Tag Archives: Wingsuit flying

Wingsuit Flying: Pushing (and Shoving) the Envelope

Standard
JT Holmes

JT Holmes

When JT Holmes and Andy Farrington take to the skies, they aren’t just falling through the air.

kim_kircher_edge_radio

Listen now

They’re flying. BASE jumpers, wing suit pilots, skiers, and stuntmen, JT and Andy are quintessential thrill seekers.

But what arms these two with the ability to leap over the edge? When every cell in their body must be telling them to step away from the abyss, how can they counter that urge for self-preservation and take that jump?

Every season more jumpers take to the skies, and every season more of them die.

Andy Farrington_Red Bull

Redbull Airforce team member Andy Farrington

Do these two guys ever get scared? And if so, do they ever listen to those fears and walk away.

Or does their sport require them to ignore that tiny voice on their shoulder reminding them to BE CAREFUL? I’ll be asking these questions and more this week when I interview them both on my show.

kim_kircher_edge_radio

Click here

Andy is returning to The Edge Radio this week along with JT to talk about BASE jumping, wingsuit flying and their upcoming project with Red Bull, when they go to the Juneau icecap to explore the edge of airborne and snow sports. You don’t want to miss this one. Leave your comments or questions here and I’ll be sure to ask. Or call in at 1-888-346-9144 live tomorrow at 8am.

Advertisements

Andy Farrington: Born to Fly

Standard
Redbull Airforce team member Andy Farrington

Redbull Airforce team member Andy Farrington

Listen now

Listen now

Andy Farrington can fly. A member of the elite Red Bull Air Force, a team of the most accomplished BASE jumpers, wingsuit pilots, and paraglider pilots in the world, Andy is a bit of an expert. He can maneuver around buildings and along cliff faces with his wingsuit, and has jumped out of an airplane more than 19,000 times.

There are birds that haven’t flown as much as Andy. As a BASE jumper and skydiver, Andy is on the cutting edge of wingsuit flying. Andy has over 1,000 BASE jumps, two action films and numerous canopy piloting championships under his belt. But for Andy, this is just normal life.

If the first time you ever met Andy was at 12,000 feet after just having jumped from an airplane, strapped to your skydiving instructor’s belly, like I did, you might get a very different first impression. I hadn’t really noticed Andy on the plane ride. I was too nervous contemplating what I was about to do. When the cockpit door slid open, Andy jumped out. My stomach flip-flopped as a few other experts jumped out of the plane and disappeared with a freaky swooshing sound as if being sucked into outer space.

Andy Farrington skimming

Andy Farrington skimming

I first noticed Andy during freefall, when he swooped close by in his wingsuit and hovered for a moment. My brain registered his presence, even while my cheeks were inflating with wind as if I’d stuck my head out the window while riding shotgun at the Grand Prix. I looked at this winged man and thought, that guy is awesome; then he made an invisible adjustment of his limbs and darted away like a human hummingbird. Then I thought, that guy is insane.

One of 19,000 jumps for Andy Farrington

One of 19,000 jumps for Andy Farrington

When you’re about to BASE jump off a 2,000-foot cliff, you simply can’t hesitate. You cannot jump halfway. Andy Farrington lives his life without hesitation. There is simply no room for doubt. He claims he’s never walked up to a cliff and decided not to jump. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t without his own risk/reward calculus. When he’s up against something especially risky, he asks his mother for her advice. What mom says, goes.

Before he was born, his mother Jessie jumped 100 times while he was in utero. You could say he was born to jump out of airplanes. At age 10, he packed chutes at Skydive Kapowsin, his family’s skydive center, for $3 a pack. He now owns the drop zone with his sister, the third generation to carry on the family tradition. Andy and his wife Kasha recently had a baby, so perhaps the next generation is already queuing up to take over.

Some might think Andy is trying to escape the real world with all this time in the air. But for Andy, this is the real world. After meeting Andy in flight, I sat down and talked to him over a beer. It took a moment to connect the two images: one of a human bird capable of superhuman feats, the other a quiet, almost shy, man of great humility.

 Click here

Click here

In the film Transformers 3, Andy flies between Chicago’s downtown buildings at 150 mph, and BASE jumped off the Sears Tower. Andy’s current movie Iron Man 3, in which he does stunt work with mom Jessie, is in theaters now.

Join me this week on The Edge Radio when I talk to Andy Farrington about BASE jumping, the Redbull team and stunt filming. You won’t want to miss this one.

Learning to Fly

Standard
radio_antenna

LISTEN NOW

When Jon Malmberg picked up a paraglider for the first time six years ago, he didn’t know his life was about to change. A longtime skier, rock climber, windsurfer and

Jon Malmberg takes flight

Jon Malmberg takes flight

white water kayaker, Jon was no stranger to action sports. Now, John just wants to fly. Canopy sports are his new passion. A skilled acrobatic pilot and paraglider, Malmberg recently spent a winter in the Alps learning to speedfly (the sport of flying a small wing close to steep slopes, usually wearing skis). He’s currently BASE jumping with the hope of someday piloting a wingsuit. He hopes to return to the Alps this summer to complete that goal.

What I find most intriguing about Jon is his passion for a sport that he knows is dangerous. His goal is to fly off the Eiger in a wingsuit. But once he reaches that goal, he plans on quitting the sport. When I asked him why, he told me about the BASE fatality list. This compilation of deaths from the sport of BASE jumping is indeed sobering.

Kircher-show-descriptionThe Edge. I will talk to action sports athletes, sport psychologists and neuroscientists among others as I delve into the behavior and motivations for living a life close to the edge. Please join us while we talk about the rush of flying, the thrill of takeoff and the dreams of flying a wingsuit.