Fri, May 25, 2012
An English Stuntman Flew A Wing Suit To A Perfect Landing
An English stuntman made history on Wednesday by making the first airborne landing without a parachute. Gary Connery jumped from a helicopter 2,400ft above Henley-on-Thames in southern England and glided down to a soft landing on a "runway" composed of 18,000 cardboard boxes wearing only a wing suit (simalar suits pictured) to break his fall.
Connery told Sky News afterwards "It was so comfortable, so soft. My calculations obviously worked out and I'm glad they did."
The Independent reports that in preparation for the jump, he trained for weeks in Switzerland and Italy, jumping from cliffs and mountains to perfect the optimum glide angle. Connery studied the flight characteristics of kite birds, and how they control direction with their tails. Leaving the helicopter, Connery said he "got a really nice exit. I started to fly very, very stable very quickly but there must have been some turbulence. I was experiencing a lot of bouncing in that flight that I hadn't experienced before, so it was a little weird. But these suits are amazing. There is so much stability in them."
Connery made his first parachute jump at 23 after joining the Army, and went on to become a professional stuntman, completing 880 skydives and 450 base jumps. His professional resume is impressive, which includes acting as a stunt-double for Gary Oldman, John Hurt and Rowan Atkinson and appeared in films such as "The Beach," "Die Another Day" and "Batman Begins." He also leaped from the Eiffel Tower, Nelson's Column, Tower Bridge and the London Eye.
The modern wing suit was invented in 1997 by French skydiver Patrick De Gayardon. It's unique design allowed "pilots" to barrel-roll, swoop and fly in formation. (File image)
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