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Jeb Corliss Plans Wingsuit Flight Through Cave

Jeb Corliss Tianmen Hole Jeb Corliss flying near Tianmen Hole, Courtesy of Jeb Corliss

Yesterday, we posted a super slowmo video of Jeb Corliss fying in a wingsuit so low to the ground that he was able to hit the string attached to a small cluster of balloons held by his friend. We then asked him if the touch was planned. He said yes, then revealed it was practice for an upcoming jump in China.

"I needed to train precision so I set my camera man up at the entrance to a late crack in the earth between a few trees and had him hold a set of balloons with a 5 ft string that was 2 cm wide," Corliss said by email. "The goal was to hit the string between the balloons and the camera man before entering the crack."

The flight he's preparing for involves zipping through the cave beneath his right shoulder in the picture above. Tianmen Hole is a 360-foot-tall, 96-foot-wide, and 260-foot-long formation located near the city of Zhangjiajie in central China's Hunan Province. Corliss will jump from a helicopter hovering at 6,000 feet and attempt to glide through the hole. He will not be able to pull his chute for two-thirds of a mile and has a very small margin of error.

"I will be in a no pull zone for almost 40 seconds," Corliss said by email. "I will have to fly to live with no outs of any kind."

Corliss Flying Three Feet off the Ground Jeb Corliss flying three feet off the ground, by his estimate (Courtesy of Jeb Corliss)

The jump in Europe required gliding near the ground with a small margin of error, and for it Corliss used a new wingsuit and accessories outfitted with cutting-edge technology. He has a GPS unit in his ear that beeps to give him real time glide information (the faster his glide, the slower the beep). He has GPS in his goggles that displays real time speed and altitude.

"With these GPS systems I no longer have to guess how good I am flying, I now know," says Corliss.

Corliss will attempt the jump on September 24, with live coverage to be carried by CCTV—dramatically improving that channel's live sports offerings.

--Joe Spring


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