Unless you’ve been stranded on an island for a few years, you’ve undoubtedly seen footage of those brave souls who jump off mountains in wingsuits and dare to fly, at speeds well over 100 mph, just feet from the ground. Man’s quest for flight is getting that much closer to reality with each improvement in wingsuit design. And while you’ve undoubtedly seen some incredible footage, this short eight-minute movie about where leaders have progressed the “sport” will still leave you breathless.
Multiple camera angles allow the viewer to follow world champion flyer Espen Fadnes of Norway from a variety of heart-pounding perspectives. Whether we’re staring off the edge of the cliff, taking his initial straight-down plunge, or just buzzing the rock outcroppings, canyon walls, tree tops, hiking trails—even a gondola filled with tourists—it’s one heck of a descent.
Capturing the remarkable speeds being reached by these daredevils is one of this film’s biggest accomplishments, yet we also get a better look at what goes into each jump. As Fadnes points out, 99.9 percent of his jumping trips are about preparation. Not surprisingly, a huge part of that ritual is repeatedly reaching for his parachute deployment handle just to verify it’s there.
Because of the fear factor, wingsuit flying ultimately requires the suppression of human instincts. When everything in Fadnes’ body is telling him to get away from the cliff edge, he must quiet his mind, and forget both past and future, before leaping into what he calls “the now.”
“It comes so naturally, steering your body through the air,” Fadnes says in the video. “It almost makes me believe at some point humans can fly.”
And thanks to those advances in wingsuit technology, and the skills of those flying them, that’s exactly what Fadnes is doing. Of course, he’s not exactly climbing in altitude, and his flight times are pretty darn short. Though his latest trip took nearly six days, he made only seven jumps, each one lasting a little over a minute. “The actual exercise is just a split of a second,” he says, “which probably says a lot about how fun it is.”