Exploring How Wingsuit Flying Works: A Complete Insight | FlightNotch

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Key Takeaways

  • Wingsuits are specially designed suits that increase your surface area.
  • By controlling your body and shifting your weight, you can fly through the air.
  • Once you get it down, wingsuit flying is one of the most exciting sports in the world.

If you’ve ever wanted to soar through the air at high speeds, wingsuit flying is perfect for you. Learn how wingsuit flying works in this comprehensive guide.

Wingsuit flying works by increasing your surface area thanks to a specially designed suit that puts webbing between your legs, arms, and body. With this suit, you’re able to soar through the air at high speeds, both vertically and horizontally, until you deploy your parachute to land.

FlightNotch was created to teach as many people as possible about the excitement and wonder of air sports. We’re enthusiasts just like you who love nothing more than taking to the skies. Before getting into a sport like wingsuit flying, it’s important that you understand how it works. That’s why we’ve created this guide, which combines our personal experience with extensive research to help you fully understand this exciting sport.

Table of contents


Wingsuit Design Plays a Key Role

Wingsuit flying involves the use of a specially designed jumpsuit that allows you to glide gracefully through the air as you skydive. In this section, we will focus on the design aspects of wingsuits, particularly the materials used in their construction.

What Are Wingsuits Made From?

When it comes to wingsuit design, the choice of materials is crucial for both performance and durability. Most wingsuits are made of a combination of lightweight, durable, and flexible fabrics, most often nylon. These materials enable your body to benefit from the increased surface area provided by the suit while maintaining a comfortable range of motion during flight.

The primary component of a wingsuit is the webbing, which helps create the additional surface area needed for the suit to function effectively. This webbing typically connects your arms to your torso and your legs to each other, forming wings that provide lift and allow you to glide through the air.

Various types of wingsuits exist, including birdman suits and squirrel suits, each with its unique design features, characteristics, and fabric wings. Some of these designs incorporate additional surface areas, such as a tail for increased stability and control during flight.

A good design should strike the right balance between providing enough surface area for efficient gliding, being comfortable and practical for you to wear and maneuver, and being string enough to provide a rigid structure that can stand up to the forces exerted.

Remember, your skill and experience as a wingsuit pilot will also play a significant role in determining the best design for your needs and preferences. The choice of materials and design features should suit your needs, preferences, and skill level, ensuring a comfortable and efficient flight experience.

How Wingsuit Flying Works

Now that you have a better understanding of wingsuit manufacturers design them to carry pilots through the air, let’s get into what you’re really here for. How does wingsuit flying work?

The Science Behind Wingsuit Flying

Wingsuit flying is an extreme sport where you wear a specially designed suit called a wingsuit, which has webbed surfaces between the arms, legs, and body that increase surface area and help you glide.

The underlying physics of wingsuit flying is all about balancing the forces of lift and gravity. As you wingsuit jump from a high altitude, gravity pulls you downwards, while the increased surface area of the wingsuit generates an upward force thanks to lift.

The lift force is created as air passes over the wingsuit and creates a pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces, much like an airplane wing. This lift allows wingsuit flyers to achieve extended air time and glide, rather than just free falling. The goal is to maintain a balance between your speed, lift, and weight to achieve optimal performance.

Just like any other type of flight, wingsuit diving also involves thrust and drag, which combine with lift and gravity to be the four major forces of flight. When you’re wingsuit skydiving, the thrust comes from your natural forward momentum, and the drag is the air resistance you’re facing due to your vertical and horizontal movement.

Since you don’t have an engine or anything producing any more thrust, you can’t really control that, it mostly comes from the force exerted by whatever forward momentum you had when you jumped. That said, wingsuit flyers have to be familiar with these four forces to truly understand how to wingsuit fly.

Maneuverability and Control

Mastering control in wingsuit flying is essential, and it's all about using your body movements to influence the airflow around the suit and control the wingsuit aerodynamics. To change your direction, you'll need to move your limbs slightly and adjust the shape of the wingsuit.

For example, to move horizontally, shift your weight to one side to generate more lift on the opposite side. This allows you to control your directional movement in the air. Small shifts in your body angle or weight have drastic effects on where you go.

Controlling your speed also relies on adjusting your body position. To increase your speed, you can angle your body downwards while arching your back, and extending your arms and legs will help reduce your speed.

Keep in mind that increased speed can generate more lift, but it's important to maintain a balance between speed and lift to avoid stalling or dangerous situations.

Remember, wingsuit flying is not just about the suit itself, but also about understanding the science behind it and mastering the techniques for maneuverability and control. It's a thrilling and challenging sport that brings you closer to the dream of human flight, but it's also vital to prioritize safety and work within your limitations.

Experienced wingsuit pilots can fly through the air at high speeds while performing acrobatic maneuvers, but don’t try anything like this on your first wingsuit flight!

Preparation and Training

To become a wingsuit flyer, you need to have significant skydiving experience. It's recommended that you complete at least 200 skydives before attempting wingsuit flying, as it is one of the most dangerous (yet exciting!) air sports.

This helps you develop essential skills like determination, movement control, and transitioning between free-falling and gliding phases. Additionally, acquiring proper training from experienced instructors is vital to ensure you're well-prepared for this thrilling activity.

How Do You Take Off in a Wingsuit?

There are two main ways to take off: you’ll most likely either wingsuit skydive from an aircraft or go wingsuit base jumping from a fixed structure like a cliff or bridge. The take-off itself is one of the most exciting parts about wingsuit flying, especially if you’re a base jumper, since wingsuit base jumping just adds a whole extra layer of excitement to the sport!

When wingsuit skydiving, you'll exit the airplane with your wingsuit already on, similar to a normal parachute jump from a plane. As you fall, spread your arms and legs like a flying squirrel to create the wingsuit's gliding surface.

Any modern wingsuit uses webbed wing surfaces to increase your surface area, allowing you to generate lift and reduce drag. This lift and horizontal speed enable you to glide rather than just free fall.

Even if you’re an experienced skydiver, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to trade in the parachute for a wingsuit and go for glory. A typical skydiver likely won’t ever go wingsuit flying in their lives, as it’s one of those things that’s reserved for those searching for the most adrenaline possible.

With all that in mind, how are you supposed to land?

How Do You Land in a Wingsuit?

While soaring through the sky like a bird, it's essential to keep in mind the landing process. You'll need a parachute to land safely, as wingsuits aren't designed for direct ground landings. To steer during your flight, use subtle body movements to control your direction. Proximity flying can be thrilling, but it requires extreme precision and expert flying skills.

As you approach your landing area, it's crucial to transition smoothly from wingsuit flying to deploying your pilot parachute. To do this, decrease your horizontal speed by arching your back and lifting your legs, bringing your body into a more vertical position.

Once you've slowed down sufficiently, deploy your parachute for a controlled and safe landing, following all normal skydiving disciplines and standards. Remember, practice makes perfect – the more you fly, the better you'll become at mastering these complex techniques.

Learning to Fly in a Wingsuit

Wingsuit flying is an exhilarating sport that allows you to experience the sensation of human flight. If you're interested in learning how to fly in a wingsuit, you'll need to follow a series of steps and meet certain requirements.

Below, you'll find a brief overview of the process and tips to help you succeed in this thrilling pursuit.

Flying with a Mentor

Before you can begin wingsuit flying, you must first learn to skydive. Acquiring skills in skydiving is crucial, as it teaches you the basics of freefall, parachute deployment, and overall stability in the air. Enroll in a skydiving First Jump Course and work your way towards earning your solo skydiving license.

As you gain experience in skydiving, consider finding a mentor to guide you through the process of learning to fly in a wingsuit. A seasoned wingsuit pilot can offer valuable insights, tips, and techniques for mastering the art of wingsuit flying. They can also help you with the following:

Choosing the right equipment

Your mentor can recommend suitable wingsuit models based on your flying skills, body type, and experience level. They can also help you select the appropriate parachute system.

Developing Flight Maneuvers

With the assistance of your mentor, learn how to execute controlled turns, barrel rolls, and transitions between vertical and horizontal flight as well as other essential movements.

Building a Solid Foundation

Your mentor can help you establish good habits, improve your stability, and gain confidence in your wingsuit flying abilities.

Remember, practicing with a mentor can significantly improve your chances of success and safety in this high-risk sport. So, put in the hours, listen to their advice, and enjoy the amazing world of wingsuit flying, knowing that you're well-prepared and supported along the way.

The Adventure of Wingsuit Flying

Wingsuit flying is one of the world's most thrilling extreme sports, offering an adventure like no other! The exhilaration of gliding through the sky in human flight – at high speed, no less – is an experience both adrenaline-inducing and life-changing.

Your wingsuit flying journey begins with a base jump, either from tall structures, cliffs, or other elevated locations best suited for this daring endeavor. It's essential to master base jumping before attempting wingsuit flights, as the skills you gain will be directly transferable and useful in ensuring your safe, successful flight.

In this extreme adventure, you'll be donning a specially designed webbed suit that increases your body's surface area, creating the lift you need to glide through the air with unparalleled grace. As you plunge into the sky, you'll discover just how remarkable it feels to soar through the atmosphere, momentarily leaving behind the constraints of earthbound life.

Remember that this thrilling sport demands attention to detail—meticulous planning and substantial knowledge of the terrain are key to a successful and safe wingsuit flight. It's crucial to train with seasoned specialists when learning to wingsuit fly and to take your time honing your skills before engaging in more advanced techniques.

Things like proximity flying, where you glide close to trees, cliffs, and other objects are very dangerous and must be learned through practice and experience. This particularly daring aspect of wingsuit flying requires exceptional navigational abilities and an unwavering nerve. In other words, these techniques are not for beginner wingsuit pilots!

Remember, wingsuit flying is all about putting your daring spirit to the test in a unique way while embracing the challenges that come with it. As you take to the skies and embark on this intense adventure, you'll be joining the ranks of those who have conquered a truly awe-inspiring sport!

Safety in Wingsuit Flying

Wingsuit flying is an exhilarating extreme sport where you glide through the air using a specially designed jumpsuit with fabric between the legs and under the arms. Although it can be dangerous, with proper training, risk assessment, and the use of parachutes, you can safely enjoy this adrenaline-pumping activity.

Firstly, it's important to acknowledge that wingsuit flying does have its risks. In fact, it is considered one of the most dangerous extreme sports. However, don't let this deter you if you have your heart set on trying it. By taking the necessary precautions and being aware of safety measures, you can minimize these risks and enjoy wingsuit flying.

One of the most crucial safety aspects of wingsuit flying is using a parachute. While you'll be able to glide through the air like a bird in your wingsuit, you'll need a parachute to safely land on the ground. When it's time to land, you must deploy your parachute and float gently back to earth, as you won't be able to reduce your speed enough for a safe landing without it.

It's essential to have adequate training before attempting wingsuit flying. Many dropzones and coaches require at least 200 skydives before allowing you to put on a wingsuit. This ensures that you have the necessary experience and know-how to handle the demands of wingsuit flying.

Risk assessment is another vital component of wingsuit flying safety. You should always be aware of your surroundings, weather conditions, and any potential hazards that could affect your wingsuit flight. Additionally, it's essential to carefully plan your flight path and landing zone to ensure you have ample space to maneuver and land safely.

In conclusion, by respecting the dangers and proactively following safety guidelines, wingsuit flying can be an incredible experience. Remember to receive proper training, use parachutes, and maintain rigorous risk assessment to ensure your journey through the sky is a thrilling yet secure adventure.

The Wonders of Wingsuit Flying

In your journey to understand wingsuit flying, you've explored its history, design, and the thrilling experience it offers. By now, you should have a clear picture of what wingsuit flying entails and the essential components that make it possible.

As you've learned, innovative advancements in wingsuit design have made it possible for skydivers to experience longer and safer flights. The development of more sophisticated models continues to push the limits of what can be achieved in this exciting and daring sport.

To sum it up, wingsuit flying is truly an awe-inspiring experience that combines human skill, innovation, and courage. Equipped with a better understanding of how it all works, you can now appreciate the sheer thrill and excitement that comes with soaring through the skies like a bird.

The people most suited for this sport are enthusiasts like base jumpers, who are already used to jumping from aircraft or other launch points at lower altitudes with nothing but a parachute (and a reserve chute). These lower altitudes provide shorter freefall time in normal base jumping, but that’s where wingsuits come in to get your soaring through the air for much longer!

So there you have it, that’s everything you need to know about how wingsuits work. Whether you're planning to take the plunge yourself or simply admire it from a distance, you can fully appreciate the wonders of wingsuit flying.