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Skybear

How it all started - The Birdman Prototype

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A few weeks ago I went to Hassfurt, a small dropzone in northern Bavaria. I met some nice people there, did RW and Birdman with them. One of the guys I did RW with told me that he has a old Birdman Classic in his locker. He wanted to give it away to someone who could use it, since he doesn't fly it anymore. I was quite happy when he offered the suit to me, because I love the Classics for first fliers. But when I realized what I was holding in my hands it was absolutely clear that no first-flier will ever jump this suit. What I got was the Birdman Prototype #1, the first ever Birdman-suit.

Though we all know that there were many different wingsuit designs in the air before Birdman was founded, I think that this is a very special suit. This suit made wingsuiting fun and safe, and it made it available to the average skydiver out there.

The Prototype will be kept as a unique piece in my collection, and it will still be jumped from time to time by me, or anybody else who is interested and has proven to be a experienced and reliable wingsuit pilot.

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Wow, that's an AMAZING piece of history you lucked into there. B|

"Yeah I have this old, beat-up plane in my barn that's just taking up space. You want it?"

***wipes off grime to reveal name => KITTY HAWK ***

"Yeah I think I'd be interested."

;)

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Very inspiring to see that small piece of history, Robi.
Between this suit and Chuck Priest's suit, there are some sweet bits of history still around.
It's interesting that this suit is only 30 days after Chuck's first commercial suit. Can you tell us more about that time period? What was going on? Was it the "space-race" for wingsuits?

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No, shit!
That thing is a true preproduction prototype! As rare as wingsuits get...there can be only one suit #1.
And get this: I have a Classic 1 that is 90% identical to that thing! From the white fabric, purple wings, blue bootie material. Differences are the collar on mine is black, both front and back of wings are purple, the label is in a different place and it has the namebrand arm patch. However mine is a first-generation production model, with the patch on it that says Birdman S.U.I.T.

I still use it every once in a great while for students. It was the first suit I bought specifically for teaching with. In fact, its the suit Justin flew for his first 20, maybe 30 flights before he got his own first suit, an early Phantom.

I'm gonna have to check the label on mine to see its serial number. I'm pretty sure its a '99 but what number? I'll go look next chance I get.
-B
Live and learn... or die, and teach by example.

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That’s a great old suit. This thread made me remember this old photo (Cape Town, Feb 2003). Does anyone know what brand/suit this is? I remember him saying they were testing it. Though don’t know if that was a reference to his flying or the suit itself.
"Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to attend his classes"

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Thats one of the early Jii-Wing suits.
Known as the 'sugarglider' back then, if I recall correctly.
Later evolved into the GS1.



Interesting...this thread.
There was a recent history published that didn't make mention of any of these "back then" suits from Robi, Jii, Chuck Priest... It's fun digging into the past and seeing some of these old suits, and having some discussions with some of the early pioneers of the discipline.
Scott Bland sure has some fun stories.

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I have a GS1 in my school. It actually got jumped this weekend!



Chuck, is that the purple one Voodew sent out?
Did you jump it with the tail attachment? I never got to jump it with the tail zipped in.

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Thats one of the early Jii-Wing suits.
Known as the 'sugarglider' back then, if I recall correctly.
Later evolved into the GS1.



Interesting...this thread.
There was a recent history published that didn't make mention of any of these "back then" suits from Robi, Jii, Chuck Priest... It's fun digging into the past and seeing some of these old suits, and having some discussions with some of the early pioneers of the discipline.
Scott Bland sure has some fun stories.



Which history publication is this?
Phoenix Fly - High performance wingsuits for skydiving and BASE
Performance Designs - Simply brilliant canopies

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Yeah, it's the suit Voodew sent me a couple of years ago. There are actually two tall/skinny guys here at Raeford that fit in it. One already owns an S-Bird.

Back to the original post: Lyle Presse had one of those first run S.U.I.T.s It had been sitting in a box for a very long time and I doubt it had five jumps on it.

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Which history publication is this?



there was a recent article on the history of wingsuits in Parachutist... I think that's the one being referred to here... i think it was by Taya though I should double check.



That's the one I was referring to. I didn't recall who wrote it, just that it seemed to be missing a huge component of the history that I'd been given by Chuck, Robi, and Jussi at one time, as well as some of the stories around the bonfire about this guy or that one.

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