Can you think of anything cooler than spreading fabric wings to soar between cavernous clouds or gliding along the mountainside in close enough proximity you could almost reach out and touch the tips of the towering pines? This is the world of wingsuit flying.
Wingsuiting makes the stuff of dreams into reality, but it’s definitely not as effortless as it may appear. Interested in learning more, this is what you need to know to get into wingsuiting.
A wingsuit (often called squirrel suit or birdman suit by the general public) is a jumpsuit that consists of fabric wings which stretch from wrist to waist and another panel of fabric between the inseams of the legs and the ankles. As air passes over the wingsuit pilot, it goes through fabric “vents” in the wingsuit. This causes the suit to inflate and forms a semi-rigid air foil. This inflation and the added surface area create lift and allow the wingsuit pilot to traverse a significant horizontal distance.
Wingsuits are designed with different levels of performance in mind. There are wingsuits designed specifically for acrobatics or speed and distance. But, here’s the thing you have to keep in mind with wingsuiting: even the suits designed for entry level wingsuit beginners require a significant amount of skydiving experience to fly safely.
The minimum requirements for wingsuiting can be found within the United States Parachute Association Skydiver Information Manual. The USPA recommends that a skydiver have accrued 200 skydives within the last 18 months before even thinking about zipping into a wingsuit. In addition to this jump requirement, would-be wingsuiters are required to take a wingsuit first jump course to cover the skills needed for a safe and successful wingsuit flight. Lastly, different wingsuit manufacturers have additional minimum requirements for their more advanced/higher performance wingsuits.
Essentially, a wingsuit is a bundle of movement restricting fabric donned at a time when, in the event of an emergency, it is incredibly detrimental to have your ability to move restricted. The extra fabric can catch the wind creating a spiraling disaster which can further restrict the movement of your limbs and even cause you to lose consciousness. This is why it is imperative that a skydiver have extensive experience and the proper training before slipping into a wingsuit.
You won’t become a world class wingsuit pilot overnight. It will take time, dedication, and lots of jumps. In order to give yourself the best chance of success, make sure you jump as often as you can and work diligently to develop your basic belly flying skills. As you progress, go on tracking jumps with reliable leaders, attend camps, and build those freefly skills. Don’t forget: skydiving is a big wide world to explore.
What are you waiting for? Spread your wings and take flight with Oklahoma Skydiving today.
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