What is a Wingsuit?
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A wingsuit is a jumpsuit with wings that attach the arms to the body, and the legs together to provide greater surface area to produce horizontal movement and high lift in freefall conditions. There are many different manufacturers and types of wing suits, all with different performance characteristics and are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Wingsuits can travel miles from the drop zone from altitude, and get you very far away from the cliffs (or very close) in the BASE environment. All movements are centered around the pilot’s Center of Gravity, or CG. Below is a diagram showing the forces at play. That being said, let’s learn a little about how and why they work.



Suit Aerodynamics

Wingsuit Aerodynamics

Yaw ~ Rotation around the vertical axis, Changing Heading

Pitch ~ Rotation around the lateral axis, Changing Speed/Levels

Roll ~ Rotation around the Longitudinal axis, Transitioning to backfly/Banked Turns.

 

Weight, Drag, Momentum and Lift are all forces that are in constant change during wingsuit flight, and full comprehension of these forces and their effects on you in different phases of flight are what will turn an average pilot into an expert.

Weight and Momentum are proportional, and in some cases hurt you, while in others help greatly; while the same goes for Lift and Drag. For the case of Wingsuits, we refer to Lift, when in reality it is relative lift, producing momentum using gravity (your weight) and aerodynamic drag. There are instances where a wingsuiter can actually gain altitude and produce actual aerodynamic lift, where the lift produced by the airfoils actually exceed the weight of the pilot allowing them to climb, but this is only due to an unsustainably high airspeed (Without Thrust), due to a dive or high aircraft exit speeds.

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