Whether you’re brand new to the sport of skydiving or have several jumps under your belt, no doubt wingsuits – aka squirrel suits or birdman suits – have caught your eye from the ground as well as from the air.
Suggested to be the closest thing we gravity-bound humans will get to real flight, wingsuiting is extra-level amazing. With fabric wings spanning from wrist to waist or even ankle, and a third panel forming a triangle down the inseams and between the ankles, the wingsuit’s additional surface area affords way more wind resistance and, therefore, mega horizontal flying ability and way longer in freefall. Glorious.
As effortless as it looks, wingsuiting takes mad skill. There’s a prescribed progression to earning your wings; here’s the rundown, padawan:
At most dropzones, including Skydive Orange, you’ll need evidence of at least 200 jumps before stepping out in a wingsuit. In the same way a new swimmer shouldn’t go for a dip in a ball gown, you’ve got to have the art of freefall down pat in order to go wingsuit flying safely to parachute deployment.
What’s more, you need to know how to activate your lifesaving emergency procedures with your eyes closed … because that’s what it might feel like if you get yourself into a bind. All that fabric mixed with gravity and wind can make for an aerodynamic nightmare that can restrict the movement of your limbs, limit your vision and even cause you to blackout.
In short, wingsuiting is not for noobs. It looks badass because it is badass. Do your homework.
Wingsuiting makes experienced skydivers belly up to the bar and take down a few slices of humble pie.
New wingsuit pilots run into all sorts of scenarios not encountered since his/her early skydiving days. Fugly openings, spins, line twists (and subsequent cutaways and reserve rides), unimpressive glide ratios, off-dropzone landings, awkward aircraft exits and, well, supreme fear.
To keep your @^%#&$* moments to a minimum, take classes, get yourself a coach and be kind to yourself. As was the first chapter of your skydiving journey, it will take time, hard work and dedication to master wingsuit gliding.
HONOR THE PROCESS
Learning to fly is no easy feat. It’s going to take time. How much is unknown; everyone’s experience is different. The more jumps you have under your belt before you tackle the wingsuit, though, the less time it’s likely to take you to soar.
If you want to expedite the process, invest in all of the extracurriculars within reach. Jump as often as you can. Experiment with a slick suit, spend time in a tracking suit, play with freefly configurations. Have fun. Enjoy it all.
In time, you’ll earn your wings.
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