Two wingsuit flyers just BASE jumped into a plane in mid-air
French wingsuit flyers recently completed an unbelievable stunt following a B.A.S.E. jump from the top of the Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland. Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet, known as the Soul Flyers, caught up with and flew into a plane in mid-air.
As part of their project A Door in the Sky, which they had spent several months training for by completing more than 100 test flights in Empuriabrava in Spain, the duo B.A.S.E jumped from the top of the Jungfrau, one of Europe’s highest mountains, and flew into a Pilatus Porter light aircraft in mid-air. Now that’s a different way to catch a flight.
How did this project come about?
They wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Patrick de Gayardon’s achievement in 1997, when he jumped from an aircraft with a wingsuit and then flew back into the plane. He was a pioneer in our scene and we wanted to reproduce his stunt. At the beginning of the year, Vince woke up one day and said to Fred, “We have to do it but with a BASE jump from a cliff!”
How different was the training for this stunt?
“When we started to train, we thought it would be easier to be honest. Then we realised that it was quite a technical and mental challenge. We had to be focused. During the first training session in Spain, Fred managed to fly into the plane, but I failed and hurt my ribs. One month later, we came back for another session. We felt better and it worked out. We managed to make it five times.”
How does it feel to enter into a plane at high speed?
“It’s cool but also quite weird! We’re used to jumping from the plane, but here you have to enter into it. You’re falling down and all of a sudden there’s no air anymore. The feeling is quite strange. When you’re in the plane and you see your friend flying closer and closer, it’s incredible. It was very emotional for us because we worked hard to make it happen.”
GoPro Athlete, Neil Amonson, travels to Italy to find solitude in his craft. Amonson says, “To actually experience all the things I’m feeling, I have to do it alone.” Get a look into the incredible experience Neil goes through as he sets out to accomplish this solo BASE jump.
Neil Amonson in one minute or less about himself
I spent my first four years out of high school in the Air Force Special Forces. I deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq and finished my enlistment as a decorated combat veteran. My next move was from the east coast where I was raised out to Utah where I could more easily access the things that give me joy, spending time outside and in the air. Two years after moving to Utah I received my Bachelors of Science in Professional Aeronautics, as well as being an air traffic controller and commercial pilot.
Since then I have been working for GoPro assisting with marketing, content creation, and product testing. Along the way I have aligned myself with a few other companies who have similiar values to myself and we work together to help make their company great. I have also worked for Google as a contractor working with such projects as Google Glass and Project Loon. I enjoy being challenged, being part of a team, and working in space that allows a lot of creativity and freedom. I take pride in being able to tell a good story though images, weather that be still photos or video. I’m on here looking to expand my network and find other companies who value integrity, hard work, and creativity. Let’s make magic happen.
Live Your Dream – Wingsuit Motivation
Wingsuiting done in France. Most of the footage was filmed in or around Brevent – Chamonix.
Brandon Mikesell began his journey to become a professional wingsuit flyer when he was 23 years old. He dedicates everyday to jumping off of cliffs, buildings, helicopters, and planes. Some might call him crazy, but he says he is just like any other regular guy.
Brandon has worked with companies like GoPro, Red Bull Air Force, Garmin, Bear Grylls, and many more to release his awesome adventures. He continues to search for long flying lines down different mountain terrain around the world. However, most recently he decided to take his flights into the urban environment and fly between city skyscrapers and buildings.
Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.
Situated near the massive peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and most notably the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and is known as the “gateway to the European Cascades.” The north side of the summit of Mont Blanc, and therefore the summit itself are part of the village of Chamonix.
To the south side, the situation is different depending on the country. Italy considers that the border passes through the top. France considers that the boundary runs along the rocky Tournette under the summit cap, placing it entirely in French territory. The south side was in France, assigned to the commune of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains sharing the summit with its neighbor Chamonix. It is this situation “for France,” which is found on the French IGN maps.
The Chamonix commune is well known and loved by skiers and mountain enthusiasts of all types, and via the cable car lift to the Aiguille du Midi it is possible to access the world-famous off-piste skirun of the Vallée Blanche. With an area of 245 km2, Chamonix is the fourth largest commune in mainland France.
Chamonix is a winter sports resort town. As the highest European mountain west of Russia, Mont Blanc attracts mountain climbers. There is a cable car up to the 3,842 m Aiguille du Midi. Constructed in 1955, it was then the highest cable car in the world and remains the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world.
Old VHS Footage of Shane McConkey
Take a look back in time with Shane McConkey as he BASE jumps from a cliff in Lauterbrunnen. This segment and many more are featured in the film “McConkey”, now available on Red Bull TV!
Fly in Peace, Shane – “You have one life. Live it.”
Shane McConkey (December 30, 1969 – March 26, 2009) was a professional skier and BASE jumper. He was born in Vancouver, was eventually based in Squaw Valley, California, but because he never identified with a single place due to his itinerant childhood, was “from” Boulder, Colorado, where he started his professional skiing career and attended the University of Colorado Boulder before dropping out of college.
He won numerous awards and competitions. McConkey started as a competitive ski racer, but moved on to be featured in a long line of extreme skiing movies. McConkey was known for combining BASE jumping with skiing, as seen in such feats as skiing into a BASE jump off the Eiger. McConkey went to Burke Mountain Academy. He was also known for his contributions to ski design, notably being the father of reverse sidecut and reverse camber skis (aka: skis with rocker); first mounting bindings onto water skis for use in Alaska, then with the Volant Spatula and, more recently, the K2 Pontoon ski design. McConkey’s high-speed chairlift and ski area at Park City Mountain Resort are named after his father, Jim McConkey, who was an early proponent of extreme skiing in the U.S. On April 2, 2011 Shane McConkey was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of fame along with other Tahoe skiers, Daron Rahlves and Glen Plake.
On March 26, 2009, Shane McConkey died while executing a ski-BASE jump in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. One of his skis failed to release, sending him into a spin. After he corrected the problem, it was too late to deploy his parachute.