The 13 Most Mind-Blowing Wingsuit Flights

A breathtaking view of a mountainous landscape, with snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and rocky terrains under a clear blue sky.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland Is Home to The Most Incredible Wingsuit Stunt

Prepare to be thrilled as we dive into the world of extreme sports, showcasing the 13 most incredible wingsuit jumps ever performed. From adrenaline-pumping leaps off towering cliffs to mesmerizing flights through narrow canyons, these daredevils have pushed the boundaries of human flight and defied gravity with their awe-inspiring stunts.

Join us as we soar through breathtaking landscapes, admire the unparalleled skill of these fearless athletes, and witness the raw power of Mother Nature, all while celebrating the spirit of adventure that unites us.

Here are the 13 most insane wingsuit stunts ever performed.

Using a Wingsuit To Fly Through a Two Meters Cave

The most extreme wingsuit stunt was performed by Uli Emanuele in 2015. He flew straight through a two-meter wide rock formation in the Swiss Alps called the needle’s eye. He trained for three years to perfect his approach and successfully passed through the rock formation in an insane flyby.

In fact, Emanuele performed the stunt four times in total in order to receive good video footage. By doing so, he was able to receive video material from different angles, which he used to create a stunning video. This video also brought him extreme fame and was clicked more than 7 million times.

Unfortunately, Emanuele died 12 months later at the age of 30 during another wingsuit BASE jump in Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland. The skydiving world was shocked afterward not only because Emanuele was a well-respected member of the community but also because he filmed his own death during a Facebook live video.

The Most Incredible Stunt Ever Performed

Watching the video above, you will recognize the beautiful landscape of the Swiss Alps. While you will find great jump locations across the Alps, there are even more beautiful places to jump from. I dedicated a whole article revealing the 15 best and most memorable wingsuit locations worldwide.

Defying Gravity To Fly Through Forests and Canyons

Graham Dickinson’s stunt was a proximity flight, a type of wingsuit flying that involves flying within meters of the ground or other obstacles. In the summer of 2015, Dickinson found a spot on the mountainside of Shamani in France and knew it was his next jump.

In an insane video filmed in part by wingsuit pilot Dario Zanon, you can see how close Dickinson gets to the rocks and trees before pulling the chute and landing safely.

This stunt impressed millions around the world, but tragically, Dickinson’s chase for greater thrills would end while attempting a jump through Heaven’s Gate in China in 2017. He wasn’t able to keep a high enough altitude and flew into the ground at extremely high speeds, dying at the age of 29.

Watching Dickinson defy gravity and glide through the forest might raise the question of whether it is possible to go up in a wingsuit. In an exciting article about this topic, I reveal the truth about going up in a wingsuit.

Flying Through Heavens Gate in China

In contrast to Dickinson, Jeb Corliss succeeded in flying through Heaven’s Gate, also known as the Tinamen Cave, in 2013. He described the jump as the most challenging he has ever done and explained that he had to work hard to achieve it.

As of now, Corliss is still alive and performing incredible jumps. He knows that the sport will eventually kill him but his love for flying is greater than the fear of death.

Flying Through Heavens Gate

If you are interested in trying out wingsuit flying without the need to make several licenses beforehand, I have a solution for you. Recently, the first tandem wingsuit flights were launched. In my ultimate guide to tandem wingsuit flying, I provide you with all the information that you need to know.

“My time on this world is limited, but the things I can do in that time are not.

Jeb Corliss

Landing a Wingsuit Without a Parachute

Normally, wingsuit flyers wear parachutes in order to land safely on the ground. In 2012, Gary Connery, however, performed a remarkable stunt by making the first-ever wingsuit skydive without a parachute and landing safely on the ground. The landing area was made up of 18,600 cardboard boxes.

The stunt of Connery, who also worked as a stuntman for movies such as James Bond and Batman, is different from another famous landing without a parachute. You might have heard of Luke Aikins’ who performed the world’s first skydive without a parachute into a net in 2016.

The stunts are different because Connery used a wingsuit and not a traditional skydiving suit. He also landed in boxes and not in a safety net. Nonetheless, both stunts are impressive.

Landing Without a Parachute

If you want to dive deeper into the differences between wingsuit flying and skydiving, I have written a whole guide covering all the surprising differences.

Landing a Wingsuit in Water

In October 2013, a video was posted of Raphael Dumont attempting to become the first person to perform a wingsuit water landing without a parachute. The video showed him jumping from a mountain, gliding around the edge, and landing in Lake Garda, Italy.

The video became an instant internet sensation, but there were doubts about its authenticity. In 2015, it was revealed that the video was a fake, produced by The Others Beauty Co. to promote their product, “Wingman 3 in 1 Jet Wash Multi Gel.”

Because it was such a well-made video, I included it in this article. The question arises of how long we will have to wait until someone succeeds in landing a wingsuit into water. In a recent article, I go through the physics of wingsuit flying and explain what conditions would need to be met in order to land safely in water.

Landing Into Water

Equipping a Wingsuit With Jet-Propulsion

The Jet-Powered Wingsuit Project, led by Jarno Cordia, has successfully created and tested a revolutionary wingsuit equipped with a jet propulsion system. After conducting initial flight tests and a parachute deployment test, Cordia ascended to a height of 5,000 ft via hot air balloon and made two powered flights, the longest lasting for 2 minutes and 48 seconds and covering a distance of 2.9 miles.

The team is currently working on a more advanced design with wing-shaped fuel tanks and engines. Cordia and his team are pushing the boundaries of human flight and paving the way for new possibilities.

I am curious to see what other developments will be made, considering that the wingsuit itself is already a highly specialized suit. If you are interested in learning more about wingsuits, check out my post about the materials used to manufacture wingsuits. Reading this you will be stunned by how far material science has gotten.

Is That Still Wingsuit Flying?

Setting the World Record For The Highest Wingsuit Jump

On November 11, 2015, James Petrolia accomplished an extraordinary feat by breaking the world record for the highest altitude wingsuit jump at 11,407.44 m (37,426 ft) above Davis, California.

Petrolia’s jump was for a good cause, as he aimed to raise funds and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and he exceeded his goal by raising 20% more than the targeted amount.

The confirmation of Petrolia’s achievement by Guinness in March 2017 was a delightful surprise for him, as he did not intend to break the world record, but it was a happy outcome nonetheless.

Petrolia’s successful jump required him to wear an oxygen mask and specialized equipment to combat the severe cold caused by the low oxygen levels at such high altitudes. It’s worth noting that people need to wear oxygen masks when they’re above 15,000 ft to receive the necessary oxygen to breathe.

Even though Petrolia jumped from an extreme height, he did not break the world record for the longest wingsuit flight duration. Instead, he only flew for about 2 minutes. If you want to learn more about the world record and the usual flying time of wingsuits, check out my other article. It will literally take your breath away.

Wingsuit Flying Cost Guide
Overview of the Expense Associated with Wingsuit Flying per Country

Giving a High Five During a Stunning Proximity Flight

Before we dive into the stunt, let us first answer the following question: What is proximity flying?

Proximity flying is a specialized form of skydiving in which the athlete, equipped with a wingsuit, navigates through the air in close proximity to various terrain features, such as cliffs, mountainsides, or man-made structures. Flying close to these structures provides better anchor points to comprehend the speed.

Proximity flying combines elements of wingsuit flying and BASE jumping, demanding exceptional skill, precision, and situational awareness from the participant to avoid collisions and successfully maneuver through the challenging environment.

The stunt below is even more exciting because the wingsuit pilot needs to fly through the hand, which normally would destabilize the wingsuit pilot.

Giving a High Five During a Stunning Proximity Flight

Landing a Wingsuit in a Moving Aircraft

Two wingsuit flyers, Fred Fugen, and Vince Reffet, known as the Soul Flyers, made a daring stunt that defies belief, common sense, and rudimentary science. They jumped off Jungfrau mountain in the Swiss Alps with the aim of flying into the open rear door of a Pilatus Porter light aircraft while it was in mid-air.

The stunt was a homage to BASE jumper Patrick de Gayardon, who jumped out of a plane and then flew back into it in 1997.

After two months of training and multiple tries, the Flyers succeeded five times in training. However, the real thing was far from being sure, as something could have gone wrong at any point. The Flyers wore cameras to provide a madman’s view of the proceedings.

Tragically, Reffet passed away in a training accident in Dubai in 2017 at the age of 36, despite having completed 17,000 parachute jumps and 1400 BASE jumps. This serves as a stark reminder that accidents can occur not only during professional stunts but also during training.

To minimize such risks, one option is to practice wingsuit flying in a wind tunnel. For those interested in learning more about this alternative approach, there is a comprehensive guide to indoor wingsuit flying available, covering everything one needs to know.

A Stunt Only Known From Movies

Riding Rodeo On a Wingsuit Pilot

Rodeo wingsuit flying is a wingsuit stunt in which a second person sits on top of the wingsuit flyer and holds onto the wingsuit wearer’s rig. The person on top can make movements resembling being the rider of a horse, but it’s important to remain calm and allow the wingsuiter to control the flight.

The rider should try to keep their movements gradual and avoid changing or affecting the wingsuit wearer’s movements. It’s also important for the rider to be aware of their surroundings and the altitude, and to have a plan for breaking off at a predetermined altitude.

Well, that looks amazing and raises the question of whether there is a weight limit for wingsuit flyers. Check out the link and be surprised by the reasons for it.

Riding a Wingsuit Flyer Like a Horse

Performing XRW Maneuvers With a Second Skydiver

XRW stands for “Extreme Relative Work” and it is a discipline in skydiving that involves a wingsuit flyer and a canopy pilot flying together in close proximity, performing various formations and maneuvers. The discipline requires a lot of skill and practice to execute safely, and it has become a popular activity for skydivers.

To ensure safety, it is important to understand and learn to fly the fundamentals first before diving into advanced techniques. This includes understanding the gear needed, such as the canopy, wing loading, and wingsuit characteristics, as well as the ground rules for where to fly and where not to fly.

Additionally, a pattern for approaching and breaking off from the formation should be established, and tips for the wingsuit pilot and canopy pilot on how to execute a successful dock are given. By following these guidelines, skydivers can safely enjoy the thrill of XRW.

Create More Uplift By Being Supported By a Second Glider

Blocking the Sun With a Giant Diamond Formation

A group of 61 wingsuit skydivers from 12 countries set a new world record for the largest diamond formation in the sky over California. They leaped from three separate aircraft at 13,500 feet, created the formation, and then broke apart at 5,500 feet. The previous record was held by 42 flyers.

Wingsuit formation jumps are dangerous due to the high speed and close proximity at which the skydivers are flying. The risks involved include collisions between flyers or with other objects, difficulty maintaining formation due to varying wind conditions, and the risk of instability or loss of control during the flight.

The high speeds involved can also make it difficult to make quick adjustments or corrections, increasing the risk of accidents. In case you wondered how the wingsuit flyers are able to conduct such maneuvers, I have you covered.

My ultimate wingsuit guide covers everything that you ever wanted to know about the sport including techniques, gear essentials, and safety tips.

Darkening the Sky With A Giant Wingsuit Formation

Flying Into An Active Vulcano

In 2021, Sebastián ‘Ardilla’ Álvarez, a wingsuit flyer, flew into and out of the crater of Villarrica, the most active volcano in Chile, in a daring wingsuit flight. The goal of the project was to show off the beauty of Chile and to push the limits of the flare maneuver.

The flight took three minutes and you will see Alvarez going up at the end of the flight. He could accomplish that by using the uplift of the thermal air, coming out of the volcano.

If you also want to perform such cool maneuvers, you can start wingsuit flying. And if you want to learn it, and save some money, check out my guide about the true costs of wingsuit flying.

That being said, enjoy your free fall!

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 financial aspects of engaging in wingsuit flying including the prices for the necessary gear and equipment, for learning wingsuit flying and jumping regularly in the US, Canada, New Zealand, UK and Australia.