The American Wingsuit BASE Revolution | Advancements In Technology And Training Have Made A Huge Impact On The Sport

Matt Brennan | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article
American Wingsuit Base
A jumper exits in Castleton Valley, UT. Image: www.mattbaldelli.photoshelter.com

A short time ago, BASE jumpers had to travel to Europe if they wanted to huck themselves off a cliff in a wingsuit. Thanks to huge advances in technology, training and technique, the American Wingsuit BASE Revolution has begun.

New, legal exit points are being opened all over the western part of the U.S., many of them previously thought to be unjumpable, mostly because of the height of the cliffs. Early wingsuit flights required a vertical wall of at least 1000 feet…cliffs of this size do exist here in the States but most of them are located in national parks, where BASE jumping is still illegal (due to an archaic connection to a ban on air mail).

American Wingsuit Base
Early wingsuits had a small surface area like the one seen here. Image: Adventure Sports Journal

Cutting edge companies like Squirrel and Phoenix-Fly are making bigger suits that start much faster, allowing jumpers to utilize smaller cliffs. 

American Wingsuit Base
Newer wingsuit models have a much larger surface area. Image: wingsuitfly.com

“Now, you step off a cliff and you are flying instantly for minutes,” said Jason Moledzki, a Canadian wingsuit pilot. “At no point do you ever fall straight downwards, you’re immediately moving forward. When you nail it, you’re flying straight away, moving forward and with excellent control. No one dreamed that was possible 15 years ago.”

As you can see in the following video filmed in Utah, Hartman Rector and Pat Walker start flying forward soon after exit, with very little vertical distance traveled.

It’s a good thing too, as they’re seconds away from impact.

Talk about commitment!! 

Brandon Mikesell is a BASE jumper who’s been busy doing some truly impressive things in the Pacific Northwest. He’s quick to point out some other technological advances that are making a difference.

“…another factor has been lasering exits and using flysight (gps) data. Having precise numbers to correlate between what we are physically doing on each jump during certain conditions, and then being able to laser new cliffs to see where our numbers compare is so important.”

All the preparation is paying off for Brandon, those are some badass lines!

One final point to make, and maybe the most important of all, is that even with all the new gear and technology, wingsuit BASE jumping remains EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and takes YEARS of training to prepare for. We cannot stress this enough!

Moab, Utah is probably the most hot spot and we’ll leave you with Scotty Bob Morgan and Will Kitto ripping a spicy one in the desert.


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