Flying The Wingsuit

By JT - UK Parachuting

 WINGSUIT FLYING is a skydiving discipline and extreme sport which relies on the use of a specialised jumpsuit often referred to as a WINGSUIT, squirrel suit or birdman suit. This jumpsuit is comprised of two arm wings and a leg wing which, supported by the use of inflatable pressurised nylon cells, increase the skydiver’s surface area to increase lift and allow him/her to fly impressive horizontal distances at a slower descent rate, thus increasing their time in freefall. The wingsuiter uses his/her body to control forward speed, direction and lift; it can take years of practice to be able to achieve efficient flight and to successfully manage the suit’s “angle of attack” to maximise performance. An efficient wingsuiter can achieve descent rates as low as 25mph (80% lower than a regular skydiver’s) and horizontal speeds of up to 220mph. Wingsuiters can measure their performance by using GPS COMPUTERS and by flying relative to others (flocking).

Landing a wing suit without a parachute has been a dream of skydivers since the modern wing suit was invented in 1997 by French skydiver and aristocrat Patrick De Gayardon. The unique design of his suit enabled “pilots” to barrel-roll, swoop and fly in formation.