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Happily, we're seeing exciting new directions in the application of human flight, wingsuits and Base. The added ability a wingsuit gives to truly fly the human body from an object is beginning to be explored. Espen Fadnes, renowned proximity flyer, asks what the future holds…
Skydive Dubai just posted a video of spectacular dynamic flying with and without wingsuits from Burj Khalifa, Dubai. It was an achievement only possible due to [the Soul Flyers'] years and years of life as professional freeflyers in skydiving. (Full story: Soulflyers do dynamic flying from Burj Khalifa
Last summer the top of Jungfrau was jumped with a wingsuit by Patrick Kerber. The flight itself was not as radical as one often sees online, but the climb up was as impressive as the flight down. They call it para-alpinism: the art of ascending the mountains and using a wingsuit to get safely down.
This is two directions in the use of human flight that both are physically harder and safer than the classic proximity flying. Do we see the early signs of a change in direction in human flight?
In 2005 Loic-Jean Albert introduced the world to proximity flying. At that time he and Julian Boule, who also had a part in the latest Burj Khalifa video, had already done it for a few years. Loic and Julian were game-changers in base jumping and their way of using a wingsuit reached the big crowds in social media. It was the thing to get into for us all, and it gave an extreme sensation of speed as you buzzed down a mountain only a few meters above the ground. And people loved it. Jeb Corliss got 26 million hits on YouTube with Grinding the Crack.
Now, years later, we are discussing the downside of proximity flying. There are way too many accidents, and it takes away the fun.
Excellent article Espen as usual... this is the direction we need to embrace
While this discussion is ongoing the two above directions are emerging. But they require so much more than the classic proximity flying. It's not enough be bold. When I see the videos of Laurent Fraat, Ellen Brennan and Rock Malnuit I know that this is something extra. They need the high wingsuit skills, but at the same time being an alpinist. It may require so much hard work they will have to choose not to hang out on drop zones with the people from the other direction; the people behind the dynamic flights from Burj Khalifa.
What I also believe, is that people who choose to keep on going with the hard core classic proximity flying are definitely going to have fun, but they will never be as highly regarded as the best para-alpinists and the dynamic flyers. The new directions represent a safer, more spectacular and more demanding future of human flight.
Exciting times to come!
Article by Espen Fadnes, who has many more interesting blogs on his website: Espen Fadnes