How to start wingsuit flying

The ultimate guide

So you want to start wingsuit flying? Have you researched and realized the steps and have a goal in mind you want to achieve? I will try to cover everything in this article and break it down with instructions and costs to become one of these guys, flying close to cliffs or in the sky. Keep on reading!

Skydiving

First, you have to learn to skydive. To learn, you book an AFF course at your local skydiving center. Google and you will find it. There is no way around this If you choose to not you are guaranteed fatal outcomes. No professional coach will take you to the next steps unless you mastered skydiving properly.

Wingsuit Skydiving

After a certain number of jumps you can start wingsuit flying (200 - 500 jumps) depending on the country and dropzone of your local skydiving place.

BASE jumping

After you've trained enough and have the skills as a skydiver you start jumping from bridges, antennas, span or earth. Bridges are generally safest and are to be considered as your first jumps

Wingsuit BASE jumping

When you master wingsuit skydiving and BASE jumping you combine them both and start jumping from a cliff. This is called wingsuit B.A.S.E jumping. The better you did step 1 - 3, the more fun you will have at this part.

Skydiving

You may ask yourself why you have to skydive? The reason is that skydiving is what keeps you alive later on in your progression. It teaches you how to fly your body properly, how to fly a parachute, how to deploy your parachute safely, how to land and what to do in emergency situations that can be fatal to no mention the least. Learning skydiving first is a must and has a remarkable higher chance of surviving since you have a spare parachute and about 10 times as much time correcting the errors when you start your training. When entering the skydiving world, remember to focus on what's important for you if you want to B.A.S.E jump. The main focus should be on flying your parachute in every possible way. Try many different parachutes, sizes and choose the one you learn to fly like it was a part of you. Fly it in deep breaks, half breaks, stall it, spin it, recover it and really learn the parachute inside out. The reason for this is when you fly your parachute from a lower object in BASE jumping these skills are essential. You don't want to get injured on the most basic part of the world of freefall. Every single jump you do will benefit your skills when moving into BASE jumping and even in skydiving. You may think that after 50 jumps you fly your parachute well. After another 50 you will look back and realize you were not good at all. And don't get fooled to downsize. There is no reason for this as you will be moving into bigger parachutes when BASE jumping later on in your progression. The next big thing which is great to practice when you are skydiving is tracking. Tracking is an important skill that teaches you how to fly your body horizontally. Focus on tracking solo, in groups and in a tracksuit of your choice. Not essentially the biggest tracksuit. It's stupid to go for a big one-piece tracking suit straight off. Look for a two-piece tracking suit. You will be surprised over how much you can progress in this suit. Jump it at least 50 jumps before you take it B.A.S.E jumping is a good thumb rule if you want to be tracking decent. Make sure to have someone help you improve your tracking skills in the sky so that when you come to a cliff you will be even safer. Longer and better track = the further away from the wall you can open. This is the main purpose of tracking. Since you will be jumping your parachute slider up and have a bigger chance of line twists and other things a good track lays an excellent first step for you to start BASE.

Wingsuit skydiving

Wingsuit flying should first be practiced from an airplane when you feel very comfortable and mastered tracking well. I recommend different numbers for different individuals. A person with an athletic background, paragliding background or similar can pick things up quicker than someone with no experience in the sky from before. So make sure that you are 100% ready when stepping into the bird suit. That first flight is amazing.  Make sure to do some jumps with a wingsuit instructor or skilled trackers to have your skill confirmed before you move into a wingsuit. Remember sometimes things feel great but there is always room for more skill and another person's view can be very different from your own sometimes and you want to make sure you're 100% aware in the sky. If you are not aware skydiving you have to skydive more before you wingsuit. Skilled instructors and wingsuit flyers will help you improve your skills significantly. If you are sure you want to wingsuit B.A.S.E, later on, learn to fly fast on steep angles and fly your wingsuit in every possible way. Be creative! Rolls, spins, fast, slow, stall, collapse, flare, practice deployments and more. Angle skydives are great to master fast speeds in steep angles and also an incredibly fun way to train and fine-tune your tracking skills. 

You can fly a wingsuit very early, but believe me. I've seen people spin to the ground when moving to quick into big wingsuit and its just not necessary because of the fun progression that is there in between. Enjoy every jump but take them seriously and learn as much as you can.

B.A.S.E jumping

If you did not know already, B.A.S.E jumping stands for Bridge, Antenna, Span, earth, and was the birth of the wingsuit flying we see today. Many people have died in this sport and thanks to this we can go back and learn from their mistakes. Click on the link below to get directed to the BASE fatality list. https://www.blincmagazine.com/forum/wiki_index.php?title=BASE_Fatality_List 

With good judgment and some studying of B.A.S.E jumping, weather, human factors, and the overall self distance you can find fatalities that could have been avoided if handled right from start. Often one mistake leads to another one and down in a vicious spiral where death occurs. This is important that you as a new skydiver, wingsuit jumper understand that the more we share knowledge and do our homework the more fun and fewer injuries and death there can be. So, you may ask yourself now: What makes me not do the same mistakes as they do? 
Well, the chance of you doing mistakes is highly increased and almost guaranteed death if you don't have the proper background and understanding of what you are getting into. Get all reading material you can and consider having a long BASE carrier instead of rushing into it. Be smart, find a mentor or take a private course and write down every single question you have. Those questions will save your own and other people's life you jump with in the future.

Still, want to B.A.S.E jump? Now, from skydiving, you have received a lot of training about parachutes, gear, safety procedures, and self-awareness and how to prevent those fatal situations. Most skydivers are not B.A.S.E jumpers so do not consider listening to someone that does not have the experience. But ask them every question you have about skydiving because those sky gods very often know what they are talking about. In both skydiving and BASE jumping you want to constantly learn, never stop learning and never settle with the experience you have because the more you learn the better you will do and the more fun and good experiences you have while stepping into the world of BASE.

Wingsuit B.A.S.E

Wingsuit B.A.S.E jumping are all of these skills combined into jumping your wingsuit from a cliff. Here you want to start over with a small wingsuit and progress towards a bigger suit again to have maximum performance later on in your progression of wingsuit proximity flying.

Wingsuit Proximity Flying

Wingsuit proximity flying is the definition of flying close to objects and different types of "lines" which should be approached with an extremely respectful and careful approach. Wingsuit proximity flying kills. This is just the fact and can't be overseen. There is, however, many ways and tools to be able to do this pretty safe If you leave margin in terms of speed and choice of the cliff you start your wingsuit from. It takes experience and knowledge which normally are just attained by very few wingsuit pilots out there. Just because you have flown one line does not make you automatically fly all other terrains well. Terrain flying is about energy maintenance and knowing your suit so well that you every second can tell your speed and energy. Energy and speed works as your reserve and will save your life at some point. That why safe wingsuit lines are very often steep. Some technical lines push everything off the suit and pilot when It comes to glide, speed, agility, traverses and careful planning. Wingsuit proximity flying will also require that you are very current. Being current in this sport is the most important part and It will play a huge role in your chance of surviving wingsuit B.A.S.E.

 

Training for proximity flying cannot really be done in the sky unless you fly with a group. This can increase your precision but in the end, the fine-tuning of lines and energy maintenance has to be done in the real environment of wingsuit B.A.S.E. I can recommend training energy maintenance with help of a GPS device in the sky such as PPC and similar. PPC will make you understand how much you can actually get out of your suit and the room for learning is endless. If you want my tips for proximity flying: Take a vacation for a few months of work and focus only on the flying or make sure you can fly every day. Then go jumping daily practice every aspect such as steep, sharp turns far away from walls, steep angles, perfect deployments and always leave a lot of margins. After mastering the skills and you can see that turns are sharp, efficient and you maintain your energy well you can move closer towards the walls. Make sure you've done your homework with how air moves in the mountains and how cold and warm air moves. Even how water and humid walls can affect your flying is important. Remember that you are a wing, so everything that affects your flying has to be taken into consideration especially if you want to push the sport later on. Flying next to something is not necessarily safer than over something. Every jump will be different and if you want to save yourself lots of time and risk you should have someone showing you how all of this stuff works. Because there is a jungle out there with information but very few know exactly what they are doing. Over again, I highly recommend you to have a mentor or coach when moving towards those parts of wingsuit flying. 

Why wingsuit proximity flying? Well, for me it's the feeling of speed and how far you can push your flying. Flying close to things give you another perspective on how well you are actually flying. Remember that flying proximity flying doesn't make you an overall wingsuit pilot. The sport is wide and formation flying and similar doesn't have to be mastered when flying proximity flying. It's just a different thing. But every single skill you attain with your wingsuit will bring more comfort and are good even in wingsuit proximity flying. Windtunnel skills in both vertical and horizontal tunnels will also improve your overall flying. The more time spent in freefall, the better.

Gear

To start this progression quite some gear is required. As anything here in the world, there is different costs depending on what you want to spend. You do not have to be rich to get through with the gear you buy and you can generally sell it 2nd hand on Facebook, Dropzone.com and other forums. You can also buy used equipment there. What you have to pay for is this required gear:

  • Skydiving rig (Main parachute, rig (the backpack), reserve parachute, AAD (emergency device).​

  • Helmet

  • Audible altimeter

  • Shoes (High ankle shoes recommended)

  • Tracking suit

  • Wingsuits (about 2 - 3 to progress and learn with. Start with the beginner suits)

  • B.A.S.E rig (Main parachute and rig (the backpack).

  • Pilot chutes

  • Stash bag 

  • Flysight (GPS device for wingsuit flying)

  • Action camera

Training

Of course, having the gear is not enough. Training and the courses should be included in your calculations:

  • Educational (AFF, BASE and wingsuit courses)

AFF = 2000 - 3000 EUR

BASE course = 1000 - 5000 EUR

Wingsuit BASE course = 1000 - 3000 EUR

Wingsuit course = 1000 EUR

Prices will vary depending on where you are in the world and how well you do during your education. Just like any training, there are steps and skills you have to master to go further into becoming a certified skydiver. Email me for package prices or questions and I can refer you to professional instructors all around the world. If you want to get training of me privately I have to be flown out or booked privately in Europe.

  • Practical training (150 - 800 jumps)

Skydives = 3750 - 20000 EUR

150 jumps will take a very experienced athlete into BASE jumping but more jumps are required if you want to wingsuit BASE jump later on. Wingsuit adds a significantly longer progression curve than just regular B.A.S.E jumping

.

  • Living expenses.

Some dropzones you can live in a tent for free, drive your car or pick a hotel. All after your own budget.