Finally, an achievable wingsuit challenge for the weekend warrior.
Wingsuit Flying was the newbie of SA Nationals this year. Last year, it was introduced as an FAI event very close to SA Nationals and RSC kindly agreed to include it in the event on short notice, but given the newness, it didn’t get much publicity outside of the Wingsuiting community. This year, the SSA Wingsuiting committee were ready and rearing to go, preparing early and garnering competitor support to ensure a successful and organised event.
So what is it all about? What do the wingsuit flyers compete on?
The discipline has two very different components to its competition, so independent, in fact, that their World Cup and World Championship years even differ.
This can be likened to Artistic Events (Freefly and Freestyle) in that teams perform sequences of compulsory manoeuvres and their own free routines, to be judged on sequence repetitions achieved (compulsory rounds), technical execution and camera/ presentation (both round types).
The judging has some very subjective elements mixed into it, although a little less than the AE events, so it will be interesting to see the development of the discipline and whether it faces the same controversies and frustrations we have been seeing in the Artistic Events over the years.
Objective and clean, wingsuit pilots compete to achieve maximum performance from their suits in three tasks: speed, time and distance. It can be likened to Canopy Piloting, except for one important rule: Canopy pilots may select a canopy for each task. Wingsuit pilots must complete all tasks with the same suit, eliminating the possibility of using a specialised suit for each task. Each round is made up of three flights: one for each task. There is only an overall winner: The pilot who can – in one suit –maximise lift, maximise glide, and minimise drag, from the same suit, as and when required.
All pilots wear GPS units (currently FlySights), whose data is downloaded into an application that calculates distance, time and speed and determines the winner. The simplicity, objectivity and efficiency of it all make it an appealing competition to enter or to follow.
How about it? Why not give it a whirl? Give the SSA Wingsuit Committee a shout for assistance in getting started – either in the discipline itself or in the competitive side.