Some people would call you certifiably insane if you told them you were interested in wingsuit flying. The majority of people – my wife included – don’t actually know what that term means. It’ll require a little bit more background in those cases.
“Well, it’s sort of like BASE-jumping. Only I’ll be able to fly off of a mountain.”
“It’s actually quite safe if you know what you’re doing.”
“You’re jumping off a mountain?”
Wingsuits – sometimes referred to as ‘birdman suits’ for rather obvious reasons – are one of the latest extreme adventure outlets for those of us who can’t find enough adrenaline in our everyday lives. Much to the chagrin of my wife, I was completely taken by them.
Years and years of skydiving and the occasional BASE-jump had hardened my skin. At the risk of sounding like some kind of junkie, these adventure sports simply weren’t giving me the same thrill they’d always provided. I was ready for the next big thing.
“Honey, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’ve done BASE-jumps before.”
“Yes, but not flying around a valley at 500 MPH!”
“It’s not that fast.”
The average forward speed of a wingsuit is actually 1/5 that figure – 100 MPH to be exact; still, no slouch in regards to speed.
“How would you even get there?”
The rugged New Zealand terrain required for this type of sport would require some special accommodations. Our guide had the foresight to rent a Land Rover Discovery Sport which bent the elements to our will. There was nothing holding us back from reaching the summit.
The day I jumped from the summit of Milford Sound is a day I’ll never forget – a day my wife likely won’t forget either. After convincing her that I was capable of coming home in one piece, despite her fierce resistance, I realized she was the only woman bold enough to put up with me. Later that night I’d ask her to marry me.
Next time we’re jumping together.