Wingsuit Base Jumping

- 9 years ago by

Base jumping means jumping off a cliff, or a tall building, with a parachute. This unique blend of bungee and parachute jumping has been going strong since the 1980s. It is one of the more dangerous extreme sports, with 248 confirmed deaths, but it is also one of the most rewarding ones, flying like a bird from the high peaks to the low valleys.

Differences between normal and Wingsuit Base jumping

The Wingsuit is a more advanced Base jumping technique, you really need to have some Base jumping experience to attempt it. Serious instructors, who specialize in it, are also recommended. Due to the restrictive nature of the suit preparations need to be pristine, otherwise the participant will helplessly fall like a rock. With all that said the Wingsuit does give you a better horizontal speed and longer time in the air, which means you will not hit the object you jumped off, the number one cause of death in Base jumping.

Wingsuit drawbacks

It is first and foremost harder to deploy. The suit is very restrictive, which means less freedom of movement and harder exists. It is harder to recover from and under unfavorable conditions can become unstable. Controlling your parachute can be a difficult task. Since the air time will be longer the landing point can be harder to choose and navigate to. The jumper must asses carefully a bigger part of the potential landing zone. Finally, the altitude can become a problem. Attention must be paid not only to the landing point but also to the distance between the person and the ground.

Looking for a Wingsuit

The Wingsuits themselves are a pretty sight, making the jumpers look like Batman, and similarly to Batman a suit what is fitting for one person, will be unusable for another. Many things need to be considered when looking for one. First comes the style of the person, who is about to fly. Does he prefer long flights? Or wants to perform some air acrobatics? There is a suit for every need. The first type might look for high performance Wingsuits, the ones built with comfort and stability in mind, but coming short when it comes to flexibility and creativity. Of course weight matters as well when choosing the best possible suit. In fact weight matters so much when it comes to contests people with big difference in body masses cannot compete, because the heavier one will always reach his destination faster. Maybe what is most important is the rigging.  Suits, rigged with cables, may seem clunky and slow to get on and off of, but they are safer than the ones rigged with the easy zippers.

Some extreme Wingsuit locations

You can do it from a plane, from a balloon, from a mountain or a tower. There however are several places, which offer extreme conditions, coupled with the thrill you get from doing something not completely legal. They are Mount Thor, Canada and The Troll Wall, Norway(greatest vertical drops in the world and Europe respectively); The Cave of Swallows, Mexico(largest cave shaft in the world), Burj Khalifa, India(the tallest building in the world) and El Capitan, USA(the place, where BASE jumping started from).

Wingsuit fatalities

25 people have died in 2014, an ever increasing number which corresponds to the rising popularity of the sport. The majority of the deaths have occurred in USA and Switzerland, which is no surprise considering how popular of a destination the Alps are for skydivers. Norway is close by as well. Crashing into a cliff seems to be the most common death by a fall. Disturbingly, people who died after hitting antennas are twice as many as the ones, who died after hitting buildings. There are even a couple of unfortunate folks, who electrocuted themselves. The death itself is a nasty business, crushing bodies so hard they can barely be recognized as human beings, or completely snapping them in half. People better prepare their last will before each jump.

The Wingsuit Dog

To end on a positive note here is a clip of Dean Potter, Base jumping with his dog. Nothing better than sharing your passion with your best animal friend.