The inimitable Soul Flyers made a jaw-dropping jump from an altitude of 33,000 feet, over Mont-Blanc! Fréderic Fugen & Vincent Reffet are three-time World Freefly Champions with masses of experience in base jumping and wingsuit flying.
On Saturday 31 May, these two incredible French skydivers, the well-named Soul Flyers, performed yet another awe-inspiring and unique exploit, combining ultra-high altitude freeflying with mountain swooping.
Fred Fugen (aged 34) and Vince Reffet (29) have each made about 15,000 jumps, 10,000 of these being together, and have competed as a pair internationally for seven years. Their achievements are already mindblowing, but on April 19, 2014, they took their sport to an even higher level – by leaping off the top of the world’s largest human construction: the 828 metres Burj Kalifha Pinnacle in Dubai. Full story
A tough act to follow… yet just a few weeks later the incredible duo raised the bar with an even more complex exploit: a 10,000-metre jump directly above the largest mountain in Europe. On May 31st at 3 pm, they stepped out of a Beechcraft B200 King Air airplane at an altitude of exactly 10,052 m (33,000 feet), into the freezing air at -50°C, above Mont-Blanc, pushing the limits of what is possible without wearing a pressurised suit.
After 40 seconds freeflying together in the incredibly thin air, falling at almost 400 km/h (250 mph), they reached 6,000 m (20,000 feet) and opened their canopies, specially designed for mountain swooping. The pair got up close and personal to l’Arête de Peuterey (Italy), the longest mountain ridge in Europe, before swooping down to l'Aiguille Blanche, skimming past the side of l'Aiguille Noire and landing safely at an altitude of 1,500 m in Courmayeur.
These 7 minutes of pure adrenaline took a year and a half to prepare. The technical side of the jump required months of meticulous planning, and intensive training in Austria and Spain. There were administrative hoops to jump through too – the jump height was at the cruise altitude of your average jet, so hours of negotiation were needed to obtain authorisation.
Despite turbulence and changing weather conditions, due to the high levels of thermal activity at this time of day, the first attempt was successful. You need oxygen above 7,500 m to stop you passing out. A system was developed specially for the jump that did not restrict Fred and Vince’s ability to perform their cool freefly tricks, which was lighter than the military equipment typically used for jumps from this altitude. They called in Ted Atkins, an engineer for the English company 'Top Out', a skydiver himself, and a specialist in ascents of Everest, he worked closely with the guys right through the planning stage, and was there to make sure everything worked perfectly on the day of the jump.
Respect to the Soul Flyers, please continue to amaze and delight us!
Enjoy the Full Length Video at Red Bull
Beautiful and Breathtaking: high altitude freeflying and mountain swooping Red Bull Skycombo