturally it is incredibly dangerous to get very near to the rocks, because one slight wrong movement and loss of control will lead to serious injury and probably even death, however, these are also not your regular kind of people doing wingsuit jumping off mountain tops and, as mentioned, with experience and expertise they dare much more dangerous flying paths than they did in the past. You can see examples of just how very close they get to the rocks in the video below.
Wingsuit jumping: videos
Extreme Base Jumping in Wingsuits
Possibly the best base jumping / wingsuit video ever!
Wingsuit proximity flying in Switzerland and Norway
Wingsuit Base jumping - The Need 4 Speed: The Art of Flight
"Dream Lines - Part II" Wingsuit Proximity Flying by Jokke Sommer
These were good websites I found: