Phoenix Fly Explains Daredevil Wingsuit Flight
James "Macca" Macdonald, a member of the Pheonix Fly team, explained how Robert Pecnik and Jean Noel Itzstein of the "Need for Speed" jumping team shot the video below, the skills involved in this sort of stunt and why we shouldn't try this at home.
Where was this video shot?
Our videos are filmed in various European locations, but due the partially secret nature of the sport, I can't give you exacting specifics.
The exit points are cliff or mountain sides, which for the majority [of jump sites] are hiked or climbed to. If we're working on a media project and there is a budget, we may also use a helicopter to reach the exit point, or indeed jump from it.
How dangerous is this?
Flying over tree lines in anything without the ability to generate positive lift is dangerous! Proximity flying - which is the term used to describe what you have seen in the video - is the most dangerous thing imaginable. One momentary lapse of concentration, or the smallest of error can instantly result in a fatal outcome. There is absolutely no margin for error, which is why our athletes are the best at what they do in the world, being extremely experienced in both skydiving and BASE jumping - having many thousands of jumps each.
The thing to remember is that you always have gravity fighting you and you are always going down.
The skill with proximity flying is to know where in the terrain you can fly that will enable you to fly close to the ground, but at the end still fly to an altitude that allows you to deploy a parachute. Most of the time while flying, the altitude is too low to do this, which is why you must plan a route with this in mind.
Even after hearing that, it still looks great...
"How can I fly a wingsuit?" is without doubt the most frequently asked question we get. Many people assume they can just rock up at the weekend, film themselves looking awesome, then head off home. The reality is it takes many years of dedication to build up the skill level sufficiently to be able to do it. You'll need at least 200 skydives before you can fly a wingsuit from the relative safety of an aircraft, then you need considerable experience BASE jumping before adding a wingsuit to that. After that, you'll need considerable experience BASE jumping a wingsuit before even considering proximity flying.
The rewards are amazing - as you can see from the video footage - and there truly is no feeling on earth like it, but it's not something you can just 'do'. It requires many years of practice to get to a sufficient skill level to try, and as such, there are only a handful of people in the world that can fly like this.
How does Phoenix Fly get such a clean video?
Our jumpers tend to wear multiple cameras that capture many different angles. These are then cut together to produce the final films, so it's not always a case of just one person doing the filming - though again, for media projects that may be the case.
WATCH the flight below:
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