The Believers

Jeb Corliss and Maria von Egidy: Wing People

MISSION // FLY LIKE A BIRD

THE RACE TO BE THE FIRST to jump out of a plane and land safely without deploying a parachute is on. That's the goal of Malibu-based Jeb Corliss, 29, and South African Maria von Egidy, 41, who, working separately and in secret, say they've found a way for humans to leap from 30,000 feet and live—wearing flying-squirrel-like wingsuits that slow free fall to less than 40 miles per hour while propelling you forward at more than 100 miles per hour. This can make for a rough landing, but BASE jumper Corliss claims to have invented a touchdown strategy that "can be done ten times out of ten without breaking a fingernail." Meanwhile, von Egidy, a former costume designer, says she's within a year and $400,000 of skydiving's ultimate prize; now all she needs is a willing test pilot. "Obviously," she says, "it will have to be someone very brave."

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