The GoPro camera allows athletes to create first-person videos of their endeavors and for viewers to get a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to be an extreme athlete. Wingsuits allow men to fly. As you might expect, these two technologies make for a pretty cool combination.
Jeb Corliss and Roberta Mancino
Wingsuits allow people to fly, but not quite like birds do. Wingsuiting is more like gliding or falling in a controlled and aerodynamic matter. There’s no form of propulsion or power in the suits, so wingsuit flyers jump from incredibly high cliffs or other heights, much like typical base jumpers. Then, these Adrenalists use their wingsuits to control their descent, essentially taking on the attributes of a flying object. The sport is incredibly dangerous, as flying too close to the cliffs can ruin everything. In addition, if you don’t maintain the right form in the suit you could send yourself spinning into the rocks or the ground. Wingsuiting is just about as close to flight as humans can get without the help of an aircraft.
Grinding The Crack
It would be hard to decide which these wingsuit flyers resemble more: planes or missiles. Here, Jeb Corliss takes off from a cliff and essentially buzzes into a valley, coming horrifyingly close to the ground and surrounding trees. It’s hard to watch this video and not be at least a little terrified for Jeb, but you have to admit the footage is exhilarating. Corliss has an insane amount of speed built up as he zooms down into the valley, and the view is nothing short of breathtaking, with a spectacular lake and beautiful colors standing just in the distance. When he eventually flies just over a man holding balloons, you get an accurate sense of how fast he’s actually traveling. He goes by in the blink of an eye.
Beside the obvious imitation of birds and other creatures that can actually fly, wingsuit flying also incorporates a number of other styles and activities. One that immediately comes to mind is dance, because of the grace and beauty with which the wingsuit allows its user to navigate space and sky. Another is cross-country running, because of the speed and necessity to navigate difficult landscapes. Here, Alexander Polli takes the tunnel-like maneuvering that Corliss showed in the previous videos to an even more extreme degree, barreling down canyons and narrow spaces with a skill and deft direction that seems almost inconceivable. At the speed and height Polli’s occupying, the most subtle motion could cause his suit to turn too far or too hard, and yet he moves like he was born in the air.
Wingsuiting in 3D
This video is actually designed for 3D, so if you have any 3D glasses lying around, you should put them on. Brazen journeys through nature like this benefit from the ability to get a full sense of scope and size. In this clip, a number of jumpers go at once, giving an even better sense of how fast and aggressively they move through the air. The multiple jumpers form a sort of geometric structure that plummets through the air with remarkable coordination. The whole time, you can’t help but think, how are they staying so close to that enormous cliff?
Here, we start in media res, as they say, with a wingsuit flyer blasting past the camera. He’s going so fast, in fact, that the only signs of him are a quick red blur and the sound of his joyful howling. It’s impossible to overstate: these guys are going insanely fast. What he’s doing, proximity flying, is even more intense. Proximity flying involves staying very close to the enormous mountains and cliffs that surround you, giving a sort of navigational point to rely on and upping the danger level considerably. Those trees might look tiny and insignificant from the point of the air, but if the flyer were to actually clip or hit one of them, it would take him out. Yet, he stays so close he could reach out and touch them.