Depending on who you ask, skydiving is either exciting, terrifying, or both. This video of divers from the Melbourne Skydive Centre coasting through the sky like jellyfish makes skydiving look like a peaceful sort of transcendence, more flying than falling. Instead of an adrenaline packed plummet down gravity’s vacuum, this video showcases the serenity of human flight. Filmed in February of 2011, world champions Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet from Soul Flyers visited Melbourne to provide 3D coaching to some of Australia’s top skydivers. The result is this ethereal video. Check it out in full screen mode and tell me it does not make you want to jump out of a plane.
Sky diving appeals more to me than scuba diving. I have a huge fear of drowning, but as a kid, I scaled trees higher than anyone in our neighborhood. If I were to sky dive, I’d insist on a parachute. However, a parachute might be for sissies one day if the wing suit works.
Jeb Corliss has been busy trying his wing suit out. So far, he’s had to use a parachute to keep from spatting to the ground, but with improvements, he may get the physics right and be able to land properly without parachute help.
You see, the wing suit turns someone into a flying squirrel of sorts, allowing a person to glide to the ground. That’s the idea. So far, people who glide wearing these suits eventually open parachutes to slow their earthbound progress and make for a successful landing where they end up alive at the end of the ride. This wing suit flying business has a worldwide following. There are several other people who are designing suits, but Jeb Corliss is the one who is hot on the trail of financial backing.
He certainly has a thing for jumping off high places. He’s jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower, for example. If anyone can fly in a suit, it’s probably him. Still, I don’t think I’d watch him try, even though he has his plan all worked out–more or less. If he does succeed, there is a pretty tall tree in our backyard. . .
[For the in depth story, check out this New York Times article by Matt Higgins. It’s where I got my info and has more details about how this suit works. ] The suit in the photo is the Rocket Man version.