How Fast Can a Wingsuit Go? (And The World’s Fastest Jumps)

A wingsuit pilot in a black and white wingsuit with clouds everywhere soaring over a city and the shimmering ocean with a sunset behind.
Wingsuit Pilots Can Reach Incredible Speeds

Wingsuit gliding might be the closest that humans can get to experiencing full flying. We all know videos in which wingsuit pilots fly between mountains at an incredible speed. But how fast can they actually go?

The fasted recorded wingsuit speed is 249 mph while the average forward speed is around 100 mph resulting in a glide ratio of 3:1 (i.e., 3 meters of horizontal glide for every one meter of vertical descent).

As you can see, there is a huge difference between the average and maximum speeds of wingsuits. What are the fastest recorded flights in skydiving history, how can a wingsuit pilot influence the speed, and are they ways to even break the current world record? Find it out below!

The Three Fastest Wingsuit Flights in History

You can find the three fastest wingsuit flights in history below.

SkydiverSpeedYearJump Altitude
Fraser Corsan 249 mph (400 km/h) 201735,508 ft (10,823 m)
Shin Ito 226 mph (363 km/h) 201132,000 ft (9,756 m)
Travis Mickle 202 mph (325 km/h) 2017 3,300 ft (1,000 m)
Bonus: Peter Salzman
(jet-powered wingsuit)
300 mph (483 km/h) 202010,000 ft (3,000 m)
Overview Of The Fastest Recorded Wingsuit Flights

1. Fraser Corsan – 249 mph (396.86 km/h)

Frazer Corsan, a British skydiver and wingsuit pilot aimed to break four World Records in a wingsuit in May 2017:

  • highest speed (249 mph; 400 km/h),
  • highest altitude (35,508 ft; 10,823 m),
  • the farthest horizontal distance (31959 ft; 9,741 m), and
  • longest wingsuit flight time (aimed to reach 10 minutes)

Aside from attempting to break the record, Frazer also aimed to raise awareness and funds for the UK Armed Forces charity – SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) through his jumps.

On 22 May 2017, due to a lack of wind and high temperature, the team was not able to reach the 42,000 ft target altitude. Corsan exited from the aircraft at 35,508 ft instead but still managed to reach a peak speed of 249 mph (400 km/h) before safely landing back on the ground.

I’ve talked about safely landing on the ground enough in this article – that’s with a parachute. But, has it crossed your mind if it’s possible for wingsuits to land on water without a parachute? Check out my blog about it where I demystify this subject. You’d be surprised by this read.

Corsan originally planned to conduct a second jump a week later in order to reach the 42,000 ft altitude target and to break the other three world records. However, due to poor weather conditions such as low and solid clouds, the jump was abandoned.

In August 2017, after months of validation, Guinness World Record issued Corsan a certificate and he now holds the record for the fastest horizontal speed reached in a wingsuit at 249 mph (400 km/h) but could not break the other three records.

2. Shin Ito – 226 mph (363 km/h)

On 28 May 2011, Shin Ito, a Japanese wingsuit pilot, set a by the time new world record for the fastest wingsuit speed of 226 mph (363 km/h). Ito was a seasoned wingsuit pilot and was also known for joining US wingsuit formations regularly.

3. Travis Mickle – 202.19 mph (325.4 km/h)

On 6 November 2017, Travis Mickle, an American wingsuit pilot, and skydiver conducted one of the fastest wingsuit flights. Even though he did not break the record for the fastest wingsuit flight, he set the world record for the greatest average horizontal speed within the competition rules.

He jumped from a height of less than 3,300 ft (1,000 m) and achieved a speed of 202.19 mph (325.4 km/h) beating his previous record of 195.29 mph (314.3 km/h)!

It is quite impressive that he reached a speed at this comparable low altitude. However, this is not so surprising as Mickle has already more than 5,500 skydives under his belt with around 4,000 of those exclusively from wingsuit flying.

Mickle was able to reach the high speed despite the relatively low altitude because he perfected two of the three factors that influence wingsuit flying speed.

You’ve seen the fastest wingsuit flights, now how would you like to see the farthest flights wingsuits have gone? I have an article that covers this where I also explained the factors that can affect the distance of such flights. This is a very entertaining read.

Three Factors That Affect A Wingsuit’s Speed (And How To Optimize Them)

1. Jump Height Affects The Wingsuit Speed

It’s a simple rule of thumb: The higher the altitude, the greater the flying speed.

However, this formula has limits (at least in practice). It only takes about 15 seconds and 1,970 ft (600 m) to reach terminal velocity. Afterward, the speed does not accelerate much anymore because the gravitational pull equals the air resistance.

That is the reason why Mickle could still reach a high speed even when jumping from a relatively low altitude.

However, if someone wants to break a world record, every bit of speed counts. Even though the acceleration effect is not high after 1,970 ft, it still helps to build up speed.

As a result, most of the World Record attempts – whether for the greatest speed or furthest horizontal glide – have been performed by jumping from more than 30,000 ft above sea level.

If you want to learn more about the distance and time to reach terminal velocity during a normal skydive, check out this post.

The Farthest and Fastest Record-Breaking Wingsuit Flights in History
Overview of the Farthest and Fastest Wingsuit Flights Recorded in History

2. Body Position Determines The Air Resistance And Thereby Speed Of Wingsuits

The speed of a wingsuit flyer depends a lot on the slope that he puts his body in – the higher the slope the faster his speed. The steepest slope that a wingsuit flyer can put his body in is the head-down position.

Wingsuit pilots often play around with their flying position. The typical position used by beginners is the “flat” belly-to-earth position wherein both the arms and legs are kept straight and stretched out to create the perfect airfoil shape.

More experienced pilots perform back-flying and head-down flying apart from the belly-to-earth position.

A wingsuit pilot wishing to break the speed record will begin to fly in a fully vertical head-down (wherein the crown of his head is pointing downwards) position with a zero-degree angle of attack – which is considered the fastest way to accelerate.

He will then change the position to a head-down position at a 20-45 degree angle, such that the wingsuit actually also fills with air and he has the feeling of flying rather than falling.

The speed difference from the different positions should not be underestimated and can lie between 45 – 80 mph.

3. Weather Conditions Are Detrimental For A Wingsuit’s Speed

Weather conditions are so important because depending on the wind and the wind direction, the wind can help the wingsuit pilot to reach higher speeds. If a wingsuit pilot flies with the wind, the speed increases. If he flies against the wind, his speed decreases.

The speed almost increases or decreases by the exact speed of the wind. For example, if the wind speed is equivalent to 10 mph, the speed of the wingsuit pilot will increase by 10 mph if he flies in the direction of the wind or decreases by 10 mph if he flies in the opposite direction.

This difference can be detrimental in setting a new world record (or failing to do so)!

However, there is more to the weather conditions. They do not only increase or decrease the flying speed, but they also influence the other two factors: jumping height and body position.

As the example of Frazer Corsan (current world’s record holder for wingsuit speed) shows, it might not be safe to ascend to ultra-high altitudes in bad weather conditions. Because world records need to be properly prepared and certain people need to present, wingsuit pilots cannot only wait for another week until the weather has improved to make their attempt.

As a result, they will often opt to jump from a lower altitude – even if it is more difficult to break the record.

Weather conditions also impact the possible flying position.

For example, clouds impact the visibility and thereby the flying position that the wingsuit pilot can have. Especially, if the wingsuit pilots fly in low-level clouds, they should change their position to a belly-to-earth position, which decreases their speed. Otherwise, they risk collisions with other wingsuit pilots or aircraft.

They can also lose their orientation and therefore miss the intended dropzone – which is crucial to avoid possible hazards such as rocks, trees, or the ground.

Fun fact: The density of the atmosphere also plays a role, specifically for “space jumps”. If you want to know more about space jumps, check out this post.

How Fast Can You Go Using A Jet-Powered Wingsuit?

I know this sounds like science fiction that many people have dreamed of. However, jet-power wingsuits can be one way to increase the speed of wingsuit flying. (Open question: Is that still wingsuit flying?)

Peter Salzmann is an Austrian paragliding instructor, skydiver, wingsuit pilot, and stuntman. While designing a wingsuit together with his friend and mentor, he came up with an idea of a wingsuit with an impeller that would allow wingsuit pilots to cover longer distances while providing a significant increase in lift.

Salzmann started working on the project in his home garage and later on pitched the idea to BMWi (a subsidiary of BMW that develops electric vehicles) which immediately liked the concept. It then renamed the project to “The Electrified Wingsuit”.

It took them 3 years to complete the project and after several testing inside wing tunnels and around 30 wingsuit jumps with the electric propulsion system, the BMW iX3 was ready to be introduced to the world.

New Wingsuits Are Currently Developed To Increase Flying Distance And Speed Even Further

The team initially planned to perform the jump in springtime 2020 atop 3 tall buildings in Busan, South Korea.

However, due to the pandemic, they had to suspend the plan and decided to do it in Salzmann’s homeland of Austria instead. Luckily, they were able to find a perfect location on the mountain peaks of Drei Brüder (commonly anglicized as “Three Brothers”)

Salzmann, together with two other wingsuit pilots, jumped out of a helicopter from a height of 10,000 ft (3,000 m) and went on a formation flight.

At the right time, Salzmann activated his electric propulsion system using the switch located on his left sleeve.  He immediately gained a speed of around 300 mph (483 km/h). With the speed and uplift, he was able to climb the 3rd and highest of the three mountains while his companions went on a downward flight around the mountain.

Salzmann later joined his companions on the flight and they all safely landed back on the ground. Salzmann said that they will continue improving the design to allow longer flights.

He still has not given up on completing his jump in South Korea.

You know skydiving and wingsuit flying are thrilling, but there are more exciting sports out there. I have an article about other activities that you will enjoy if you like skydiving or wingsuit flying. The article will not only inspire you but also provide you with the information needed to plan your next adventure.

Enjoy your freefall!

Photo Credits

Richard Schneider from Los Angeles, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped

Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

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The image shows the historic record-holders for the farthest and fastest wingsuit flights.