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Wingsuit base myths
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Heat

Feb 21, 2014, 6:33 AM
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Wingsuit base myths Can't Post

Great article

http://www.skydivemag.com/article/c2t5ZGl2ZW1hZyMwI0ItYm1KaFIwVGt5Zml0a3gwMXlsOGc/show

cloudtramp

Feb 21, 2014, 7:56 AM
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Re: [Heat] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

(Regarding the opening paragraph about the invention of Proxy-flying) Semantics I know, but I remember Andy West coming back from Switzerland during the summer of '99 (maybe 2000) talking about how he and Dave Barlia were jumping from heli's inside a canyon and matching the slope of the terrain almost touching treetops while flying out into open air. That would precede Loic's famous flight by at least three years.

What impresses me the most is that he and Dave are still uninjured, alive, and active in the sport.

hjumper33
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Feb 21, 2014, 8:08 AM
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Re: [cloudtramp] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

Yah, ive heard Barlia talking about the same, and that probably means that other people were doing it and just not filming or saying anything. I think theres even a super old video piece with him talking about flying terrain. I think Loics snow flight is probably one of the first videos that was widely circulated and brought it to people attention, similar to the seven sunny days clip.

Super well written article I agree, and its really hard to argue with a lot of the safety advice in there too, especially for people just beginning.

BASEMenace2

Feb 21, 2014, 8:58 AM
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Re: [Heat] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

IMO the most no bullshit advice I've read about the realities of terrain/proximity flying. A must read for anyone dreaming about it.

unclecharlie95

Feb 21, 2014, 9:36 AM
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Re: [cloudtramp] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

Inventor of the ram air wing suit and also 1st person to fly close to the terrain was Patrick DeGayardon.

StealthyB

Feb 21, 2014, 9:43 AM
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Re: [BASEMenace2] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

BASEMenace2 wrote:
IMO the most no bullshit advice I've read about the realities of terrain/proximity flying. A must read for anyone dreaming about it.

Absolutely!

Thank you again Matt Gerdes for getting to the point and providing all of us with your insights and expertise. I would like to add that Matt's book " The Great Book of BASE " has the most valuable information about progressing into WSBASE and also excellent advice on the best locations available to learn. Almost four years after it's publication nothing has changed regarding the information it provides to aspiring BASE wingsuiters, the only thing that has changed is the level to which cutting edge pilots have taken the sport.

robinheid

Feb 21, 2014, 11:35 AM
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Re: [StealthyB] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

StealthyB wrote:
BASEMenace2 wrote:
IMO the most no bullshit advice I've read about the realities of terrain/proximity flying. A must read for anyone dreaming about it.

Absolutely!

Thank you again Matt Gerdes for getting to the point and providing all of us with your insights and expertise. I would like to add that Matt's book " The Great Book of BASE " has the most valuable information about progressing into WSBASE and also excellent advice on the best locations available to learn. Almost four years after it's publication nothing has changed regarding the information it provides to aspiring BASE wingsuiters, the only thing that has changed is the level to which cutting edge pilots have taken the sport.

Concur. Great stuff, yes, but the proxy flying first myth leaves out the ONE way flying next to something is in fact infinitely safer than flying over something: when the wall is convex or has a positive bulge.

The reason is simple -- it's a horizontal version of Matt's "rubber band analogy."

When you are flying close to a positive bulge, you have to deviate from straight flight, you must actively turn to stay close to it. If you want to get away, all you have to do is revert to the simplest, safest move of all -- stop turning and fly straight.

You will instantly gain separation with no sliding, no altitude loss, no lag time. In fact, per Matt, you will probably reduce your rate of descent at that moment because you are converting the lift-losing turn into lift-generating straight flight.

If on the other hand you fly next to a flat cliff or (especially) a concave cliff, you have to turn to get away and then all the black death factors Matt mentioned come into play, and those factors are exactly why several wingsuiters are no longer above room temperature.

To use another analogy, the convex v. flat/concave wall thing is analogous to using front risers v. toggles to swoop your canopy. If you get low on front risers, you let up and instantly "gain altitude" just like Matt's rubber band theory.

If you use toggles, when you let up, you will have the equivalent to the sliding and loss of altitude Matt talks about.

It's really just basic physics and basic aerodynamics and if you're going to be dodging the Reaper down in the weeds, you better at least know those basics (plus some basic micrometeorology, which can cancel out all of this so ignore it at your peril).

Bottom line: Kudos to Matt for a great piece, but he could make it better by fixing his first myth to reflect reality , not just a blanket statement that does not apply in all such circumstances.

And FYI, I learned this from an old Euro wingsuiter named Robert and wrote a story about it for Skydiving Magazine about... six years ago. It is interesting, by the way, to see how much the tune has changed since then and how much the song remains the same.

Cool
44


(This post was edited by robinheid on Feb 21, 2014, 11:40 AM)
Attachments: proxy next-to -- SAFE.jpg (20.8 KB)
  proxy next-to -- DANGEROUS.jpg (24.4 KB)
  proxy next-to -- BRAIN DEAD.jpg (25.1 KB)
  Proximity 319-2.pdf (162 KB)

Heat

Feb 22, 2014, 8:29 AM
Post #8 of 16 (14935 views)
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Re: [StealthyB] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

I think "The Great Book of BASE" version 2.0, with a lot more on ws flying, is due out soon. More info on the advanced technical stuff regarding big suits, short starts etc. Should be good stuff!

stinkydragon

Feb 22, 2014, 10:52 AM
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Re: [Heat] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm hoping for more male nudity as well.

StealthyB

Feb 22, 2014, 9:17 PM
Post #10 of 16 (14722 views)
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Re: [Heat] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

Heat wrote:
I think "The Great Book of BASE" version 2.0, with a lot more on ws flying, is due out soon. More info on the advanced technical stuff regarding big suits, short starts etc. Should be good stuff!

Yes, looking forward to it. TGBOB is the bible on the sport at the moment, and anyone, regardless of their skydiving and BASE experience, who has never done a WS BASE jump but plans to do one, ( I'm surprised at how many people I meet that fall into that category ) should read and reread the appropriate sections of that book. The advice regarding suit progression and choosing optimal first jump locations, is absolutely on the money in my opinion.

And some advice to those who are just getting into the sport, check out the BFL and learn from those who have been dying to show you how not to do it,
Regards,B.

Mikki_ZH

Feb 26, 2014, 4:49 AM
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Re: [Heat] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the article has some valid points (Myth 4 and 5) but I think some of the statements are very wrong.

Myth 1: Flying close to the ground is much more dangerous than flying next to a wall. Annd it is very simple to explain why in my opinion. Flying to the ground has a factor (gravitation) which does only play a minimal role for flying next to a wall. And as we all know, gravitation is the biggest killer in Skydiving and BASE jumping…

Myth 2: Of course, there is always a margin, but the margin for flying close to an object (above or next to it) is very small. Things happen to a very high speed in that environment and many times, it happens to fast to react to it. Let us say you fly ultra close to the ground and something with your suit goes wrong you are fucked. Or if you get a cramp in your legs or arms (happened to me) you are also fucked.

Myth 3: Most expert Skydiving Wingsuit pilots know how to handle the suits much, much better than Wingsuit pilots who only BASE jump. I agree that it is not the same flying next to someone in a flock than flying next to a wall but an expert Skydiving Wingsuit pilots learning curve for proximity flying will be much steeper than if you have only a couple of skyidives.
If there are 2 guys, guy 1 with 1000 Wingsuit Skydives and 100 Wingsuit Basejumps and guy 2 with 20 Wingsuiit Skydives and 300 Winguit Basejumps, guy one will smoke guy in every aspect of flying. This is why almost every experienced Base Wingsuit Pilot I know started to skydive again to be more safe flying terrain.

I totally agree with Matts statement about Myth 4, 5.

Myth 6: I only partially agree with this. If you have 100th of terminal tracking jumps, it will help you a lot with your wingsuit base jumping. However, I agree that if you have 100th of slider down jumps, it will not help you with your wingsuit jumping. But it will help you getting into tracking and from there on with your wingsuit jumping…

Myth 7: I cannot judge this. Never seen it but could be true or could be wrong. But I find the way it’s written just sounds like bashing and not objective…

My 2 cents for what it’s worth…


(This post was edited by Mikki_ZH on Feb 26, 2014, 5:41 AM)

gorillaparks

Feb 26, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Re: [Mikki_ZH] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

  

Myth 1: Matt gives specific reasons why he believes this to be so. Relying on a turn vs. a vertical adjustment is more technical. You assert this as untrue based on a concept that is easy to explain...but then you don't bother explaining it...

Myth 2: So you agree there is a margin, and this margin is largely in the pilots control? But you were not satisfied with how small the article made the margin sound....?

Myth 6: I couldn't find the part where he said terminal tracking jumps wouldn't contribute to wingsuit base, so it sounds like you FULLY agree with this one.

Myth 7: On this one, you pretty much prove his point. While you admit you have no basis for believing/disbelieving his assertion, you still feel a need to challenge it. Internet expert...

pgpilot

Feb 26, 2014, 11:49 AM
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Re: [Mikki_ZH] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

For everyone’s info: Michi is a highly experienced BASE jumper from Switzerland. I respect him and his opinions.

Michi, my reply to your comments on 1:
Your statement that “gravity plays a minimal role” when flying next to a wall may be oversimplified.
I realize that what I wrote is counter-intuitive, and for sure it is a topic for an entire article, or a chapter in a book. One paragraph on it is not enough, so I’m sorry if it seemed like a complete lesson. It is not.

Saying that flying next to a wall is “safer”, is like saying that playing with a loaded revolver is safer than playing with a loaded automatic pistol. Clearly, both are dangerous. If you lose control of your suit flying very close to a wall, you are 90% fucked, but the problem is that I think some people assume they are only 50% fucked in this case, which I think is wrong. If you lose control of your suit flying close to a steep slope, you are 95% fucked. Either way, you are fucked, so you need to be able to maintain 100% control of your suit before you begin terrain flying. The point is that there is currently a major misconception in the community about the difference, and I think a misunderstanding about how to fly “over” things properly. I tried to clear that up with the margin section, which has to be read with the understanding of this first point.

In my opinion, the best place to learn these skills is someplace big and steep with terrain that you can dive down to gradually, over the process of many jumps, and with enough altitude to learn how to create energy retention in your wingsuit. Some jumps in Norway come to mind, and I think there is a reason that many of the world’s best pilots come from there.

In my opinion newer pilots have the tendency to fly next to a wall at close to max glide with less energy retained, and this leads to trouble (and perhaps more importantly, bad habits).

It would take many pages to explain what you need to do if you want to fly over something, next to something, or between somethings. There are ways to fly in control near terrain early in one’s career, but if you follow the proper steps and learn to fly your suit in a fast dive with loads of retained energy, and understand how to make rapid and powerful changes in your glide angle, then you are going to progress more than you will if you spend your days going left off of the Ult*m*te to try and Jeb the waterfall.

To be clear, I am not advocating flying low over flat terrain early in a pilot’s career: that would be suicide. I am saying that the assumption: “I can escape from this proximity line because it’s just a wall”, is incorrect. I think it makes more sense to learn the use of speed and energy retention as tools for precision flying, and this is best discovered in situations where you are “diving down to” features, instead of holding a line alongside a wall. Bottom line: whatever line you choose, ease into it gradually over the course of many jumps.

And again, most importantly, a few words on the topic is obviously not a complete description on how to terrain fly. I only want people to think about the fact that it is incorrect to assume that we have an “easy out” when we are flying next to a wall. It’s not easy, and it’s not a guaranteed out. We must have training in energy retention and airspeed before we fly next to, or over, anything.



To your comments on 2:

Here is the main point, simplified: You must be flying your suit with A LARGE AMOUNT of energy retained. This energy gives you the margin to instantly adjust your glide angle and therefore instantly increase your separation from the STEEP slope that you are flying over. This point begins with the assumption that you know how to do this and have trained extensively in the skydive environment. If you don’t, or you didn’t, then… you skipped steps. If there you think there is a likelihood of having a cramp or sneezing or something, then choose your distance accordingly.

To be clear: I am not saying that “the closer you get, the safer you are”. I am saying that when you are closest to terrain, you need to be flying with a maximum amount of retained energy, and that is what gives you a bit of margin. I hope that makes more sense?



On 3:

We don't disagree here, Michi. I have ALWAYS said that skydiving is the best possible training for BASE. To ensure that no one else misunderstood this important issue: For the thousandth time, skydiving is the most important training for BASE! You must understand that just because you have 400 wingsuit skydives, it does NOT mean that you’re going to instantly excel in WS BASE. Of course you are better off than the guy with 50 jumps, but WS BASE is still different. I know you know this, Michi.



On 6:

I guess I really got you riled up, I’m sorry about that. When one first begins wingsuit BASE jumping, one will be a beginner. It’s very simple. Having “100s” of terminal tracking jumps means… you’re still a beginner WS BASE jumper when you put the wingsuit on for the first time in the BASE environment (even if you feel like an expert BASE jumper in other areas of the sport). If one approaches it with a humble mindset, I think it might help? I did not list specific BFL#s because I didn't think it was necessary and I did not want to be seen as crude.



On 7:

The fact that you are not aware that this is possible is, maybe, not a good sign. It indicates that you have perhaps not yet experienced a powerful wingsuit flare in skydiving or BASE, and explains part of your objections to the first point in my article. I hope we can discuss this further, and do some flights together sometime. In my opinion, a very powerful flare – even if you’re not going up - should be a prerequisite for terrain flying.

No one's writing is truly objective, but I am sorry that you thought I was “bashing” someone or something. That was not my intention and I also apologize to anyone else who may have been offended. I only want to encourage thought on these points and brush the dust off of the ideas in our sport that were formed years ago when wingsuits and techniques were very different. Things have changed, and in my opinion our learning processes can be improved and updated as well. Thanks for the constructive criticism.

-Matt

Mikki_ZH

Feb 26, 2014, 1:19 PM
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thanks for your reply Matt.
And I'm glad that my misunderstanding or wrong interpretation gave you the chance to clear things up for me :-)
Regarding to you answer of comment 1, I also think both things (flying next to a wall or flying close above ground) are dangerous and it would be fatal to underestimate both these things. However I thing the ratio 90% compared to 95% could be worth further discussion. I think there are a lot more possibilities to fuck up flying close to the ground then flying next to a wall. One of possible fuck ups (which happened more than once last year) was wrong evaluation of the slope angle and then flying yourself into a situation where the angle of the terrain was flatter than the glide ratio.

Regarding your answer to comment 2: I totally agree that when flying above terrain you need to do this with a lot of spare energy and not flying to the max. Possible reason why I did not understand your point was the introduction of Myth 2. It thought it could give a wrong impression to newbies if they think as long as you fly with a lot of power or spare energy by flying steep the margin is much bigger. I think even then, the margin for errors is very small.

To 3, yes I agree

To 6, I agree that you are still a beginner on your first jump even if you have a lot of tracking jumps. But I'm also convinced that a good tracker will be safer on his first ws jump than someone without tracking experience because he already knows that it is important to have a good exit and start flying as soon as possible. And he knows how to control the body in order to move forward and not just fall downwards. But I assume we both agree to this. The dumbest thing to do, and I have seen it been done, is to start with ws because someone sucked at tracking.

To 7: You are correct, I never flared my suit very much. Pulling is probable the thing I fear most in Wingsuit flying. This has to do with 2 or 3 misspells, probably because I get nervous when it comes to pulling :-) Thats why I always pull in full flight, hoping not to get nocked out on opening...
In my opinion, if I fly myself into a situation where I need a powerful flare to get out of the situation, I already fucked up big time. I was in situations where I had to improve my gliding angle for a short time but I was always far from trying to flare my suit. The next thing that comes after a strong flare is normally a stall. And during a stall you are very limited on options.

And yes Matt, I also agree it's better having a conversation with a beer and jumping together then typing on the internet, and that's how I wish this discussion continues :-) I hope you did not meant the constructive criticism ironically (that's what it meant to be), your answers cleared up some things for me and thats good.

To gorillaparks:
I'm sure Matt has nothing against someone challenging what he wrote. If I do not agree with something or have another opinion or misinterpret the point I'd rather say it (or write it) then just keep it for myself. This opens space for discussions.

I just read it again and noticed I made more smilies than jeb does on one of his posts... :-)


(This post was edited by Mikki_ZH on Feb 26, 2014, 1:22 PM)

pgpilot

Feb 26, 2014, 6:58 PM
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Re: Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Michi.

I want to clarify one important thing, for anyone reading - it is important to understand that there is a major difference between flying down to something, and putting yourself behind something in your line. You should never put yourself in a situation where you "need" the flare to get over an obstacle. That retained energy is your margin... so keep it in your pocket, and don't put yourself in situations where you need to spend it in order to not die.

I said it a few times in the post above but, again, this is all just my opinion, and it's not a lesson. Just a few points to consider...

-M

gorillaparks

Feb 26, 2014, 9:09 PM
Post #16 of 16 (13671 views)
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Re: [Mikki_ZH] Wingsuit base myths [In reply to] Can't Post

I appreciate the smileys! Never too many. Apologies for my earlier post, which was more antagonistic then warranted.

Its just that I took the article to be a high level challenge to popular "blanket statements" made in our sport. Great points made about people's perceived risk as they progress in the sport. To bog down in the details about what counts as experience or in what specific terrain flying scenarios vertical wall vs fly over is technically more dangerous...it seemed a bit granular considering the endless number of scenarios we could think up.

Sorry for discouraging discussion Michi! It was a poor attempt to pass my time at work.

Take care.


(This post was edited by gorillaparks on Feb 26, 2014, 9:11 PM)


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