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MichaelVick

How Low Can You Fly a Wing Suit?

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Hi, I've been interested in wingsuits for a while now. Never skydived but I want to get into it for the sole purpose of flying a wingsuit. One of the things that confused me is how soon the wingsuit actually gets flying. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0vQvHdN5qA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMhoNGWMclc


In the last video the person in the wingsuit basically sinks and hardly gets any flying with it before it catches drift and starts to soar. The Dubai skyscraper video shows the guy soaring but the building is so large that he probably dropped hundreds of feet first.

The point I'm trying to make is that in another video which I cannot find right now of a compilation of base jumps there is a wingsuit jumper mixed in with the bunch. I saw this video in 2007 but I can't find it right now, it was one of those base jumping festivals and everyone was jumping off of a building or tower on a bright sunny day. All of these people jump at the same time and one guy had a wingsuit and it looked like he didn't drop hardly at all before he started soaring. It almost looked like something was propelling him but the only time I've seen a propelled wingsuit is when someone put the jet propellers on his feet (rip).

Refering to the video I can't find, it seriously looked like he made a big leap off of the building and right when you expected him to start really falling he just glided through the air.

Since I'm curious how wingsuits work I basically wanted to ask about how they fly because I want to get into skydiving and fly one myself one day once I *ahem* make more money just to get the 200 skydives. Like I said I watch plenty of videos of wingsuits and they might take a while to really get flying either that or the person just likes the freefall and delays the flight of the suit for a few more seconds because they want to free fall longer.

Like I said though I saw one video where someone just glided off of a building, hardly started falling before he started to soar and probably could have made quite some distance before pulling his chute.

My reaction to that is that you can base jump off of something, even something not that incredibly high, and fly right off of it. However seeing the one or two examples of this is one thing when all of the other videos show someone free falling for a while before flying. The videos kinda contradict each other if you see what I'm saying.

Some of my questions might seem silly

1.Does what you are jumping from make any difference in how long it takes before you start flying (plane jumps excluded)? Say you jump from a 10,000 foot cliff and then jump from the KL towers. After seeing the video that I can't find right now I would say yes, but all of the other videos seem to contradict that, thats why I'm asking.

2.How much distance could you get if you jumped off of something like the Kl towers. Assuming that the answer to my first question is that you can jump off of a structure around or under 1,000 feet how much distance could you get until you reach the point where you are as low as you can go and have to make what you would call a low pull?

3.Would the choice of wingsuit make a difference in base jumping with a wingsuit off of a large structure like the Kl towers (but not the Dubai building, answer is probably yes because it is the largest)? Lets use Pheonix Fly's products. Assuming that it could make a difference, what would be better for a jump off the KL building, a Vampire, or a Stealth suit, or any other suit for that matter for more glide, less freefall? (assuming that the free fall times aren't all the same for jumping off something like that)

4.If you can jump off something under 1,000 ft and get flying at a pace not too slow without too much freefall is it possible to jump off something 600 ft, 500 ft, or even 400 ft and if so how long could you travel flying a wing suit for before you have to make a low pull?

5.Like I said the only video that I've seen where someone uses a propoller is the one with the small jet feet engines. Is there something that people actually use that can't really be seen? Do people basically attach anything else to their feet except for the one guy who died recently (rip) that attached a large bulky propeller to his feet?

6.Oh and last but not least. Would running and then leaping give you less free fall before you start to fly and if so would it make you go faster (perhaps in a suit such as the stealth or ghost by pheonix fly)?


I've been interested in this for a while and think I may have even signed up for this site a long time ago and made a couple of posts on a long lost account. It isn't until now that I'm out of a bad situation and actually have a job that I'm considering doing my first skydive. I know I should be worried about that first but the curiousity and confusion about the wingsuits is driving me insane. You know when you have a question about something and you just want the answer to it even though it really doesn't even matter, its kind of like that. Any answers will be greatly appreciated so I can finally stop wondering about them and end the headache that I gave myself from typing this great wall of text.... Thanks.

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I think you should try skydiving first. Most people like so you'll probably like it too. Once you're off student status find a wingsuit coach/instructor and start working on skills needed to fly wingsuit (wont happen for some time but you'll be going in the right way).

Somewhere on that path you'll need to start BASE jumping... provided you find someone to teach you and you don't die, few hundred jumps later (skydive and BASE each) you should be flying like a pro.

As for your (very specific) questions (1-6):
By the time you're ready to jump BASE wingsuit these questions will seem really silly ;)
I understand the need for conformity. Without a concise set of rules to follow we would probably all have to resort to common sense. -David Thorne

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I think you should try skydiving first. Most people like so you'll probably like it too. Once you're off student status find a wingsuit coach/instructor and start working on skills needed to fly wingsuit (wont happen for some time but you'll be going in the right way).

Somewhere on that path you'll need to start BASE jumping... provided you find someone to teach you and you don't die, few hundred jumps later (skydive and BASE each) you should be flying like a pro.

As for your (very specific) questions (1-6):
By the time you're ready to jump BASE wingsuit these questions will seem really silly ;)



Oh ya I'm a long ways from even touching a wing suit. First I have find a way to pay for the 200 skydives thats like what $6,000+ cause a 25 skydive learning course is over $2,000 then you have to pay for the rest of the 200 skydives within an 18 month period. Then I have to buy all of the equipment which is at least $3,000. Of course I have to have a license just to buy a wingsuit I think, not that I'd ever buy one let alone try one without the knowledge and the qualifications unless I want to get my limbs detached or splattered all over the ground, but lets face it though, skydiving not to mention wingsuit flying is a rich man's/woman's sport. I can't be doing this working at Denny's. This is like a dream that is probably never going to happen, thats why I'm asking this stuff because its probably not going to be another 10 years or so until I can actually get a wingsuit, I'm just curious right now after watching all those basejumping videos but you're right I would probably like wingsuit skydiving better. More air time, higher up, more movement and everything.

Its just that most people don't even know what a wingsuit is and if you told them that you can fly across town by jumping off an averaged sized skyscraper (by skyscraper I mean average building in say Chicago, 600 to 900 ft.) in a suit then they would be more astounded by that than being able to fly by jumping from a high altitude in a plane.

I'm just wondering if you can actually do that. I'm not going to get to anywhere close to this for a while. As far as I know you have to be CEO'ing to just to skydive as a hobby let alone skydive for so long and so much that you can get a squirrel suit. Skydiving once in your life is one thing, skydiving as a frequent hobby to the point where you can not just afford but have the experience to get one of these things is another.

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A long time ago I saw a documentary on wingsuits. I loved it and I knew I would fly one some day. It took a decade before I even started skydiving, and another 6 years before buying a wingsuit.

To sum up your questions, you need basically two things to begin flying: Wing pressurization and airspeed. There is a book called Wingsuits: Skyflyers in Motion that would explain everything to you (I just posted something about that yesterday but it really is good).

Other than that- read the post from Antonija because that is the best advice you will get here. And that's coming from someone who was in your position before.

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[replyFirst I have find a way to pay for the 200 skydives thats like what $6,000+ cause a 25 skydive learning course is over $2,000 then you have to get to 200 skydives within 18 months. Then I have to buy all of the equipment which is at least $3,000. reply]

Your pricing estimates are a little off but that's aside from the point- Just take one step at a time. Do one skydive, then sign up for a class. Enjoy the process. You will have so much fun that you probably won't worry about the wingsuit thing for a while anyway.

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A long time ago I saw a documentary on wingsuits. I loved it and I knew I would fly one some day. It took a decade before I even started skydiving, and another 6 years before buying a wingsuit.

To sum up your questions, you need basically two things to begin flying: Wing pressurization and airspeed. There is a book called Wingsuits: Skyflyers in Motion that would explain everything to you (I just posted something about that yesterday but it really is good).

Other than that- read the post from Antonija because that is the best advice you will get here. And that's coming from someone who was in your position before.



I'll check that book out, thanks.

Edit: Can you send me a link to that book if you know of one. Having trouble finding a book with that title.

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Like I said though I saw one video where someone just glided off of a building, hardly started falling before he started to soar and probably could have made quite some distance before pulling his chute.

My reaction to that is that you can BASE jump off of something, even something not that incredibly high, and fly right off of it. However seeing the one or two examples of this is one thing when all of the other videos show someone free falling for a while before flying. The videos kinda contradict each other if you see what I'm saying.



Bear in mind that different camera angles can make a huge difference to what the same jump looks like. Different exit techniques can make a big difference to how quickly the suit starts flying, but no-one is gliding straight off the object. You need to build up some speed for the suit to work.

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.Does what you are jumping from make any difference in how long it takes before you start flying (plane jumps excluded)? Say you jump from a 10,000 foot cliff and then jump from the KL towers.



In that example, yes - the air will be much thinner at 10,000ft, so it will take longer to start flying.

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4.If you can jump off something under 1,000 ft and get flying at a pace not too slow without too much freefall is it possible to jump off something 600 ft, 500 ft, or even 400 ft and if so how long could you travel flying a wing suit for before you have to make a low pull?



Possible? Sure. Useless and dangerous, but possible.

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5.Like I said the only video that I've seen where someone uses a propoller is the one with the small jet feet engines. Is there something that people actually use that can't really be seen? Do people basically attach anything else to their feet



Except for cameras and smoke canisters, no. Nothing for propulsion.

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6.Oh and last but not least. Would running and then leaping give you less free fall before you start to fly and if so would it make you go faster



Theoretically the more forward momentum you take off an object the better. However, trying to run in a wingsuit, especialy one with a long leg wing, can create its own set of problems...
Do you want to have an ideagasm?

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[replyFirst I have find a way to pay for the 200 skydives thats like what $6,000+ cause a 25 skydive learning course is over $2,000 then you have to get to 200 skydives within 18 months. Then I have to buy all of the equipment which is at least $3,000. reply]

Your pricing estimates are a little off but that's aside from the point- Just take one step at a time. Do one skydive, then sign up for a class. Enjoy the process. You will have so much fun that you probably won't worry about the wingsuit thing for a while anyway.



+1 i've been skydiving for a year and a half now. I could jump a terminal wall a week from now seeing that i know so many BASE jumpers. But im going to do everything as safe as possible. currently at 94 skydives, my first big goal is WS skydiving. Which will happen next summer! Im not going to rush anything!

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A long time ago I saw a documentary on wingsuits. I loved it and I knew I would fly one some day. It took a decade before I even started skydiving, and another 6 years before buying a wingsuit.

To sum up your questions, you need basically two things to begin flying: Wing pressurization and airspeed. There is a book called Wingsuits: Skyflyers in Motion that would explain everything to you (I just posted something about that yesterday but it really is good).

Other than that- read the post from Antonija because that is the best advice you will get here. And that's coming from someone who was in your position before.



I'll check that book out, thanks.

Edit: Can you send me a link to that book if you know of one. Having trouble finding a book with that title.





That's because the title is "Skyflying: Wingsuits in Motion" . You can get it at the Squares or at Skydiving Magazines bookstore HERE.


I will be coming out with an updated second edition sometime in the new year, no set release date yet.
"It's just skydiving..additional drama is not required"
Some people dream about flying, I live my dream
SKYMONKEY PUBLISHING

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When it comes to wingsuit aerodynamics, there are two articles by Robert Pecnik in the Phoenix-Fly website Articles section that go a lot further than the available/aforementioned books published at this time.
Definately worth a read, if you are looking at increasing your knowledge of basic aerodynamics and wingsuit performance.

Wingsuit flying and Basic Aerodynamics 1
Wingsuit flying and Basic Aerodynamics 2


On wingsuit history, I believe there is no more complete book than the one by Michael Abrahams, Birdman, Batman and Skyflyers. Michael isnt a wingsuit flyer, but did some of the most complete research into wingsuit flying, and how we arrived at the point where we are today. Some small side-tracks in wingsuit design, and people involved are missed. But the broad story is more than complete, and definately a must have, for anyone even remotely serious about wingsuit flying. And also a good, enjoyable read.

There is also a book/diary by Leo Velentin called 'Birdman', which is also really enjoyable to read. Though most of the stuff mentioned, is also covered in the book by Michael Abrahams.

On the FlyLikeBrick website, there are also some articles which may be of interest to you.
fallrate vs glideratio
Wingsuit Formation Flying and basics
wingsuit preperation

And there is a wingsuit FAQ also covering some of the basics.

Matt Hoover also has a really nice coffee-table book with photos, which is more than worth checking out.
JC
FlyLikeBrick
I'm an Athlete?

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I will be coming out with an updated second edition sometime in the new year, no set release date yet.



you keep promising it since 2007
cmon!!
looking forward to reading the new book... if/when it comes out...



Well there was a big influx of new suits from new and existing mfgrs at that time, so it made sense to me to wait until there wasn't a new suit coming out every week/month before releasing it. Plus I've been kind of busy with some of the events going on in the world. Trust me, I want to get it out there too as it seems it just keeps getting bigger and bigger the longer I wait. :)
"It's just skydiving..additional drama is not required"
Some people dream about flying, I live my dream
SKYMONKEY PUBLISHING

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Well there was a big influx of new suits from new and existing mfgrs at that time, so it made sense to me to wait until there wasn't a new suit coming out every week/month before releasing it.



That's the thing, these mofos will keep coming up with new suits all the time.
Maybe you could take the "currently available suits on the market" part out of the book and into a blog, where you could keep it up to date most of the time, and just have the book focus on the rest of the information that's not suit-specific and therefore doesn't expire as easily. Just a thought.

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....4.If you can jump off something under 1,000 ft and get flying at a pace not too slow without too much freefall is it possible to jump off something 600 ft, 500 ft, or even 400 ft and if so how long could you travel flying a wing suit for before you have to make a low pull? ....

is survival of the essence ? You could add a few secs if that isn't of any importance ... you're not planning any greenpeace or other stuff invasion anywhere ???? :S
oxygen wingsuitteam
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With regards to quick acceleration in a wingsuit, the main aspect of wingsuit choice is assuring they have fast colors. Reds mixed with oranges or yellow and always a bit of black typically allow for near instantaneous thrust.
So there I was...

Making friends and playing nice since 1983

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With regards to quick acceleration in a wingsuit, the main aspect of wingsuit choice is assuring they have fast colors. Reds mixed with oranges or yellow and always a bit of black typically allow for near instantaneous thrust.



And purple!
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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Ok the first thing you got to do is forget about how intimidating, expensive and impossible it looks to become one of us. It is not necessarily a rich man's sport. Denny's probably isn't going to cut it but if you've got a skill you can use to get a job in the 16-20$/hr range it is possible to create a life in which you can skydive every day, at least for spans of a few weeks in the summer.

I did it on a low level industrial technician's pay. A combination of good circumstances, planning, and an insane amount of hard work made it possible for me.

Here's how.
I was living in a car, starting from nothing working in a carnival when I found what would become my home dropzone 5 years later. I wound up settling in the area. When I did move around I stayed within 10 miles or so of the DZ. All the jobs I've worked since I started jumping have also all been close by.

So.
Decide what you can do that pays best.
Find job doing it within nearby driving distance to a dropzone. This is crucial. If you can live within 10-15 miles of a dropzone it means you can be there all the time.
Find apartment within same range.
Settle down and work for 6 months to a year. Spending as little as you can. No toys. No movies. Cheap food.
Save. Thousands. Then, when you think you have enough, go out and just do it, spend the money recklessly at the dropzone every weekend for months during the summer, blast through all of jump school to your first license nonstop. It is important to commit totally to it, the more hardcore you are the greater your odds of success via fast learning curve. I made it to my first license within a couple months. I was out at the DZ constantly and was flying my first wingsuit by 18 months in the sport. I also knew people who stayed stuck as students forever, showing up to do one jump every two or three weeks, only get halfway to licensed by the end of the season, start over next season having forgotten most of what they learned last year, half the jumps they do make are repeats of last years lessons, in a season or two they give up and fade away.

Once you're in, and have your A license and have mastered basic skydiving survival, you're over the hump. Jump your ass off for the next 200 jumps. I did shitloads of overtime and established a habit of what I call "hit-n-run missions" on weekdays... Wake up, shower coffee grab gearbag, haul ass out to DZ, jump once, twice, gear in the car and go to work.
This got me wingsuit ready by late in my second season jumping. Its been another 1500 jumps almost all of them wingsuit, since then. The hit n run missions continue to the present day. Flying wingsuits became a lifestyle, a thing I did so constantly for so long that living like that actually became NORMAL. By 500 wingsuit jumps I was modifying suits for more performance and by 1000, designing and building my own completely from scratch. I attended every major wingsuit flying event I could afford.

I'm far from wealthy. I've made a shitload of money as an industrial tech and ain't got a damn thing to show for it except a jeep, a pile of obsolete wingsuits I flew to rags, a beat up camera helmet, a reputation as a bit off the edge even among wingsuit pilots, an army of friends all over the world of the highest quality, a head full of years of memories of the most glorious epic adventures imaginable, and a grin that'd scare the shit outta Satan himself.
I'm happy with that. Whats money for?
If you make it far enough to be a wingsuit pilot and make a lifestyle out of it, theres other side benefits. Getting comfortable with wingsuit flight does a lot for your confidence. You'll have ninja skills. You'll be able to handle anything and fear nothing. After the epic shit you will have gone through to get there, absolutely fucking nothing will intimidate you including things like the word "impossible". Impossible is for people who can't fly. And if you take care of the people who help get you there, you'll find you've got a whole lot of friends to party in the sky with.
Now go fly.
-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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