A record-breaking highline as an aeroplane circles

Alex Schulz crosses a 250m highline with Red Bull Air Race’s Kirby Chambliss looping overhead.
Kirby Chambliss loops around Alexander Schulz on highline
Man and plane © One Inch Dreams / Clemens Augustin
By Sissi Pärsch

Mixing one of the world’s best highliners with one of the world’s best aerobatic pilots was bound to produce a spectacle.  

Alexander Schulz, with the OneInchDreams crew, ran a 250m-long and 100m-high highline over the Cerro Tetakawi, Mexico. The line broke the world record for the longest in Latin America, and the longest to be walked with a backpack.

Flying over, under and around him was Red Bull Air Race's Kirby Chambliss. So what happened? We chatted to Alex to find out.

More: 10 gravity-defying shots down the wing of a plane

Alex had some practice before the plane took off

Alexander Schulz slacklines in Tatakawi, Mexico
Alexander Schulz © One Inch Dreams / Johannes Olszewski

Alex, tell us about the project…
Working with my team-mates John and Clement of One Inch Dreams we stretched a 250m-long, 100m-high highline across the Cerro Tetakawi near the Californian border. Then Kirby Chambliss – a stunt pilot from the US – flew under the line while I was standing on it.

Only once under?
Not quite! After the first familiarisation flights he went right around, in addition to twists and overhead flights – he then pulled loops around me!

The line was the longest in Latin America

Kirby Chambliss loops around a mountain in Mexico
Kirby Chambliss looping © One Inch Dreams / Clemens Augustin

How did you and Chambliss get together for this project?
I previously only knew Kirby by his legendary manoeuvres during Red Bull Air Race. I was approached by the Mexican agency Altius asking if I would be interested in this line, with a picture of the spot! Definitely! Shortly before departure, the thought of including Kirby was on the table. We have often thought about how to connect slacklining with other sports, and the idea was simply awesome.

Kirby Chambliss looped around the highline

Kirby Chambliss taking part in a project with Alexander Schulz in Mexico
Kirby Chambliss © Armin Walcher / Red Bull Content Pool

What were the biggest challenges?
For John Clemens the construction of the line involved a lot of smuggling and climbing through wild bushes. For me, it was not to be intimidated by the aircraft and to fall! The first time Kirby flew by really fast, it was a bit scary!

Also a bit of a distraction?
Yes! So a loud object is flying close to you and you have to focus on your movements and the line. But I got used to the line and could even turn sideways to consciously watch Kirby hurtling towards me.

Highlining alongside a plane took concentration

Alexander Schulz slacklines in the sunset during his project in Mexico
Alexander Schulz slacklines in the sunset © One Inch Dreams / Johannes Olszewski

How did you communicate with each other?
Sounds weird, but we met in person. There was no time and the radio communication was tricky. This meant I didn't always know exactly when he'd fly past the next time.

The highline broke two records

Chilling during a highline project in Mexico
Chilling © One Inch Dreams / Johannes Olszewski

Sounds exhausting!
It was, but also good training for my next project. I want to reclaim the highline and water line world record. And be the first to run through a 1km-long slackline. This project is the longest highline in Latin America and the longest to be walked with a backpack.
 

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