Also known as "wingfly", wingsuit flying, a new form of skydiving, has been placed among the best extreme sports nowadays. This sport allows the person who practices it to make a type of glide through the air with an average speed of approximately 160 kilometers per hour. This activity consists of gliding over the edge of a mountain using a suit that has special membranes that are similar to a pair of wings. The people who usually do this type of activity are known as bird men.
Parachuting, stratospheric jumping
Wingsuit flying is a type of extreme sport that consists of gliding at great heights using a special suit provided with a pair of membranes that function as wings. It is a dangerous sport in which the surfaces and cliffs of the mountains are bordered by air.
People who practice this sport practice base jumping. They stand on the edge of a cliff or some mountain peak, wearing a suit that makes them look like a bat. It allows participants to reach high and dangerous speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour while providing an adrenaline shock to their bodies. The duration of the jump is approximately 2 minutes. Part of the main attraction of the sport, is to take a small camera attached to their helmets or body to be able to record the balance from beginning to end to upload it to the Internet, in popular video channels such as YouTube and Dailymotion. Practitioners often glide very close to the ground and surrounding trees, similar to birds. It is very dangerous and is only suitable for extreme skydivers who know the technique perfectly. Parachutists who wish to practice this extreme sport must have at least 500 jumps in conventional free fall and at least 200 of these same jumps during the last year and a half, so it is easy to know that a very wide experience is required to practice this sport. The parachutist must land unbuttoning a side zipper that releases the legs to fall with greater safety.
The history of wingsuit flying originated in 1930, however, the active practice of this type of sport began to show frequently in the mid-nineties. At first, the clothing was not very safe and was made from canvas, wood, silk and metal. Between 1912 and 1961, most of the athletes who tried to wear these suits died. In 1990, the famous parachutist Patrick de Gayardon created a new and different air suit that was highly efficient and very safe. Despite this creation, de Gayardón died on April 13, 1998 in Hawaii while trying out a modification he had made to the suit. After Patrick’s death, the suit gained even more strength and many types of clothing were generated for this extreme sport. In 1999, Jari Kuosma and Robert Pecnik together created a new suit, safer and more accessible to all people who wanted to practice the sport, and thus gave birth to BirdMan Inc. These were the first suits offered to public.
The necessary equipment to practice wingsuit flying consists of a suit that has three wings or membranes, two of these membranes are in charge of joining the arms with the legs or with the waist and the other one has the role of joining the legs, usually at the height of the ankles, simulating in this way the tail of a bird. The suit also includes small membranous channels that allow air circulation and facilitate a better flying experience. In addition to the suit we have mentioned, parachutists must have a series of different accessories, jumpers must use mandatory goggles to protect them from blizzards, gloves and helmet and it is common to wear one or more Go-Pro camera which are attached to the suit to record and record the jump.
Wingsuit flying is one of the most extreme and dangerous sports nowadays. The main debate among sports experts is safety. The main reason for risk is because the height to perform the jump is very low, fails to give the athlete time to open a second parachute in case of an emergency or if the wings provided by the suit do not work. The slightest error during practice can result in death.
Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Wingsuit flying. Recovered on 28 October, 2023, de Euston96: https://www.euston96.com/en/wingsuit-flying/