Making an impression

Charles 1 Comment

From Wikipedia:

Franz Reichelt, also known as Frantz Reichelt or François Reichelt (1879 – February 4, 1912), was an Austrian-born French tailor, inventor and parachuting pioneer, now sometimes referred to as the Flying Tailor, who is remembered for his accidental death by jumping from the Eiffel Tower while testing a wearable parachute of his own design. Reichelt had become fixated on developing a suit for aviators that would convert into a parachute and allow them to survive a fall should they be forced to leave their aircraft. Initial experiments conducted with dummies dropped from the fifth floor of his apartment building had been successful, but he was unable to replicate those early successes with any of his subsequent designs.

Believing that the lack of a suitably high test platform was partially to blame for his failures, Reichelt repeatedly petitioned the Parisian Prefecture of Police for permission to conduct a test from the Eiffel Tower. He was finally granted permission in early 1912, but when he arrived at the tower on February 4 he made it clear that he intended to jump himself rather than conduct an experiment with dummies. Despite attempts by his friends and spectators to dissuade him, he jumped from the first platform of the tower wearing his invention. The parachute failed to deploy and he crashed into the icy ground at the foot of the tower. Although it was clear that the fall had killed him, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was officially pronounced dead. 

From Gary Connery’s website here

Gary Connery became the first man to ever land a wingsuit without deploying a parachute on Wed 23rd May. 

Gary’s flight from the helicopter at 2,400ft to the box rig on the ground took just 40 seconds. During his dive he reached a combined speed of 102 mph ( 84 mph horizontally and 59 mph vertically ) whilst having to deal with the air turbulence and continuously adjusting his steep approach angle to stay on target.

Unofficial reports over the last few days had suggested that the professional stuntman landed anywhere from 15 mph to 80 mph. During training Gary had been able to consistently fly his wingsuit at 55 mph. However data has now been retrieved from the Flysight GPS unit that was on his neckbrace, which confirmed that he impacted the boxes at a combined speed of 69.7 mph.

At a height of 250ft, Gary levelled out but was still approaching too fast at 85mph. Once he flew over the front of the box rig, Gary was then able to ‘flare’ his wingsuit, maximising his airresistance, which brought his speed down to a ‘safer’ 70 mph when he ‘landed’.

After the landing, Gary and his wingsuit were inspected and no damage on either was found, much to the relief of his wife, Vivienne!


  1. Charles

    First time, in me youth, I saw the clip of poor old Franz taking himself out of the human gene pool, I thought it was funny, in a grim sort of way. But I hadn’t seen the whole clip, the way he hesitated, rocking backwards and forwards on the brink so many times. That’s very poignant, and I still think “don’t do it, stop….” as if I didn’t know what was going to happen.

    How callous of them to actually measure the hole he made in the ground!

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