Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
Just how much Red Bull do you need to contemplate this?
We’ve become used to daredevil stunts from that crazed microcosm of society known as wingsuit flyers.
A wingsuit batman once. Another group of wingsuiters flew over , too.
Yet this latest stunt — courtesy, yes, of Red Bull — defies belief, sense and, any rudimentary science that I ever learned (very little).
As the Red Bull site describes, Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet — they called themselves the Soul Flyers — recently leaped off the Jungfrau mountain in the Swiss Alps.
This is a common thing, one imagines, for wingsuiters to do. In this case, though, the aim was to fly into the open rear door of a Pilatus Porter light aircraft. While it was in mid-air.
This was a homage to a BASE-jumper called Patrick de Gayardon, who jumped out of a plane and then flew back into it in 1997.
‘When we started to train, we thought it would be easier to be honest. Then we realized that it was quite a technical and mental challenge. We had to be focused,” Reffet said.
Focused? Really? What could be so difficult about jumping off a cliff in an aerodynamic suit and flying into a flying plane? Would you worry that, like so many planes in the world, it would be late?
The Flyers said they trained for two months. The first time they tried it — in Spain — Fugen made it, but Reffen didn’t and injured his ribs.
But they succeeded five times in training.
The real thing, though, makes for troubled watching. At any point, surely, this could have gone wrong.
“You’re falling down and all of a sudden there’s no air anymore. The feeling is quite strange,” Reffet explained.
Watching it feels quite strange, too.
After all, one has become used to headlines such as this from two weeks ago: “Record-breaking Russian daredevil dies while base jumping from 22,000 feet in the Himalayas.”
Or this from February: “Tributes flood in after renowned Canadian wingsuit flyer found dead.”
Still, some will inevitably watch such feats and insist they have to try it. Our fascination with flying isn’t exactly new. We want to feel what birds feel by flying free. Or, at least, build a machine that helps us do it.
Earlier this year, my colleague Emme Hall, where intrepid adventurers put together unmotorized flying constructions, in the hope of soaring.
This isn’t a repository of success. But from such tiny moments of entertainment, the quest for higher flying is born.
It’s helpful that the flyers were wearing GoPro-type cameras, in order to give us a madman’s eye view of the proceedings. It’s helpful, too, that the plane was equipped with cameras to show the moment when the flyers soared through the door.
But watch this video and see how, at the beginning, Reffet misses the plane several times. Do you have that level of courage (or madness)?
Do you trust your knowledge of aerodynamics and your fellow man to coordinate such a feat?
You do? You must be crazy.