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Wing suit flying

February 20th, 2017

Wingsuit flying (or wingsuiting) is the sport of gliding through the air using a wingsuit which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift.

The modern wingsuit, first developed in the late 1990s, creates a surface area with fabric between the legs and under the arms. Wingsuits are sometimes referred to as “birdman suits”

An early attempt at wingsuit flying was made on 4 February 1912 by a 33-year-old tailor, Franz Reichelt, who jumped from the Eiffel Tower to test his invention of a combination of parachute and wing, which was similar to modern wingsuits. He misled the guards by saying that the experiment was going to be conducted with a dummy. He hesitated quite a long time before he jumped, and was sadly killed when he hit the ground.

In the mid-1990s, the modern wingsuit was developed by Patrick de Gayardon of France, adapted from the model used by John Carta. In 1997, the Bulgarian Sammy Popov designed and built a wingsuit which had a larger wing between the legs and longer wings on the arms.

Popov’s wingsuit first flew in October 1998 over Jean, Nevada, but it never went into commercial production. Popov’s design was a great improvement in creating lift; it was able to slow the vertical speed to 30 km/h while gliding horizontally at speeds over 300 km/h.

Wingsuit flight records –¬†

Fastest

  • On 28 May 2011, Japanese wingsuit pilot Shin Ito set world records for the fastest speed reached in a wingsuit of 363 km/h (226 mph).

Longest time and highest altitude

On 20 and 21 April 2012, Colombian skydiver Jhonathan Florez set Guinness World Records in wingsuit flying. The jumps took place in La Guajira in Colombia for the following records:

  • Longest time: The longest (duration) wingsuit flight was nine minutes, six seconds.
  • Highest: The highest altitude wingsuit jump was 11,358 m (37,265 ft)

Take a look at this video of some Wingsuit flying, Video by XTreme Video.

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