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Monday, September 26, 2011

Mind the gap! Wingsuit stuntman shoots through narrow slit in mountainside at 75mph

By Gareth Finighan
From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

A wingsuit pilot has taken the sport of sky diving to new heights after hurtling through a narrow slit in a mountainside.

Jeb Corliss launched himself from a helicopter at 6,000ft today, zooming through the air at 75mph towards the imposing Tianmen mountain in Hunan Province, China.

The stuntman's wingsuit, which has thin membranes between the limbs and torso, allowed the 35-year-old to glide through the air while losing altitude gradually instead of plummeting directly towards Earth.

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Tight squeeze: Spectators watch as Jeb Corliss hurtles though the mountain's natural arch hundreds of feet in the air
Tight squeeze: Spectators watch as Jeb Corliss hurtles though the mountain's natural arch hundreds of feet in the air

He was able to travel for two-thirds of a mile - and through the 4,265ft mountain's natural archway - before releasing his parachute and descending gently to the ground. 

The arch measures less than 100ft across and left the daredevil with little margin for error.

Bird's eye view: A still from a camera mounted on the helmet of Jeb Corliss as he sweeps through the corridor of rock
Bird's eye view: A still from a camera mounted on the helmet of Jeb Corliss as he sweeps through the corridor of rock

Stunning: The stuntman keeps his nerve as he glides through the narrow alley
Stunning: The stuntman keeps his nerve as he glides through the narrow alley

Up in smoke: Corliss, seen here with another flyer, made an earlier attempt to glide through the mountain but had to perform a detour after his smoke canisters malfunctioned
Up in smoke: Corliss, seen here with another flyer, made an earlier attempt to glide through the mountain but had to perform a detour after his smoke canisters malfunctioned

Corliss, who has jumped from the Eiffel Tower and flown through a waterfall in the Swiss Alps, is the first wingsuit stuntman to fly in China. He carried out a test flight from the top of the mountain earlier this week and described conditions as 'perfect'.

But his first attempt to fly through the Tianmen arch this afternoon had to be abandoned after smoke canisters attached to his ankles developed mechanical problems. Corliss was forced to abandon the attempt in mid-flight and had to make a detour to avoid slamming into the side of the cliff face.

On a high: Back on terra firma, Corliss described the flight as one of the greatest of his career
On a high: Back on terra firma, Corliss described the flight as one of the greatest of his career

After completing the second, successful jump, which was broadcast on China's television networks, the Californian said: 'That was one of the greatest wingsuit flights of my entire life. 

'Thank you China, that was amazing. I love it, oh my God.'



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