No closer to the experience of a golden eagle hovering hundreds of feet above an Arcadian valley, swooping past craggy rock outcrops and diving toward its prey. For many wingsuit pilots, it’s why they jump out of planes, or even rocks, when they’re wearing coveralls with wings that make the difference between fall and flight and secured by a parachute that ensures a controlled landing.

    The urge to fly was one of the best wingsuit pilots in the Netherlands, Jarno Cordia (44), fatal last Wednesday. In 2003 he put on a wingsuit for the first time, with parachute fabric between arms and legs, he recalled in 2016 in the AD. Twenty years later, Cordia jumped off a more than eight hundred meters high rock in the Swiss Alps, but crashed into the rock wall several times for an unknown cause. Rescuers found his lifeless body.

    He already had thousands of jumps from the plane and hundreds of mountains to his name, he said last year against television program Core. Cordia was fond of his sport, a professional idiot. “Jumping wings is much more fun than it looks,” said the born Rotterdammer beaming. “It’s so, so special to be in the sky and just fly free like a bird.”

    BASE jumping

    Parachuting is already a bridge too far for most people, but not enough for Cordia. He was a base jumper. In addition, a growing number of practitioners – often inspired by impressive compilations on YouTube — not from airplanes, but from fixed objects: a building, cell tower, bridge or cliff. Due to the reduced distance to the ground, one mistake can cost a base jumper his life. According to a 2007 Norwegian study the risk of (fatal) injury for base jumpers is up to eight times greater than for skydivers.

    Jarno Cordia posted this video on his YouTube channel five days ago.

    Cordia opposed the idea that BASE jumpers are mere adrenaline junkies who take life for granted. “Most BASE jumpers are very calculated people,” he said in 2016 in an interview with Vice. “A jump is fully planned.” Those who want to follow wingsuit training must have completed at least two hundred parachute jumps. “That sounds like a lot,” Cordia said at Vice, “but each jump has approx [slechts] one minute of free fall.”

    Yet the extreme sport is otherwise hardly regulated. Those who don’t feel like or have the money to spend hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of euros on parachute jumps can always climb a Swiss mountain on their own. After all, Wingsuits are simply available on the internet. The Vampire Competition ’22 from the Slovenian manufacturer Phoenix-Fly costs 1,850 euros and is available in countless color combinations. The flight suit can be purchased without a certificate.

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