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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Catching up with Espen Fadnes & Amber Forte


For the past few months Amber Forte and Espen Fadnes have been traveling all across the land jumping their little hearts out in preparation for operation 'Project Freestyle BASE'. They started training hard in Skydive DeLand and I was fortunate enough to see a bit behind the scenes.

Let's see what they've been up to!…

Amber having fun under her Pilot7 117 over the blue skies of DeLand FL.  — by espen fadnes
Amber having fun under her Pilot7 117 over the blue skies of DeLand FL.  — by espen fadnes

Missy: Can you give us a little bit of insight to Project Freestyle Base, and when this jump will take place?

Amber & Espen: Project Freestyle Base was Amber's idea. She comes from tunnel flying, skydiving and has been an observer of the base jumping scene. She had a vision of doing freestyle moves in a base jumping environment on a proper angle, and we agreed to bring this vision to fruition through a mentor approach –Amber coaching Espen at the wind tunnel Vossvind, and Espen instructing Amber about base jumping.

The skydiving part is where we both have great insight, and cooperate to increase each others' skill level and awareness. We wanted to progress towards the project in many different ways from diving into water and foam pits, training in the wind tunnel, plus skydiving and subterminal exit training…. All of which is creating strong muscle memory, which we hope will help us in the final jumps where we plan to bring all of these elements together. There will be several jumps. Basically 4 to 5 routines where we half perform, and half film each other. The jumps will take place from a huge mountain in Norway. We will not reveal the location until the final product goes online through the Lucid Air Youtube channel.

Missy: How do all of the training jumps that you made in DeLand tie into Project Freestyle BASE?

Amber & Espen: With the goal of performing advanced freestyle and free-flying moves on a flat angle, the only place to safely practice for the jump is through skydiving. Skydive DeLand is the hub for cutting edge development in flying techniques and styles. Not to mention the high level of equipment development and testing. It makes Skydive DeLand the obvious location choice to learn and progress towards spectacular, clean and safe terminal routines in a BASE jump.

Missy: Is there particular gear that you will be using during your training?

Amber & Espen: When we skydive, we fly with the Aerodyne Icon for our container and a Pilot7 117 as our main. We also have a collaboration with Vigil AAD. We use a range of Tonfly products as well. The CC2 is used for camerawork and it's all filmed using the Red Epic-W (6k 80p) with a Samyang 14mm lens. We also use the Tonfly 2x for performing in skydiving. We we perform in BASE, we use a Squirrel Crux rig. The core idea behind the project and training is to approach everything as safely as possible. That means the choice of equipment is based on decreasing risk wherever we can. An example is the use of the Pilot7 117 for skydiving. In theory, we could have used elliptical canopies but we are wearing specialized tracking equipment and often wear 4 kilos of gear on our heads, so we chose dependable and solid equipment from very trusted manufacturers.

Espen Fadnes taking his wing suit out for a test spin.
Espen Fadnes taking his wing suit out for a test spin.

Missy: What's the most challenging feat of #projectfreestylebase?

Amber & Espen: The toughest part is the transition from subterminal to terminal, and this is an area that is very hard to test. We know we can do the routines in full terminal speed, and we also know that we can do advanced clean exits into water… but from 4 to 10 seconds after exit and enter into terminal speed is where we seem to struggle a bit facing the unknown. Anybody with low speed dynamic tunnel experience knows that it's hard to fly perfectly stretched out head up on lower than a 70% wind speed. So there is always this element which we can only really test properly through a BASE jump.

Missy: How will the public hear and see this eventful jump?

Amber & Espen: We'll post the development of the project through our new Youtube channel, Lucid Air. Some episodes have already posted! The final production will appear as a very high end version of a video blog (VLOG). Our purpose is to show the cutting edge of the sport, especially in BASE…that it can be moved to new levels without the risk increase.

Stay tuned for more #projectfreestyle BASE, and enjoy the Amber/Espen VLOG in the interim (above).

 The dynamic duo at Skydive DeLand after a successful training jump
The dynamic duo at Skydive DeLand after a successful training jump