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lurch

Thoughts on the essence of the wingsuit flight experience

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It just amazes me. People say you can't buy happiness.
I say, it depends on who you are, what you do with your life, how well you take care of the people you care about and if you know where to shop.

Got in 6 flights today spanning the range of pretty much everything you can do with a wingsuit. Cost: 102$ and a case of beer for friends around the fire after. 17$ jumps today to open the season at my home DZ so I said to hell with the budget and jumped as much as possible.

I'm beat up. I'm tired. I'm sore. And I've got this incredible ear to ear grin and I feel like a million bucks.

Got a 5 way docked line with 2 footdocks.
Chased a wingless tracker and indulged in a little wingsuit freefly trying to stay with her. Justin had more luck with that...heavy ass fucker.:)
Did some vertical stuff... an upright diamond and a 4-stack, tightly spaced. Had some time at breakoff in most of these jumps to get together with a friend or two for some fun. Also did a little improv CRW under canopy and was all but walking across the guy's topskin. FUN STUFF!

After breakoff did my usual slow-burn maxout on most of these, getting another 60 seconds worth of all-out flying and getting used to the new extended range my new suit grants me.

Got kickass swoops on 5 of 6 landings, aborted the run on #5 for safety reasons cause the setup wasn't right.

Had some fun fucking with Justin's camera when his back was turned. When he sees what I left in his camera while he was getting his wings prepped he is going to laugh himself into a miscarriage. At least I was polite enough to wipe off the saliva before I handed back the helmet.

Connected with a few up-and-coming jumpers who, judging by their level of passion, will make awesome wingsuit pilots someday soon. When they're ready, we will be waiting to welcome them as one of us.

Spent much of the day laughing my ass off. When I wasn't laughing or making others laugh, I was flying.

I haven't got a lot of money. I own little. Most of that is nuts and bolts and junk for building stuff. I don't have fast cars or expensive clothes. I could give a fuck less about keeping up with the joneses or having a big flatscreen.
So why do I feel like one of the wealthiest kings who has ever lived?
I have no direction. No driving ambition to conquer or control anything. All the things that modern society thinks I'm supposed to want, I don't care about. Yet I'm happy. I don't get it. What am I doing right?

Every time I feel like life sucks, I remember days like today and think of how many people would give anything... do anything... work themselves to death ten times over, to get what I've got. To live 5 minutes of the life I live on days like today.

And by the rules, I haven't got anything. But I've got all the friends, respect, challenges, rewards, freedom and satisfaction a human being could possibly ask for.

I would not trade this life for anything. Not Money. Not position. Sure as hell not power.

Every time I think life couldn't possibly get any better... it does.

I started skydiving because at 25 I realized for all my adventures I'd never really done anything extraordinary with my existence, I'd burned off somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of my usable life expectancy and someday I was going to wake up at 65 and realize I'd wasted the gift of life living it in a mundane fashion.

I'd realize I'd missed the boat, wasted the one chance any human being ever has to live life to the fullest and it was way too late.

I haven't worried about that in a long, long time now.

Life is good.
-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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Good thing! :)
But it comes down every day with rules, laws and selfish comments covered in safety-shit. :(

Stop the Control-freaks!

Wingsuiting was the last pure free action and is already pushed in the corner. :|

Hope that some of you know what I mean.

Christian
don´t pester the jester . . or better: WHY SO SERIOUS ? ?

www.pralle-zeiten.de

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Thank you for the great description of the feeling we love and why we do all this. :)
Ah, BTW:
Quote

Had some fun fucking with Justin's camera when his back was turned. When he sees what I left in his camera while he was getting his wings prepped he is going to laugh himself into a miscarriage. At least I was polite enough to wipe off the saliva before I handed back the helmet.



We want the video! B|
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

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Thanks, you guys.
I look at the news and all I see is people sharing negative stuff like anger, hate, malice. I can't get into that. I figure if I'm going to share anything I've got with the world its going to be something else.

Things like exultance don't sell newspapers, but thats what I've got so thats what I share with people.

Scott... that Helen Keller quote is one of the guiding principles I live by. After 8 years in the sky the thing I'm still being amazed by is the fact that the life I've got, full of adventures like I just described, is the best possible outcome I could have. Maybe I just have a limited imagination but I can't think of any better way to spend a life than this.

If I were disabled permanently tomorrow I would have no regrets about the way I've lived. As wingsuit pilots we are the freest human beings who have ever existed. If civilization collapsed tomorrow they would be telling stories and legends about us for centuries to come.

People would dream for a thousand years of finding a way to bring back aircraft, so that wingsuit pilots could exist, once again. So that they too could become one of us.

And the mark we make on the world is being known as a tight group of people who look out for one another, rampaging around the sky spreading joy and a sense of wonder everywhere we go.

A week or so ago at Jumptown I walked out of the hangar toward the loading area and passed in front of a Tandem. The passenger had never seen a wingsuit before, took one look at me, got this jaw-dropped astonished look on her face, and sputtered, "Uh, wow, Okay." She was staring at me like she couldn't believe her eyes.

I grinned at her and said, "Yeah, its kind of like a wearable aircraft, we can fly for miles and believe it or not, theres more than one of us. A lot more." And right then the others on the flight came out, we all went to the front of the line and boarded the plane.

That passenger's reaction just totally made my day.


Jester:
There is a way to deal with control freaks that drives em bugshit and satisfies at the same time. You can politely decline to notice their existence.

You speak as if the epic adventure of wingsuiting is already over and we are now as tightly restricted and controlled as the general population in any typical restrictive culture.

I do not believe that impression to be accurate. You say we are pushed into a corner. What corner? Up in the sky theres nothing stopping you from doing whatever you please, just be responsible enough to look out for canopies and such.

If you don't like rigidly defined grids, don't fly in them. Fly for whatever makes you feel most alive. Sometimes I fly in grids. Sometimes I don't. I'm pretty happy either way.

If you don't like control freaks, ignore them. Its not like they could keep up with you in the sky anyway.

Wingsuiting is still the last pure freedom and cannot be corrupted. The only way to take away that freedom would be to ban it entirely.

And even if that happened, well, we all know where the bigwall cliffs can be found....

-B

PS: Ask Justin to post his videos from yesterday.
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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That's awesome lurch.

I'm still pretty new to wingsuiting, and this is probably no big deal for the more experienced birds. But I had a jump pilot fly side-by-side with me today, and the feeling of flying... not falling... FLYING... WITH AN AIRPLANE... was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. And I've had my fair share. I was on a high for a good hour.

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Ha!
No big deal, my ass!
By now I'm somewhere around 1800 flights, roughly 50-60 hours accumulated freefall time at least, and may be closer to twice that. I'm not really sure since my records are fragmented and my Neptune hasn't worked right in ages, but even with it missing half the freefall time its supposed to record, it shows 25+ hours from the last 1025 jumps, and out of those, half logged deployment less than halfway down, the other half logged either nothing or garbage data. Theres nothing wrong with the Neptune... its the flight conditions I subject the poor thing to that have confused it. If I'm doing solos I rack up 1 hour of freefall time for every 18-20 jumps.
I've flown with, flown far above, or chased after my own jumpship many many times by now and still, it gets me every time.

It doesn't get old, man. I would have been just as happy as you are.
Awesome, ain't it?
:)-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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Thanks Lurch, you right!

Last week I had a headdown -flyby at a solid cloud and a breathtaking beautyfull strike along the next one while flying a korkskrew. The jumpers at my dz saw my smile or whatever ;) and the mute of the whole community got a big positiv push...

But sometimes it is like running against a concrete wall(6feet) D-licence for wingsuit-starters, 300 jumps and other nonsense, for example: a freestyle-motoX guy, bodycontrol and disciplined like hell had to do 300 jumps because controlfreak-rules.
120 jumps is not enough for jumping an Impact tracksuit ??
What else? :|
Ok, I do not want to be negative :S
I will keep your thoughts in my mind and share with all students.

:)
don´t pester the jester . . or better: WHY SO SERIOUS ? ?

www.pralle-zeiten.de

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Well Jester, when it comes to encountering opposition, I deal with it by making an effort to understand the other side's perspective. People who see others taking risks that they themselves do not understand tend to try to prevent that behavior out of concern for the ones doing it.

I try not to label those people "control freaks". Granted, sometimes such people act out of a need to exercise their authority, I've seen it before... unreasonable and nonsensical objections. When you answer their objections with educated logic, they answer with another excuse, and another. No matter how many ways you explain that you have done your homework and have met the recommendations of the professionals, they will keep inventing reasons to try to stop you because for them, it isn't about concern for you and what you are doing, it is about them having an excuse to impose their will.

But such people are in the minority. Most of the time, when they try to hold you back, it is because they are afraid you're getting in over your head. So when people object, give them the benefit of the doubt and listen to them. Carefully consider what they have to say. They could be right.

And if you are going to proceed in spite of objections, just make sure you know what you are doing. When I built my own 100% original wingsuit design, even people who knew what I could do were scared and warned me not to do it.

They didn't believe I knew what I was doing until AFTER I'd succeeded. The fatality rate among early wingsuit designers was just way too high for anyone to believe that a wingsuit brutally hacked together out of a leather jacket, spectra line and fabric scraps by a guy with no prior experience or sewing skills could possibly work.

But I DID know what I was doing, in a larger sense, and I proved it. I knew I couldn't sew worth a damn, so I built it 5 times stronger than it could possibly need to be. It was crude, but almost indestructible. It was so overbuilt it looked ridiculous, but it did not fail. I knew that if I allowed for the slightest weakness, the wind was going to tear my shoddy work apart around me in seconds and designed accordingly. That planning paid off when the suit flew just fine with no drama no failures and no problems.

A lot of people put a lot of faith in me along the way. I took that trust very seriously and respected it by planning and working with even greater caution than I thought was necessary. With great freedom comes great responsibility. Living up to that and succeeding by using my own judgment is very satisfying. I just never forget to question my own judgment, and try to make sure that that judgment is sound.

In the case of your motoX friend,
Honestly, I don't have much use for tracking suits and such. People tend to take them TOO seriously and act as if they are a big deal, when simple baggy clothing such as the "smoking pants" can produce an equivalent effect. Before I got into wingsuiting and before tracking suits were invented, I just used pirate-style baggy freefly pants. Nobody got hysterical about it because it wasn't called "tracking pants" even though there was no noticeable difference between the two.

The "impact" of those suits on performance is so minor as to not be worth bothering with or spending money on. Their cost far outweighs what little they can do for you. If your tracking technique is rough those suits will do nothing. They are all enthusiasm and very little substance. It is not worth spending hundreds of dollars for a suit that might get you 4 mph less fallrate IF you used it perfectly. I would recommend focussing on tracking technique and thoroughly mastering bodyflight and save the money for a REAL wingsuit.

Although I do not wish to trash Birdman's products I feel tracking suits are a distraction and a waste of effort, similar to the way some newer swoopers have sometimes believed buying a smaller canopy to be a shortcut substitute for flying skills.

So far all that Impact suit has done for your friend is attract unwanted attention from people who want to make a big deal about nothing. Choose your battles carefully. Forget about the tracking toys, focus on teaching your friend flying skills and the control freaks will have nothing to throw a big drama about.

When your friend is ready for a wingsuit his skills will speak for themselves.
Just my opinion...
-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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Quote

It is not worth spending hundreds of dollars for a suit that might get you 4 mph less fallrate IF you used it perfectly.



Though I agree with a lot of stuff in your above post, a proper trackingsuit used well (be it home built, or whatever other brand) can definately do more than shaving 4 mph of your fallrate.

Getting 50% more distance and time in (90 second jumps as opposed to 60 second jumps) isnt that far fetched and done by quite a few individuals with ease..
JC
FlyLikeBrick
I'm an Athlete?

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Fair enough, perhaps I'm not giving them a fair shake. I've always tended to think much of their effect was due to placebo effect, encouraging confidence in the user, inspiring them to best possible performance.

For those with the right mindset it could tend to get them to really concentrate on their technique because now, with these pants they really believe they can.

But my opinion is definitely prejudiced towards real wings... I know a lot of people have put a lot of effort into trying to see how much improvement you can really get out of tracking gear so I shouldn't knock it... Those who have developed them have certainly put a lot more consideration and attention to it than I have. By dismissing them I've paid them little attention in years...I was unaware you guys were getting THAT much performance out of them these days. Besides, anything that safely spreads the joy of flying and helps get more people involved in it and thinking about it is a good thing. I stand corrected.

-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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I tried the tracking suits before I went over to wings, and while they made the flight a little twichy while maxing out, falling back to a boxman made it stable again super quick, so I cant see a super high number required to use them.

On the performance front I was able to get my fallrate in the high 60's while covering a good distance, so I'd definitely say they effect performance.


To the original post though, right on. Chasing friends though 15,000 puffies remains to this day one of the most rewarding experiences i could ask for.

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