These thrilling videos show how close wingsuit pilots come to earth (without touching). Matt Higgins, author of Bird Dream, counts down the seven closest calls to date. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { if (BF_STATIC.bf_test_mode) localStorage.setItem(‘posted_date’, 1409763405); }); BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_posted_time_3415874”).innerHTML = “posted on ” + UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(1409763405); });

7. The flight that started it all

This is the video that ignited the trend toward “proximity” flying. In the early days of wingsuits, Loïc Jean-Albert launched from a helicopter over the Swiss Alps near Verbier and flew a dozen feet above a mountain. He also buzzed some lucky skiers.

Video available at: Via

6. Grinding the Crack

Jeb Corliss flew shockingly low over a meadow at more than 100 miles an hour, right at a friend who’s holding two balloons as targets. Luckily he ducked in the nick of time and Corliss hit the balloons before zipping into a narrow canyon known as the Crack. Add pumping music and you have viral video gold.

Video available at: Via

5. Encore, please

Two months later, Corliss gave us an encore by flying through a cave in China. He didn’t come as close to the ground as he had at the Crack but it was the first time someone flew through a tunnel (but not the last).

Video available at: Via


Not to be outdone, a year and a half later Alexander Polli found a narrower cave in Northern Spain. As cave flights go, it’s difficult to imagine closer quarters.

Video available at: Via

3. Goooooooal!

In Brazil, where soccer rules, Jokke Sommer split the posts on a skyscraper in Rio de Janeiro. Not only was the stunt unauthorized, he had to land a parachute in the crowded city after (which isn’t exactly easy).

Video available at: Via

2. “What do you do when you can’t ski down a mountain? You fly down, of course.”

In 2013, Brian Drake flew down this narrow gully in France and flirted with the ground. It appeared to be the closest anyone had flown without touching. Sadly, Drake died months later following a wingsuit crash in Switzerland. He was 33.

Video available at: Via

1. Parachute? Not necessary.

Gary Connery blew our minds when he jumped from 2,500 ft. and landed WITHOUT a parachute thanks to a pile of cardboard boxes. Connery’s no-chute landing was a first for aviation, but he didn’t stop there.

Months later he posed as the Queen and jumped out of a chopper at the opening ceremony of the London Games.

Can’t wait to see what this dude does next.

Video available at: Via

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