Wingsuit flying was the invention of extreme seakers people who wanted to turn their skydiving and base jumps into something more similar to flying than just falling to the earth like a brick.
In wingsuit flying you use suits which expand your body surface so you can get more lift on your way down. It looks like small wings that you have between your hands and your body and usually between your legs too. The descend ratio is about 2.5:1 (2.5 meters forward for every 1 meter of falling). if you fly your wingsuit really well you can get up to 3:1 ratio.
It was not before the end of the 90′s that this extreme sport became available and accessible for skydivers and base jumpers.
There are a couple ways you can use your wingsuit: you can jump from an airplane and circle around the landing zone or try go as far as you can (if you have someone to pick you up after you land), and you can jump like a base jumper and fly thru canyons, between trees and under waterfalls. The last one called proximity wingsuit flying or “the ultimate” by some, because for them it is the ultimate rush, the ultimate adrenalin shot, the ultimate extreme sport. Proximity wingsuit flying is considered the hardest and the most complicated type of all sports which involve jumping with a parachute. It is also one of the most dangers of them all.
What’s extreme about it?
Think about base jumping, think about the same but with some ability to maneuver and fly yourself on the way down. Think about the new sites you can visit and jump from now that you can fly and not just fall down.
Flying above the ground 15ft high at about 180km/h, coming in between trees and passing thru canyons on your way down is an extreme experience that you can earn if you are willing to learn this extreme sport slowly and safely step by step.
There are a few competitions around the globe, but most of the adrenalin rush comes out of the trill of speed, and falling itself. The competitions are pretty simple- jump and be the fastest flyer who crosses a predeterment spot before opening the chute.
But most jumpers just jump for fun. And this is where the problem begins. Like in every extreme sport or adrenaline activity you get used to it and start exploring the boundaries, which is ok but also can get very dangerous if you don’t have enough self-control. In proximity wingsuit flying, after you get used to the idea of flying down the slope and begin to feel in control of your body in the air you’ll start flying lower and lower and if you are not careful you will eventually make a mistake assuming your altitude, and hit the ground.
How dangerous is it?
It is a dangerous extreme sport. But you can change the danger factor level either way. The mistakes here will probably get you seriously injured or even likely killed. But not everything is so grim about this great extreme sport. If you have the self-control and the ability to act like a professional all the time, you dramatically reduce the danger factor to a safe level which will let you enjoy this divine sport.
The hardest thing about it is to be a strict pro, as far as safety goes, over time. One mistake is enough, one mistake and you’re done. It is really hard and takes a really strong character to always be on the lookout and keep yourself within the safety boundaries jump after jump year after year. If you don’t think you’re up to it, don’t start this extreme sport.
How to start?
It is recommended that you have at least 200 skydiving jumps before trying wingsuit flying. Then you can start doing skydiving with a wingsuit and learn to control your body in the air, start to get some flying distance under your feet. Then, after at least 50 wingsuit jumps and at least 50 base jumps you can start combining those two together. It will take some 10-20 more base jumps with a wingsuit before you can go proximity wingsuit flying. Those are the minimal numbers for the perfect student. Most of us are not, and it would take a little bit more to feel comfortable enough to go for the next stage. Also you should read as much as you can on the net before you start, and find some professional instructors to help you on your first steps.
wingsuit flying can be fatal if you disrespect it.