After hopping from a helicopter hovering at 6,000 feet, American daredevil Jeb Corliss flew through a 96-foot wide gap in a Chinese mountain before sailing back to earth by parachute.
The 35-year old professional wingsuit flyer sailed at speeds of more than 120 km/h through Tianmen hole in Hunan province becoming the first to pull off a wingsuit jump in China (excluding Hong Kong), catching headlines around the world and astounding his onlookers.
Wingsuits are full body outfits allowing base jumpers to glide fall to earth using webbed membranes connecting legs together and arms to torso, thus increasing the body’s surface area and creating lift against gravity’s embrace.
Following the flight, the birdman Corliss told England’s the Telegraph, “That was one of the greatest wingsuit flights of my entire life. Thank you China, that was amazing.”
The sport is relatively new, the technology to create safe wingsuits being a little more than a decade old starting with the pioneer Patric de Grayardon’s first viable civilian design in 1997.
Shinichi Ito of Japan set the world record for longest wingsuit flight, covering 23.1 km with a flight time of 5 minutes, 22 seconds jumping from an altitude of 32,000 ft. He reached speeds of 363km/h.