Wingsuit Skydiver Lands Without Chute (On Purpose)
Forty-two year-old Gary Connery Wednesday may have become the first person to land a wingsuit without first deploying a parachute, on purpose and without injury, with the aid of about 18,000 cardboard boxes. Connery performed the stunt near his hometown of Henley, England, and flew two test jumps from a helicopter hovering at 2,400 feet about one mile from his landing site. He landed those under canopy, before committing to the final jump. His last landing was facilitated by a 350-foot "runway" that stood roughly 12 feet high and 50 feet wide, made up of large empty cardboard boxes. Aside from the wingsuit, Connery wore a full-face helmet and the kind of neck brace worn by race-car drivers. He flared above the cardboard runway before settling into the boxes at an estimated forward speed of about 50 mph. Some of his first words after landing? "I'm in a strange space."
Connery's six-pound wingsuit was modified and a final design with thicker ribs was chosen after a handful of earlier versions. He flew the stunt with a parachute that acted as his abort plan.