How Long Does A Wingsuit Flight Last? (Surprising Facts)

A wingsuit pilot in a white and gray suit with blue numbers 02 and red stars, gliding against the backdrop of a patchwork of green fields below.
High-Performance Wingsuit Flight

Wingsuit flying is the closest that humans can get to flying like a bird. While the experience of wingsuit flying can be incredibly intense, one common question among those curious about the sport is: how long does a wingsuit flight last?

On average, a wingsuit flight lasts about 75 – 120 seconds in free fall and between 2 – 9 minutes under the canopy, depending on exit and deployment height. It takes about 15 – 25 minutes to board and ascend in the aircraft.

In the following, I will reveal the different factors that influence the duration of a wingsuit flight and provide a comparison with other skydiving types. I will also highlight the longest wingsuit flight records and uncover some misconceptions about wingsuit flights.

The Flight Duration By Skydiving Discipline

The duration of a skydive varies depending on the skydiving discipline being practiced. In different skydiving disciplines, such as wingsuits, there are different equipment and jumping techniques involved. In addition, the jumping and recommended parachute deployment height differ depending on the discipline.

Wingsuit flying is often viewed as the supreme discipline of skydiving because it involves highly specialized equipment and takes time and skills to master. Flying a wingsuit is not easy because every movement is amplified by the huge surface of the wingsuit.

However, the wingsuit is also the reason why the free fall duration is the greatest in all skydiving disciplines.

Type of JumpAverage Freefall Time
(in seconds)
Canopy Descent Time
(in minutes)
Longest Recorded
Freefall Time
Wingsuit75 – 120 s2 – 9 min9 min 6 sec
Solo SkydiveTypical jump: 30 – 60 s
HALO jump: 90 s
1 min 45 sec – 9 min4 min 27s
Base Jump>15 s20 – 125 sNo world record
Tandem Skydive30 – 60 s 4 – 5 minNo world record
Tandem Wingsuit60 – 120 s7 – 10 minNo world record
Freefalling and Canopy Flight Duration By Skydiving Discipline

Factors That Influence the Flying Time Of Wingsuits

The Wingsuit Rate Of Descent Explained

The typical rate of descent for wingsuit lies between 40 – 90 mph. The rate of descent refers to the speed at which a wingsuit pilot descends through the air. It is influenced by a number of factors, including the airspeed at which the pilot is flying and the glide ratio.

Wingsuit pilots can adjust their rate of descent by changing their glide ratio. The glide ratio is a critical measure for wingsuit pilots, as it determines how many horizontal feet they can cover for every foot of descent. Typically, the glide ratio for wingsuit pilots is 3:1, which means they cover three feet for every foot of descent.

When the glide ratio is lower, they will descend more quickly and vice versa. To change the glide ratio, wingsuit pilots will alter their body position and bring their front downwards towards the Earth, causing the flight to be steeper and therefore descending faster.

Airspeed also plays a significant role in the rate of descent. If wingsuit pilots fly to increase their airspeed, their rate of descent will increase as they cover more distance. Obviously, the higher the rate of descent the lower the time of free fall will be.

Interestingly, with the right technique, wingsuit flyers can even experience a negative rate of descent for a few seconds, meaning they can go up instead of down. For more surprising facts about how wingsuit flyers can go up, be sure to check out my post.

The Exit Height And the Deployment Height Influence the Flying Time Of Wingsuit Pilots

The exit height and the deployment height are two critical factors that can have a significant impact on the free fall time during skydiving.

When wingsuiters jump from a higher exit height, they have more time in free fall before they reach their deployment height. This means that they can enjoy a longer period of exhilarating free fall, as well as potentially achieve higher speeds due to the increased time to accelerate.

However, the deployment height also plays a crucial role in determining the overall free fall time. If a skydiver deploys their parachute at a higher height, they will have less time in free fall before the parachute slows their descent. If they deploy at a lower height, they can enjoy a longer period of free fall before the parachute is deployed.

The Weather Plays a Critical Role For the Flying Time of Wingsuits

There are two conditions in which weather can significantly increase the flying time of wingsuit skydivers. First, ascending air increases the uplift for wingsuits, thereby reducing the rate of descent and increasing the free fall time. Second, strong wings from the front can also lead to more uplift for wingsuit pilots, which again will increase the free fall time.

Weather conditions can also affect the other factors that impact the flying time, such as jumping height, parachute deployment height, and body position, making it important to consider all factors before attempting a wingsuit flight.

Especially, the exit height can have to be reduced if the weather is very windy because wingsuit pilots could be drifted off their intended flight trajectory. Foggy weather can lead to poor visibility and therefore disorientation and increased risk of collisions, requiring pilots to increase the deployment height.

Determining Factors Affecting Wingsuit Flight Duration
Explanation of What Influences Wingsuit Flight Length

The Three Longest Wingsuit Flight Durations

Jhonathan Florez

Jhonathan Florez, a renowned wingsuit athlete and BASE jumper from Colombia, achieved the world record for the longest wingsuit flight in duration, lasting 9 minutes and 6 seconds, above La Guajira, Colombia in 2012. Florez also held records for the longest distance wingsuit flight of 26 km (which was broken later) and the highest altitude wingsuit jump of 11,358m, all achieved in the same jump.

Despite his impressive accomplishments, Florez passed away during a training session in Engelberg, Switzerland in 2015, while preparing for an upcoming championship in China. Sources report that he was training for a three-way wingsuit formation flight when his body was found at the base of the exit point, potentially due to a burble or interference with his suit during launch.

If you want to learn more about the most stunning wingsuit stunts that were ever performed, make sure to check out my blog post about it.

Kyle Lobpries

Marine Corps pilot, skydiver, and BASE jumper Kyle Lobpries set a new record for the greatest absolute distance flown in a wingsuit on May 30, 2016. Lobpries flew a distance of 19.9 miles (32.1 km) after jumping from the Cessna Caravan aircraft at a height of 36,215 ft (11,038 m) over Yolo County, California.

The flight, lasting 8 minutes and 27 seconds, was supported by a downwind of around 20 knots that helped maintain his horizontal glide ratio. Although he faced an icing issue with his mask due to the extremely low temperature, he managed to fix it by breaking the mask.

Two judges from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and Guinness Book Records validated Lobpries’ wingsuit flight.

If you are curious about long-distance jumps, check out my post about the typical distances covered during wingsuit flights. It also includes the most incredible long-distance wingsuit jumps.

Andy Stumpf

Former Navy SEAL, skydiver, BASE jumper, and public speaker Andy Stumpf broke the record for the greatest absolute distance flown in a wingsuit in 2015, covering a distance of 18.5 miles (29.8 km) before safely landing. His flight time was around 8 minutes. His world record was later beaten by Kyle.

The project was a partnership with Skull Candy, aiming to raise $1 million for the Navy SEAL Foundation in tribute to fallen Navy SEALs and their families and dedicated to the memory of the world record wingsuit pilot Jhohnathan Florez.

Despite jumping out of a modified Cessna Caravan at 36,500 ft and a temperature of minus 60 degrees, requiring him to wear oxygen support, Stumpf successfully flew at a horizontal speed of around 140 mph before deploying his parachute at 1,700 ft. Though he did not file his attempt, Stumpf achieved his goal of reaching the $1 million target for the GoFundMe campaign.

If you are interested in knowing more about the speed records in wingsuit flying, make sure to check my wingsuit speed guide which includes the fastest recorded jumps.

That being said, enjoy your free fall!

Photo Credits

Gsmcenter, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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 factors that play a role in determining how long a wingsuit flight can last.