Wingsuit flying requires expert precision, unrivaled skills and a deep understanding of your gear – all of which the top wingsuit training schools can instill in you before your first jump.
Wingsuit pilots can reach speeds of over 200mph. As you launch yourself off a mountain or along a valley and glide past some cliffs, you have little margin for error – you seriously need to know what you are doing.
So come with us and scope out five wingsuiting masterclasses suitable for skydivers who have already clocked up a stack of experience.
Photo Credit: Texas Wingsuit Academy
Texas Wingsuit Academy - Texas
Texas Wingsuit Academy instructors hold wingsuit instruction ratings from several manufacturers. Before you dive into wingsuit lessons, you must complete at least 200 skydive jumps. Once you pass your skydiving initiation, your instructor will explain the complexities, basic proven practices and risks associated with wingsuiting to you. Next, you will get instruction on the flight plan and pattern for your first run. The focus here is on safety and the experience, rather than acrobatic maneuvers, docking or extreme flying. Among other moves, you will need to execute a smooth exit and a few 90-degree turns. The first time you fly, your instructor will accompany you. After that, you and your instructor will evaluate what happened and decide if its time to fly on your own.
WestCoast Wingsuits - California
California-based WestCoast Wingsuits’ website says the school is, “dedicated to the advancement of human flight.” WestCoast Wingsuits’ goal is to teach the veteran skydiver the correct and safe way to make the dream of flight become a reality. As with Texas Wingsuit Academy, before you take to the skies with WestCoast Wingsuits, you need to be a qualified skydiver. When you’re ready, you will be coached on advanced exit, performance and flocking techniques so you can play with fellow devotees of the action sport. In addition, WestCoast Wingsuits offers to order you a wingsuit that suits your experience level and needs. WestCoast Wingsuits is an authorized dealer for four of the world’s leading wingsuit manufacturers, and demo and rental suits are available on request.
Skydive Elsinore - California
One hour away from the San Diego and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, Skydive Elsinore lies tucked away in picturesque Elsinore Valley – the home of Southern California’s largest natural lake, set beside the lovely Ortega Mountains. Skydive Elsinore opened way back in 1959, and it is the longest running skydiving operation in North America. The school’s Proficiency Package teaches students five different exit techniques. In addition, you are trained in malfunction management, instability management, acrobatics, proximity flight, vertical techniques and backflying among other techniques. Safe wingsuiting is the school’s first goal, with having an unforgettbale experience right behind. Before you fly, you need 200 verified skydive jumps.
ZFlock - Florida
Part of the skydiving college called Skydivecity, which has branches at Tampa Bay, Orlando, Gainesville and beyond, ZFlock promises you full-service treatment. The instructors will take you through everything, from rigging up a suit to all pre-flight and in-flight procedures – in accordance with the international standards for wingsuit training. ZFlock offers to fly along you on your first jump, guide you through the air and shoot sharp video of your antics for debriefing. ZFlock has a substantial fleet of demo-suits, but if you need a suit tailored to you, ZFlock can order a suit that meets your measurements. As always, before you get in the swing, you must be a skydiving expert, with at least 200 jumps under your belt.
The Brothers Gray Wingsuit Academy - Maryland
Meet the brothers of Brothers Gray Wingsuit Academy, Chris and Scott Gray. Together, the brothers offer one of the most comprehensive and safety-oriented first-flight courses in the U.S., as long as you have done 200 skydive jumps within the last 18 months. In addition to traditional classes, the brothers offer private coaching with a video debrief. Private tuition features flocking, “bigway flocking” and maximum flight coaching. Chris is from Virginia, and has harbored an enthusiasm for flying wingsuits ever since he started skydiving in 2003. He started wingsuit flying in 2005, devoting all his skydiving efforts to wingsuiting since. Scott is from Maryland, and has been involved in parachuting since 1984, as a member of several elite U.S. military units.