On Thursday, 7th November 2013, wingsuit pilot Dan Vicary opened a new exit point from Lovers’ Leap in Glenorchy, New Zealand. This exclusive video follows the preparation and delivery of a world first.
Following in the footsteps of Red Bull NZ legend, Chuck Berry, Mr Vicary originally base-jumped from this same location in 2009, opening his parachute after 2 seconds. He has spent the last 4 years jumping fulltime and waiting for wingsuit technology to progress to enable him to return and open the area for wingsuiting.
Located in the South Island of New Zealand, Lovers’ Leap is a highly technical BASEjump with the exit point 650 metres above the valley floor. It features a short ‘rock drop’ of only 4.5seconds or 110m, by which time the wingsuit must be flying forwards; followed by a sharp right turn to avoid a ledge. It is not for the faint hearted. However, those who dare are rewarded with a spectacularly visual flight through some of the most picturesque terrain New Zealand has to offer.
‘What a place to take on my most intense and technical BASE jump to date! I prepared for this jump, perhaps even subconsciously, since ’09. I knew that, at some point, it would be possible — it was just a question of when. I’m a proud kiwi; and to make a ‘world first’ happen in the sport I love, back in my home country, is just incredible.’
Although deemed a relatively new and often dangerous extreme sport, wingsuit flying originates from 1912, when Austrian Franz Reichelt leapt from the Eiffel tower in a winged suit. His and attempts by others in the 1930s proved fatal but the resurgence in 1994 by Frenchman Patrick de Gayardon led to the beginning of modern day skyflying following incredible flights at Mont Blanc, France and the Grand Canyon, USA.
As modern wingsuit flying celebrates 20 years in 2014, advancement in wingsuit technology has enabled unparalleled human flight progression.
‘I spent much of 2013 as test pilot for new wingsuit designs; and the advances that have been made in performance, and more importantly safety, are incredible. It’s these advances that are making previously impossible jumps — like Lovers Leap — possible for experienced, dedicated pilots.’
Dan Vicary is a professional skydiver, BASE jumper, speedflyer and wingsuit pilot based in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Originally from New Zealand, he has performed over 6000 skydives and 800 BASE jumps over 5 continents; and been a wingsuit pilot for the last 8 years.
Currently ranked number 2 in the world (2nd overall, Accuracy Champion) following 2013’s World Wingsuit Race in Brazil, he also competed at the Red Bull World Wingsuit League in China, were only the fastest 16 pilots qualified for the right to represent their country in front of a TV audience of billions.
For more information visit: http://www.danvicary.com/