By Rebecca Drew
EXHILARATING video footage shows the moment one thrill-seeking wingsuit pilot soared through the air and crashed through a waterfall at speeds of 186-miles-per-hour.
The eye-watering clips show wingsuit pilot and occasional carpenter, Chris Byrnes (29) from Toowoomba, Australia, brushing past Norway’s rocky mountain faces, flying through treelines and past busy roads on his free-fall descent.
Other thrilling video clips show Chris, who is also known as Green Flying Dude, deploying his parachute to land safely. He first got involved in BASE jumping after seeing videos on the internet which encouraged him to take up skydiving before progressing to BASE jumping.
“I love the beautiful locations that wing suiting takes me. To reach the ‘exit point’ which is the place from which you jump off the cliff, it requires a lot of hiking. These are often very beautiful hikes through the mountains, with wild berries growing along the trails and fresh water to drink from the mountain streams,” said Chris.
“I get to share these experiences with the wonderful friends from all over the world and from all walks of life which I have met through this wonderful sport. It is more of a lifestyle than a sport as normal life seems a little different after these experiences.
“In the videos, I am wearing a wingsuit which inflates with air into an aerofoil shape which creates lift and allows me to fly through the air. I spread my arms and legs and fly using small, smooth, controlled movements of my body.
“During flight, I have complete control and can fly down the terrain of the mountains I jump from flying beside rock cliffs, trees and even through waterfalls. I wear a parachute on my back and use it to safely land on the ground.
“I love to fly. We breathe in the air every moment of our lives to stay alive. We can’t see it, but we know it’s there. Without the air I would not be able to fly. Without the air my wingsuit and parachute would be useless heaps of nylon. I love the feeling of flying my body through the air in the mountains.”
Chris started BASE jumping in March 2016 and has done more than 300 jumps across six different countries. He competed in his first World Base Race in Hellesylt, Norway and came first. He flies with Tonysuits and recommends that anyone interested in the sport to take up skydiving first.
Despite the thrill, Chris knows that the sport does not come without its risks.
“Wing suiting, especially in the BASE environment can be extremely dangerous and there are a number of deaths in the sport each year which are mostly a result of pilot error,” he added.
“The sport can be practised safely which requires years of training, dedication, patience and humility. There is obviously fear involved with jumping off cliffs, however with training, knowledge and trust in the equipment the fear can be turned into focus.
“In freefall, I enter a flow state which is a union of the mind and the body and allows me to fly with complete freedom.
“People usually initially think I’m crazy. However, they are usually interested and ask many questions about the equipment I use, the wingsuit to fly and the parachute to land safely on the ground. Also they want to know how it feels to fly your body through the air.
“My advice to anyone wanting to get into this is to get into Skydiving. Be patient, be humble and learn the many skills involved with skydiving.
“It takes time, but skydiving is a wonderful activity. After a few years and a few hundred skydives you may be ready to start base jumping, however always seek out professional instruction.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/greenflyingdude