Wingsuit flying (or wingsuiting) is the sport of gliding through the air using a wingsuit which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift. The modern wingsuit, first developed in the late 1990s, creates a surface area with fabric between the legs and under the arms. Wingsuits are sometimes referred to as “birdman suits”, “flying squirrel suits”, “bat suits”.
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).
The first step towards flying a wingsuit is finding a RAPS (static line) or AFF (accelerated freefall) course. You will need to be at least 16 years old and in good physical condition. After 1-2 days of training on the ground you’ll be ready for your first beginner jump, and after completing around 18 solo beginner jumps in 3-6 months (if jumping one day a week) you will become a legally qualified skydiver. This means you can jump at any skydive center in the world (most allow you to rent equipment) and can start working towards jumping with groups of people.