"You can't feel the heat," says Marco Waltenspiel. "But you can smell the sulphur." Even so, this clip is one of the hottest skydive and wing suit clips to come out this year, as the Red Bull Skydive Team leaps out over Mt Bromo, an active volcano outside of Jakarta, Indonesia.
Watch the epic flight over the volcano in the video below
"The volcano is like a smoking pyramid," continues Waltenspiel. "It was the first time I'd seen one." Amid late-night airplane flights, early mornings, and rain delays thanks to Indonesia's torrential wet season, the project wasn't easy – but, it was worth it. Waltenspiel and the other Red Bull Skydivers – Goerg Lettner, Dominic Roithmair, and Marco Fürst – who combined have performed more than 16,000 spectacular jumps – leapt out of a helicopter at 4,000m for the scenic, stunning flight down to the volcano, which sits 2,200m above Jakarta.
Smoking all the way down...
Of course, there's also the Indonesian flag, which the team also took for a flight – and it wasn't a small one, coming at almost at 10m x 15m. That said, hooking it up wasn't a problem for the well-trained Red Bull Skydive Team, who quickly started flying in opposite directions to stretch the flag out over the Indonesian sky.
Red, white and green
The biggest technical challenges? Thin air – the athletes rarely fly their wingsuits at 4,000m, and less air pressure makes them react differently – and limited space. Says photographer Wolfgang Lienbacher: "We didn't have a lot of height and airtime to work with. The volcano is already at 2,200m, and we were only allowed to get up to just above 4,000m in the heli."
A great way to wave your flag
While Mt Bromo isn't one of the world's most active volcanos – although it's neighbor in Mt Merapi, also known as Fire Mountain, is – it has shown regular signs of volcanic activity. Volcanic tremors at the base in November of 2010 prompted an evacuation, and not three days later it was spewing ash and smoke, sending a plume 700m into the sky.
Roithmair, Waltenspiel and the rest of the team considered themselves lucky to score the footage they did – of three days on site, there were only a scant few hours of flyable conditions, as storms and weather kept them grounded. Never the less, it was one of the most incredible flights of the pilot's lives. "To fly over an active volcano was an amazing privilege."