Flying has always been one of the man’s biggest dreams. Just think to Icarus who built wax wings to fly away from a Labyrinth of Knossos with her father Daedalus or to Joseph Michele and Jacques Étienne Montgolfier the showboat inventors or even to the Wright brothers, the first aviators. There are many characters in the mythology who proves us that flying as birds, has always intrigued men.
So flying is something that challenges natural and physical laws, but is also
something that can give you an unforgettable adrenaline rush.
Skydiving, free-fly or even bungee jumping are good alternatives but WING SUIT is the real revolution… an extreme sport that allows the athletes to soar in the air.
The first “birdmen” date back to the ’50s: they launched themselves in the air with the first wing suits but the results were not that good because of the backlog and unsafe “harnesses”.
The real pioneer of the modern wing suit has been Patrick de Gayardon a French #paratrooper who developed a safer sample of #wingsuit. He thought that drawing inspiration from birds was not a good idea because man’s body has different characteristics from that of a bird. On the contrary he thought looking at a certain mammals body could be a solution.
Flying squirrels: animals that are able to fly from one tree to another and that have a particular membranous structure that allows them to fly and glide.
So after the first experiments, de Gayardon tried this new kind of wing suit
launching himself from an helicopter 6000 meters high and hurtling between the spires of Monte Bianco.
After de Gayardon’s death, other athletes as Jari Kuosma and Robert Pečnik
carried on the de Gayardon’s idea and created a company which produces and
commercialized safe and able - bodied wing suits, the “BirdMen” company.
A wing suit is composed of different materials: a polyamide double layer of fabric placed between the flyer’s arms and bust and another double layer of fabric between the athlete’s legs. Every layer of the suit is inflated by the wind during the flight through vents, put under armpits and groin that allows the suit to take different wing profiles.
Over the years the athletes who practiced BASE jumping with parachutes, started to use the wing suit which made WIND BASE popular. A lot of athletes believe this is the future of BASE jumping because it allows many variations during the flight, thanks to the wing suit.
The athletes who practice BASE jumping launch themselves from different
surfaces such as Buildings, Antennas, Span and Earth (cliffs or mountains).
Another technique used in this extreme sport is the “Proximity flying” that is flying and grazing to the side of the mountains. Shin Ito, Remo Läng, Dean Potter and Üil Gegenschatz are just few of the most famous paratroopers and base jumpers who held records launching themselves with wing suits. Dean Potter holds the record for the biggest jump in the history of Windbase, launching himself from the ecstatic platform on the mount Eiger in 2011.
“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth
with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there
you will always long to return”
-Leonardo Da Vinci