Wingsuit flying

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**History and Evolution of Wingsuit Flying:**
– Wingsuit flying dates back to 1912 with Franz Reichelt’s attempt from the Eiffel Tower.
– Early wingsuits used materials like canvas, wood, silk, steel, and whalebone.
– Modern wingsuits were developed in the mid-1990s by pioneers like Patrick de Gayardon.
– Commercial wingsuits were made accessible in 1999 by Jari Kuosma and Robert Pečnik.
– Bird-Man International Ltd. and other manufacturers enhanced safety through training programs.

**Techniques and Safety Measures in Wingsuit Flying:**
– Proper launch, glide, flare, and parachute deployment techniques are crucial for safe flights.
– Wingsuits increase lift and drag, allowing for sustained glide ratios of 3:1 or more.
– Specialized equipment and training programs aim to reduce risks associated with wingsuit flying.
– Advancements in wingsuit design have improved safety and accessibility for flyers.
– Body adjustments and technique refinement are essential for controlled flights.

**Popularity and Records in Wingsuit Flying:**
– Wingsuits have gained popularity since the late 1990s, with impressive glide ratios and speeds achieved.
– Wingsuit proximity flying is a thrilling aspect of the sport.
– Wingsuit flying has evolved into a recognized discipline within the skydiving community.
– Wingsuit pilots use GPS receivers to record flight paths for data analysis.
– Notable records include fastest speed, highest altitude jump, and longest wingsuit flight.

**Wingsuit BASE Jumping and Technical Developments:**
– Wingsuit BASE jumping allows pilots to fly away from cliffs and increase freefall time.
– Proximity flying involves flying close to mountains’ faces and ridges.
– Experimental jet-powered wingsuits have been developed for greater speeds and ascent.
– Training requirements, certification, and sub-disciplines like acrobatic flying are essential.
– Notable records in wingsuit BASE jumping include altitude jumps and distance flown.

**Safety Concerns and Legalities in Wingsuit Flying:**
– Wingsuit BASE jumping remains dangerous with regular fatalities.
– Studies show one severe injury per 500 jumps in BASE jumping.
– Deaths are mainly attributed to wingsuit use rather than external factors.
– Legal issues have arisen, with the French government banning wingsuit flying due to fatalities.
– Notable events, formations, and records in wingsuit flying contribute to the sport’s growth and recognition.

Wingsuit flying (Wikipedia)

Wingsuit flying (or wingsuiting) is the sport of skydiving using a webbing-sleeved jumpsuit called a wingsuit to add webbed area to the diver's body and generate increased lift, which allows extended air time by gliding flight rather than just free falling. The modern wingsuit, first developed in the late 1990s, uses a pair of fabric membranes stretched flat between the arms and flanks/thighs to imitate an airfoil, and often also between the legs to function as a tail and allow some aerial steering.

Wingsuit flyer over fields in the UK

Like all skydiving disciplines, a wingsuit flight almost always ends by deploying a parachute, and so a wingsuit can be flown from any point that provides sufficient altitude for flight and parachute deployment – a drop aircraft, or BASE-jump exit point such as a tall cliff or mountain top. The wingsuit flier wears parachuting equipment specially designed for skydiving or BASE jumping. While the parachute flight is normal, the canopy pilot must unzip arm wings (after deployment) to be able to reach the steering parachute toggles and control the descent path.

Wingsuits are sometimes referred to as "birdman suits" (after the brand name of the makers of the first commercial wingsuit), "squirrel suits" (from their resemblance to flying squirrels' wing membrane), and "bat suits" (due to their resemblance to bat wings or perhaps the aptly named DC Comics superhero Batman and his signature costume).

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