wingsuit

The Red Bulletin Podcast: The Rise (and Rise) of the Wingsuit

Words: Andreas Tzortzis
Photography: Noah Bahnson/Red Bull Content Pool

From a tailor’s fatal jump from the Eiffel Tower to the death-cheating proximity flights along mountain landscapes, the wingsuit has come a long way. An appreciation (and education)

Through the miracles of our modern digital age, the first ever attempt at flying via wingsuit is on YouTube.

This isn’t something from the 1970s, or even the 1960s (there’s that, too)—but from 1912. It’s the grainy, black and white film footage documenting the moment Franco-Austrian inventor (and tailor) Franz Reichelt stepped to the edge of the viewing platform on the Eiffel Tower wearing a massive parachute-wing looking contraption and jumped.

It didn’t end well. But more than a century on, wingsuit flying is both a legitimate, regulated sport and industry. Previewing next week’s discussion with wingsuit flyer extraordinaire Jon DeVore, this week’s podcast focuses on the origin of the wingsuit and its transformation from a crappy imitation of something a superhero would wear to a piece of equipment that may one day enable someone to land without the aid of a parachute. 

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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