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- How far a wingsuit can fly depends mostly on the glide ratio of the suit and how much of an altitude decrease there is during the flight.
- During standard skydiving wingsuit jumps, you can usually fly anywhere from 4 to 6 miles horizontally.
- Most wingsuit flights last 2 to 3 minutes from the time you jump out of the aircraft until you deploy the parachute.
- Typical modern wingsuits can usually reach speeds of around 100 mph.
Wingsuits are some of the most amazing pieces of equipment in the world. In this guide, learn everything you can about how far you can fly in a wingsuit.
With a glide ratio of 2.5: to 3.0:1 and an altitude decrease of 10,000 feet during a dive, a wingsuit can fly around 25,000 to 30,000 feet horizontally, or roughly 5 miles. At normal wingsuit diving speeds, this will lead to an in-flight time of roughly 2 to 3 minutes before pulling the parachute.
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What is Wingsuit Flying?
Before we dive into how far a wingsuit can fly, let's quickly discuss what wingsuit flying actually is. Wingsuit flying involves wearing a specialized suit that has fabric under the arms and between the legs to create a larger surface area and lift while falling. This allows the person to glide through the air at high speeds before parachuting to the ground.
The easiest way to think about wingsuit flying is to picture a flying squirrel and how it spreads its arms and legs out to glide through the air. This is essentially what wingsuit flying looks like, except with an actual suit designed for flight rather than just relying on our own limbs. So if you're interested in being a human flying squirrel, then this just might be the perfect sport for you!
What is a Wingsuit and How Does it Work?
A wingsuit is a specialized suit worn by wingsuit flyers. These suits are made from a sturdy ripstop nylon fabric with additional fabric sewn under the arms and between the legs to create a larger surface area. This extra fabric allows the wingsuit flyer to glide through the air, allowing them to cover greater distances before deploying its parachute.
But how does it actually work? As a wingsuit flyer jumps from an aircraft (or a platform/cliff like a BASE jumper), they spread their arms and legs out in a "flying squirrel" position to catch air under the fabric and create lift. The flyer can then manipulate their body position to steer and fly through the air before pulling their parachute cord and safely landing on the ground.
How Far Can a Wingsuit Fly?
So, now let's answer the main question: just how far can a wingsuit fly? The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, but at the end of the day, it really just becomes a relatively straightforward math problem. While there will be a few things that have an affect on how far you can fly (like weather, air conditions, flying technique, experience, and more), it really just comes down to the glide ratio of the wingsuit, the altitude from which you jump, and the height at which you deploy your parachute.
Let's start with the glide ratio of the suit. If you're not sure what glide ratio is, check out our full guide on the topic here. In short, it just means how far horizontal you will go for each equivalent unit of vertical height decreased. In other words, how many feet you fly forward for every foot that you drop in height. For most wingsuits, the glide ratio is about 2.5-3.0:1. This means that you can typically fly about 2.5 - 3.0 feet forward for every one foot you drop in altitude.
The other factor that then drastically affects how far you fly is the altitude you jump from. If you're diving from an aircraft, which is much safer than BASE jumping, you'll typically jump at an altitude of around 14,000 feet or so. If you then end up deploying your parachute at around 4,000 feet, that means you experience a vertical decrease in altitude of 10,000 feet. With a 2.5:1 glide ratio, you would fly roughly 25,000 feet, which is just under 5 miles. Pretty crazy, right?
As you can see, it's fairly easy to get an idea of how far a wingsuit diver can fly during a given jump based on just the glide ratio of the wingsuit and the jump altitude. This will of course be affected by winds (in either direction), the experience of the pilot, what the pilot is trying to get out of the flight, and more. But that's a quick and easy way to determine about how far you can fly while wingsuit diving.
How Fast do Wingsuits Fly?
Now that we've covered distance, let's talk about speed. Wingsuits can fly quite fast, with some reaching speeds of over 200 mph! However, a wingsuit flyer's speed is not only affected by the wingsuit itself, but also by factors such as wind conditions, body position, and experience level.
But why do wingsuit flyers want to fly fast? Speed allows for greater distance in flight (in some cases) and can also create unique opportunities for stunts and tricks. But for the sake of this article, let's focus on how the speed is related to the distance of the flight and how both of these factors contribute to the total time you can fly while wingsuit flying.
As we alluded to above, there are many factors that will affect how fast you can go while wingsuit flying. But in general, most wingsuits with a glide ratio of 3:1 can reach total speeds of around 100 mph, with the horizontal component of that velocity equal to roughly 94.6 mph. Knowing how fast and how far wingsuits can fly enable us to quickly calculate one more thing: how long you can stay in the air while wingsuit flying.
How Long do Wingsuit Flights Last?
I know there's a lot of math in this article, but it's all super simple arithmetic that will help you quickly find some of the vital information about your next wingsuit flight. Now that you know how far wingsuits fly and roughly how fast, we can do one final equation to find out how long you'll be soaring through the skies as you fly.
If you fly ~5 miles horizontally at a velocity of roughly 95 mph horizontally -- the two values found above -- you'll be flying for about 3 minutes and 9 seconds. When you think about it, that's actually a really long time to be flying through the air at those speeds! This will be greatly affected by your body position, how fast you're flying, and the altitude you decrease while wingsuit flying, but that gives you an idea!
Insane Facts and Figures About Wingsuit Flying
Now that we've gone through all the boring math and you know all about how far, how fast, and how long wingsuits can fly, let's look at some of the coolest facts and figures about wingsuit flying.
- Kyle Lobfries holds the record for the furthest wingsuit flight of 19.94 miles in the horizontal distance back in 2016.
- Fraser Corson reached a maximum speed of 246.6 mph while wingsuit flying in 2017.
- In 2012, Gary Connery's wingsuit dove from a helicopter at 2,400 feet in the air and landed without a parachute on a landing strip of cardboard boxes.
- Jhonathan Florez currently holds the record for the longest wingsuit flight of all time with 9 minutes and 6 seconds.
- The record for the highest altitude wingsuit dive is held by James Petrlia, who jumped from 37,425 feet in 2015.