Published: August 25, 2016
This is a question that experienced skydivers get asked a lot, and it's no wonder, wingsuit flying is everywhere right now.
Wingsuiting dominates the media around skydiving - videos of people hurtling along cliff sides, flying between skyscrapers, lighting up the night sky and that one British guy who landed his without a parachute (into a pile of cardboard boxes).
Wingsuiting is exciting and visually stunning.
In skydiving, we talk about 'human flight' a lot, and wingsuiting is the closest thing to actual human flight there is. With average forward speeds of 100 mph and vertical descents up to halved, compared to regular freefall, you can really travel.
It's a big sky up there, and flying a wingsuit sets you free to explore it!
How to Start Wingsuit Flying?
If you're starting from zero, the first step is to learn to skydive! Get yourself enrolled in a 'learn to skydive' course and earn your skydiving 'A' licence.
From there, start racking up the jumps! Under United States Parachute Association (USPA) regulations, you need 200 skydives under your belt before you can don a wingsuit.
Why? Because wingsuiting adds extra complications, meaning more can go wrong. For example, you have to exit the plane in the right position or risk hitting the aircraft tail (yes, really!). The benefit of the knowledge and skills you gain in those 200 jumps puts you in the best stead to get it right.
Two hundred jumps may take you a while to complete, but they won't be a chore!
Skydiving with or without a wingsuit is a beautiful and freeing experience, and the pursuit of wingsuiting turns the skydiving journey into an exciting mission with a challenging goal.
Maintaining 'currency' - jumping on a regular basis - is important in all skydiving, but more so to wingsuiting. It is a use it or lose it skill.
When you begin wingsuiting, your descent angle may get shallower, but the learning curve gets steeper. There is so much to do in a wingsuit including different suits to fly and different ways to fly your body. Mastering these skills means more time in the sky -- of which you will love every second.
As you develop your skills as a wingsuit pilot, you can progress to bigger suits that fly further and try trickier maneuvers.
But What About The Mountains?
'You've only talked about planes and the sky, what about those cool videos of the wingsuiters who jump off mountains and fly really close to things?' I hear you asking.
This is because we are a skydiving center and skydiving is what we do!
When people jump from things, like you see in this amazing wingsuit flying video, it is BASE jumping (BASE = Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth). BASE requires different parachute equipment and techniques to skydiving, but there are many transferable skills.
If you want to learn to fly a wingsuit, the sky is the place to start. As you build your jump number up and venture into wingsuit flying, you will meet a range of interesting people with a range of different skills in different sports. Listen and learn.
We love to fly. The sensation and adventure of flying a wingsuit is only improved by the truly stunning landscape here at Skydive Coastal Carolinas, which the extra time in freefall allows you to enjoy.