The Soul Flyers, a wingsuit skydiving duo sponsored by energy drink giant Red Bull, jumped from a Swiss mountain and into an airplane in flight, documenting the feat in a video that drew nearly 2 million views on YouTube in less than three days.
Skydivers Frédéric Fugen, 38, and Vincent Reffet, 33, accomplished the daring feat after more than 100 test flights, according to a news release from Red Bull Nov. 28, which coincided with publication of the video. The wingsuit experts had already drawn millions of Soul Flyers fans around the world with jumps from aircraft and mountains, but combining the two took the attention to a new level.
The daring attempt was a tribute to one of those pioneers, Patrick de Gayardon, who became famous for many feats and was the first to jump from and re-enter an airplane, but was later killed in a 1998 mishap. Fugen and Reffet spent months preparing for their feat, testing their techniques in Spain before heading to the Swiss Alps to make their attempt. The wingsuit flyers jumped from the summit of Jungfrau, at 13,641 feet, and had less than 3 minutes to form up with the Pilatus Porter and attempt to enter through an open cargo door. The aircraft interior had been liberally padded “after earlier mishaps.”
Pilot Philippe Bouvier established a stable descent, and Yves “Jetman” Rossy, a wingsuit star in his own right, helped guide the closely coordinated effort from the right seat.
“The conditions were perfect and we were well prepared, but it was still an incredibly difficult challenge,” Reffet told Red Bull. “It was very complicated for us as we tried a first time but we messed up a bit and that sucks so much energy out of you. Going up to 4,000 meters, it physically costs a lot. Once I got in, I only thought about one thing, my buddy behind.”