Extreme sports are exactly what they say they are – extreme. But there are those that have gone beyond the extreme to become a sport so hazardous that it seems like anyone attempting the sport is basically looking for a quick route to death.
There is one sport that comes along with cape and all, as if the participants want nothing more than to emulate a Marvel superhero. The sport is called wingsuit flying, and has caused thrills, chills and death to some people involved.
Participants actually glide through the sky while wearing a specially constructed suit with fabric under the arms and legs that’s supposed to help slow their rate of descent. And, like skydiving, their flight comes to an end when they deploy the parachute they’re carrying on their backs.
The wingsuit is a normal jumpsuit, yet because of the fabric, more surface area is attached to the actual human form. The body is able to catch more lift, almost as if they are hang gliding without the actual glider, and this lift helps to keep their descent slow and steady. However, when the wingsuit flyer’s goal is to descend between rock cliffs, the danger becomes even more frightening.
It wasn’t long ago, the 1990s to be exact, that these modern-day wingsuits were first created. Some called it a bat suit, while others simply referred to wingsuiters as flying squirrels, because that’s how the suit appeared.
In perfect circumstances, the wingsuit is flown very safely when there is a high enough altitude being used, such as a BASE jump exit point; then the parachute easily opens and the person’s trip is a thrilling, adrenaline-filled success.
There were earlier wingsuits made around the 20s and 30s which used everything from wood to steel, which as you could imagine were not exactly reliable materials to keep the flyer gliding. But as with everything else, technology and materials evolved over time which has allowed for many a daredevil to take off and soar.
From Las Vegas shows that enthralled crowds to a duo that established Bird-Man International Ltd., the wingsuit world was born
Now, believing you can fly is not enough where this extreme sport is concerned. There’s training you most definitely need to undergo before making a jump. Everything from the wind resistance to natural barricades can cause deadly harm, as well as a parachute that doesn’t deploy – so safety checks are necessary.
When it comes to the best locations to wingsuit fly, there are many that adrenaline junkies agree on as being the monumental locales you can not miss flying over.
One is called the Troll Wall (AKA “Carl’s Huge Wall”) located in Norway. People say this is the perfect place for your debut jump, seeing as that you are giving the father of BASE jumping – Carl Boenish – your regards. The tallest vertical rock face in Europe which heads into the valley of the Rauma River, this landing zone is huge.
The limestone canyon, Tianmenshan, in northwest Hunan, China, is a national park that is a true home to wingsuit BASE jumping. An incredibly dangerous trip, some of the best in the sport found this to be one of the hardest jumps to achieve.
The Swiss offer the Eiger, which is a huge piece of rock. Only one daredevil has even made this jump, in 2009, and covered almost four miles. This is still the longest wingsuit BASE jump ever recorded.
Perhaps you can break the record? Good luck, flying squirrel!