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Wingsuit Jumpers Enjoy Reward

BASE jumping involves a person skydiving off a building, antenna, bridge, or mountain, which means there is less freefall than when jumping from an airplane. The full-body suit is made of material that stretches under the arms between the wrists and the waist and between both legs, and costs anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. With the suit on, a jumper can move three feet forward for every single foot of vertical drop. United States Parachute Association executive director Ed Scott figures that just 5 percent of its 35,000 members wear wingsuits. Baxter Gillespie, who began skydiving in 1991, began using wingsuits in 1999. The 42-year-old Salt Lake City resident is the North American Wingsuit Instructor Examiner for Phoenix-Fly. "It is incredibly surreal and incredibly freeing," Gillespie states. "It borders on a spiritual experience. In normal skydiving, like most people start off with, you're falling at 120 miles per hour straight down. You don't have much forward movement. With a wingsuit, you're going 100 miles per hour forward, you see the ground moving underneath you, and you're only falling at 30 miles per hour. It extends free fall, and it also gives you the sensation of actually being able to fly."

December 28, 2008

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