skydiving canopy control

Everything you need to know about wingsuit flying

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

You probably already know what a wingsuit is — it allows you to zoom forward while controlling your line through the sky. This is correct, and flying a wingsuit does indeed feel spectacular. Have you ever had a dream where you could fly? It is just like that.

A couple of decades ago, when they first became available, wingsuit designs were fairly rudimentary – basically, just fabric stretched out between the arms and legs. The performance was not amazing, but the idea was. These days, using maths and science, wingsuits are amazingly well produced and are effectively miniature aircraft. Here’s everything you need to know about wingsuit flying at Skydive Paraclete XP.

Experience

Due to the flight characteristics of wingsuits, and the fact that you are inside it and somewhat restricted compared to a normal skydive, it is not possible to use one right when you first start skydiving. You need to have 200 jumps completed first (although the more experience you have the better) to build the skills and awareness required to take on the extra challenges. The inside of a wingsuit can feel a bit like a sleeping bag, so it is important to be comfortable with standard skydiving procedures first.

Wingsuit Skydiving Training

Once you are suitably ready, wingsuit training involves learning about not only how to exit a plane and deploy your parachute correctly with all that additional fabric, but also how to navigate properly now that you have all that extra potential to cover distance compared to your usual skydives. Also covered are the unique safety procedures presented by the new flight dynamics specific to wingsuits.

exiting an aircraft skydiving

Differences in Wingsuit Gear

There are many different wingsuits, but can most simply be categorized into small, medium, and large. Small designs have arm wings that join to your body somewhere around your waist and a leg wing somewhere around your knees or shins – offering you some improved flight characteristics without much restriction. Medium designs approximately join your arm wings to your feet and your leg wing down as far as your legs go – which is both powerful and the performance potential of your body fully inside the suit planform. Big wingsuit designs basically stick out past the extremities of your body, relying on inflation for rigidity and adding a lot more fabric to the equation that offers insane performance but you must learn how to manage. As with everything in skydiving, correct progression on to more advanced equipment must be done methodically.

BASE Jumping with a Wingsuit

BASE is an acronym meaning Building Antenna Span Earth. Span means bridge and earth means cliff, but in basic terms a BASE jump is when you leap from anything that is attached to the ground and a skydive is out of anything that is flying. Skydiving and BASE jumping are similar in a lot of ways but also different in some crucial ones – to the point where the advanced techniques required for BASE jumps mean that you cannot do it without significant skydiving experience first.

You might have seen this too – wingsuit pilots exiting from the side of a mountain then skimming the tops of trees and carving through canyons on the way down. It is amazing stuff, but again a more advanced pursuit. Not only must you first learn to skydive and then wingsuit skydive – you are required to learn standard BASE jumping and acquire at least some hundreds of jumps before you can consider putting on a wingsuit. Once you have sufficiently trained these separate elements you can then add them together.

Conclusion

All of this seems like a lot. Hundreds of jumps for this and hundreds for that seems like an insurmountable quantity when you have few or none, but the really important thing to understand is that the awesomeness begins right away. Your initial skydive is a wonderful achievement and the first step of an incredible journey that never lets up being amazing. There are a lot of life-altering achievements in those first hundreds of jumps, and when you get there putting a wingsuit on for the first time just adds even more fun and excitement to what you have already done. What are you waiting for? Contact us today to learn more, or book your first jump to get started.

student in freefall with psp instructor

Without a doubt my absolute favorite place to be when I'm out of school and off work. I came here after I made a tandem skydive and decided I wanted to learn and did my AFF. The instructors and coaches are wonderful. You WILL learn here. Loved jumping with Michael, Randy and Mike so much. Even if the drive is 2 1/2 hours and I'm licensed now, I'll keep coming back.

Jenna Nicole